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Black Gold: Composting

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

Blackburn Farm in Sewickley PA where I kept my horses used to call it Black Gold…it took about a year for it to become its name, but damn if it wasn’t worth the wait.

In my opinion, mucking out stalls may be the most relaxing chore on a farm. Now granted it wasn’t a job for me so I can say it’s relaxing. I’ve never had to muck out 30 stalls by mid-morning; I apologize to anyone who feels otherwise.

For me it was a time to spend with my horses on their turf. It’s like going over to your friend’s house and hanging out in their room.

As I sifted and separated the manure from the wood pellets and deposited it in the wheelbarrow that blocked the opened gate, she would play with her toys as if to say, look at what I have. (Yeah, I know— I bought it for you. 😉). Or she’d nudge me, hey, you got any treats in those pockets? It was bonding time. I was in absolute heaven.

I’d finish up my “chore” and deposit the wheelbarrow contents in the compost pile or just leave it in the proper spot for pick up by one of the employees. From there, I used to wonder what happened to it, for a moment, and then go about my day.

Until one day on a crisp Spring morning I saw the steam coming off the pile. It must’ve been recently dumped there by the skid steer. One big whiff and I knew exactly what it was- "Black Gold" horse manure compost. A well-balanced and maintained compost has an earthy and light scent. When completely broken down, compost smells like rich, fresh soil. And boy did this heap of shit smell like roses... well not really- it smelled like dirt!

I don’t know how easy it is for everyone to get their hands on horse manure compost, but I recently find a great kitchen composter that allows you to compost all of the food scraps (there are exceptions) right in your kitchen overnight. Think of it as your own Black Gold maker- without the perpetual expense of owning a horse!

The Lomi Kitchen Composter by Pela Earth turns your food waste into dirt at the push of a button. Lomi was designed to make home composting incredibly easy. And it is!!! Three different settings from quick composting (3-5 hours) to overnight and even a very eco-friendly 16–20-hour slow compost.

I added vegetable scraps and leftover dinner into the Lomi and Voila!!! In 3-5 hours, I had my own dirt.

The process is so simple. Add scraps in to fill point, add to machine and cook—.

There are a few rules about what you can and cannot add to the Lomi as well as ongoing costs for purchasing charcoal pellets for the filters, but I feel like it is worth the (lack of effort) to make beautiful dirt out of garbage. A new take on one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

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Bonnie Gasior
Bonnie Gasior
Mar 05, 2022

This is a great way for folks to start composting. I would just like to add that while it may look like dirt/soil, it should not be used as such. Compost is considered substrate. You can use it to amend soil but not as a substitute for it. Happy gardening. Your plants are surely rejoicing!


mark singo
mark singo
Mar 05, 2022

Very interesting! Saw that machine on YouTube recently, wondered if it actually worked or I know, thanks CarolofMoon!!

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