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Anaerobic compost pit

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Anaerobic compost pit

Post  jimmy cee on 4/9/2015, 10:15 pm

And I do mean anaerobic...yuk yuk yuk.
I knida thought I was going to have a problem as this is the first pile I let go.
Just adding 2 loads a week of many discarded goodies, it was to durn cold to do anything, then it warms up and many other things to do.
Now I'm up to my neck in compost, 2 piles from last year just sitting and ready to work in my beds.
I emptied this pile today, yuk, what a job, I just tossed it to the sides, smell is atrocious, however I'm the only one around.
I did add leaves, but they weren't shredded, I don't enjoy shredding in winter.
Everything packed down tight and solid, slimy fruits and veggies from 3 - 4 months ago still there....LOL....
I am leaving it out for a couple of days, do not need to hurry with it...
I know it needs air, has all the moisture needed, lots of leaves are in also...flattened out leaves. packed tightly .
Any suggestions when I return it all to the pit again ?

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/9/2015, 11:23 pm

Not sure when it would be good, but when you do, you might want to mix a layer of straw with a layer of muck and repeat.  The straw will work as your "brown" and allow air spaces in the.  You might also need to add some active compost cultures from an older pile to re-innoculate your mix.  If it was that anaerobic it likely killed your good bacteria.

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/10/2015, 12:59 pm

Yikes!  I may have that kind of mess in the 5-gal buckets I filled over winter when I wasn't able to get to the outside pile. Evil or Very Mad I did layer them with shredded office paper & moistened with water kefir, so there is hope.  I'll know this weekend when I open them. 

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  Turan on 4/10/2015, 2:04 pm

My dad used a compost pit, a 6x6x6 hole dug in the ground in a corner of our lot.  He never turned it.  We were instructed to dig new stuff into one end or the other and throw leaves over it.  He would dig out the finished end to put on the garden in the spring.  It was good stuff.  It took 2 years though to reach a finished state.  Naturally the bottom would be more finished than the top.  We would dig until we met clay or unfinished compost.  As he aged and us kids were not around so much it slowly became a very rich soil area surrounded by bush cherries that grew huge. 

So I counsel patience, let it rot in its pit and do not fuss over it.  You say you have plenty of other compost.

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  sanderson on 4/10/2015, 4:16 pm

Since you already have enough usable compost, I would try an experiment and let nature reclaim the anaerobic mess. I'm thinking earth worms would love it at some pint. Maybe turn it a couple times for air and then once a month. Veggies and leaves, right?

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/10/2015, 4:24 pm

I'd suggest adding shredded cardboard or newspaper.

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  jimmy cee on 4/10/2015, 6:54 pm

@sanderson wrote:Since you already have enough usable compost, I would try an experiment and let nature reclaim the anaerobic mess.  I'm thinking earth worms would love it at some pint.  Maybe turn it a couple times for air and then once a month.  Veggies and leaves, right?

Sanderson..
It's full of earth worms, and I mean full, even in the yuckiest stuff...
I could let it go, I really don't need it soon, however I wanted to continue adding material...Think I'll go the straw route.
Then when I add I will shred last falls leaves and layer it all...

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/11/2015, 10:48 am

Oh Jimmy, I have an idea of what your nasty pile was like! This morning I opened up those winter compost buckets that I'd added kefir to and it smelled like the whole world had the flu! I almost gagged. That was after I splashed some on my coat. It makes sense that it smelled like stomach contents since kefir is probiotics/good bacteria for the gut. I dumped it on the compost pile and covered it thoroughly since I know that it's full of good bacteria but this is one experiment I will never ever repeat again. Failed!

By the way, the buckets without the kefir were perfect. No smell at all but somewhat decomposed.
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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  sanderson on 4/11/2015, 2:12 pm

Let nothing rotten go to waste! Very Happy

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  jimmy cee on 4/11/2015, 10:46 pm

2 days ago I pitch forked the entire pile out in 1 pile. Loosened a bit up as I went along.
Today I picked up a bale of straw and got into that yucky pile...my gosh was it ever steaming.
Going take 3 days to layer it back in using dried leaves and straw from the bale.
It does smell, however it is surely alive...

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  jimmy cee on 4/16/2015, 7:59 am

After letting this pile dry a bit, adding dry leaves and straw in layers, it's back in the cubicle.
3 days after putting everything back I inserted a long 1/2" steel rod deep into the pile, let it sit for a minute and drew it out. I felt the part that was inserted and it was very warm to the touch.
I'm going to use this method from now on to check my compost piles for warm activity.

My tumbler has been sitting all winter being filled with kitchen waste.
It froze sold, when it thawed it was a sticky mess...I added shredded newspaper, cut up cardboard, along with dried leaves..
Let it sit for a week and,
Now after tumbling and opening the door a cloud of heat and moisture escapes the hatch..I poke my head in the opening and it feels almost like a sauna.
Those carbons really do their job.

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/16/2015, 9:24 am

I'm scared to turn mine. That smell was so wretched I don't ever want to smell it again. I'm sure it's probably gone now but I think I'll wait for a while.

I like your steel rod idea, Jimmy. I have some rebar I could use to do that with.

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  jimmy cee on 4/17/2015, 7:54 am

Any thin metal post should do, I was going to look for a long thermometer, however all I need to know if it's warm,, if it is then it's working fine.

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Re: Anaerobic compost pit

Post  jimmy cee on 6/5/2015, 10:52 pm

After emptying one of my compost bins, I transferred almost all of this smelly one, smell did subside since it became warmer and I worked with it. Yesterday ( wed ) I picked up this horse manure and  layered some of it and mixed the other, well, today ( thurs ) I inserted a steel rod deep into the center, let it sit for about 30 seconds. Removed it and held the inserted part in my hand ...it was uncomfortably warm, not hot, just warm but close to being hot.

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