|Aerial view of the project|
Then a week later we harvested for the first time. We got 14 bins of sifted dirt from the 84 bins of kitchen waste and leaves that went into this first section of the project, which means that the whole deal was reduced by 83% in the process. It really puzzled me that there was no humus, no rich, black dirt. It just looked like a pile of decomposed leaves. This pile had been sitting for 19 weeks, which seems like it should be enough time for humus to form. I think that the mix had too many leaves, too much carbon content, which slows its decomposition time. I admit that I cover the kitchen waste with quite a few leaves every day to make sure the pile is well aerated and clean-smelling. A longer decomposition time is a fair price to pay to make sure the pile smells good. I would not want to give the neighbors any more reasons to complain! In any case, I will try to reduce the waste - leaves ratio as much as possible to get some humus for the next harvest.
When we harvested, we took the dirt around to the participants and gave each one a full bin or two for their potted plants or ornament garden. They loved it and could not believe that their kitchen waste had transformed so much. We even gave some to the lady who led the commission to denounce and eliminate the project, and she gladly accepted it! The whole neighborhood was outside painting the curbs and the driveways, so we really got some positive public relations in right when we needed it most. I hope this will encourage more people to participate.
The next harvest will be put into starting a small community garden, and I am sure that will get more people involved too. So far we have recycled 282 bins of kitchen waste and leaves, which seems like a good start.