Square Foot Gardening Forum

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


Display results as :


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» Microbes...you gotta see this one !!!
by has55 Today at 5:56 am

» Sanderson's experiments with Bio-Flora Ag Products
by sanderson Today at 3:53 am

» Bountea Compost Tea - Got it!!!
by sanderson Today at 3:23 am

» Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?
by sanderson Today at 1:28 am

» CANADIAN REGION:What are you doing in October 2016
by Kelejan Today at 12:10 am

» Straw Bales with Seeds?
by donnainzone5 Yesterday at 11:50 pm

» Second Year SFG in Canada
by sanderson Yesterday at 11:08 pm

» TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer
by jimmy cee Yesterday at 10:44 pm

» Notice: Gluten-free Recipes Sub-Forum- Up and running!
by BeetlesPerSqFt Yesterday at 9:20 pm

» Our Newest Regional Hosts!
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 8:56 pm

» who has chickens
by Turan Yesterday at 8:53 pm

» Indian Solar Gardening Calendar
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 8:52 pm

» N&C Midwest: October Happenings!
by Scorpio Rising Yesterday at 8:40 pm

» Asia Region -Showcase of Gardens - Show Us Yours
by rajmahendra Yesterday at 8:36 pm

» California's Drought
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 1:23 pm

» Fun Spider addition to Home Page
by sanderson Yesterday at 12:56 pm

» last chance to pre-order baker seeds-rare seed catalog
by sanderson Yesterday at 12:48 pm

» Senseless Banter...
by AtlantaMarie Yesterday at 7:37 am

» Mason bees
by Scorpio Rising 10/23/2016, 8:45 pm

» 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga
by yolos 10/23/2016, 8:05 pm

» Hello from central Massachusetts!
by Scorpio Rising 10/22/2016, 10:39 pm

» What's eating my plants
by donnainzone5 10/22/2016, 12:30 pm

» Shallots, Prisma
by AtlantaMarie 10/22/2016, 7:59 am

» Peas and cucumbers: Trellis position and plant spacing
by yolos 10/21/2016, 8:32 pm

» New England October, 2016
by Scorpio Rising 10/20/2016, 8:56 pm

» leggy potatoes plants were started too early in the hous
by Scorpio Rising 10/20/2016, 8:38 pm

» Thin Crust Pizza
by No_Such_Reality 10/19/2016, 11:34 pm

» November Planting in SoCal, time to keep working it and bragging rights time!
by No_Such_Reality 10/19/2016, 10:27 am

» Winter Hobbies and Crafts
by Scorpio Rising 10/18/2016, 7:48 pm

» Cucumber plant visitor
by Scorpio Rising 10/18/2016, 7:31 pm


Search SFG Forum

How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  bvarbel on 1/27/2013, 12:08 pm

I'm still working on getting things going with my compost. In an earlier post I asked how to make it hot.

Lets say I get it going and I'm turning it and everything. As I turn it, finished compost is getting mixed around with new material. How do I separate the good stuff.

Also we drink a crazy amount of coffee and a huge amount of material is coffee grounds. If what I see as finished compost has bits of uncomposted coffee grounds is that going to be a problem.


Male Posts : 42
Join date : 2013-01-15
Age : 39
Location : Victorville, High Desert, Southern California

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  quiltbea on 1/27/2013, 3:13 pm

If you can, keep your composts separated. I have a compost pile where I add everything; from the kitchen, the garden, leaves, coffee grounds, ground eggshells, egg cartons and torn cardboard, newspaper, etc. I keep bags of fall leaves separate and top off my pile whenever I add some kitchen waste. Keeps it covered and animals away from the pile. Besides, the leaves are a great addition to keep a higher brown ratio, which I prefer.

I keep my 2nd pile, my finishing pile, separate. Mine happens to be a compost barrel the last couple of years. I fill the thing to the top and then keep it turned and watered and don't use any of it til its finished.

Or you can make a separate pile (at least 3 x 3 ft) of everything, then stop. Water it now and then, turn it when you can, and let it decompose without adding anything but water. When its done, add it to your garden.

Then start again.

I don't believe a little unfinished coffee grounds will hurt your garden. Just toss any large bits back into the composter to finish with the next batch.


Female Posts : 4613
Join date : 2010-03-21
Age : 74
Location : Southwestern Maine Zone 5A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/27/2013, 4:50 pm

I have 2 piles going most of the time. If you look at my avatar, the pile on the left is the finished pile. I stopped adding to it around end of summer, but kept turning it until recently. So it was usable for this fall and winter, and the rest will be used for spring and summer. If there were still coffee grounds in it, I didn't see them.

When I stopped adding to the pile on the left, I started a new pile next to it - the pile on the right in my avatar - using all my kitchen scraps, seaweed and such. Later I turned the fall leaves & garden clean up waste into it as I mowed & cut them up. I'll continue to add to it until the end of this coming summer. It will be ready for use in the garden next fall, winter, spring, summer.

And on and on it goes...heading into my 9th composting year. I love you



Posts : 5277
Join date : 2012-05-20
Age : 60
Location : elbow of the Cape, MA, Zone 6b/7a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

2 piles--what about 1

Post  bvarbel on 1/27/2013, 4:57 pm

I see that you are recommending multiple piles, adding to one until its full, and starting a new one.

Based on this, I would guess that I could just bring my pile till its full and stop adding to it at some point.

I'm glad to know bits of coffee grounds probably won't hurt anything.

I'm new to this, but its so fun, and I love showing people my pile. Its not hot and steamy yet, but its doing something and smells earthy.

I'm going to give a mini presentation to a local girl scout troop. They are interested in how composting works and about conservation of natural resources, recycling, reusing, saving water, and all that jazz.


Male Posts : 42
Join date : 2013-01-15
Age : 39
Location : Victorville, High Desert, Southern California

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  camprn on 1/27/2013, 4:59 pm

Once the compost pile has cooled and is not generating anymore heat I consider it finished. It is then that I add it to the garden. Any large or bulky or obviously uncomposted items get tossed back into the bin.

I don't have the patience to sift it. Any thing in the compost that is small and not completely rotten will continue to compost within the garden. And the worms will love it. I love you


40 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau


Outlander is outstanding!


Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 13981
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 54
Location : Keene, NH, USA ~ Zone 5a

View user profile http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-week

Back to top Go down

Re: How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  southern gardener on 1/27/2013, 5:53 pm

We never sifted until this season. We made a "tray" out of hardware cloth/rabbit wire. It's about 1 foot by 2 feet with about a 3" lip all around to keep the compost from falling over the edge. My nephew and his friend sifted the entire pile in about 20 minutes! They put the "tray" over a 50 gallon barrel, one put the compost in the tray by shovel full while the other shook the "sifter" over the barrel. We had 3 barrels full in no time. Sure was nice to have it all "nice" and evenly composted. cheers The stuff that was too big just went into the "cooking" compost pile. carrot carrot

southern gardener

Posts : 1885
Join date : 2011-06-21
Age : 36
Location : california, zone 10a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  yolos on 1/27/2013, 6:52 pm

I get used coffee grounds from Starbucks. Their label on the used coffee grounds says,

"Coffee grounds are a nutritional additive for your soil. During the brewing process, most of the acidity is removed, leaving used grounds with an average ph of 6.9 and a carbon-nitrogen ratio of 20-1.
Add grounds directly to your garden. Apply this "green" material as a side dressing to nitrogen loving plants, including most perennials and allium plants. Balance the nutrition of your soil with "brown" materials such as leaves or dried grass.
Or to your compost. Combine with "brown" materials in your compost pile. Use grounds within 2-3 weeks of brewing to capture the most nutritional value."


Female Posts : 2815
Join date : 2011-11-20
Age : 66
Location : Brooks, Ga Zone 7B/8A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  landarch on 1/28/2013, 9:51 am

I prefer seperate piles...once a pile it to the proper size or fills the bin, I stop adding new material so the pile can at some point be finished and usable. Once a pile is done and usable, I store in large plastic containers (old cattle mineral tubs) to free up space to repeat the process.

I've only been doing SFG for a couple years, I so am not really dialed in to the amount of compost I need on hand for spring, summer, and fall gardening for the number of squares I have ( 140). I think one can never have enough compost.


Posts : 1122
Join date : 2012-01-22
Location : kansas city

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: How do you separate finished compost from ongoing compost?

Post  Sponsored content Today at 6:14 am

Sponsored content

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum