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restarting an old compost pile

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 6/26/2012, 12:39 pm

On line @ http://www.cleanairgardening.com/coth.html $19.99 $25.99 with shipping.

It has a 20" probe. Most of the others were the same brand (not this one) and went for about $29.00.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  toledobend on 6/26/2012, 1:01 pm

To GWM and Ramarks:

I think pepper does the same thing I do with his container. You just unpin the tag ends that you use to hold the wire cage together and move the bin right next to the existing pile. The existing pile will stay together. Then, using a pitch fork, just fill the basket back up. I use a rake and a shovel to get the last bit back into the bin. Not so sure how long it would take to turn 4 or 5 of them though. I think I'll find out this fall, I've got 55 sweet gum trees in the yard that i'm going to get leaves from.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Kelejan on 6/26/2012, 5:30 pm

@Pepper wrote:

@ Kelejan Send me some PLEASE!!!!!!! The rain is what ruined my piles last fall. I did not cover them when the rains came and came and came. Are you turning on a schedule or just when temps start to fall?

@ GWN hip-hip huraaaaa Don't make the same mistake I did last year when the leaves begin to fall. GET THEM ONLY IF THEY ARE DRY store them in someplace/way that is dry. Wet cloggs the shreaders; now what you going to do with them??????

Pepper, I would just love to send you some of our rain. Another day of 50mm forecast for today, and I think we have already had 40mm of it and the rest of the day to go. Incidently, the rain is coming up from Washingto State. Perhaps we should consider water pipelines from Canada to to the States, instead of oil? Much better for the environment if any pipes burst.

With regard to the leaves in fall, I also made the same mistake of not collecting them when they were dry and storing them. The bags I have left are very hard to handle, and there is no way I can run a mower over them to break tthe leaves down.

I wonder if I have enough time left to run out of mistakes?Very Happy

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 6/26/2012, 7:59 pm

@tabletopper wrote:Where did you order the compost thermometer? I need one......

I got my REOTEMP at Johnny's for about $25 if memory serves me right. I tried using a meat thermometer and a copper tube, but not to accurate.

Like the REO temp but they say you can leave it in the pile, but I take mine out. Does anyone leave theirs in their piles?


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 6/27/2012, 4:28 pm

The tent pole is getting hot to the touch today. Will be glad when the thermometer gets here. bounce bounce bounce

@Floyd If your neighbor has 20 years of leaves surely there are many old piles somewhere around his place that has been cold composting for mannnnnnny years under that pile is good compost. The one I ordered said it was a sealed unit but I don't trust it enough to leave it in a pile longer than needed to get the reading.

@ Kelejan I know I don't have enough time to run out and you have me beat

@ toledobend You nailed it on the head, we use the same proceedures including the flat blade shovel. This pile took about an hour and a half this time but it was hot and I was not overdoing anything. Remember I am LAZZZZZZZZY

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 6/27/2012, 7:11 pm

@Pepper I put my thermometer in my pile, after I turned it two days ago, and the temerature is below 100 degrees.

Started this pile in mid April and am thinking it is coming to an end. The first months I turned the pile the leaves, which I got from my next door neighbor, was damp and the leaves were not shreaded. So when I used my manure fork the leaves would stick to the tines and now it is broken up sufficiently.

Last weekend I build a frame sieve to filter my finished compost. I only have to determine IF it is finished. Now I left my REO temp in the pile and will check it tomorrow to see if the temperature goes up.


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 6/27/2012, 8:16 pm

Floyd , having turned it several times .. ... when the temp of the pile is close to the air temp it is as good a finished , keep it covered and dampen down every so often if you are not going use it quickly don't let it dessicate/ dry out as that will kill off lots of beneficial things in the compost .

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 6/27/2012, 8:27 pm

@plantoid wrote:Floyd , having turned it several times .. ... when the temp of the pile is close to the air temp it is as good a finished , keep it covered and dampen down every so often if you are not going use it quickly don't let it dessicate/ dry out as that will kill off lots of beneficial things in the compost .

@Plantiod.........I have been keeping it moist and am waiting to see if it heats up again but if not it may be done. Having said that my question is what do you cover it with? Garden cloth like a weed barrier?

Have noticed a lot of comments on to cover or not to cover your compost pile but never caught what to cover it with..........


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 6/28/2012, 3:44 pm

my thermometer came today!!!Finally can brag about being a "HOTTIE" one of three readings lowest 145 this is the highest


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Kelejan on 6/28/2012, 5:17 pm

Well done, Pepper.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  southern gardener on 6/28/2012, 5:24 pm

congrats Pepper! awesome!! carrot you rock smiles rahrah happy2

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  RoOsTeR on 6/28/2012, 6:42 pm

In order to make it official, you've got to post your hottie proof in the hottie thread!

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9365-are-you-a-hottie?highlight=are+you+a+hottie

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 6/28/2012, 7:48 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:
@plantoid wrote:Floyd , having turned it several times .. ... when the temp of the pile is close to the air temp it is as good a finished , keep it covered and dampen down every so often if you are not going use it quickly don't let it dessicate/ dry out as that will kill off lots of beneficial things in the compost .

@Plantiod.........I have been keeping it moist and am waiting to see if it heats up again but if not it may be done. Having said that my question is what do you cover it with? Garden cloth like a weed barrier?

Have noticed a lot of comments on to cover or not to cover your compost pile but never caught what to cover it with..........


Just some form of covering that keeps rain out ....you don't want the rain to wash out all those valuable nutrients you have slaved at getting , do you ?

You can also put it in plastic bags but leave the tops open & store it outside at the shade side of a building etc. so it stays sweet for several months.



Because of events beyond my control I left my blended finished compost heap open to the weather ..

Whilst like this it has dropped some 20 inches of rain on it and washed it almost flat from a three foot high mound. I've spent an hour or so yeaterday and a few minutes today trying to scrape it up and shovel it into a barrow so I can move it to my Dalek compost store ( read a big cone shaped poly prop bin )

I covered the barrow tonight and if it stays in place I will attempt to drain it off over the next few days , collecting the resultant elixor for liquid feeding to varioius plants.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 6/28/2012, 8:15 pm

@Plantiod

Thanks for the info on the cover. Fortunately we have not had rain in over two weeks, Sorry to here about all that rain..20 inches!!!! That is not good anywere and hope you can recover from it.

Check my pile and the temperature is almost the same as the outside temp so it has cooled, but there are still clumps of leaves and pine needles that are not broken down. So should I put some more greens in????

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 6/29/2012, 12:05 am

thank you RoOsTeR for the link done so I am official.

Plantoid when you scoop up what is left after composting will the new pile reheat if it is a big pile? I have been thinking about using a barrel with a lid to keep rain out . I really don't want to mess it up.

When it completes I will do a soil sample test to see how it worked>

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 6/30/2012, 7:26 pm

How far down temperature wise do you let the hot pile drop before you turn it????? Do I turn again when it reachs 130 or let it go further down. I intend to turn it by temp not days.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  camprn on 6/30/2012, 7:36 pm

I would let it go to 100F or less. okay

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 6/30/2012, 7:44 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:@Plantiod

Thanks for the info on the cover. Fortunately we have not had rain in over two weeks, Sorry to here about all that rain..20 inches!!!! That is not good anywere and hope you can recover from it.

Check my pile and the temperature is almost the same as the outside temp so it has cooled, but there are still clumps of leaves and pine needles that are not broken down. So should I put some more greens in????



In all honesty that will be up to you , for only you know what you put in the original heap and how many times you turned it

Though if nothing else has been added since starting it off and you have turned it several times and most greenery has disapeared It should be reasonably finished .

The leaves and pine needles can take a long time to decompose .. a few spread out in the heap is OK but big hand fulls in the bed are not good , so as you take the heap away for further use put the uncomposted leaves and as many pine needles as you can in to the makings of a new heap .

Then really mix to old heap contents well to get a good blend of things and start using it in your beds

Next time read up on using the lawn mower to mulch leaves or collect them very dry ., put them in trash bags and walk over the bags a few times to break the leaves into tiny bits.

Pine needles .. Arraagh ! .. Not much you can do other than thinly spread them through out the heap as you are making it up so that green waste will as it rots give liquids with lots of bacteria to help start breaking down the needles & don't let the heap dry out .

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 6/30/2012, 7:57 pm

@Pepper wrote:thank you RoOsTeR for the link done so I am official.

Plantoid when you scoop up what is left after composting will the new pile reheat if it is a big pile? I have been thinking about using a barrel with a lid to keep rain out . I really don't want to mess it up.

When it completes I will do a soil sample test to see how it worked>

What you have said is a bit ambigious so I'll take it that you are meaning a big heaps of old uncomposted material out of a recently finished heap .....

You'll need more green stuff in the new batch , treat the old uncomposted material you are putting in the new atch as part of the browns .



My seven compost bins are bottomless cones with lids .

I would not suggest barrels with a lid and bottom for once the barrel is filled it would be very heavy to tip on its side to empty it out. Plus you would need drainage and aereation holes put in it.

Because my bins have no bottom it's a simple case of rocking then bin a little to free any compost adhered to the sides , then lift the bin up off the heap of composting material.


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Goosegirl on 6/30/2012, 8:18 pm

Oooooh! Plantoid, you have just given me an idea! I got two big blue barrels - one I have already turned into a tumbler, the other I haven't gotten to yet. Maybe I will cut off one end and cut a lid on the other and make it a standing compost bin. I can load it up while the tumbler is finishing. Then I can fill the tumbler from it and make a faster batch as each tumblerful finishes.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 6/30/2012, 8:46 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:Oooooh! Plantoid, you have just given me an idea! I got two big blue barrels - one I have already turned into a tumbler, the other I haven't gotten to yet. Maybe I will cut off one end and cut a lid on the other and make it a standing compost bin. I can load it up while the tumbler is finishing. Then I can fill the tumbler from it and make a faster batch as each tumblerful finishes.

GG

When you cut the top end use an electric jig saw and cut the top face so you leave the reinforced edge .. this prevents you cutting your hands on a rough edge and by adding a few really big penny washers using self tapping screws in tiny pre drilled holes to fix them to to the edge of the disc that you cut out you can use it as a lid .

To get a good shaped disc uise a 1 inch thick square stick about 14 inches long , drill a 5/64 hole through it about 1/4 of a inch in from the end and insert a smallish wood screw so it comes out the bottom by about 3/4 inch . Now measure the radius of the barrel onto the stick ,drill another hole here in the same manner ,in the same plane and insert another wood screw . this is called a trammel guage . You csan now find the centre of the barrel and scribe a cirecle from the centre point ising the trammel to make the cirecle. if it does not line up wiht one of the drain holes you wil need to drill a hole big enugh to get your jigsaw in it .. My pal used an electric " sabre saw " and did a fair job on his barrel but it was not as goods as mine. Embarassed .

On the bottom edge .. use an inch thick batton of wood as a height guage , mark the side of the barrel the thicknes of the batton up the side of the barrel when it is stood on a flat surface using a decent marker pen and cut it with a jig saw . This wil ensure that you dont have a lip on the bottom of the barrel and that the cut line is parallel to the top , giving you a barrel that won't lean over to one side.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 6/30/2012, 8:50 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:Oooooh! Plantoid, you have just given me an idea! I got two big blue barrels - one I have already turned into a tumbler, the other I haven't gotten to yet. Maybe I will cut off one end and cut a lid on the other and make it a standing compost bin. I can load it up while the tumbler is finishing. Then I can fill the tumbler from it and make a faster batch as each tumblerful finishes.

GG



Picture of your tumbler please !

I made one out of another 610 litre blue barrel ... when partly loaded it sinks in where the runner wheels support it and is too difficult to rotate because of it .

It now looks like I've ended up with a very very leaky rain barrel laid on its side instead .Laughing

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Goosegirl on 6/30/2012, 9:01 pm

@plantoid wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:Oooooh! Plantoid, you have just given me an idea! I got two big blue barrels - one I have already turned into a tumbler, the other I haven't gotten to yet. Maybe I will cut off one end and cut a lid on the other and make it a standing compost bin. I can load it up while the tumbler is finishing. Then I can fill the tumbler from it and make a faster batch as each tumblerful finishes.

GG



Picture of your tumbler please !

I made one out of another 610 litre blue barrel ... when partly loaded it sinks in where the runner wheels support it and is too difficult to rotate because of it .

It now looks like I've ended up with a very very leaky rain barrel laid on its side instead .Laughing

Here it is! At first I only had one handle on it, above the door. It proved to be too heavy to turn with just one spin with one handle. I added 2 more, fairly evenly spaced around the barrel, and it is really easy to spin now. Grab, pull, grab, pull, grab, pull. The only issue I have run into is that on one side the barrel tapers slightly more than the other at the spacing I have the casters, so every once in a while I have to give the end a shove with my hip to push it farther over on the casters. So far it is working magnificently! I just added a bunch of onion skins, old out of date spices and herbs, and a LOOOOOONG expired bottle of liquid chlorophyll. That should give it a jumpstart!



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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 6/30/2012, 9:30 pm

Thanks GG ....now that you have shown me yours it looks like I'll have to show you mine . Will take pictures tomorrow in between the forecast rain storms .

PS. your idea of storing it in part decompositon and then finishing it in the rotating barrel is really very very good .

I was just going to use the rotating barrel for the composting but when I thought it through it makes sense to use both , for the weight of things should be much reduced so less effort should be needed on my part .

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Goosegirl on 6/30/2012, 9:43 pm

I look forward to seeing your pictures! I already had some on my computer because I was just so happy to have it done I had to have documentation!

Along with all the other additives today, I also put in all my empty TP roll tubes for aeration - at least the ones I did not use for starting my broccoli. I am just so amazed with the whole process that after every time I spin my barrel I have to open it so see how things have mixed. I know, I am a loon!

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