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Question on making compost

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Question on making compost

Post  amcon222 on 7/2/2013, 11:59 pm

How wet should the compost be if it is kept in a container? Mine is in a plastic tub with 1/2 inch holes drilled on the sides and on the lid. Right now it is made up mostly of green items...vegetable and fruit scraps, rinds, peels, coffee grinds, egg shells, grass clippings and some paper and cardboard. I know I have to add more brown to the balance but the bottom of the compost pile in the bin is really soppy and wet. Should I be draining the excess water out? The whole mix is very smelly and there are fruit flies which come out when I open the lid to turn it all . I assume this is because there is an imbalance of green to brown. Is that right? Or is it too wet? How often should I be turning it? How long will my 32 gallon container take to decompose into usable compost when it is full. Any idea? Am I doing something wrong?

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  Goosegirl on 7/3/2013, 3:11 am

Your composting materials should be as wet as a wrung-out sponge.  When it is as wet as you describe, you are not getting air flow throughout your pile and that causes anaerobic composting (without air/the stinky kind) instead of aerobic composting (with air/the non-stinky kind).  You could be getting the excess moisture from the abundance of juicy 'greens' vs. 'browns'.  Do you keep your bin indoors?  If not, can you drill holes in the bottom, or remove the bottom?  Getting more browns in there will dry it out and start controlling the smell. 

Turning it at least every week will keep things mixed up and not matting together as much.  Generally the more you turn it, the faster it will decompose, but if you do nothing it will still decompose, just on its own sloooooooooow timetable.  I have been trying the Berkeley Method 18-Day composting, which requires turning every 2 days after the initial 4-day sit, but my old back can only handle the turning about every 4 days, so my 18-Day compost is going to take me a little more than 18 days, but still faster than letting it sit and rot all by itself!    

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Last edited by Goosegirl on 7/3/2013, 3:12 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarifying thought)

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  jimmy cee on 7/3/2013, 8:02 am

I was having bug problems in my tumbler.
Called the Mfgr.. (envirocycle) they told me bugs indicate the tumbler being to wet.
I emptied it out placed all in my large compost pile, started over on the tumbler
and still have bugs...Shocked

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  plantoid on 7/3/2013, 11:07 am

Were the bugs being used by the CIA to listen in on Europe especially the Germans and French  Laughing 

Seriously Amcon & Jimmy ,

See if this makes sense ...   you do get some bugs in composters but as the  temp in the composter rises it usually kills them off so what was said about being too wet was most likely right .

However if the composting cycle was nearly finished ie nothing left that could be used for nitrogen to heat the compost via bacteria, bugs could indeed take over the composter & lay viable eggs.

My first thoughts are to bung a handful of fish , blood and bone meal in the composter and add some dry (ish )   peat to soak up any excess moisture , The FBBmeal should give the bacteria some nourishment to get working produce the heat . Then get the composter in action on a bi daily action .

I wouldn't add any more greens and browns though save for the peat as your wanting to just kill the bugs and get some useful finished compost out the composter fairly soon .

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  jimmy cee on 7/3/2013, 5:13 pm

.I'll give the 3 items a try, however there is only a small amount of table scraps since I recently emptied the tumbler.
Not enough to even consider a finished product, heck I'll toss some of those 3 items in anyway just to see what happens..I love experimenting...especially new>>>>> 

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  plantoid on 7/3/2013, 6:20 pm

Here in the UK the fish , blood and bone meal is a one pack box of ground up dried materials . Do use sterilized FBB meal as there is far less risk for things like Anthrax from it . Also use gloves and a face mask so you do0n't get any dust in your lungs & wash well after use as it can be quite nasty inside your body .

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  jimmy cee on 7/4/2013, 7:27 am

Thanks for that tip Plantoid,
I for one have probably neglected the warnings of bad effects on using this material..

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Question on making compost

Post  amcon222 on 7/4/2013, 11:46 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, Goose Girl and Plantoid.  I added some more browns to the mix and the smell seems to have gotten better. The excess wetness appears to be drying up, too- probably from the brutally hot days we've been having this week. Thanks for the advice and tips. Gonna give this compost thing a whirl.

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  sanderson on 7/24/2013, 8:59 pm

In one of the recent Compost topics [I think], someone posted a link to a commercial made by 2 young men who started a veggie compost business. Failed to bookmark it, and now I can't find it. Thanks

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  ksyrium on 7/25/2013, 11:04 am

maybe drill some holes in the bottom before starting your next batch, to aid in draining excess water.

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  grownsunshine on 7/25/2013, 11:38 am

I can't address your problem because I don't have much experience with barrel composting. I have one that I just throw stuff in, but I've been more focused on other compost piles using the Berkeley Method. Here is a link someone else posted to a useful website. There is a video that specifically addresses bugs in compost. http://uccemg.com/Soils-Fertilizers-Compost/Composting-Video-Series-386/

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  sanderson on 7/25/2013, 12:06 pm

I found the name of the company I was trying to locate: EcoScraps

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  jimmy cee on 7/25/2013, 12:07 pm

In my tumbler, I was adding all greens from kitchen, a big clump of stuff began.
Smelly ? yes, and wet..and buggy
I added dried leaves from last year, broke up the clump and it looks very nice now.
I should have realized just about everything from kitchen waste are greens.

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/25/2013, 2:11 pm

@sanderson wrote:I found the name of the company I was trying to locate:  EcoScraps

I've used it several times and been happy with it. Perhaps Very Happy  worth mentioning. I did find something that resembled part of the bottom of a flip flop in one of the bags. It was easily removed, but I did find it odd. Other than that, I thought it was one of the better bagged composts I found at one of the big home improvement stores.

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  Millenia on 7/25/2013, 4:34 pm

I also have a question on compost. My mom has a 50 lb bag of chicken feed that has mold in it.

Can I compost it?

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/25/2013, 4:41 pm

I compost our spent feed all the time.  It's great to kick start a pile  Very Happy

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/25/2013, 4:43 pm

But how much at a time? Wouldn't a 50-lb sack be overkill?

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/25/2013, 4:47 pm

My thoughts would be yay, it got moldy. Now I can use it in my compost pile!  I would use it as a nitrogen (green) and mix with carbons (browns).  Moisten it as you go.  Since you want a variety of ingredients, I would use it as if were one ingredient.

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/25/2013, 4:55 pm

Guess that would depend on the size of the pile.  Very Happy 


I don't get very scientific about my piles. I add stuff that I have on hand that I know will compost. If there is a full 50# bag of feed,  I would add it as needed to kick the pile into gear or generate some heat. My spent grains are generally mixed with manure and feathers and sometimes shavings.

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  Goosegirl on 7/25/2013, 6:31 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:I've used it several times and been happy with it. Perhaps Very Happy  worth mentioning.  I did find something that resembled part of the bottom of a flip flop in one of the bags.
Could have been sucked off the foot of one of the employees, who didn't want to muck around trying to find it!  Thus my new composting rule this year for the Berkeley 18-Day method:  Don't turn the compost pile in sandals!  Rolling Eyes

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  murarrie25 on 7/25/2013, 7:26 pm

Insulating the compost in a container  and pumping air into the compost through pipes with holes  would seem to be a way of composting small amounts.
Perlite  and vermiculite  could be used as an insulation material .Concrete can be constructed with these materials . The volume of air pumped into the compost container would be able to cool compost container  if it over heats.

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/25/2013, 10:29 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:
@RoOsTeR wrote:I've used it several times and been happy with it. Perhaps Very Happy  worth mentioning.  I did find something that resembled part of the bottom of a flip flop in one of the bags.
Could have been sucked off the foot of one of the employees, who didn't want to muck around trying to find it!  Thus my new composting rule this year for the Berkeley 18-Day method:  Don't turn the compost pile in sandals!  Rolling Eyes

GG

funny post   

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  Millenia on 7/26/2013, 9:05 am

@RoOsTeR wrote:I compost our spent feed all the time.  It's great to kick start a pile  Very Happy

 Thanks everyone. I wasn't sure I could add it. No one in my family has ever done a compost pile before and they are all bringing me stuff to add to mine. Gifts of garbage left by my driveway. Very Happy

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  sanderson on 7/26/2013, 10:37 am

Newbie here.  Never in a million years would I have thought I would get excited about moldy produce!  bounce

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Re: Question on making compost

Post  jimmy cee on 7/26/2013, 2:02 pm

Excited about moldy produce...LOL...Very Happy ...wait till you get the cow & horse manure bug.
I dont have a truck so I had to put it all in 5 gal buckets, I was able to load 12...twelve...in my ( wifes ) station wagon, when she was some where else...
My life changed when I read Mel's book last year, had it on the shelf for 2 or 3 years....Then 1 night when sleep wouldn't come, I looked through my book shelf and found it...
Lost a nights sleep because I couldn't put it down..
Wonder how many other interesting stories are out there....
Talk about excitement..????

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Re: Question on making compost

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