composting within a greenhouse seems to be the cheapest method per cubic yard for cli- mates like ours with a cool rainy season, providing two layers of containment to cultural and legal demands for enclosure. We will put up a 10’ by 12’ green- house (1⁄2 the size of our final plan) in January & February 2011, testing which containers achieve thermophilic conditions throughout the entire pile. All tests will be on sawdust and manure.
Our goal is to absorb any leachate produced in the compost containers with large wood chunks and chips on the bottom of the containers, and evaporate the leachate back in with forced aeration. If leachate poses a threat to aerobic conditions it will be drained to a container of wood chips, gravel and sand which will support a variety of wetland plants.
We will be using hardy wetland plants, like water hyacinth, bulrush, vetiver, and sedges, that have become darlings of ecological engineers for their ability to thrive in challenging settings. The oxygen produced by the plants will be exchanged for carbon dioxide produced by decomposers in the compost.
With the help of our two awesome Oberlin interns the greenhouse is up and will receive it's first compost to treat this month. Follow us on Flickr to see how the action unfolds.