Thursday, February 04, 2016

the compost heater project

Well, I'd dug the hole a while ago, thinking I was going to build a firebox down there for an outdoor boiler system, but then the compost bug hit me again, and I decided to take a detour into this experiment. Here's a blurry photo of the hole, with some redwood branches criss-crossed on the bottom and old chicken wire over that, for bottom aeration.  

Again, the hole, now with a half a truckload of woodchips in it, and a very ornery twisting of 1inch diameter black poly water pipe that I found on my new property.  Believe me, organizing that into a coil was much more work than you imagine it.  

Then came the 3 truckloads of woodchips from the next property over, layered with two truckloads of horse manure from down by town, all capped with about 4 wheelbarrows of leaves/forest floor duff that I had gathered as fire prevention last autumn.  And each layer got gooey veg oil filter leavings as well as a bit of green leaves.   Ready to start cooking!

Then, we left for a bit, and so didn't start the experiment.  Getting back, I opened the water valves to have the water start flowing through.... and, I could hear a leak.   yay.  So, I had to dig out a bunch of that moist, smelly compost to find the leak, repair it and put it all back together.  I needed the exercise anyway!  It's all back together again, so we'll see how she does! 

1 comment:

Dan P said...

I can see from your face in the last picture that you found the pain in the Jean Paine method. Compost humor is a rare art.

Other than the grill at the bottom of the hole did you prevent any other aeration such as from a peforated tube?

I'm really curious how hot the water gets, how steady the temp is, and how long it lasts. I wonder if the manure will cause a high temp quick burn situation.

If it worked well how would you circulate it into your under fkow piping?

I live vicariously through your compost adventures.

Starting anti-fire prep

Well, we never really stop.  But, took a picture of today's raking below the yurt.  Every year I work to get a bit wider swath cleared....