The Crooked Farmz compostery features six dalek-style bin composters, four of which are used for small-batch hot composting cycles (4-6 weeks in length), one of which is used for a long-term Johnson-Su process, and one of which acts as an add-as-you-go ‘furnace’ bin for fresh food scraps on a daily basis. The compost bins sit on a ‘living floor’ of cedar mulch that will retain water and gradually break down over time to encourage a thriving population of microbes and worms in the immediate vicinity.
Feedstocks to produce the compost are primarily sourced from the local area on a ‘just-in-time’ basis for batch production: grass clippings from nearby neighbours, autumn leaves from the park, spent coffee grounds from an independent coffee house, banana peels from a smoothie manufacturer, etc.
These are ‘cooked’ at temperatures around 140°F for several days to encourage ‘thermophilic’ heat-loving microbes, kill off pathogens, and eliminate weed seeds. This ‘house blend’ compost is the basis of all Crooked Farmz compost teas.
In 2021 we also launched a vermicomposting component to our compostery to improve our capacity for handling fresh kitchen waste, producing our own worm castings for feeding the soil, and tapping worm leachate to supplement our compost teas.
Our ‘open source’ schematic for the compostery and brewery at Crooked Farmz won the first place ribbon for Innovation at the 2021 Best in GrowTO awards during Toronto Urban Agriculture Week. Though it is also very important to acknowledge the complex interactions with the soil microbiome, pollinators, bees and butterflies, birds and worms, fungi and bacteria, companion planting, mulching, water, and other non-human agencies that allow such an abstraction to take place — they are vital actors intertwined with the abstracted relationships illustrated in the diagram, and are indispensable for growing in a heathy and thriving regenerative ecosystem.