Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Composting the Scraps

After getting the turkeys ready for the table this year, I had a bunch of "leftovers" - feathers, heads, lungs, crops, feet, etc. I paid good money in feed to grow these turkey parts, and I've got to find some way to recoup as much of my money as possible, so I compost them.

These parts are really high in nitrogen, so they need lots of carbon. I use lots of leaves, which I pick up in yards or on the side of the road this time of the year. It would be best if I could shred them, but I can't figure out a cheap way to do it, so I just use the leaves whole. Whole leaves tend to cake, so every week or so I'll go and mix the pile with a pitchfork. The caking leads to anaerobic conditions (stinky), so mixing it up gets oxygen into the mix and fires up the decomposition process. In fact, I've found that when I turn the pile on a cold morning, it will steam, and you can feel the heat radiating out. Next year, I may compare composting with wood chips as opposed to leaves. Right now, though, I don't own a tractor with a front end loader (or without for that matter) so leaves are a lot easier on the back.

By making compost, all the nutrients in the turkey parts become secured for a time in the humus (compost) that forms. I'll spread the compost on my veggie beds this spring or summer, and get the most for my money.

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