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"No Sweat" Way To Make Compost
The new portable Micro-Bin Compost System from O2Compost lets air do all the work when making compost. Instead of frequently turning the compost, O2Compost uses a blower and a system of air tubes to turn animal waste and plant material into nutrient-rich compost.
John Moon, founder, O2Compost, originally developed the new compost system for horse farms. He wanted to make it easier for people to "process" manure before spreading it back on the land. "Direct application of raw manure to pastures frequently results in an endless cycle of parasites, pathogens and invasive weeds that impact the health of livestock."
The answer, he says, is rapid composting of manure and bedding. While his company also designs and promotes large-scale aerated compost systems, the Micro-Bin is ideal for smaller farms.
While composting is increasingly common, it can be time consuming. Not done right, it can just be a mess. Most compost methods require a careful balance of carbon and green materials, whether grass, manure or table scraps. They also require attention and frequent turning. Passive composting can avoid the turning, but requires long-term storage of materials. Moon's system makes composting fast, easy and compact with minimal labor.
"The Micro-Bin Compost system uses 4 by 4-ft. plywood panels assembled in either a 2 1/2 cu. yd. square shape or a 6 cu. yd. hexagonal shape," explains Moon. "Once they've been filled, fresh air is blown in by an electric blower. The oxygen stimulates the micro-organisms and produces high temperatures that destroy the fly larvae, weed seeds, and harmful bacteria."
The Micro-Bin is designed to be portable, easily dismantled or picked up and moved once composting is completed. Priced at $675, including shipping and handling, the kit contains easily shipped components. It consists of a 1/4 hp, 110-volt blower, a rubber connector fitting, cycle timer, temperature probe, gate valve assembly, training manual and a manifold kit with pre-cut pipe and fittings. A list of materials that can be purchased locally is also included. Moon estimates their cost at less than $120.
Once the bin and manifold kit are assembled and the bin is filled, the blower is turned on and composting begins. Within 21 to 30 days, the primary phase with intense heat is complete. At that point, the bin and manifold assembly can be easily disassembled and moved to a new location while the compost goes through a curing phase.
"Most people have two or three bins with one being filled as part of the daily chores and the others in the composting/curing process," explains Moon. "Curing is most often done outside of the box. You can also stockpile material off to the side and then fill it in one shot."
When using multiple bins close together, air can be split between two bins. If one bin is composting rapidly and the other has nearly completed the cycle, a higher percentage of air can be directed to the more active bin. Regardless of how many bins or how they are started, the results are the same, suggests Moon.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, O2Compost, P.O. Box 1026, Snohomish, Wash. 98291 (ph 360 568-8085 or 800 611-3718; peter@o2compost.com; www.o2compost.com).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #5