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Not enough raw material question

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Not enough raw material question

Post  jjc on 4/24/2013, 8:49 pm

I recently built a bin out of old pallets and placed it in a shady spot in the back yard. I have read and watched video info on how to compost but I'm not sure about something. I don't have enough raw materials to fill the bin all at once so I'm not sure if I should be doing anything to the little bit I do have in there (4" of brown leaves and some vegetable and fruit scraps on top of that) or do I need to wait until it's at least 3' high for the correct mass to start turning and such. It could be a while until I had enough stuff to fill it. I also saw one video say put it in a sunny spot and another say put it in a shady spot??? What do you say?
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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  westx on 4/24/2013, 8:55 pm

I would turn it every so often and just add stuff as you get it. As for where to put the bin I say it is up to you. My three set under a hackberry and black walnut tree and do just fine except for the fact that after the walnut drops it's nuts I have new trees start popping up in the compost.

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Post  Lillyz on 4/24/2013, 9:15 pm

I found this link on one of the stickies in the compost forum. Its really helped me. http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/carbonnitrogenratio.html
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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  camprn on 4/24/2013, 9:20 pm

This time of year it's the beginning of the collection process, culminating at the autumn leaf collection. That's when the massive heap gets made to do its thing over the winter time. Then in the spring, a few turns and there it is, compost. To do the rapid composting you absolutely must have at least 3'x3'x3' to get the bacteria cranking and the heat going.

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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  yolos on 4/24/2013, 9:22 pm

jjc wrote: I also saw one video say put it in a sunny spot and another say put it in a shady spot??? What do you say?

When I first started composting last year, I read something somewhere that I followed last year. They said that you should put the compost bin under a tree that sheds its leaves in the winter. It will get shade in the summer and will not dry out as fast. In the winter, there will not be any leaves blocking the sun and it will stay warmer. The problem I had was the roots liked the compost and kept invading it. So this year I put it in the shade of a tree but quite a distance away from it.
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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  jjc on 4/24/2013, 10:43 pm

Thanks everyone that info is helpful!!! jjc
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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  littlesapphire on 4/25/2013, 9:29 am

It's been my experience that lots raw materials are important to have. You can try working with a small pile, but it takes forever to turn into compost (I tried a small pile once, and it took like two years). I say, go out and find whatever you can! Go to StarBucks and ask for coffee grounds. Check out garden centers/nurseries for big bales of hay. Ask your neighbors if you can rake their leaves. Collect your lawn clippings. One pass over my lawn is enough to completely fill my compost bin! Also, call some farmers and see if they have some manure they'll give you. If you can't get fresh manure, check out garden centers for dehydrated cow manure. Once you rehydrate it, it acts just like fresh stuff in the compost.

Good luck!
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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  landarch on 4/25/2013, 9:39 am

lawn clippings are a great source this time of year...make sure you collect from people who don't use chemicals on their lawn.
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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  plantoid on 4/25/2013, 11:19 am

The lawn grass cuttings are best spread out on some concrete for a couple of days to dry out & lose some moisture and then mix them into the compost.
( ANSFG book in my straplines ....pages 93 & 94 refer )

If you dump a large amount of fresh cut green grass in the compost it tends to go anerobic and becomes slimey with the moisture and sugar it contains .
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Re: Not enough raw material question

Post  landarch on 4/25/2013, 12:51 pm

large amounts of my grass clippings don't have a chance to get slimy as I turn my piles often.
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