Friday, 8 May 2009


Turning the steaming compost!
The compost we produce vies with human-power as the driving force behind a successful vegetable garden like ours. Every time we take vegetables or fruit from the garden down to the hotel, the soil loses nutrients, which we must then replace by applying our home-made organic compost to the soil, thus completing the nutrient-cycle
All materials collected and ready to assemble the heap

We operate a system of “hot” aerobic compost, which produces a fast decomposition, and kills all seeds (essential for weed control). Rather than gradually add to the heap, we stockpile raw materials (grass cuttings, vegetable peelings, weeds, chicken muckings-out, and plenty of nettles to activate the composting process), until there is enough to build a heap of at least one cubic metre.
A layer of greens going on top of a layer of browns

A layer of stinging nettles as inoculum
These “greens” are layered with “browns” (old leaves, hay, straw, or any fine woody material) in a ratio of 2:1, to produce a good mix and thus a fairly uniform end-product. The compost heap reaches a temperature of 60 to 70ÂșC, and after about six weeks and one or two turnings, having reduced to about one quarter its original volume, it is ready to be returned to the land. And so our “waste”, via natural processes and some human effort, is converted into food

All finished! Compost being dug out for the garden

Far from being a pile of rotting rubbish, or a “dark satanic mill”, we hope you’ll agree with us that our compost heaps are really rather beautiful.

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Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.