A quick update from the Vineyard! Compost making 101
Brad here, the elusive Vineyard Manager/ head compost maker… We have just turned and covered our compost ready for the rain which is due this evening. Turning over is a very important aspect of making an IDEAL compost, finding the perfect balance of moisture to assist in the break down of all the components. At its peak the compost reached 70°C, steaming most cool mornings and far too hot to hold in your hand!
It comprises of 100% organic grape pomace, manure, wood chip, lime, sea weed, fish fertiliser, pruning’s, broom and gorse mulch, hay, winery leese, and basically all of the winery folk’s waste like coffee grounds, food scraps, paper and cardboard… Here we were a few weeks back ‘piling up the heaps’ just like making a cake I suppose…
Below is an idea of how our compost tuner works. As it is slowly towed by the tractor a powerful auger basically blends the entire windrow and incorporates everything beautifully leaving a perfectly shaped windrow.
To make this black gold, it requires a little ‘black art’ shall we say but as long as you begin with the right proportion of inputs and remain practical along the way whilst keeping an open mind you can’t go wrong (mushrooms were growing off the compost the other day…) The key to a good compost is the healthy inputs with natural bacteria, fungi and yeasts, and turning it at the right time- to re-incorporate and aerate all the ingredients. This is generally the biggest deterrent with compost makers, but not for us, with the help of a little kiwi ingenuity! Alas, Colleen the compost turner…
And below is the finished product… After a few more months, a little more time to decompose and some more turning it’ll be an ideal representation of the ‘perfect soil’ ready to give our small vines and olive trees a kick start when establishing their roots this following spring.
So from now on I hope to keep you ALL much more informed of what we are up to at the vineyard end, with more photo’s and even an in-depth video from start to finish of how we make our compost- so be tuned for another update soon…
Feel free to ask me anything, ( gives me an excuse to stay in my office instead of pruning in the cold! )