Compost King


Ok, I know there are people with more than two compost heaps, and I know there are people who use special enzymes, bokashi, tiger worms, and all that great stuff that makes the compost so hot you could put it in the middle of the sitting room and switch off the heating – but for this week allow me to be the Compost King.

The thing you see at the top of this piece is the new Farnish Compost Machine. For the first ten years that we had this house the existing compost heaps were fine, until the wood started to rot, and at the beginning of this year I vowed to repair it. I bashed in a few nails and half a dozen salvaged bits of wood and it stood for a bit longer. But the rot had really set in by then.

After collecting bits of wood from various sheds, a former picket fence, by brother-in-law’s skip and the driveway of a house being gutted for rebuilding, and with the enthusiastic help of two girls aged 8 and 9, we set to: destroying the old structure, with pieces of rotten timber falling apart in our hands, and the supporting wall almost collapsing. Once the collapsing wall had been shored up with some “No More Nails” I had to design something that would survive years of rain, frost (well, not so much now), worms, woodlice and children. It took two weekends of work, a lot of sawing, even more drilling, a few litres of old wood stain that I had found in an relation’s garage, and only one or two mild swear words. I didn’t buy a single new thing to make this.

And it even has little flaps at the front that I can lift to get to the old stuff at the bottom.

Keith Farnish

3 thoughts on “Compost King”

  1. Just grab anything you’ve got lying around and put it together – I find child labour very beneficial in this type of venture.

    There are some basic principles:

    1) Big gap to put the new stuff through
    2) Doors at the bottom to let the old stuff out
    3) Wooden roof to keep the rain off, but not stop moisture getting in
    4) Lots of air circulation so you don’t generate methane.


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