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Rooftop Organic Compost Pile - Simple to Do Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime


JamesMusslewhite

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JamesMusslewhite

The compost comprises of saw dust, topsoil, milled composting rice straw shakes, fresh carabao manure, and Urea nitrogen. This compost utilizes materials that or both cheap and readily available in the Philippines and is one of the simplest and easiest way to produce a premium gardening mix for containers, hanging baskets, vermiculture (worms) for vegetable and fruit tree production.

We first stockpiled the bagged materials under our parking area and waited for the weather to be clear so we could put the bagged materials into plastic buckets to the raised to the rooftop by ropes. Two buckets made it much easier than carrying them up to the second floor rooftop.

We will start doing container gardening on our rooftop and some of the compost will be transferred over to our farm to be used for vegetable seed starter this spring.

 

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We first prepared the work area on the rooftop and laid out a plastic tarp where I wanted to establish the compost pile. A good friend of mine and fellow Surigao expat who is a longtime gardening enthusiast  helped me locate all the needed materials and rope them up to the rooftop. My son and my niece also assisted in the project.

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We then readied the ropes as my son and niece went downstairs to shovel the materials into the plastic buckets as we needed them. Steve and I then pulled the needed materials up the side of our residence and staged them on the roof.


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A bag of freshly gathered carabao manure is placed into a small trash can and stirred as water is added making a fresh manure tea. This manure tea will quick-start and feed the micro-organisms helping to start the composting process. The manure tea will be applied over each layer (saw dust and rice straw) not unlike a dirt cake.... Just consider it as
organic icing....).

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The water is slowly added and continually stirred until it has the consistency of a milk shake. My friend Steve mixes the fresh manure tea as I take the photo.

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It is important to remove any grass or roots from the mix as to avoid putting them into you compost pile. This is to help minimize them in your finished product to avoid unnecessary and unwanted weeds germinating in your mix later.

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The ropes are lowered down so my son and niece can begin to shovel the materials from the sacks into the buckets were we can pull the buckets up to the roof top. The yellow tribike was built by Steve Brown so he can travel around town with his family. There are 222 average rain days with 144 inches of annual rain here making Surigao City the wettest city in the Philippines and one of the wettest places in the Pacific.

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Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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Well another week has magically passed right before your eyes, and it is time now for the 2nd flip of the compost pile. This step I will do the mixing of the compost twice. Once from right to left, an

The compost comprises of saw dust, topsoil, milled composting rice straw shakes, fresh carabao manure, and Urea nitrogen. This compost utilizes materials that or both cheap and readily available in th

Well as I promised I am adding the final pictures of the final yield from the rooftop compost compost project. It is four months since we started this fun on the rooftop. The total yield from a compos

JamesMusslewhite

As we raised the materials using ropes and buckets up to the rooftop as we needed them during the whole process. The different material laid out on the plastic tarp and is spread out on the plastic tarp in layers. Sawdust - rice straw - topsoil - urea nitrogen - fresh manure tea.... then the process is repeated until it is piled to the desired height. The bag you see is fresh carabao manure... 1 bag to 1 trashcan; just stir and add water..

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Steve Brown yells down to tell the kids when to stop loading buckets of one material and to change over to another material. This process is repeatedly done as the individual layers are made.

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Working on the first layer as my wife looks at us from doing her laundry.

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One of the two buckets filled with coconut saw dust which is used to make the first layer of the compost pile.

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Steve is sprinkling urea nitrogen over the first layer. The layer is coconut sawdust, milled rice straw, and topsoil. This combination of materials comprise each layer. Once a layer of the three primary materials are laid out then they are topped with a layer of manure tea.

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This is one completed layer of our little compost dirt cake which is now ready for a little generous helping of manure tea icing.

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And there is the good stuff. My son who was "reluctantly" very happy to be volunteered for the task of assist in the pouring of the delectably (fresh manure tea) icing. And let me tell you guys it smells just as good as it looks.

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My son washing his hands after the ladling the manure tea. He was so happy at being volunteered to do this task that I am sure I will have to send out the hounds to track him down if he thinks I will ever be asking him to to assist in doing another compost pile on our rooftop again.

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And Wala, one delicious layer of soil cake ready for the next layer. You can almost hear the micro-organisms cheering with glee. The makings of a happy compost pile. now repeat the process again and again until you have achieved the desire height or run out of materials, whichever comes
first.

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Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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JamesMusslewhite

Sorry, it just look so good that I had to take another photo of this beauty.... This is soft p*orn for any true horticulturist, gardener, and organic aficionado......

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Well I digress, so on to the start of the next layer.....

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Another thin layer of topsoil is added over the manure tea layer in preparation for the start of the second layer. I got my wife to pose nect to the starter pile, so now there are two beauties on my rooftop.... oohlala...

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Sorry just had to take another photo.... It is that straw hat...

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Ok, 3 photos... I can not help myself, I'm just a sick sick man.....

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The next layer of coconut sawdust is added directly over the first layer...

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Then the milled rice straw, and topsoil layer... Notice that my son is really struggling to get a smile for this photo. He is really enjoying this moment........ Time for more icing (fresh carabao manure tea) on the soil cake....

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I think he is thinking how much more it world be to ladling the tea over me than over the pile for making him volunteer for this auspicious task....

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Steve adds more Urea nitrogen over the second layer of coconut sawdust and milled rice straw...

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Steve is still adding the urea nitrogen over the top of the second layer.....

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Second layer of icing (fresh manure tea) has been added.

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A thin layer of topsoil is added again over the manure tea icing....

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Sorry I just could not resist another photo of this beauty, what can I say? I'm just a sick man.....

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The second layer of the compost dirt cake is completed. So on to layer three....

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The start of layer three... coconut saw dust....

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Thin layer of milled rice straw is spread over the coconut sawdust....To avoid being redundant and since this is a layering process I will despise with all the chatter and show the photos.

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more urea nitrogen and another layer of Manure tea icing.......

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more topsoil... time for layer four...

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Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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JamesMusslewhite

The start of the forth layer to the masterpiece, coconut saw dust.....

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after another layer of milled rice straw, urea nitrogen, manure tea icing, and a final thin layer of topsoil; we wrap this soil cake like a 5-layer burrito... We rope the bottom and lace rope over the top so the wind will not uncover the covering tarp and place the least unopened bag of carabao manure to be used in one weeks time when it is time to trurn the pile for the first time....

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Throw the last bag of top soil and the ropes and the tarp is securely held down incase of high winds. And we are finish with stage one.
Establishing a compost pile 101. The next stage - "The Big First Flip"

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Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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Phase 2 - "The Big Flip... does not need a lot of explaining. Start at one end with a shovel and flip over the soil cake one small section at a time. Insure that it is well mixed then flip over the pile on the right, I being lefy handed work right to left but left to right works just as well..... Mix, flip until you reach the end...

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I am the one who is actually fliping the pile, but I figured you would rather look at my niece than at my old sweaty butt. Notice how she makes it
look so easy and fun.....

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OK she is ready for me to take back over.....

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Here you can see the layers of the soil cake and you can see the rick color of the mix. That is one happy compost pile..

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more of the same...

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Here is an excellent look at the individual layers of the compost pile.

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Still working the pile...

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You can see the rich color and even texture of the beginning compost pile...

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Still have a ways to go.... I have learned over the years that to get it done quickly than you must do it quickly. If you just sit and stare at work, it will usually just sit and stare right back at you. I have never had a pile flip itself for me in all the years. I have been doing this profession a long long time. Just so you know.....

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I am old so I do a section, take a photo, then flip some more....

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Yep, I seem to be taking a lot of breaks... ah photos......

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Another job well done, so time to wrap the pile up and let it sit for another week.

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Yep, still siting right were I told you to stay.... good boy...... 

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.Next week the sequel, "The Big Flip 2"

Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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Well another week has magically passed right before your eyes, and it is time now for the 2nd flip of the compost pile. This step I will do the mixing of the compost twice. Once from right to left, and then from left to right. After the second mixing I will transfer the compost pile onto a new plastic tarp.  This will actually mix the compose pile three times when I do it today. As I move the compost pile onto the new tarp I will layer it once again and apply the fresh manure tea on top of each layer.

So with the assistance of my lovely niece we lay out the new tarp and ready to start mixing the pile for the third time... Once every week (if weather cooperates)... Today it did...

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Phase 3 - "2nd flip of the compost pile" During this step I will mix the compost twice on the old plastic tarp. Once from right to left, and then from left to right. After the second mixing is done I will transfer the compost pile onto a new platsic tarp to avoid staining the rooftop surface. We the composting material is moved onto the new tarp this will actually mix the compose a total of three times today. And as I move the mixed compost pile onto the new tarp I will layer it once again and apply the fresh manure tea on top of each layer as before.

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the composting mix is starting to darken in color since it was first constructed three weeks ago.

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A closer look at the compost pile to show the Manure tea which was ladled onto the pile the previous week.

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From this angle you can get a better prospective of the actual size of the composting pile. Now it is ready to mix. Since I showed last week so many pictures of the pile being mixed; I felt it would be rather redundant to do so again, so I will skip that part and show the pile after the final mix before the pile is relocated.


As a note: The old plastic tarp had small holes in the bottom. Between the moisture of the added manure tea and water being absorbed through the bottom of the tarp due to the rain, the pile was holding a lot of moisture and was quite wet about 1/3 the of the pile from the bottom. It makes the pile harder to mix. When covered and in the open it is best to remove the plastic covering the top of the pile to allow it to dry out so the mix does not sour and remain too wet. This helps in the composting process.

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Well after about 4-1/2 hours the pile has been successfully mixed twice. There is still a lot of moisture in the pile and in some spots it was very saturated. I have started moving the pile over onto the new plastic tarp and now have the first layer done. The last application of fresh carabao manure tea is ready and the ladle is ready.

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My lovely assistant takes the shovel to allow members to view someone more eye appealing than myself, and she does make this process seem almost effortless and fun....

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This is the stuff that dreams are made of... To my son Arthur that would probably be nightmares, but to the micro-organisms this would be heavenly dreams...

Side note: There are over 60,000 known micro-organisms and over half do not even have names, and even less do we presently understand what their actual functions are as they relate to the soil sciences.... But we know they love the icing....

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As I transfer the twice-flipped compost over to the new plastic tarp I once again lay it in layers and then apply the prepared fresh carabao manure tea over the individual layers. This will be the last time that the manure tea will be applied to the compost pile.

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If you put your ear right up to your monitors than perhaps you can almost here the micro-organisms cheering and singing "thank you songs"...

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And here she is again showing just how effortless this whole day has been so far...

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Ummm, icing on a new soil cake......

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each layer is about 5 inches on depth and a layer of iceing is applied onto of each layer until the whole pile has been relocated to the new plastic tarp....

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It should be noted that the taller the pile and the less the pile is spread out is better because it allows the pile to compost better. Height and thickness of the pile is best.

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still adding layer after layer as the pile is reshaped. This will be the last application of manure tea to the compost pile. From here the micro-organisms will do their magic...

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re wrapped and ready to rest another week before the pile will be flipped again...

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And my lovely assistant helps now by washing the spot of the old location of the compost pile after everything was folded and removed from the rooftop. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

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Another job well done....

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This process will be continued every week to two weeks for the next two months. The end product is the finest quality and least expensive composted growing medium that can be used from seed starter, potted plants, hanging baskets, and garden top dressing. I hope you enjoyed the thread.

Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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JamesMusslewhite

my my what a lovely smelling roof you have

 

There is really no discernible oders as it is tightly tarpped and even after the first week and it is opened for the first flipping of the mixture there is only a very faint sour smell due to the beginning of the composting process.

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SirMadrigal

I was just being silly, I want to build some solar panels for fun when i arrive, built a few here in the states, switched all lighting in house to LED, have A19 bulbs that give off about 700lumens and use 12.5watt electricity.

Now the panels power every light in the house.

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JamesMusslewhite

I was just being silly, I want to build some solar panels for fun when i arrive, built a few here in the states, switched all lighting in house to LED, have A19 bulbs that give off about 700lumens and use 12.5watt electricity.

Now the panels power every light in the house.

you really should start a thread on the subject as I know a lot of members would love to pick your brain. I have seen members in the past start threads to ask questions but often nobody has enough knowledge to really go into much depth in the subject.

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SirMadrigal

Maybe I will, there are some good video tutorials as well to build your own. It takes a lot of time but if you have nothing else better to do it is a lot of fun.

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Knowdafish

There is really no discernible oders as it is tightly tarpped and even after the first week and it is opened for the first flipping of the mixture there is only a very faint sour smell due to the beginning of the composting process.

How wet do you keep it and how hot does it get when it is all wrapped up? Where did you get all the coco sawdust, a lumber mill? 

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