At this weekend's workshops by Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga on soils, there'll be info and discussions about one of my favourite garden activities - making and using compost.
But below is a little video of Ralph's "automated, cordless compost turner", which I can assure you is NOT an approach that will be featured this weekend.
We have an awesome 'three bay' set up for our compost that Ralph made. As 'chief composter' it was my role to aerate the compost by either moving the contents from one bay to another or using a corkscrew style tool (ours was a compost mate).
However, as usual, Ralph saw opportunities for efficiency and automation in my approach. He modified the tool (removed the handle) to enable it to be fitted to his cordless drill. Please don't hurt yourself trying this at home, folks ... yes, he stands on planks above the compost, and yes, it's asking for trouble for your back. But I also thought you might like to take a look.
Compost turner video clip- runs 35 seconds, no sound.
This tool does do a very quick and efficient job. With it, Ralph can turn a bay of compost thoroughly in 5-10 minutes, where manually it might take me up to half an hour. There's something very satisfying in turning compost in mid-winter and seeing steam rise from it. (Or is that just me?). In this clip the compost is pretty much complete, so it's not so hot ... but it had reached this stage in under three weeks, using hot composting methods including regular turning.
The downside is that I'm not allowed to operate this little wonder. Ralph reckons I'd get it stuck in the compost and end up being whizzed around on the end of it, cartoon style. Actually, I can see it - me hanging on to the drill, my body horizonal to the ground (think superman flying) and legs in the air (think Robben at the World Cup, oh sorry Dutchies, a low blow given "we" bowed out today!). The upside is that when Makita realise the potential, they'll surely come up with an appropriate clutch to save me from flying and I'll be in business! NB: Ralph would appreciate some royalties, if you're reading this Makita development team.
In all seriousness, I do love composting. And I know others who find it equally addictive. The bottom line is it's a valuable skill and resource for gardeners, so it's worth learning to do it well.
If you're looking for some tips on composts or soils for your garden, there are still a couple of places available for the weekend's sessions. No power tools required.