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How I Make Very Fast Compost

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How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  Razed Bed on 4/6/2015, 3:36 pm

I referred to this before in an introductory post, but here is a quick tutorial on how I make compost in less time than the Berkeley Method.

1. Purchase plastic garbage cans with lids that will hold a height of more than 3 feet with a diameter of 3 feet.  Drill several holes for drainage on bottom and at the bottom of the sides.  Holes should be large enough for water to escape, but small enough to keep the dry ingredients from leeching out.  I have found that 1/2" holes are perfect, as the worms can find their way into the bins and donate some of their poop.

2. Mow your lawn or pull a ton of weeds or both.  Capture all the clippings and if you are really energetic, lay the clippings out and mow them again to get them really small.  

3. Gather up all the kitchen waste you have and place it on the ground and mow over them as well as long as the waste will not harm the mower blades.  coconut and pineapple shells will send your mower to the repair shop--trust me on this (LOL).

4. If you have a lot of leaves, you can mow them as well.  Our lot includes a few acres of forested woods.  We have blown all our yard leaves into the woods and let them begin to break down there and bring what we need back into the yard.  We also use a little of the ground humus. 

5. We have tried layering and not layering and cannot tell much difference, so we decided not to bother with layering.  We combine the grass clippings, chopped kitchen waste, chopped leaves, and humus into one big pile and then start shoveling the stuff into the garbage cans.

6. After every 3 shovel loads, we water the compost until it is spongy with an interesting mixture.  We got the idea from Youtuber "Reaganite 71."  He combines beer, soda, and ammonia, but we do not drink beer or soda and ammonia just stinks.  We chose to use nutritional yeast in place of the beer and organic molasses in place of the soda.  We have a lot of bloodmeal left over from when we made our own fertilizer and use that in place of the ammonia for the extra nitrogen.  So, we toss in a little yeast, a little blood meal, and a dollop of molasses with each 3 shovel fulls and then wet it all down.  We also add Azomite which we learned from John Kohler ar Growing Your Greens.  We get that really cheap at a local garden supply store that offers Groupons and Yelp deals where you get $40 for $25.  The Azomite normally costs $45, so we get it for $30 plus tax for 44 pounds.

7. We continue to shovel the stuff in until the garbage can is 100% full.  We place the top on the can, put it in a sunny location and then cover it with a couple of rocks so the lid won't blow off in high winds, like this past weekend.

8. After just one day, the baby gets hot in a hurry.  The organisms feed off the yeast, sugar, and nitrogen and quickly supply the amperage.  About 3 or 4 days later, I take bungy cords and strap them around the garbage cans and then roll them on the ground to mix up the compost.  It has usually shrunk just enough so that it will mix when you roll it.  Some of the time, the lid pops off, and I stop and shovel it back in.  I then turn it every 2 days until day 14.

9. I always find big worms in the compost.  They add their own special touch to the mix.  After 14 days, I remove the compost and usually it is close to ready.  I place it in our finished compost windrow for immediate use.

10. Just to play it safe, we add some composted poultry waste, worm castings, and composted cow manure in case our mixture is not totally nutritious. My wife's hairstylist has offered to give her all the cut hair from her salon.  it would include some rather famous celebs in Nashville, but there is too much dye and other chemicals, so I choose not to take her up on the offer.  It would be a little funny to say that our compost has famous stars' dna in it.

Eventually, when our new computer arrives, and I figure out how to upload pictures, I will try not to bore everybody and show pictures of how it is done.  That is if my back and knees allow me to compost after this week.  I feel like I went 15 rounds with Sonny Liston.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  Elizabeth on 4/6/2015, 4:10 pm

All I have to say is WOW!  cheers

Good job 

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/6/2015, 4:23 pm

way to go way to go way to go
What an inspiration and I am exhausted just thinking about it!

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  sanderson on 4/7/2015, 1:33 am

Thanks for a good tutorial.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  sakooon on 4/13/2015, 2:16 am

So, we toss in a little yeast, a little blood meal, and a dollop of molasses with each 3 shovel fulls and then wet it all down.  We also add Azomite which we learned from John Kohler ar Growing Your Greens.  We get that really cheap at a local garden supply store that offers Groupons and Yelp deals where you get $40 for $25.  The Azomite normally costs $45, so we get it for $30 plus tax for 44 pounds.???

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/13/2015, 9:39 am

Hi GuL...  Welcome!  Can you be a little more specific on your question?

RB - Great tutorial!  Gives me some good ideas.  Thank you!

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  Tilth on 4/25/2015, 12:02 pm

Razed Bed: Thanks for this tutorial. I have just started doing almost exactly the same thing, including the ingredients from Youtuber "Reaganite 71." I have just started, so no results to report yet.
Thank you also for the alternate ingredients. I was thinking of these as I don't drink beer or regular soda either. I will now definitely try these next batch, including the Azomite, if I can find it locally.

Great post!

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  Mikesgardn on 4/25/2015, 8:05 pm

Reaganite 71' video claimed that the fresh grass clippings were important for generating heat.   Does this technique work without grass clippings?

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  Kelejan on 4/25/2015, 9:13 pm

@Mikesgardn wrote:Reaganite 71' video claimed that the fresh grass clippings were important for generating heat.   Does this technique work without grass clippings?
I think it would be important, Mike.  Have you ever left a pile of lawn clippings for a couple days and found out how hot it gets without doing anything at all to it?

:welcome:saskoon happy hi
Are you from Pakistan next to India? I often see names like that and find them to be in the U.S.A.
If you are in Pakistan then I think that may be a new place for a Forum member.

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Grass Clippings provide the heat

Post  Razed Bed on 4/25/2015, 10:26 pm

If you don't have the grass clippings, you will need another green source, which most likely will force you to go with manure.

I saw a landscaping company deliver a pile of shredded wood chips across the street earlier this week, and the chips gave off steam all day.

I have a fallen tree in our woods that has begun to turn to wood chips on its own, and today I took a scraper and scraped off a goodly amount of "slivered oak tree."

We just had the lawn cut yesterday, and I raked a lot of the clippings and began a new quick compost pile in a plastic garbage can.  Today, I tossed in the wood shavings, so I will see if this does anything differently.

Normally, if you use mostly grass clippings with some kitchen waste and shredded leaves, by the third day, a compost thermometer heads well north of 120 degrees and up to 140.

By the 5th or 6th day, it cools off, and when you go to turn it for the second time, you usually see a lot of night crawlers if you have them in your area.

FWIW, the batch I just used in our original Square Foot Garden area was finished in 13 days.  There were a few scraps not completely composted, such as a cherry tomato, a portion of an egg shell, and a piece of cantaloupe rind that I admittedly did not shred well enough.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  kristinz on 4/27/2015, 12:16 pm

Thanks for posting this.  I have had mediocre success with my composting, but this is something I'm going to try... your instructions are great!

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  has55 on 4/27/2015, 3:09 pm

thanks for the info

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  vortex on 5/4/2015, 1:11 pm

I have a new dual chamber tumbler coming next week, and I think I may give this a try in one of the sides, just to see what happens.

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Is it a Joraform?

Post  Razed Bed on 5/5/2015, 10:01 am

Is this what you purchased?


I so want one of these Joraform insulated compost bins, but to shell out the dough for this, I have to win the lottery or find a longshot that can beat American Pharoah in the Preakness.

I can only imagine how much incredibly rich compost you might make with one of these and with the fast method.  You might get it steaming hot.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  vortex on 5/5/2015, 12:28 pm

I wish that's what I'd splurged for. Unfortunately, that's not the case though.

I picked up a Yimby Tumbler Composter off of Amazon for $99 w/ free shipping.




  • Two-chambered tumbling composter
  • Recycled plastic bin with steel frame
  • Adjustable air vents
  • Makes compost in as little as 2 weeks
  • 37-gallon capacity




I don't know about the 2 week part, but I'll be aiming for 3 weeks on the first batch.

It was the highest reviewed tumbler on Amazon, so I figured it should be decent enough to experiment and get the feel for a tumbler. It doesn't hold a lot, guessing it's 18.5 gallons per side for 37 total (2.5 cubic ft per side).

That actually works well for me, with just the two of us, as I can fill up a side much quicker and get to cooking.

Initial plan is to use what I have enough of to put together a full batch. Probably will be a mix of leaves, wheat straw, the 4 or 5 cans of coffee grounds I forgot I saved under the kitchen sink, and some grass clippings. Then some cardboard/paper/manure to bring it to somewhere close to the 30:1. I'm also going to add some Jobe's compost starter, and give that a try while I'm at it.

In basic principle, I don't see much difference than the 3 week trashcan method. Same ideas are in play here, so it should (in theory) produce similar results.

On the chance it's really good, which it very well may be, I can always pick up another one if I find myself needing more volume.


The one downside to this is that since it sits off the ground then there won't be any worms to come up through the bottom to help it along, but that may not be necessary.

Guessing I should have the bin up and operational by the end of next week (ships today or tomorrow), so I'll be sure to take some good notes and document the initial process.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  has55 on 5/5/2015, 12:52 pm

vortex, that a excellent price. awesome. Looking forward to your notes. I was preparing to build a tumbler with my non carpenter skills, so I hope this work out for you. It would be a great asset to our community, if it works out.

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My tumbler cost $9.95

Post  Razed Bed on 5/5/2015, 1:16 pm

I had to go the cheap way.  My tumbler is a 32-gallon garbage bin turned on its side and held in place with bungee cords, while I roll it back and forth.  I still have to scoop a little compost up and put it back.

You probably have an excellent compost bin coming, and I doubt the scraps are going to complain.  And, your back should thank you as well.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  has55 on 5/5/2015, 1:52 pm

Amen!!!

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  sanderson on 5/5/2015, 2:07 pm

I'm going to be watching this! Very Happy

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  vortex on 5/5/2015, 3:00 pm

@has55 wrote:vortex, that a excellent price. awesome. Looking forward to your notes. I was preparing to build a tumbler with my non carpenter skills, so I hope this work out for you. It would be a great asset to our community, if it works out.

My carpentry skills aren't the greatest either. I make stuff, and it works, but not always the best looking jobs.



@Razed Bed wrote:I had to go the cheap way.  My tumbler is a 32-gallon garbage bin turned on its side and held in place with bungee cords, while I roll it back and forth.  I still have to scoop a little compost up and put it back.

You probably have an excellent compost bin coming, and I doubt the scraps are going to complain.  And, your back should thank you as well.

There are tumblers based exactly on that style. Move the lid to the side, and there you go.




That's a trashcan on its side if I ever saw one. That one holds 7cu ft, 3.5 per side. There's also a 12cu ft model as well. Of course it's twice what I paid for mine.

I'm excited to see if I can get a hot mess going and how it comes out. I think the logic is there for it to work, and of the negative reviews it had they seemed to be more from less experienced gardeners with out of whack ratios/ingredients/expectations.

One area I'm really interested in seeing what happens is with the wheat straw. I know sanderson had some interesting results with this method and the straw, so I'm anxious to see if the same issue of it not fully breaking down still happens or some other result occurs.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  vortex on 5/6/2015, 10:47 am

Woke up to a surprise email this morning. My tumbler shipped out Monday, and is scheduled for delivery today. A whole week earlier than expected.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  has55 on 5/6/2015, 11:12 am

@vortex wrote:Woke up to a surprise email this morning. My tumbler shipped out Monday, and is scheduled for delivery today. A whole week earlier than expected.
awesome

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  has55 on 5/6/2015, 12:12 pm

I found this video and website. the reviews has been very good no matter where I look. A asian composter had problem with the door if you try to emptied only one bin, but he came up with a fix. but in my opinion he didn't need the fix, but needed to turn the tumbler down past the frame, then open the door. tell me what you think. but he loves the composter.





Yimmy tumbler composter IM 4000 Black Review





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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  vortex on 5/6/2015, 10:01 pm

That's some reassuring info! Thanks for those!

I've been a little side tracked this evening, but it did arrive this afternoon. I'm hoping to get it put together and out into the yard by tomorrow evening or Friday.

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

Post  sanderson on 5/7/2015, 3:11 am

Photos of your journey!

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Re: How I Make Very Fast Compost

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