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restarting an old compost pile

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 7/1/2012, 8:34 pm

@Plantiod...........

Thanks for the advice on dealing with pine needles and leaves going forward. I will DEFINATELY mulch my components prior to putting in the pile.

However the choice I have now is to remove the contents of my bin, run over them several times with the lawn mower, then raking them up and putting them back in the bin or adding more greens, like rabbit food, to the contents of the bin.

It has broken down sugnificantly since April so I am leaning towards adding the rabbit food before removing the contents now. If it was a few weeks into the compost process I would probably remove everything and get more surface area on my ingredients........


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Goosegirl on 7/2/2012, 7:00 am

@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

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
.

Plantoid - I have copied your barrel instructions into a Word doc and saved them on my computer so I can find them easily later this week when I have more time off work. There is a holiday in the middle of the week and I have a convention Friday-Sunday so I took off the days in between just because I can! Going to get a few more projects finished.

GG

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/2/2012, 7:56 am

Plantoid sorry for the late responce, was reading back and realized the ambigious coment needed clarification. when your compost pile is done, in my case I have several, IF you place all the completed material in a single pile WILL THIS NEW PILE BEGIN TO REHEAT.

I am thinking about using a closed lid barrel(for the completed compost) but not sure if that will have negative consequences

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  camprn on 7/2/2012, 8:15 am

@Pepper wrote:Plantoid sorry for the late responce, was reading back and realized the ambigious coment needed clarification. when your compost pile is done, in my case I have several, IF you place all the completed material in a single pile WILL THIS NEW PILE BEGIN TO REHEAT.

I am thinking about using a closed lid barrel(for the completed compost) but not sure if that will have negative consequences
The completed, finished will not generate its own heat.


Last edited by camprn on 7/2/2012, 9:38 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos per usual)

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 7/2/2012, 9:22 am

@Goosegirl wrote: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!

GG

Mine is a big 65 US gallon barrel that contained a thick pickle sauce , the air holes are 1/2 and the door is massive .



See the double wheels at the front ... I need to steal Errr I mean find another shopping cart that still has the castor wheels on it and use them to make my roller frame with four castors on each side as just two each side did not spread the weight to stop them digging in when it was stationery.

It got so bad one day when the sun was shining very hot I could not rotate the darn thing due to the indentations being so deep .

The aluminium end plate was fabricated and screwed in place because the source where I got the barrels from had cut the tops out thinking he'd never need lids on them

This picture shows from the inside of the barrel that lip I was on about to use as the rim support for the lid .


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 7/2/2012, 9:30 am

@Pepper wrote:Plantoid sorry for the late responce, was reading back and realized the ambigious coment needed clarification. when your compost pile is done, in my case I have several, IF you place all the completed material in a single pile WILL THIS NEW PILE BEGIN TO REHEAT.

I am thinking about using a closed lid barrel(for the completed compost) but not sure if that will have negative consequences



Same as Camp on this one .... it should not reheat if finished , keep it moist but not sopping wet and it should store for many months without any problems , though I suspect that giving it a bit of a turn over every three months or so would be beneficial just to keep it aerobic.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 7/2/2012, 9:31 am

@plantoid wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote: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!

GG

Mine is a big 65 US gallon barrel that contained a thick pickle sauce , the air holes are 1/2 and the door is massive .



See the double wheels at the front ... I need to steal Errr I mean find another shopping cart that still has the castor wheels on it and use them to make my roller frame with four castors on each side as just two each side did not spread the weight to stop them digging in when it was stationery.

It got so bad one day when the sun was shining & very hot I could not rotate the darn thing due to the indentations being so deep .

The aluminium end plate was fabricated and screwed in place because the source where I got the barrels from had cut the tops out thinking he'd never need lids on them

This picture shows from the inside of the barrel that lip I was on about to use as the rim support for the lid .


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/2/2012, 1:10 pm

Thanks Camprn and Plantoid. Now to get the other four piles hot.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Goosegirl on 7/2/2012, 1:43 pm

@plantoid wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote: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!

GG

Mine is a big 65 US gallon barrel that contained a thick pickle sauce , the air holes are 1/2 and the door is massive .



See the double wheels at the front ... I need to steal Errr I mean find another shopping cart that still has the castor wheels on it and use them to make my roller frame with four castors on each side as just two each side did not spread the weight to stop them digging in when it was stationery.

It got so bad one day when the sun was shining very hot I could not rotate the darn thing due to the indentations being so deep .

The aluminium end plate was fabricated and screwed in place because the source where I got the barrels from had cut the tops out thinking he'd never need lids on them

This picture shows from the inside of the barrel that lip I was on about to use as the rim support for the lid .


Yikes! 65 gal. barrel would hold at least 60-70 pounds more stuff than my barrel, not to mention the metal ends (even tho' aluminum, it is heavier than the plastic). No wonder your wheels dent into the plastic!

GG

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 7/2/2012, 4:06 pm

The aluminium end plate weighs less than the disc that was cut out , as the plastic is 1/3 inch thick or more in places and the ally is only 3/64's

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/4/2012, 10:30 pm

Today I turned my compost pile/bale. The temp had dropped to 120 in two of three places. hopefully by turning now it will reheat back into the hot range. I did the same as before moved the cage then put the top on the bottom then put the inside on the outside of the pile then the outside to the inside.

The outside had remained very wet , the inside was all but dry and a fluffy powery grayish color.

As before I would build a layer,, water it till wet then stick the garden fork in and twist mixing the layer ,then wetting it again, then build a new layer and repeat sequence.



The finished pile toped with the dry of a different pile

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  GWN on 7/4/2012, 11:11 pm

pepper
I hope your back is not toooo sore after all of that.
When you are talking about your pile, are you actually talking about several piles..... that you appear to have?

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/5/2012, 1:39 pm

GWN The pic's above are of the pile I have been trying to restart into a hottie(successfully). I started this thread to document my progress in doing it. I am glad the thread has taken up a life of it's own several participants have became "hotties" during the life of this thread. Plantoid and your 'tumbler' discussion has sparked many ideas for future exploration. All in all GREAT information is being presented here.

I do have four other piles that I intend now to restart hopefully into "hotties'. In fact just this morning the wife and I cleaned up behind our storage buildings then combined two of the piles into one hottie hopefull. Sometime this week I will use the other two to make another hopefull.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 7/5/2012, 8:19 pm

@Pepper

I truned my pile today too and had the grayish color as well but mt temp is down below 100 so I added some rabbit food and watered down all the layers.

Put my rebar back in and temp guage and will let you know if it heats up. Think I needed more greens.....


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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  plantoid on 7/6/2012, 9:25 am

@floyd1440 wrote:@Pepper

I truned my pile today too and had the grayish color as well but mt temp is down below 100 so I added some rabbit food and watered down all the layers.

Put my rebar back in and temp guage and will let you know if it heats up. Think I needed more greens.....




Nah ..... needs more garlic Laughing

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/6/2012, 12:57 pm

@ Plantoid:lol!:

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/6/2012, 1:07 pm

@ floyd1440 So far I have not added anything but water when I turned my pile after rebuilding it from months cold state. The pile I turned on the Fourth has began to reheat, today it was at 110 deg.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 7/6/2012, 8:28 pm

@Pepper

I tried turning and watering it a week or so ago and the temperature never made it above 100 degrees; so I added some more rabbit food.

Now it is 110 dergrees and hopefully it will continue to go up as it as only been 24 hours. I know patience something I try to have but get a little impatient

Will let you know what it is on Monday as I have to travel to work this weekend.

:scratch:

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/9/2012, 10:20 am

Houston we have a problem. The pile I turned on the Fourth(pic's above) is not reheating as expected it has only gotten back to the 120 degree mark. This is it's third turning, I guess I should have added more blood meal, coffee grounds and rabit food this time.
On a positive note the pile the wife and I rebuilt last Thursday has gotten up to 133 degrees at this mornings check.
I don't know what affect the hard rains( over an inch) have had on this turning cycle. I do not have the piles covered.

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  camprn on 7/9/2012, 10:35 am

@Pepper wrote:Houston we have a problem. The pile I turned on the Fourth(pic's above) is not reheating as expected it has only gotten back to the 120 degree mark. This is it's third turning, I guess I should have added more blood meal, coffee grounds and rabit food this time.
On a positive note the pile the wife and I rebuilt last Thursday has gotten up to 133 degrees at this mornings check.
I don't know what affect the hard rains( over an inch) have had on this turning cycle. I do not have the piles covered.
Please don't fret, 120F is fine. Your pile has reached the higher temps in the past and that should have killed off most of the weed seed, which is the reason for trying to reach the 140F+ mark. Leave it be and it will do it's thing...My advice at this point, since it is heating. You will have compost to recharge the garden when the growing season is done. Very Happy

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  floyd1440 on 7/9/2012, 8:11 pm

Camprn is correct and 120 degrees is fine as your pile is working. I turned mine and added some rabbit food and it shot up past 140 and with this heat started drying up so I watered it again

Probably cooled it down some but the pile needs air and moisture IHMO.........

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  Pepper on 7/22/2012, 10:36 pm

Still holding off on turning the piles the test pile(last turned on July 4) is down to 110. The new one built a few days later(July 5) is still 130 so trying to be patient. Thanks Camprn your suggestion has saved me much work Smile

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Re: restarting an old compost pile

Post  camprn on 7/22/2012, 10:45 pm

okay

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