Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Harvesting My Compost/Soil

Compost/soil? That's the term I use to describe the material that comes out of one of my pallet grow boxes. It isn't compost, because there's quite a bit of soil and sand in the mix. And it's not soil either because the vast majority of it is based upon decomposing organic material, also known as compost. 

Each pallet box is used to grow crops for about 8 to 12 months before I open the box to harvest its contents. This translates into two back-to-back short season crops (beans, potatoes, etc) or one long season crop (turmeric, taro, yacon, etc). 

Typically a pallet box is half full when I harvest the compost/soil. The material has decomposed that much over time.
Above is the most recent box I've opened, and it is half full, as anticipated. 

While I could simply fork the material into a wheelbarrow and cart it to the nearest garden bed in need, I prefer to sift out the coarser chunks. This makes my life easier when running the rototiller in the garden. Usually I use a wheelbarrow to catch the sifted compost/soil, but in the above photo I'm using a 5 gallon bucket. Don't ask me for a logical reason. It's seemed ok at the time.  But really, it would have been far better to use either the wheelbarrow or the cart behind the ATV. Geez, I sifted the entire pallet boxful before I thought to use the ATV wagon. Poor decision on my part. Hopefully I've learned my lesson enough to remember for next time.'s a close up view of the coarse stuff that the sifter takes out. 

I usually get one trashcanful, or a bit more, of coarse stuff. 

Above me you can see just how coarse it is. Even though this isn't going right into my garden beds, it isn't going to waste either. No way! (does that surprise anyone? 😉 ) I will layer this stuff into the pallet box along with all the fresh organic material I will be using to refill the box. Perhaps in another 8 months or so it will be decomposed enough to make it through the next sifting session. 


  1. Soil enriched compost? And pre-inoculated carbon source for compost bin filling. VERY Akamai!

    1. Thank you. You hit the nail on the head....pre-inoculated! What a simple way to get the right soil microbes into the mix. It works super.