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Super Hot Compost Starter

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Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 10/27/2012, 9:44 am

I just got my composter! Yeah! Laughing

I have food scraps collected and ready to go in. I plan to rake up all my leaves and use those. Plus, I have some dead plants to chop up and add in. I am thinking about contacting a friend with a farm to see if I could have some of her manure. Am I on the right track?

Also, I noticed I could purchase Super Hot Compost Starter. Would this be a good idea to include in my new compost pile to get it started? Is it worth the money? Is it necessary?



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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  bnoles on 10/27/2012, 10:17 am

Sounds like you are off to great start. Personally, I would skip the starter and I think most will agree that it is a waste of money. Compost in the wild needs no starter and why should we? Very Happy

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Goosegirl on 10/27/2012, 10:44 am

If you really think you need a 'starter' and you have a pet, throw in a few scoops of dry cat or dog food.

GG

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Kelejan on 10/27/2012, 3:16 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:If you really think you need a 'starter' and you have a pet, throw in a few scoops of dry cat or dog food.

GG

I thought you were going to say throw in the pet.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Turan on 10/27/2012, 4:30 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:If you really think you need a 'starter' and you have a pet, throw in a few scoops of dry cat or dog food.

GG

I thought you were going to say throw in the pet.

rofl

Thanks, I needed that.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 10/27/2012, 5:15 pm

OK, one more question. I have some dead hanging plants in the backyard. Can I throw those in the compost? I figure I can throw in the dead plant parts, but what about the soil they were in? I'm thinking, when in doubt, leave it out. The soil has the roots of the hanging plants, so I should leave those out right? Or can I dump them in?

Thanks!


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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Goosegirl on 10/27/2012, 6:19 pm

@Turan wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:If you really think you need a 'starter' and you have a pet, throw in a few scoops of dry cat or dog food.

GG

I thought you were going to say throw in the pet.

rofl

Thanks, I needed that.

Only if they are past their expiration date - and take care when turning - neighbors and kids may get a little freaked about you 'turning' Fluffy!

GG

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Kelejan on 10/27/2012, 7:18 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:
@Turan wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:If you really think you need a 'starter' and you have a pet, throw in a few scoops of dry cat or dog food.

GG

I thought you were going to say throw in the pet.

rofl

Thanks, I needed that.

Only if they are past their expiration date - and take care when turning - neighbors and kids may get a little freaked about you 'turning' Fluffy!

GG
I guess that is known as "fluffing things up". I've heard that mentioned on this board. Now we know what they are talking about. Call the SPCA.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  camprn on 10/27/2012, 7:40 pm

To get back to the OP's original question, I personally did notlike the compost 'Starter' that I purchased some years ago. It didn't work for me then.
I now try to have enough green and brown material in proper ratio, layered in the compost bin. I sprinkle a small amount of dried blood every six inches or so and make sure to give the pile some water whilst building.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  plantoid on 10/28/2012, 8:34 am

Camps tip is a good one .. it ensures an even lift to the pile that will spread when it is watered down .

You don't want to have too hot a " super hot " compost pile for it will kill off the usefull bacteria you need for quality composting .

When you talk of food scraps in your pile just make sure no fats , meat or cooked/ processed food sort of things unless you want pests and bugs galore .

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 10/28/2012, 9:14 am

Thanks for the tips all! I started my pile yesterday. I put in a layer several inches deep of raked leaves that I mowed over a few times. Then added some food scraps, more mowed leaves, more food scraps. My bin 75 gallon bin is about 1/4 full. Definitely need more, right? Mowing those leaves really broke them down!

I plan to add manure this week. :)And hopefully more leaves and food scraps. I'm skipping the hot compost starter.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 10/28/2012, 9:28 am

@gardenertaylor wrote:OK, one more question. I have some dead hanging plants in the backyard. Can I throw those in the compost? I figure I can throw in the dead plant parts, but what about the soil they were in? I'm thinking, when in doubt, leave it out. The soil has the roots of the hanging plants, so I should leave those out right? Or can I dump them in?

Thanks!


What do you think?

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  camprn on 10/28/2012, 9:34 am

when my summer hanging plants are spent, I tip the whole thing right out of the pot and into the compost. The peat and perlite, common in most soil less potting mixes, are fine to go into the compost bin.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 10/28/2012, 10:02 am

Thanks camprn!

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  plantoid on 10/29/2012, 6:34 am

It also depends wether you want your MM beds diluted with mother earth soil components if that is what is in your hanging baskets .
If it is pure vegetable matter and manure based compost go for it , but if it has common garden soil or sand in it compost it elsewhere for spreading on the non SFG beds

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 11/21/2012, 9:48 am

My compost had been doing well. Going strong for about 10 days. After sitting undisturbed for 4 days ,the temp spiked to 155. I began to turn it every other day and the temp settled in around 125. After my last turning yesterday, the temps have dropped to 105. It's definitely not fully composted, though the pile has blackened up and the smells have changed.

Am I turning too frequently, cooling off the pile? Should I leave it alone for a few days to see if the heat can build back up? Do I need to add some greens to help it out? What do you think?

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  camprn on 11/21/2012, 11:27 am

Yes you are turning it too often. If the temp is between 120F and 160F leave it be to do it's thing. When the temp drops to 100F or less would be a good time to turn it again. May need to give it a LITTLE bit of water.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 11/28/2012, 11:57 am

OK, so after watching my compost pile die at 55* I mourned for a few rainy days. Then I built it back up and it's got a pulse again! Up to 125* today and I expect it to follow the same course as my last effort getting close to 155*. This time, I won't turn it every other day like the Cornell Hot Compost webpage suggests. I will listen to my peers, YOU ALL, and leave it alone.

How often should I turn it? Should I turn it when it gets really hot, like 155*. Turn it once a week? What do YOU suggest?

I can't bear the death of another compost pile. I. just. can't. tongue

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Kelejan on 11/28/2012, 12:24 pm

gardenertaylor, each time you turn your compost and it heats up, it will never get as high as the previous turning because the pile is getting finished. Once it is finished, it will not heat up again unless you add more greens, which is not what you need to do if you intend to actually use your compost.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Turan on 11/28/2012, 1:22 pm

@Kelejan wrote:gardenertaylor, each time you turn your compost and it heats up, it will never get as high as the previous turning because the pile is getting finished. Once it is finished, it will not heat up again unless you add more greens, which is not what you need to do if you intend to actually use your compost.

+1

Compost piles do not die unless you burn it. They just slow down. We speed up the process for our own purposes and then when it reaches a stage we can use we do that, and ignore that it is still composting and will continue to do so until the original components are hummus some years later.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 11/28/2012, 2:07 pm

Thanks all! I know that technically, it was still composting at 55*. I'm just trying to get a couple batches done before next Spring. And being new at this, I'm obsessed with having a hot pile. I think it just reassures me all is on tack. Very Happy

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  Triciasgarden on 11/29/2012, 12:12 am

@gardenertaylor wrote:Thanks all! I know that technically, it was still composting at 55*. I'm just trying to get a couple batches done before next Spring. And being new at this, I'm obsessed with having a hot pile. I think it just reassures me all is on tack. Very Happy

I think most of us get obsessed with this, I sure am! To me this is a great time to be making the compost. We want to be ready for the Spring! I couldn't get my head around making compost in the Summer while I was trying to grow vegetables, and I had no leaves. Now that I can focus more on compost, it sounds more doable.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  plantoid on 11/30/2012, 6:13 pm

I found turning & damping down every three or four days was sufficient . The heat was around 140 oF ,enough to kill most weed seeds .

The Cornell method is correct if you don't have weed seeds & you have correct proportions of the materials .
It is all about getting oxygen and moisture evenly spread throughout the pile to grow the usefull bacteria and fungi that breaks the plant fibres down thus releasing useful plant food for your gardens , these do not need high temperatures like 140 oF .

Turning also helps break the fibres down and helps blend the composting material evenly so that the nutrients etc are evenly spread throughout the heap , it's a bit like making a good sponge cake . Wink

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  gardenertaylor on 11/30/2012, 9:58 pm

I think I've joined the club of the Crazy Composters. I haven't been doing this very long, but everyone already knows I'm doing it. For the past few weeks, I get texts on Thursday night and Friday morning from friends letting me know how many bags of leaves they set out on the curb, or how many are on their neighbors curb . . . just in case I want to swing by with my van to pick any up. lol!

I love it.

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Re: Super Hot Compost Starter

Post  SFGHQSTAFF on 12/3/2012, 9:28 pm

I know it's probably too much information, but in South America, we teach people to use urine as a great compost starter. It works tremendously well. It might be difficult to grasp here, but we use a lot of things down there that people might not like, but it's the best way of doing things. We are also experimenting (with the wonderful people of HELP international) to test composting toilets, which break human matter down to very powerful compost. They are called Soilets. check them out. Incredible stuff.

http://india.help-international.org/blog/soilets

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