18 Day Compost Ala Geoff Lawton


Sorry that it’s been so long since I posted last but this is the busy time of year for being in the garden and making the magic happen.  As far as that goes, the sheet mulching that we did is working like a champ the garden is not doing so well and I think it has to to with the soil that I used when I planted.  In combination with the soil I mixed up and used we have also had a really sort of wet chilly spring.  Now, I’m not griping after the last 3 years we welcomed the cooler temps and moisture.  Anyhow this post is going to illustrate how I plan to remedy my soil woes by making the most kick ass 18 day compost in the manner that Geoff Lawton teaches on his Permaculture Soils  DVD.


The first ingredient is  about 1/4 bucket of duck water.  I used it as sort of an inoculate of sorts.  I didn’t have any road kill and refused to go get the opossum on the half shell that Ma suggested.


Next up we have some chicken poop from below the roosts that has been soaked in a little rainwater for a couple hours.  It’s odd I’ve never gathered poop before but I sure did today.  If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would have worked like I did today for the sake of some soil I would have told you that you were nuts.  Now a days it’s not just soil its really awesome stuff that will help bring our little place back to life and a self sustaining life at that.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.


Here we have a heaping helping of some of the finest cow poop ever known to man.  It has quite a bit of hay and straw left over from the feed lot where I got it.  Well, not really a feed lot as much as the area in the pasture where my neighbor fed his cattle over the winter. It ought to be good stuff but if I need it to be hotter then I will get fresh green pies next time.  Can any of you give me some insight into this?


I decided to use this bale of straw that I had leftover from the winter bedding supply.  This is my main carbon source it will cause the pile to be nice and fluffy so that it can breath. I can tell you this, If I don’t get this pile hot enough I’ll be growing some really nice wheat because there are quite a few full heads of seed in this bale.  Should be a great test.


This would be my green manure it consists of some really tall grass that grows in our garden area around a couple of the pods.  It’s almost like bamboo, it grows up to about 6′ or 7′.  Right now we are letting it grow so that it can continue to shade our strawberry patch pod.  I made sure not to add any of the seed from this stuff, just in case.  If the seeds aren’t killed with it I’m afraid well be doomed to fight it the rest of our days. See, I’m not saying it’s invasive or anything, but I’m not sure how to get rid of it once it’s set its roots. You will also notice the curly dock in this shot, I don’t have enough comfrey yet to use it so I used the next best thing.  See, curly dock is a dynamic accumulator too just maybe not quite as good of one as comfrey, I just used the leaves, I don’t want the dock popping up all over and the chickens happen love those seed heads. That my friends, is a permaculture win win.


This is the pine chip bedding from the spring livestock show from our local county fair building. I had originally planned to use it instead of straw and I may try it yet but I thought I would most likely have better luck with the straw as the main carbon source for the fluff that it will bring. I did use quite a bit of this in the steps today though because it’s bound to be good stuff.

Let’s make poop lasagna.  What do ya say?


This is the finished pile, right after i took this shot I shot it with the hose to get the moisture content up so that when squeezed it just drips water.  I’m a little bit worried because I think it is just a touch smaller that the one Geoff makes on his video. He suggests 1 square meter, I figure a yard. I just hope it’s big enough to get the heat up there and hold it.  See, compost is a balancing act of sorts, too hot and the beneficial organisms will die, not hot enough and they will not flourish, the sweet spot is between 122f and 158f.

I have my big thermometer at the ready and I will be taking regular readings in the days to come. In 4 days time I will turn it, top to bottom, and inside out, at that time it should be at it’s hottest.  I will then turn it that way every other day for 14 days and if done correctly it will be roughly the same volume and chock full of all kinds of beneficial creatures that will provide the needed nutrition for our garden veggies.

Well, that’s about all I got, take it easy.


Comfrey Wiki

Curly Dock Wiki

Permaculture in Brittany Uses This Method


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