Finally, the compost pile is assembled. I picked up the manure today, free of charge, from Drake Family Farms, a goat farm about 30 minutes away. Big thanks to Fred and Aimee, owners of this restaurant, for the use of their pickup.The pile is about 5 feet wide by 5 feet long by 4 feet high. It'll probably shrink down over the next few weeks as it is decomposed by the microorganisms in the soil. It's been A LOT of work - and I really hope it's worth it. My body is feeling the work of the last three days, and I need a break.
I built it up like a parfait, with about 6 8-inch layers of ice cream (the carbon-rich wood chips) and 5 2-inch layers of chocolate sauce (the nitrogen-rich goat manure.) I also threw in some coffee grounds that Fred and Aimee brought me from the restaurant for additional nitrogen. Over the next few days, the internal temperature should rise to about 120-140 degrees F, then start cooling (I've read that if it's cold enough outside, the pile will steam as it warms up). Once it dips below 100, I'll turn the pile over to introduce some more oxygen, add some water to feed the microorganisms, and repeat every so often until it stops heating up and the soil is soft and dark.