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Compost bin

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Compost bin

Post  efirvin on 8/28/2012, 1:50 pm

Ok, I need a compost bin. I can't physically handle a ground or stationary one that I have to mix around. I checked out Amazon and saw some round ones that are on a stand which I can rotate the barrel to mix the compost.

I reread the section in the SGF book and think I can do this!
Any recommendations for brand or other important info to share?

Thanks!
Evelyn from zone 4
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Re: Compost bin

Post  cheyannarach on 8/28/2012, 1:58 pm

If you get a tumbler make sure you get one with a handle that turns the bin for you. I have one on a stand that you have to flip end over end and it get s pretty heavy when it's fully loaded!
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Re: Compost bin

Post  efirvin on 8/28/2012, 2:12 pm

Good to know! Thanks Cheyanne!
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RE: compost bin

Post  1orangething on 9/20/2012, 8:56 pm

I got a nice one at Sams Club. The brand is called Lifetime. It's on a stand, tumbles real easy, & has held up real well. Google Sam's website.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  quiltbea on 9/20/2012, 10:04 pm

I agree, get a tumbler with a handle. Much easier to turn.
My first one was a black tumbler that you had to turn by grabbing the hollows and tumbling it toward you.

It worked OK until it got heavy as I filled it more and more. When it was full, it was almost impossible for me to tumble.

Thankfully someone gave me her mom's old Green Monster when her mother gave up gardening. It has the handle and can be turned. Even when its nearly full, its not difficult to turn.


I keep a compost area where I can toss the new stuff which is surrounded by plastic fencing. I just pile it up until I have enough to fill the Green Monster. I keep the black tumbler to add dried fall leaves. I can just leave them there til next year when I use them to add to the beds.
My Green Monster is my work horse. I add new stuff, greens and brown til its full, toss in a pail of water, then turn the crank when I'm out working in the garden. I get compost quite quickly with that one.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  efirvin on 9/21/2012, 12:18 am

Thanks all for the info! Got mine up and running! Its amazing how much kitchen scrapes you can accumulate in 1-2 days.

Next question-
I had hoped to put the garden plants in the compost once I clear the beds but I read somewhere not to add plants that have disease or insect invaded. Is this correct?
Thanks,
Evelyn
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Re: Compost bin

Post  Pollinator on 9/21/2012, 4:54 pm

@efirvin wrote:
I had hoped to put the garden plants in the compost once I clear the beds but I read somewhere not to add plants that have disease or insect invaded. Is this correct?

Insect eggs should be killed by the heat of composting, so I don't pay much attention to that. The only plant I am fussy about is tomatoes, since disease is into them most every year. These plants I compost in a separate pile back in the woods. This pile will not get used for at least three years, and maybe never for gardening.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  camprn on 9/21/2012, 6:02 pm

@Pollinator wrote:
@efirvin wrote:
I had hoped to put the garden plants in the compost once I clear the beds but I read somewhere not to add plants that have disease or insect invaded. Is this correct?

Insect eggs should be killed by the heat of composting, so I don't pay much attention to that. The only plant I am fussy about is tomatoes, since disease is into them most every year. These plants I compost in a separate pile back in the woods. This pile will not get used for at least three years, and maybe never for gardening.
+1, except I toss my tomato plants into the burn pile.

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Re: Compost bin

Post  efirvin on 9/24/2012, 3:44 pm

Thanks for your replies. This helps me plan on what to do with all those plants when I clean out the garden for the year!
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Re: Compost bin

Post  greatgranny on 9/24/2012, 11:22 pm

@camprn wrote:
@Pollinator wrote:
@efirvin wrote:
I had hoped to put the garden plants in the compost once I clear the beds but I read somewhere not to add plants that have disease or insect invaded. Is this correct?

Insect eggs should be killed by the heat of composting, so I don't pay much attention to that. The only plant I am fussy about is tomatoes, since disease is into them most every year. These plants I compost in a separate pile back in the woods. This pile will not get used for at least three years, and maybe never for gardening.
+1, except I toss my tomato plants into the burn pile.

Agree about the burning. I won't trust that any eggs which result in hornworms or any blight making its way into the compost.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  darci.strutt on 9/25/2012, 12:31 am

I just wrote a song today about making compost stew...I couldn't resist posting it. We have a nice sized garden AND are members of a CSA and now and then things spoil. At least these days it goes into the compost tumbler instead of the garbage!

http://files.fawmers.com/5090_12/darcistrutt/20120924CompostStew.mp3
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Re: Compost bin

Post  quiltbea on 9/25/2012, 11:56 am

I've always tossed my tomatoes in the compost bin. I just saw on a garden guru's video show recently that soil-borne diseases are killed if your compost heats up to 115*F or more. Most compost bins heat up to 130*-145*F so it would easily kill any unsafe spores and diseases.

With that info, it sounds safe to me to toss anything in the compost bin, even those with blight. The only thing I don't add to my compost are the roots of my cole crops because I'm not sure about clubroot. The roots themselves of ALL my cole crops (cabbage family) are tossed in the trash, but the tops I put in the compost pile and when transplanting new crops in the spring, I add a handful of limestone to resist clubroot.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  Hoggar on 9/25/2012, 12:33 pm

We have the end over end type and I flip them every time
I get near them but it seems to take forever to brake things
down.

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Re: Compost bin

Post  No_Such_Reality on 9/25/2012, 1:21 pm

I've got the Keter compost tumbler. It looks about the same size as yours.



It can be fast or slow but mostly slow. To go fast, it needs all it's inputs run through a shredder and then loaded fully all at once. Without an initial full load, it just lacks critical mass to really heat up and compost quickly.

I've had better results just using my old 64 gal wheeled trashed cans with air holes drilled in. I just attempt to layer in the stuff. Dump and add my kitchen greens waste and layer in occasional covering of leaves. Seems to cooked down just as fast as the tumbler with a whole lot less hassle. I dumped it out the other week, it was almost done, I then pitch forked it back in to mix it a bit. In fact, I was thinking it had about 80% already black gold and just needed a little additional cooking to break a few more leaves down. I'll try and get photos.

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Re: Compost bin

Post  quiltbea on 9/25/2012, 1:37 pm

I really think the secret to faster compost when using tumblers is to pile up your greens and browns in an outside pile first. Add water, layer more kitchen wastes, garden spoils, leaves, etc and leave it, adding whatever you have handy every few days. When you have enough for a full tumbler, pitchfork the pile into the tumbler.
While one load is aging in the tumbler, you can be piling up more good stuff for the next load.
Starting with a full tumbler is the secret and if its aged a bit in the outside air and rain, all the better.

Here's mine being refilled after sifting a full load. I even add removed sod and grasses.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  cheyannarach on 9/25/2012, 2:36 pm

I'm curious what people use to sift their compost?
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Re: Compost bin

Post  yolos on 9/25/2012, 3:00 pm

Home made hand sifter. Made out of 2 x 2's in a rectangle and 1/4 inch hardware cloth. The contraption fits over my wheel barrow and I just shake it back and forth. The good compost goes into the wheel barrow and I throw the bigger stuff back into the compost bin.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  llama momma on 9/25/2012, 3:17 pm

I use 1/2 inch hardware cloth bent into a square a little smaller than the empty square kitty litter containers I use to store compost in. I cover the top edge of the sifter with duck tape to prevent getting scratched. Sit on a foot stool next to the compost and sift away. Pretty relaxing too. Online searches and Youtube has all kinds of contraptions that can be made to go over a wheel barrow and shake back and forth. Thats ok if you are going to store it there too. If not then the sifted compost has to be handled a second time to put into storage bags or containers. I sift once directly into containers and it's done. Some gardeners don't bother with sifting, but I like the small crumbly texture. The bigger stuff gets thrown back in the pile.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  quiltbea on 9/25/2012, 11:31 pm

Here's mine. Its a veggie bin from my pantry. I used to keep onions in it, but it works great for a compost sifter.

I just hold it over the wheelbarrow and give it some shakes like flipping pancakes in a pan. Works its magic. Any large clumps go back into the compost tumbler for the next batch.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  Hoggar on 9/26/2012, 9:49 am

I use 1/4" hardware cloth on a 2" X 2" frame and sift it into
a 5 gal bucket then throw the big bits back into the tumbler.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  efirvin on 9/26/2012, 1:10 pm

Good ideas about how to sift the compost!

Is it best to let the plants freeze first to get rid of the little white flying bugs that are swarming my plants? I'm concerned that if I put these plants into the composter it will just become a breeding ground for more of these little white devils!

What do you guys recommend?
Evelyn from zone 4 Wyoming
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Re: Compost bin

Post  quiltbea on 9/26/2012, 1:36 pm

Any compost that heats up to 115*F or more will destroy insect eggs and soil-borne diseases. Most compost will normally heat from 130-145* so its safe to add most things to your pile.
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Re: Compost bin

Post  No_Such_Reality on 9/26/2012, 2:24 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Any compost that heats up to 115*F or more will destroy insect eggs and soil-borne diseases. Most compost will normally heat from 130-145* so its safe to add most things to your pile.

I disagree. Most home composters unless they do a single bulk load will not get their compost to 130-145 degrees. Particularly those of us that do the slow continual add of kitchen scraps. I've been monitoring mine and in spite of it being 103F outside, the temp barely crawled above 110 in the building pile. To get it hotter, I have to do a very heavy load of grass and leaf mix to the top and then that portion heats.

If I fully load my composter with a nice mix of greens and brown it heats, if I don't fully load, it doesn't heat or heats for a very short time.


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Re: Compost bin

Post  quiltbea on 9/27/2012, 11:43 am

NoSuch.....Its nice to know that. I pile mine up outside and fill my compost tumbler at one time. Many folks I know have only an outside pile but they take time to turn it and aerate it in doing so. The center of their piles heat up well over 115*F.
To be absolutely safe, get thee a compost thermometer and stick it in the center of your pile to see the numbers.
Remember, all piles will heat up and when they've 'cooked', will cool down again so they won't be 'hot' all the time.
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