Composting

The Manure Management Plan of Quicksilver Farm was drawn up as a means of survival. Lipizzans produce compost at Quicksilver FarmSix horses at 30 lbs. of poop per day times 7 days a week equals.well, a lot of manure. The options were to rid ourselves of the Lipizzans (One yeah vote, one nay.but then there were a lot of other neighs thrown in so the Nay vote had it), to pay to have it hauled away (no one voted for that plan) or the implementation of a composting system. Since we are attempting to be a self-contained, sustainable farming unit, that seemed like the best idea.

Tim rolled up his sleeves, and dug in to educate himself on the art of manure management and composting. He allied himself with the Land and Livestock Program through the Resource Conservation District, becoming a demonstration site for the area.

We do not want to be licensed by the state, so we keep our venture strictly non-commercial. Lettuce Grown at QuickSilver Farm We do not bring in outside stuffs to compost, and we do not produce more than 1000 cubic feet per year. We occasionally give some away to close friends or charitable organizations, but most of it goes to amend the sandy loam soil here and to replenish the nutrients our crops take from the soil.

Our compost system consists of a concrete block bunker structure with four bays. The raw materials go into two bays, in separate batches. They are turned at regular intervals into the empty bays. The temperature is maintained at a minimum of 131 degrees, measured 3 times per week for 5 weeks. This effectively eradicates all pathogens including e coli and salmonella. Compost at Quicksilver Farm Then it is applied to a field or left in a pile to finish its decomposition, known as curing.

Tim has achieved temperatures as high as 158 degrees. But the heat has not stopped the earthworms from coming to live in the compost as it cures. We are proud of the fact we don’t buy worms, they come and find us! The finished compost has the aroma of the rich forest floor. Our flowers and vegetables all seem to do beautifully, so we’re doing something right!