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COMPOST 101

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Why Layer?

Post  trolleydriver on 5/5/2016, 8:31 am

What is the purpose of adding compost ingredients in layers when starting a pile?  

Is it so that you get the right ratio of things?  Why not just mix things up?  Maybe I compost differently than most people. I tend to just pile in whatever is available while making sure there is not too much of one thing at a time. I toss in new things when available such as kitchen scraps which I do on a regular basis. I sometimes stir in the new things or make a hole and push them down into the existing pile. In my "black box" there are doors at the bottom through which I can remove finished compost. I expect what I am doing is cold composting. It does take some time to get finished compost although I have never measured how long.

The bottom line is that my composting technique is not very scientific ... it's more of a "make it up as you go" approach.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 5/5/2016, 8:39 am

@trolleydriver wrote:What is the purpose of adding compost ingredients in layers when starting a pile?  

Is it so that you get the right ratio of things?  Why not just mix things up?  Maybe I compost differently than most people. I tend to just pile in whatever is available while making sure there is not too much of one thing at a time. I toss in new things when available such as kitchen scraps which I do on a regular basis. I sometimes stir in the new things or make a hole and push them down into the existing pile. In my "black box" there are doors at the bottom through which I can remove finished compost. I expect what I am doing is cold composting. It does take some time to get finished compost although I have never measured how long.

The bottom line is that my composting technique is not very scientific ... it's more of a "make it up as you go" approach.
which works just fine. You can find your answers here at the Cornell composting web site. http://compost.css.cornell.edu/science.html


Last edited by camprn on 5/5/2016, 1:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  ralitaco on 5/5/2016, 12:56 pm

@sanderson wrote:
@Turan wrote:. . . Less important than making a system and following it is to adapt your available space to how fast compost is happening, you are using it, and the raw materials are accumulating.  You can sieve fairly finished compost into garbage cans/bags if you need to store it.
Turan makes a good point.  Your circumstances and needs will/can determine how you will use the 3 bins.  In my tiny yard, I store the leaves in smaller cages that can actually be moved to trim the wisteria.  For you, 2 bins to flip the cooking compost back and forth with #3 for storage for either finished compost or leaves. Depends on the time of the year for leaves maybe.  Finished compost can always be stored in containers.  Just have fun trying out your new set up.  Sanderson, green with envy Wink
Thank you both. I just kept reading use a 3-bin setup, use a 3-bin setup so I thought there was more to it than that. After doing some more research and looking at what folks here do, a 3 bin setup is primarily for convenience. If you are using all your compost, then a 2 bin setup would be fine so you have somewhere specific to turn your pile. Or a single bin will work but just know that you will have to remove all the ingredients from the bin before refilling it so you will be actually turning the pile twice.
Thanks again for the input.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  jimmy cee on 5/5/2016, 5:25 pm

@ralitaco wrote:

Thank you both. I just kept reading use a 3-bin setup, use a 3-bin setup so I thought there was more to it than that. After doing some more research and looking at what folks here do, a 3 bin setup is primarily for convenience. 
 If I have an empty bin I feel a keen urge to fill it up.  Not able to see an empty bin sitting idle.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  sanderson on 5/5/2016, 7:01 pm

@ralitaco wrote:I just kept reading use a 3-bin setup, use a 3-bin setup so I thought there was more to it than that. After doing some more research and looking at what folks here do, a 3 bin setup is primarily for convenience. If you are using all your compost, then a 2 bin setup would be fine so you have somewhere specific to turn your pile. Or a single bin will work but just know that you will have to remove all the ingredients from the bin before refilling it so you will be actually turning the pile twice.
Thanks again for the input.
Yup, that's what I think. You'll never know when you need it. You have the room. Lucky dog. Wink

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Storing compost materials

Post  ralitaco on 5/14/2016, 12:59 pm

I plan to use the following:
Leaves - I have ran over with a mower and raked into a pile.

Horse manure - I can get 10 - 5 gallon buckets full at a time but apparently need about 20 buckets of it. If I just pile it in an empty compost bin, I am afraid it will stink really badly, so I'm wondering if I cover it with leaves or a tarp if that would help or make things smell worse?

Coffee grinds - I can store them in the shed in bags as I get them or do as JimmyCee does and just pile them on the ground

Sea weed - I can get some at the beach, but haven't done it yet. I am thinking I can lug a 5 gallon bucket or two home, but if I'm not ready to make my pile, can I just pile it on the ground? I'm thinking it may need to be spread out to keep it from becoming a gooey, smelly pile...what do y'all think?

Lastly, Kitchen scraps - I can generate a 5 gallon bucket full of veggie and fruit scraps but it takes a week or two. I don't want to keep that bucket in the house because I know it will get slimy, stinky and attract fruit flies. I know this because that happened when I left a little bucket of scraps in the laundry room for about a week. I am thinking I can use that little bucket to collect my scraps and either A. put it in a 5 gallon bucket outside or B. pile it up on the ground.

What do you experienced composters do...how do you guys store your compost materials before making the pile?

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  sanderson on 5/14/2016, 1:06 pm

Having that 3rd bin is nice.  You can store the manure and cover with leaves to keep the odor down.  East and West Coast kelp are different.  Storing for a couple days in the summer can challenge even the hardiest gardener.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  plantoid on 5/14/2016, 7:46 pm

Stopping horse muck smelling or any other animal dung & urine soaked bedding

Store it a far from other home owner as possible ,  cover it with a polythene sheet & weigh it down all round the edges ..any stinky gases releases will escape slowly and unless it is a really hot , very slow breeze sort of day no one will notice .

 If your bin is actually a lidded tub with or without a bottom so much the better .
I've found over the years . It's when folks see a muck heap or a trailer load of it that they go into self righteous , indignation overdrive etc. and start moaning that it stinks.

We had one lady whine worse than a model " T "Fords back axle & gear box .. she came round banging on the door giving it big licks , foaming at the mouth  .. I needed a set of ear defenders .. the self cancelling noise type .
 She reckoned I had been causing a nuisance for the last two week with my carting manure like a common farmer.   I laughed at her .. bade her come and look around my garden etc... there was nothing there , never was that time of the year .  She was smelling the countryside aromas from the dairy farm almost two miles away on one side and when the wind changed the pig farm nearly 3/4 of a  mile away .
 When In took her to the front of my garden and pointed out that it smelt there as well as on both sides of the property she shut up quicker &  tighter than a bank clerk at closing  time.

Laughing At this address , I've  had five tones of stable muck pig , muck chicken , goose and several other animals dung gently simmering away in my seven lidded 310 litre  plastic Dalek composting bins  .
The whingeing self centered witch next door didn't know..... so it stayed quiet. Had she known she'd still be bitching five years later on . Rolling Eyes

 If you want to work a heap try and do it as soon as they go out so it's all done by the time they get back and you've swept & hosed any area off that needs it .

 In truth the first three days of having fresh animal dungs in the open air is the time they give of the most stink . If you can't find a big enough sheet of polythene ,  old carpeting will do fine , all it does is slow down the gases of decomposition coming out the heap .. some of the bacteria & fungi in the heap will start to absorb those trapped gases as well . Whatever you do in this storage till needed situation do not wet the manure  as it definitely will get the stink going . By the time you come to use it to mix up a new batch of MM's compost  in a week or so's time  most of the stink will have gone.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/15/2016, 11:42 am

Laughing Good story and advice Plantoid!

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  jimmy cee on 5/15/2016, 11:49 am

Plantoid.
I sure love the description of neighbor. we have one...

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 5/15/2016, 11:55 am

Living on 5 acre parcels has it's advantages, lol!  I couldn't imagine trying to handle the farm wastes on a city lot.  When you mentioned moistening bringing up the stink, because we have 25 cows on our property during the winter, every foggy day is a majorly STINKY day.  The cow manure smell just hangs in the air.

Laughed all the way through your story   Laughing

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  ralitaco on 5/15/2016, 2:50 pm

@sanderson wrote:East and West Coast kelp are different.  Storing for a couple days in the summer can challenge even the hardiest gardener.
So seaweed is a use it ASAP ingredient I guess

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  ralitaco on 5/15/2016, 2:52 pm

@Triciasgarden wrote:Laughing Good story and advice Plantoid!
+1

Thank you for your insight

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  sanderson on 5/15/2016, 4:56 pm

@Triciasgarden wrote:Laughing Good story and advice Plantoid!
+1

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/15/2016, 6:05 pm

@ralitaco wrote:
@sanderson wrote:East and West Coast kelp are different.  Storing for a couple days in the summer can challenge even the hardiest gardener.
So seaweed is a use it ASAP ingredient I guess

Depends on the seaweed. I have a green one that will just dry up and become soft like yarn, and eventually turn brittle, all with not much scent to speak of. Then I have this reddish brown ferney one that stinks to high heaven right away and later. I try not to get any of that one when harvesting the green ones unless I know it's going to be turned into the pile right away.

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Re: COMPOST 101

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