Jana Fröberg has spent this spring with Kultivator,
working out compost and cultivation plans. She has studied art as well as gardening.
In a close collaboration between human and microorganisms, materials can slowly be processed into something very valuable. Human only have to create the right conditions, and so specific microbes will show up to do what they’re best at. According to what you set up, a pot of sauerkraut may be produced, or else you stand there, just waiting for compost to happen.
Compost derives from the same word as composition, meaning it’s a pleasant and beautiful mix of materials such as carbon and nitrogen, waste and manure as well as of life and death. No one seems to know where the borderline goes between these two opposites. Maybe simultaneously to the decomposition happening, new humus is built up. Anyhow this humus is of fundamental importance to all life on earth. It’s where it starts, and where it ends.
Composts can be constructed in many different ways.
At the time of my arrival to Dyestad,
all earlier composts lay well hidden under a thick layer of snow.
So it stayed for many weeks, and so I stayed inside
dreaming about the different compost types that could possibly fit into the area.
Lövkompost –Leaf compost
Förkompostering –Pre composting tombola
Färdig limpa –Open compost
Som en del av växtföljden –Compost as part of crop rotation
Stallgödselkompost –Horse manure compost
Allmänning/kompostplats –Common land / composting space
Maskkompost –Worm compost
Isolerad behållare –Isolated bin
18-dagars compost –18-days compost
Upphöjd kompost–I kombination med varmbänk –Compost in combination to a heated cultivation bench
During fall gardens are normally covered with leaves.
Leaves are rich in carbon and normally use a long time to be totally decomposed.
Further they don’t have as much nutrition as fresh food waste or manure,
but composted they turn into the perfect texture and matter for sowing seeds.
Fresh food can favourably be kept in a closed compost bin as a start,
to prevent rats and other animals to play around too much.
Beside an out door kitchen in this garden stands an old cement-mixer,
making up the perfect first-stop-space for fresh and rich food scraps.
Not so smelly material, as well as pre composted food waste,
can be put together in an open pile and left to stand for about a year.
Compost is often put together during fall,
and in spring it’s good to turn the compost over
and mix the materials thoroughly to balance the process
that is always strongest in the middle.
Compost can be done anywhere,
but some places suites it better.
Close to trees that gives shade and shelter from heavy rains is good,
but you should avoid a too close contact to conifers.
Another aspect is where the waste is produced and how far you actually fancy to move it.
Including compost in a crop rotation means less heavy work for yourself,
and a good year of rest for the crops.
The coming spring you turn the compost over
so it’s well decomposed when the cultivation season starts.
Pumpkins are a good example of what likes to grow in rich, compost soil.
When cleaning out the horse stable all shit is put in a pile.
Manure from different animals consists of a different compound of nutrients,
and for example horse manure works very strong immediately
which is hard for a cultivated crop to handle.
Others do naturally work a bit more smooth and even during a long period.
When composting manure, nutrients such as nitrogen unfortunately leak out into the water,
but much is also bound into less easily soluble compounds.
This way the shit transforms to a great fertiliser for cultivation.
Right next to Kultivator’s place in Dyestad,
lies the village’s former common land.
Just being a corner between the dirt road and the horse paddock,
people used to meet here when coming to collect water from the well.
During the last years, several efforts have been made to make it a social space again
by furnishing it with benches and the like.
Not really working,
I suggest turning it into a common compost land,
where those who want can leave their waste,
and those who needs soil or fertilisers can come to get some.
Arriving at Kultivator’s place
it took me a couple of days before I asked about their compost system.
About the same time the first snowstorm hit us.
Still we could put food waste in their worm compost that they keep inside the kitchen.
No smell, but a fast production of humus.
Bokashi is an alternative to compost.
In opposite to traditional composting you create an anaerobic environment for the waste in a covered bin.
There you inoculate a specific mix of bacteria
that commercially goes under the name Effective Microorganisms, EM.
These will start a fermentation of the material,
which therefore visually will keep it’s look like during a preservation of vegetables.
The liquid created can be used as fertilizer for plants,
and the material dug down in the garden will attract and activate a good mix of bacteria,
and this way make the soil more alive.
Well down in the earth the waste will fast be decomposed.
This compost bin was built by Kultivator a few years ago and has been used since,
by continually filling it with fresh food waste.
It’s built in an isolating material,
and also during winter there has been a path in the snow from the veranda door to here.
When putting together an 18-days compost,
I used this pre composted material as one important ingredient.
In the bottom the material was already well composted,
and could have been used directly as a fertiliser.
As soon as spring discreetly arrived,
I put together a compost meant to be ready in 18 days.
This became the big entry of an end,
and the completion of something not yet started.
An 18-days compost is a perma culture method to fast get a ready compost / fertiliser.
By combining many different components,
building it high and turning it each second day,
you can activate the microorganisms so much
that you’ll have a ready compost soil in only three weeks.
Since spring didn’t show up this spring,
and I had come here to do garden work,
I thought about different ways to construct warmer microclimates.
One of them was to set up a compost in a cultivation box built by stone,
on top of which a shelf for pot plants could be put.
The whole creation would then be covered with glass,
and so sun would heat the sowing from above and compost from underneath.