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Extreme Composting - What can't you compost??

We are reasonably avid composters at house. What isn't fit for the chickens goes into a bucket in the kitchen and then makes it into the compost heap. We pop in our grass clippings mixed with leaves and most of our weeds and all the things that normal people put into a compost heap.

I was at a gardening club meeting a week or so ago and in their library I saw a book called "Extreme Composting" by a guy called David the Good and picked it up - completely intrigued by the title!


I thought we had composting sorted in our house but it seems you can take composting to a whole new level!

In the book he does cover all sorts of composting - worm composting, melon pit composting, banana circle composting, compost crops, cow manure composting, sheet composting, chicken manure composting, and humanure composting. So if there is a type of composting that you have always wanted to know about and or try, its in here! But its not a technical read... Its a romp and a rant about composting in one book!

David has been gardening for thirty odd years and has tried everything. His views and opinions on composting come from hard core experience and he backs up what he says with anecdotes on what he did and how it went. (That's my kind of book!)

The basic premise of the book is to throw all your compostable materials on the ground and let Mother Nature take it from there! If you are into neater and tidier gardens, you can put your compostables into holes, into piles, under mulch, into wormeries or under plants. It will all sort it self out and the plants will grow and thrive.

Since reading the book we have started composting things that we wouldn't normally such as left over bits of fish, prawn shells and meat (burying them deeply) We have been piling up leaves and other rakings straight under the trees and letting them do their thing as both compost and mulch. We have used shredded paper mixed with chicken manure and other "messy" composts and you know what? He's right, some of it may take a while to rot down but it takes no effort from us other than to build the pile or dig the hole to make the fertility of our soil even better.

Our new policy is to not let anything that could be returned to the soil and composted to leave the property now!

If composting is you thing - have a look at this book and give some of his ideas a bit of space in your mind and let them mull over a bit until every where you look you can see compostable things that should be rotting away in your garden not being thrown into landfill! (and it doesn't take long) Our composting method of piling things up hasn't changed so much but we do put a lot more straight onto the garden and more unusual things into the heap. And it seems to work.

This book is really interesting if you have a permaculture/greeny/reduce waste type outlook on life and if you're into gardening in any way - its worth a look. Its easy to read and much less a technical do it like this book than a really good read that leaves you with all sorts of new ideas about composting!

David also has a great website called The Survival Gardener which is also worth a visit!

Give extreme composting a go and let me know what you thought!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for learning how to compost extremely!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for getting out of the library but 5/5 for supporting the little guy and for increasing your knowledge!
Time cost: Depends how fast you read - but you wont put it down once you start it!
Skill level: Composting is easy and should be done by everyone!!
Fun-ness: Great fun to see the look on peoples faces when you tell them that you did some extreme composting in the weekend!


africanaussie said…
I also bury and fish bones or prawn skins and heads. It is amazing how quickly they decompose because I dug into an area I had forgotten had the prawns in about three weeks later, and there was nothing left but lots of lovely soil and earthworms. I have never buried bigger beef bones ... mmm. I love composting.... I seemto remember reaidng that int he past, but it might be worth a re-visit.
Practical Frog said…
Hey African Aussie, we are just chucking it all in the compost at the moment and seeing what happens - so far, its exactly as you say, it just dissolves! Gotta be doing great things for the soil! - K x
Silver Pen said…
I loved that book. Of course it made me wish I didn't live in a condo. I'm glad to hear that his methods work!
Practical Frog said…
It is an incredible book isn't it! Maybe one day you can move to a place where you can extreme compost - but in the meantime you can "spread the word" in your community instead of the compost in your backyard! - Kara x
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