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Composting in K/1!

Composting in K/1!

Recently Laura and Kathryn's K/1 class learned much more about the importance of composting when they visited the local composting business at the end of James Street. This is where Domingo Medina of Peels & Wheels Composting brings our school's compost. Read more about their visit below!

Cold Spring is on Domingo's regular weekly pickup route, and each Friday he empties all of our school's compost buckets into the bins attached to his bicycle and brings them to his compost site.  Peels & Wheels Composting is located next to a city community garden, under the wind turbine.  Cold Spring School's compost is added to compost from many other places in our New Haven Community. 

Domingo, parent of a Cold Spring graduate, adds the food scraps and a bit of water to dry leaves and wood chips and mixes it like a salad!  He has to chop large scraps, such as pumpkin rinds, in order for them to be included.  He contracts with landscapers in the community to collect and store leaves in the fall so he will have a supply of dry leaves to last all year.  

Next, the new compost mixture is placed in large covered bins where it stays for thirty days.  All the microorganisms that are in the compost break it down and create heat and moisture.  They are living things and need air and water to survive, so the bins are aerated through a system of pipes and a motor that he showed us behind the bins.  Without this system someone would have to turn the compost by hand frequently.  Domingo told us that during the winter months he buys the electricity to run his equipment from Phoenix Press--electricity that is generated by its wind turbine!  He also shared that Peels & Wheels is the only composting facility he knows that uses wind energy.

 

As the compost breaks down it reduces and reaches a temperature of about 150 degrees Fahrenheit, producing steam.

After 30 days the compost is moved to a larger pile where it stays covered with a tarp for 4 months.

Domingo showed us the giant sifter he uses to separate large pieces in the compost from the usable fine compost material.  He turned it on and shoveled compost from the pile onto a conveyor belt.  It went up into the tumbler made of a mesh screen with a large brush that turned to keep the screen's holes from getting clogged.  It was very loud!  The fine usable compost came out the bottom and the large pieces were dropped out of the side to be composted again.  Domingo told us that four square feet of unsifted compost yields about two and a half square feet of sifted, usable compost.

 

Composting

 

We learned a LOT about compost and the process of composting!  A big idea that Domingo taught our students was "Completing the Loop": 

 

SOIL grows FOOD

FOOD produces SCRAPS

SCRAPS become COMPOST

COMPOST nourishes SOIL

REPEAT!  

 

Our class is very enthusiastic about composting!  Here are the posters we made and have placed around our school to encourage everyone to PLEASE COMPOST!

 

 

 

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