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My Compost Bin

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My Compost Bin

Post  SQWIB on 10/19/2017, 9:53 am

I just got back into composting a few years back and since I compost nearly everything I can get my hands on, I concluded my compost bin was too small, so I beefed it up a bit, now I can easily get a season out of this without overflowing.

I don't monitor, stir, water or proportion the materials, everything is just dumped in as I come across it.

Everything goes in here, cardboard, paper, kitchen waste, coffee grounds, expired breads, cereals, flours and the like, yard waste, trub, bad beer, yeast, hair clippings, vacuum cleaner collection, rabbit manure and bedding, chinchilla manure and bedding, urea, ash, Bio-Char, pond waste, spent soil from pots, etc...

From time to time, meat, bones, cheese and the like makes its way to the compost bin.

Some cardboard that does not get recycled goes into the fire pit for fire starting, this includes cardboards that have a glossy surface or a glossy type paint on the box.

I don't compost my tomato plants, weeds or sunflowers, these go into the firepit with bones and dog poo that is in the yard at the time.
This is either left to burn to ash or choked out prior to becoming ash make bio-char. Weeds I sometimes but very rarely put in a 5 gallon bucket and let it sit out, the weeds dry up, the bucket fills up with rain water then I'll dump this in the compost bin.

Most of the time the rabbit and chinchilla waste goes directly in the raised beds with some bio-char and urea.

My Compost Bin usually works pretty slow but when I added a few gallons of trub, the thing literally took off, I could feel the heat come off of it when I stood next to it and the level dropped 12 inches in a few days, I couldn't believe it.
I think it must have been active yeast in the trub drawing in the Black Soldier Flies.

I reduced my trash by at least one bag per week, have almost "0" garbage go through the garbage disposal and my recycle bin has a lot less cardboard at the curbside.

Compost Bin Upgrade.

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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  sanderson on 10/19/2017, 10:52 am

Had to look up "trub." Brewing waste? I imagine that would be really good in a compost pile.

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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  countrynaturals on 10/19/2017, 10:57 am

@sanderson wrote:Had to look up "trub."  Brewing waste?  I imagine that would be really good in a compost pile.
Thanks, S. I didn't know what that was, either. Embarassed
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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  countrynaturals on 10/19/2017, 11:05 am

Great post, SQWIB. I had forgotten all about bio-char. Last year I didn't know what it was. This year, when we can burn again, I will definitely collect it from the burn pile and the wood stove. It may not be a perfect, slow-burn product, but what can it hurt?
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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  SQWIB on 10/19/2017, 11:25 am

@countrynaturals wrote:Great post, SQWIB. I had forgotten all about bio-char. Last year I didn't know what it was. This year, when we can burn again, I will definitely collect it from the burn pile and the wood stove. It may not be a perfect, slow-burn product, but what can it hurt?

If you are going to put the Bio char directly in the garden make sure to charge it first.
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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  countrynaturals on 10/19/2017, 11:29 am

@SQWIB wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:Great post, SQWIB. I had forgotten all about bio-char. Last year I didn't know what it was. This year, when we can burn again, I will definitely collect it from the burn pile and the wood stove. It may not be a perfect, slow-burn product, but what can it hurt?

If you are going to put the Bio char directly in the garden make sure to charge it first.
Huh?  Embarassed
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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  SQWIB on 10/19/2017, 11:44 am

@countrynaturals wrote:
@SQWIB wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:Great post, SQWIB. I had forgotten all about bio-char. Last year I didn't know what it was. This year, when we can burn again, I will definitely collect it from the burn pile and the wood stove. It may not be a perfect, slow-burn product, but what can it hurt?

If you are going to put the Bio char directly in the garden make sure to charge it first.
Huh?  Embarassed

I just add urea to mine and mix with Rabbit manure and bedding. Best way to use it and not worry is toss it in with the compost, layer with other compost ingredients.

More info here but this is extreme, Hope this is allowed

Bio Char Innoculation
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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  countrynaturals on 10/19/2017, 11:51 am

@SQWIB wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@SQWIB wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:Great post, SQWIB. I had forgotten all about bio-char. Last year I didn't know what it was. This year, when we can burn again, I will definitely collect it from the burn pile and the wood stove. It may not be a perfect, slow-burn product, but what can it hurt?

If you are going to put the Bio char directly in the garden make sure to charge it first.
Huh?  Embarassed

I just add urea to mine and mix with Rabbit manure and bedding. Best way to use it and not worry is toss it in with the compost, layer with other compost ingredients.

More info here but this is extreme, Hope this is allowed

Bio Char Innoculation
I like the easy way. Thanks again. thanks
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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  Turan on 10/19/2017, 12:17 pm

Nice video, SQWIB. Good demonstration of a cold compost pile in an suburban environment.

Does charging the ashes neutralize the pH? Or is that not an issue in Philly. In the West it is generally not recommended to add ashes to compost or gardens because we are fighting already too high pH most of the time. We also burn and I am wondering just how thinly to spread ash over things, or how low an amount in the compost I could get by with.

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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  SQWIB on 10/19/2017, 12:50 pm

@Turan wrote:Nice video, SQWIB.  Good demonstration of a cold compost pile in an suburban environment.

Does charging the ashes neutralize the pH? Or is that not an issue in Philly.  In the West it is generally not recommended to add ashes to compost or gardens because we are fighting already too high pH most of the time.  We also burn and I am wondering just how thinly to spread ash over things, or how low an amount in the compost I could get by with.  

Cold Compost/ Passive composting is much more suited for my type of gardening, however when the compost bin gets the right amount of ingredients in the correct order, it takes off and gets pretty hot. But this is purely luck.

Ashes and Bio-Char are two different things.

I am no expert and what little I know about Bio-Char has been gleaned from research on various sites, but I will try to answer best I can

Think of Bio-Char as a holding vessel with tons of little cells to provides a place for micro-organisms and fungi.

Biochar is not a fertilizer or nutrient in it self and should not alter PH like ash, however it may on a lesser scale.
It may be good for your soil or it may not do anything.

I like to think that I benefit from it in my raised Hugelkultur beds because it reduces leaching and the possibility of washing away nutrients by rains or over watering. 

From BioChar.org
Biochar's immense surface area and complex pore structure (a single gram can have a surface area of over 1000 square yards) provides a secure habitat for micro-organisms and fungi. Certain fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plant root fibers and this allows for greater nutrient uptake by plants. There is speculation that this fungi may play a part in terra preta's ability to regenerate itself.

More More Here at Biochar.org worth reading.

I have always found it so interesting and will continue to play with it.

Is it doing any good? Who Knows.
Is it harming my soil? I hope not.
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Inoculating Bio-Char PDF's

Post  SQWIB on 10/19/2017, 1:03 pm

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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  sanderson on 10/20/2017, 3:32 am

We have a thread on bio char and "charging" it.  If further comments on this subject are posted in the following thread, they won't get buried.  You can copy and paste from the compost topic or I can move those few replies. http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t16772-biochar?highlight=biochar

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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  SQWIB on 10/20/2017, 7:36 am

@sanderson wrote:We have a thread on bio char and "charging" it.  If further comments on this subject are posted in the following thread, they won't get buried.  You can copy and paste from the compost topic or I can move those few replies.  http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t16772-biochar?highlight=biochar

Great Idea, please move them to the other thread.
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Re: My Compost Bin

Post  SQWIB on 10/23/2017, 8:09 am

Well, I did my end of year cleanup this weekend and I made another batch of Bio-Char, pallets, cardboard, junk mail, documents, dog poo (only what was collected this week), Bones, woodsy plant trimmings, some hardwoods and the tomato plants.

My son is happy when I do a burn because his job is to shred the mail.







  • The lid wouldn't fit on this 4 days ago.







  • Cleaned out the freezer and tossed everything on top, yes I tossed in meat like, pepper steak, chicken noodle soup, old chicken breast, cheesey dishes like stuffed shells etc...







  • This is the only problem with composting any type of meats and cheese. I could have burned these foods but wanted to try them directly in the compost bin first.







  • I burn a few pallets with all the junk then start tossing on hardwoods to make my end of year Garden Jambalaya.




After I was done making my Garden Jambalaya, I spent a few more hours burning up some hardwood then when the last flame flickered out I busted up all the hot coals let it burn down a bit more then covered the coals with some potting mix from a 10 gallon of spent potting mix, perlite, peat, potting mix.

The next day I mixed the rest of the potting mix in with the coals real well, dug it out and put about 20% in my raised beds and the rest in the compost heap, then poured 3/4 gallon of urea on top of the bio-char in the compost bin.

I made sure to cover the top of the compost bin with the Bio-char and urea to keep critters out, on the other hand my dog was quicker than me. Shocked


This works out well for me because I get to clean out the freezer, clean up the gardens, add to my compost, use up all my extra veggies and have lunches at work for a month.

I know that there is going to come a time when I will have to stop adding bio char but for now a half a dozen fires a year should be OK for the next 10 years... I still have an entire front yard to do. Very Happy
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