13 November 2012

Making the Fall Compost Pile

We make a big windrow of compost twice a year. We are just finishing up our pile for fall. We make it with vegetable cuttings, seedless weeds, straw, and horse manure. I get the horse manure from Horse Hill in Mill Valley.

One of the principles of Biodynamic farming is to generate fertility within the farm system itself. So, an ideal farm will have just the right number of animals to produce enough manure to fertilize the farm. In turn, the farm will produce enough animal feed for those animals.

At St. Anne's we don't have our own farm animals so I must bring in manure. Ideally this would be manure from a cow or horse living on a very local Biodynamic farm. This is not an option for us here in SF, so I try the second best thing, which is to bring in manure from animals living the closest possible life intended for their species.

Horse Hill in Mill Valley is a lovely spot where the horses live in a herd and are free to roam and run among the grassy hillsides. They are fed hay in the dry months, but the rest of the year eat a lot of fresh grass. The folks looking after the horses have built a manure bin, which makes it easy to shovel the poop into bags and drive it back to SF. I scurry across the Golden Gate with my windows down to spare my family the smell later in the day.

These action photos show Kindergarten 3 children hauling compost supplies and enthusiastically tamping down the pile.