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What am I doing wrong?

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What am I doing wrong?

Post  kristinz on 6/19/2013, 6:45 pm

Started this compost barrel last year - my first ever.  I knew it would take longer than a few months because I was not diligent about mixing it.  It seems to be stuck in this stage.  I understand my eggshells weren't crushed enough (but that's what happens when you tell your mom you can add them, they get brought over and dumped in whole).  We stopped adding to the barrel about 2 weeks ago.  Compost starter (which I've seen recently on Amazon) was NOT added.  Should I try getting some of that to add?  I don't have a thermometer and tried to keep up with the Brown vs. Green ingredients.  Any suggestions or help about getting this back on track would be great.  We are starting a new 'trash can' compost barrel as I can't bring myself to put the scraps in the garbage disposal.  Also, doing  a couple of worm tubes in the gardens this week to help a little...

SOS SOSSOS

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Re: What am I doing wrong?

Post  cheyannarach on 6/20/2013, 12:31 am

Have you been keeping the compost damp? That is what mine looks like but I was very bad about letting the barrel dry out.
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Re: What am I doing wrong?

Post  LittleGardener on 6/20/2013, 4:30 am

@kristinz wrote:Started this compost barrel last year.  It seems to be stuck in this stage.  
Hi there,
Remember... what farmers & Gardeners for centuries did, & with great Smile success...
No fancy barrels, no thermometers, no 'starter', no artificial worm-tubes. Nope, they made a heap, & let it sit there 'til it was done to their liking.
(So all that money we wasted last year on a Compost-bin only made me embarrassed  & prolly made grandpa turn over in his grave, poor guy.) But I've repented, & so long as your Compost is black & starting to grumble, & when you add water, makes wonderful tea for your plants to drink, you've got it made! Be successful  cheers
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Re: What am I doing wrong?

Post  LittleGardener on 6/20/2013, 7:12 am

Forgot to add the usual advice: "If you have too many (greens = fruit & veggie peels, grass clippings), the pile will stay too wet and will start to smell.
If you have too many (browns = leaves, small twigs, shredded paper, & coffee grounds), the pile will only sit there. Try for a ratio of at least 4:1 of browns to greens."
That's funny, as I did just the opposite Very Happy iow way more green! than brown stuff; yet there's next to no odor, it dries out quickly, & is feeding plants well... yeah! sunny
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Re: What am I doing wrong?

Post  kristinz on 6/20/2013, 9:44 am

I agree that the best way to do things is probably the old way - but alas, a free barrel and the need to be able to move it from a convenient location near my patio to behind a shed when company comes to visit, made the barrel the best choice for us. And of course - saving valuable real estate for more gardens was a big plus! As far a worm tube, my main objective is to get worms into my garden as I put a good foundation of newspaper and cardboard under the bed, I doubt they will be coming in by themselves... Cheap too - got a good length of 4 inch pvc and can may about 3 or 4 tubes for $13.


I did not keep track of the brown to green ratio - maybe that's my first mistake. Also, I have never put water in the bin because it always seemed moist to me. I don't have access to any animal manure, so that never was mixed in. Since I am starting a new bin (out of a trash can) I will try to keep up on this one more and get the correct ratio. If I allow the grass to dry out (I put it on a tarp in the sun until it's good and dry before adding it) is this a brown? I think I will also go to some local coffee shops to see if I can get used grounds - I hear Starbucks is good for giving them away. Will call around. That may help also. I think I will add some water to this first batch and try to keep up on mixing it more... Aslo checking to see where I can score some free or cheap manure for the bin!
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Re: What am I doing wrong?

Post  RoOsTeR on 6/20/2013, 9:52 am

@kristinz wrote:Started this compost barrel last year - my first ever.  I knew it would take longer than a few months because I was not diligent about mixing it.  It seems to be stuck in this stage.  I understand my eggshells weren't crushed enough (but that's what happens when you tell your mom you can add them, they get brought over and dumped in whole).  We stopped adding to the barrel about 2 weeks ago.  Compost starter (which I've seen recently on Amazon) was NOT added.  Should I try getting some of that to add?  I don't have a thermometer and tried to keep up with the Brown vs. Green ingredients.  Any suggestions or help about getting this back on track would be great.  We are starting a new 'trash can' compost barrel as I can't bring myself to put the scraps in the garbage disposal.  Also, doing  a couple of worm tubes in the gardens this week to help a little...

SOS SOSSOS


Once you've got a pile or barrel full, stop adding to it. Your compost needs time to compost Very Happy If it needs a little kick in the pants, try adding something like alfalfa, corn meal or blood meal.

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I am my gardens worst enemy.
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Compost

Post  landarch on 6/20/2013, 2:08 pm

It's difficult to tell from the pic, but it looks like you may be adding new material to finished compost.  I find it more difficult to manage an older compost pile when new materials are being added.  I have great luck with multiple piles, each one at a different stage of completion...new material only goes in the newest pile.
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Re: What am I doing wrong?

Post  LittleGardener on 6/20/2013, 2:19 pm

@landarch wrote:multiple piles, each one at a different stage of completion...new material only goes in the newest pile.
Right Smile
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