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Disappointed :(

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Disappointed :(

Post  scmelik on 3/15/2012, 7:52 pm

Last spring I started my first compost pile, I didn't have any kind of bin, just made a pile on a slab of concrete next to my garden. All summer and early fall long I kept adding to it, watering it, stirring it and I fully expected to have some great compost this spring.

Well tonight I went and got everything I needed to screen it out and a garbage can to put the uncomposted stuff into and to my surprise the pile really didn't do much of anything all last summer. I have no compost at all to use. How long does it generally take for a pile to compost down enough to have usable compost?

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Re: Disappointed :(

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/15/2012, 7:59 pm

I agree, I would be terribly disappointed too!

I certainly am no compost expert, and am very lazy about mine so far, but at the composting class I attended last spring, they never suggested composting on a concrete slab, if fact they suggested that there be nothing under the pile except dirt so the native microbes and beneficial bacteria and all could naturally get in the compost pile and help it work its magic.

They also suggested if you composted in a self contained composter (like the ones on frames and sitting off the ground) that you might need a compost starter.
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Re: Disappointed :(

Post  scmelik on 3/15/2012, 8:01 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:I agree, I would be terribly disappointed too!

I certainly am no compost expert, and am very lazy about mine so far, but at the composting class I attended last spring, they never suggested composting on a concrete slab, if fact they suggested that there be nothing under the pile except dirt so the native microbes and beneficial bacteria and all could naturally get in the compost pile and help it work its magic.

They also suggested if you composted in a self contained composter (like the ones on frames and sitting off the ground) that you might need a compost starter.

forgive my ignorance, but what is a compost starter? I added about 1/2 a bag of compost (can't remember what kind it was) and lots of dirt from what was already on the slab.

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May need mositure

Post  WardinWake on 3/15/2012, 11:01 pm

Howdy:

Check your moisture levels. Reach in and pull out a handful of material from the middle of your pile and give it a squeeze. If you get lots of water - the pile is to wet. If you get several drops when you squeeze it is just about perfect. If no water at all it is to dry and will not compost.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Re: Disappointed :(

Post  scmelik on 3/15/2012, 11:49 pm

@WardinWake wrote:Howdy:

Check your moisture levels. Reach in and pull out a handful of material from the middle of your pile and give it a squeeze. If you get lots of water - the pile is to wet. If you get several drops when you squeeze it is just about perfect. If no water at all it is to dry and will not compost.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

I did that this evening because i was afraid it might be to dry. I didn't get any drips but it did clump together like it was moist.

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Re: Disappointed :(

Post  Windsor.Parker on 3/16/2012, 12:00 am

@Furbalsmom wrote:...they never suggested composting on a concrete slab, if fact they suggested that there be nothing under the pile except dirt so the native microbes and beneficial bacteria and all could naturally get in the compost pile and help it work its magic. ...
I'm with Furbalsmom !

Move your pile onto dirt.
It should cover an area of at least 1 square yard. Dig a shallow pit if need be. When adding new material dig down about 1 foot in the top center of the pile, add your scraps & such. Cover with the soil you dug out. Tamp down everything and moisten the pile, but don't soak it.
The pile should also be turned regularly, from the outside edges to the center (this speeds up the process). I use a long handled 4-tine gardening fork 'cause I like the workout.
I've never used "compost starter".
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Re: Disappointed :(

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/16/2012, 12:38 am

@scmelik wrote:
forgive my ignorance, but what is a compost starter? I added about 1/2 a bag of compost (can't remember what kind it was) and lots of dirt from what was already on the slab.

A compost starter gives your compost a good kickstart. I never used anything marketed as such but dried blood is really good for such a thing. Is it necessary? That depends. I'd swear by dried blood.

Check out some of these threads....

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t10302-compost-not-heating

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9159-my-compost-pile

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9365-are-you-a-hottie
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Re: Disappointed :(

Post  scmelik on 3/16/2012, 7:56 am

@Windsor.Parker wrote:
@Furbalsmom wrote:...they never suggested composting on a concrete slab, if fact they suggested that there be nothing under the pile except dirt so the native microbes and beneficial bacteria and all could naturally get in the compost pile and help it work its magic. ...
I'm with Furbalsmom !

Move your pile onto dirt.
It should cover an area of at least 1 square yard. Dig a shallow pit if need be. When adding new material dig down about 1 foot in the top center of the pile, add your scraps & such. Cover with the soil you dug out. Tamp down everything and moisten the pile, but don't soak it.
The pile should also be turned regularly, from the outside edges to the center (this speeds up the process). I use a long handled 4-tine gardening fork 'cause I like the workout.
I've never used "compost starter".

I am doing a entire overhaul of my garden area in a few weeks. The cement slab is going, a few trees are getting cut down, I am building an actual compost bin, building another box, so hopefully that will help.

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Re: Disappointed :(

Post  Windsor.Parker on 3/17/2012, 1:45 am

cheers homemade compost is THE BEST!
Things are looking up for you. Very Happy
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Re: Disappointed :(

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