I wrote about raccoons causing problems with my Green Cone Composter (GCC), and about having to use a purple bucket trug for a makeshift cover, then I wrote about the GCC in more detail and mentioned that it was ready to empty. I had help yesterday for a few hours and that is one thing that was accomplished. Then Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer encouraged me to take photos of the harvest.
Once the top section was removed, I discovered that I had let the composter get too full. The plastic basket section that is underground is almost as deep as the green cone is tall. The basket was full and compost reached half way to the top inside the green cone. I kept putting off emptying it, and I don't remember how long it had gone since the last harvest. But, it was too long.
We emptied it completely; the contents filled two large wash tubs and half of a large bucket trug. Mostly it is fine material and the clumps crumble easily. Eggshells had cooked during the heat stages of composting so they crumble easily. There are some small sticks and coarse matter that can be put back into the composter and run through the process again, or they can be used as a nice mulch material.
I have two round sifters with different gauge holes. I can use the size matching my need at the time. The smaller size is good for adding small amounts to potted plants, and the larger is very good for plants in the ground. Using them helps to break up the lumps and fluffs it up nicely.
Another accessory that has been a great help is the probe aerator. It is just a metal stick with a handle and on the other end are movable wing-like flaps.
When I insert it into the pile of compost the wings collapse against the rod enabling the probe to go into the compost. But, when I pull it out the flaps open and catch material and rearrange it. By using it repeatedly, I am able to "stir" the compost and incorporate air into it without having to remove the contents and turn it as I did with the old piles of 'yore. When I do that process I can see results by the next day or two. Oxygen is important to the composting process.
In all, it is a rather neat system. However, I think it would be best to have two of the composters. That way I could say to myself: "OK, that one is full enough. No more new material for that one until it has finished composting. Then I will empty it and start over again." In the interim, all new material would be placed in the second composter. Once it is full, the first one would be harvested, new material would be added to the newly emptied first one while the second composter finishes up.
I think I may have just talked myself into getting a second one.