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Home Garden Barrel Compost (CPP) Trial at Nirvana Organic Farm


– To
investigate if it is possible to make a smaller version of barrel compost (also
known as cow pat pit) so home gardeners can easily make their own.

the possibilities of using other manures to bring in a range of animal
influences into the home garden.


search on methods used worldwide.

Set up 3
different sized composts in 3 different sized bottomless containers. Unglazed terracotta
pots where chosen because they could easily fit into a home garden and are also
durable. The bottom is simply removed with an angle grinder. There is also a
possibility of making a container to suit. They are easily removed when compost
is complete allowing the space to be planted. Peter Proctor was using clay
bricks in India.

Cow manure

Egg shells

Rock dust (Fisher creek)

Biodynamic preps


50 litres

200 grams

500 grams

4 sets 8 gams

1/2 wine barrel

63 x 45x 56 cm

25 litres

100 grams

250 grams

2 sets 4 grams

Terracotta pot

47 x 30 x 38 cm

12 litres

50 grams

125 grams

1 set 2 grams

Terracotta pot

40 x 30 x 28 cm

The process started on May 2nd 2009.Cow manure was collected from Claret
Ash Farm. The manure was measured out. The 3 p
then had the egg shells and rock dust added and where ‘kneaded by hand for 1

Mixed by
5 people. Each mixed 10 litres for a time and then passed it on repeated for
the hour.

Mixed by
2 people—1/2 each kneaded for 1 hour.

Mixed by
1 person for 1 hour.

After the hour each was placed in its appropriate container, biodynamic
preparations added, covered with a damp sack & waterproof lid.

JUNE 4th 2009 All 3 pits were inspected and mixed well with a fork. All
looked much the same—the smallest was a little wetter & middle one a little
dryer but after mixing the moisture evened out. The tops where smoothed and
sack and waterproof lids replaced.

AUGUST the pits were inspected. The smallest compost was ready and
removed to storage. The others left to mature a little more. The 25 litre
compost was ready two weeks latter. The 50 litre compost is still developing
but very close. 14/9/2009


All 3 pits matured displaying the same properties of humus development.
Highly recommend that home gardeners use this method to produce their own
therefore always having their own supply at hand.


Adelaide Hills Biodynamic Group is planing to run this trial again in
Spring to investigate the seasonal effect. 10 litres of manure will be used in
the small barrel, making an easy 1 bucket measurement. It is also hoped Home
garden members will quickly take up the method.

Next autumn we will plan a trial using different mixes of manure to
bring a more diverse range of animal influences to the home garden.

Deb Cantrill is an experienced biodynamic orchardist, gardener and
educator. Establishing Nirvana Organic Farm in 1983.Deb is the Coordinator and
preparation maker/distributor for the Adelaide Hills Biodynamic Group.

Adelaide Hills Biodynamic Team: Chris Banks, Jan Sedunary, Robin Tait,
Simon Martin, Martin Fry, Wendy Morris, Yi-Ting Wu, Cathy Smallridge.



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