Modification of the Steiner Composting Process


    The present-day shortage of organic fertilizers has naturally led to special attention being paid to methods of composting. Recently a claim has been put forward by Miss Maye Bruce, of Sapperton, Gloucestershire, that she has developed a modification of the Steiner process which results in a more rapid decomposition of the waste material and a more valuable product from the fertilizing point of view (J. Min. Agric., 46, No. 3, 295; 1939). A layer of charcoal is spread over a foundation of rubble, and a wall, about 4 ft. high, of wood or brick built round it. Garden refuse of a non-woody nature is then thrown on, particular value being attached to stinging nettles. Unslaked lime is sprinkled when the first and third foot levels are reached and animal manure, if available, is applied at the second foot level. The unique part of the method, however, lies in the recommendation that the further addition of six herbal essences, namely, nettle, yarrow, camomile, valerian, dandelion and oakbark, together with pure run honey, in a solution of 1 part in 10,000 adds greatly to the value of the compost. The heap should be covered with about 6 in. of soil and protected from rain, and after six weeks in summer, or twelve in winter, the refuse becomes a rich, friable and sweet smelling heap of compost. Further information as to how to make and use these essences can be obtained from Miss Bruce, who is also willing to forward them at a nominal charge to cover packing and postage.

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    Modification of the Steiner Composting Process. Nature 144, 280 (1939).

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