Square Foot Gardening Forum
[table bgcolor=#000000 height=275][tr][td]

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


[/td][/tr][/table]
Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» 2018 - First Annual Seed Exchange Week - January 20-28 (Edited)
by countrynaturals Yesterday at 12:33 pm

» Are vegetables hurt by too much light?
by BeetlesPerSqFt Yesterday at 8:38 am

» Seed Starting!!
by brianj555 1/19/2018, 9:14 pm

» Spring Fever Anyone?
by sanderson 1/19/2018, 3:06 pm

» How's the Weather Where You're At?
by sanderson 1/19/2018, 2:56 pm

» Weight Watchers Turkey, Bean and Vegetable Chili
by hammock gal 1/19/2018, 8:43 am

» Sow True Seeds
by AtlantaMarie 1/19/2018, 8:00 am

» Colored Mulch
by No_Such_Reality 1/18/2018, 7:12 pm

» Taking on 4 Season Gardening
by Roseinarosecity 1/18/2018, 5:19 pm

» Fourth Year SFG in Canada
by trolleydriver 1/18/2018, 3:53 pm

» SUGA 2017
by SQWIB 1/18/2018, 12:57 pm

» Senseless Banter...
by sanderson 1/17/2018, 9:42 pm

» Butternut squash, turkey Italian sausage, cannelini bean soup
by yolos 1/17/2018, 9:25 pm

» Happy Birthday!!
by yolos 1/17/2018, 9:12 pm

» N&C Midwest—January 2018!!!
by Scorpio Rising 1/17/2018, 7:08 pm

» Is there ever enough compost?
by has55 1/17/2018, 2:41 am

» What are you eating from your garden today?
by Scorpio Rising 1/16/2018, 9:10 pm

» Gophers
by countrynaturals 1/16/2018, 12:32 pm

» High heat tolerant tomatoes
by walshevak 1/16/2018, 6:03 am

» Mid-Atl - Jan 2018 - Brrrrrrrrrr! and Happy New Year
by AtlantaMarie 1/15/2018, 6:43 am

» CANADIAN REGION: What are you doing in January 2018
by sanderson 1/15/2018, 3:53 am

» New England Jan 2018
by hammock gal 1/13/2018, 5:50 pm

» My first Attempt
by 21Actual 1/13/2018, 5:05 pm

» Air Fryer! HELP!
by sanderson 1/13/2018, 3:26 pm

» New SFG box-Humanitarian way
by sanderson 1/13/2018, 3:24 pm

» Drafts?
by trolleydriver 1/13/2018, 1:18 pm

» Hello from Northern Ontario Eh!
by BeetlesPerSqFt 1/13/2018, 1:07 pm

» January 2018 Avatar: Surprise Us
by sanderson 1/12/2018, 4:57 pm

» Review of Terms of Service
by Ginger Blue 1/12/2018, 4:02 pm

» DIY Plant Markers
by countrynaturals 1/11/2018, 7:32 pm

Google

Search SFG Forum

New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/28/2017, 2:15 pm

I have some composting questions for you experienced gardeners.  I found the following for the “how to” for loading my new JORA JK125 (33 gallon) insulated tumbling composter (when it gets here).  Here’s what I have available and want to know (detailed please) instructions on how best to mix up what I have available - as well as what to NOT use!  These instructions don’t seem to “do it” for me as to VOLUME of each type.  IE: a 5 gallon bucket of say dried leaves and a 1 gallon bucket of food scraps/coffee grounds perhaps??  I will also be adding some Azomite rock dust (unless you guys have a different brand that you think is better), but don’t know how much to put into each side.  I am thinking that it might be best to accumulate the various items without filling the composter first, then “dip out” of each type of material to get the right combination/mix…

Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio
All compostable materials are either carbon or nitrogen-based, to varying degrees. The secret to a healthy compost pile is to maintain a working balance between these two elements.
Carbon - carbon-rich matter (like branches, stems, dried leaves, peels, bits of wood, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, corn stalks, coffee filters, conifer needles, egg shells, straw, peat moss, wood ash) gives compost its light, fluffy body.

Nitrogen - nitrogen or protein-rich matter (manures, food scraps, green lawn clippings and green leaves) provides raw materials for making enzymes.
A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen. A simple rule of thumb is to use one-third green and two-thirds brown materials. The bulkiness of the brown materials allows oxygen to penetrate and nourish the organisms that reside there. Too much nitrogen makes for a dense, smelly, slowly decomposing anaerobic mass. Good composting hygiene means covering fresh nitrogen-rich material, which can release odors if exposed to open air, with carbon-rich material, which often exudes a fresh, wonderful smell. If in doubt, add more carbon!


I have: lots of dried leaves, a source for coffee grounds, some sawdust, pine needles (much of it is aged on the ground), pine cones, aged rabbit manure (with hay mixed in), molasses, and of course, food scraps.  Oh, and I even have an old bird’s nest if that’s good.  Lots of deer poop around, but not sure what the easiest way to “harvest” it would be - they don’t poop in one spot!  I also saw something in one of the composting posts here about human pee in the composter??  If so, how much would one put - I can easily train hubby to pee in there if it’s good for the compost!  Oh, we also have some wineries/breweries around here - anything they have good for the composter?  We wipe out our avocado oil after cooking before washing the skillet, would the greasy paper napkins be ok?

I thank you all for your help as my composter will be here around the 6th of Dec!  Sorry for such a long post.  I’m off to go to town for some coffee grounds to add to my collection!
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  plantoid on 11/28/2017, 3:36 pm

Dilute pee at 1 pint pee to 20 pints water .
Anything that rots can be used as compost .
Why are you using rock dust in a soil free gardening system like All New Square Foot Gardening     it's not needed if you make a quality compost .


 Cornell University Extension unit  has a section that deals with composting  ,  look up "  The 18 day hot composting method .
  In their PDF's there are many lists several give the greens & browns needed for a quality compost which will also work in your composter .
avatar
plantoid

Male Posts : 3770
Join date : 2011-11-09
Age : 67

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  sanderson on 11/28/2017, 4:26 pm

Hi Saganco, Welcome to the Forum.  There are 450 threads on composting in this Forum, including one on the 18-day method Plantoid mentioned.  Just type compost in the Search box.  This is my personal experience with a tumbler.  I want compost to reach 140*F for a few days with turning or 160*F for a day or two.

I have a Lifetime 80-gallon tumbler in addition to a 3'x3'x3' bin.  The tumbler produces about 3 cubic feet of finished material, enough for 18 squares of Mel's Mix [along with 3 cu. ft of fluffed peat moss and 3 cu. ft. of vermiculite].  I use 5-gallon buckets to measure the raw ingredients.  It turns out that I use roughly 2 buckets of (coffee grounds, produce, horse manure) to one bucket of mowed leaves and/or bedding straw. This is a good calculator for getting the carbon:nitrogen ratios between 25-30.  I wouldn't use pine cones unless you have a very large pile of stuff and the patience of Job (a year or two for the process to be completed).

http://klickitatcounty.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/3523

Leaves and bedding straw are mowed to smaller pieces.  Likewise, whole fruits and veggies are roughly cut up.  Rock dust/azomite is not needed.  Pee or a little blood meal is optional unless you are short of "nitrogen or green" material.  Add materials in layers, spraying with a hose wand between layers.  Does the model of tumbler you ordered have drainage holes?  If so, excess water will drain out.  Rotate every 1-2 days, opening the lid for fresh air between rotations.  Oxygen is needed or the mix can turn stinky anaerobic.

Being in a northern state, the material may freeze and you will have to wait until spring for the composting activity to start again.  Or, you can fill it half full of mowed leaves, put it close to the kitchen door and use it to accumulate kitchen waste/coffee grounds during the cold months.  Trial and error is the best way to learn about your composting process. Very Happy

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast
avatar
sanderson

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 15209
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 69
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/28/2017, 5:00 pm

Plantoid - I am using a "modified" method I guess you'd say.  I'm doing containers (self watering ones).  I'll have a short section of a 30 gallon drum with irrigation hose around the bottom, sand over that, then a grow bag up on top wicking up the moisture into the plant (using MM for the growing media).  The idea for the Azomite in the composter came from John at "Growing your Greens" (many youtube videos).  He just uses it in the compost as a "kicker" for the microbes (at least that's my understanding anyway).

Sanderson - thank you also.  Your ratio is radically different for green vs brown from what I've read/heard so far - so I am glad you chimed in!  I've heard mostly that 25% of the total should be green and 75% brown.  Yes the Jora composter will drain off liquids, and is supposed to be able to make compost in the winter just fine thanks to the massive insulation and the steel construction.  Plus, though we're in the CO mountains, we have over 300 days of sunshine and the temps swing 30-40 degrees every day in the winter (unless it happens to snow that day).  I'm confused as to why or when pee is a good thing in it.  Also needing to understand more about how much rabbit poo compared to other things.  I will pass on the pine cones then and just use the needles along with the dry leaves that I need to get a chipper/shredder for soon.  Thanks for the link and the tips on the other composting pages here!

Now, if someone could take that list of "available ingredients" and help me make sense on what all to use and roughly how much of each (as a ratio perhaps), that would be outstanding!  I will be "gathering" the ingredients and keeping all separate till time to load the composter.  Thank you all for your help, and I look forward to more here!
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 11/28/2017, 11:30 pm

I have a Jora JK270 (70 gallon) that I got in June. I'm doing ok with it, but I know I could be doing better. I haven't been turning it often enough because it's winter and I'm not going out every day. I just took my first batch out of the Jora few days ago. It's a little too wet, and is balled up, but looks finished to me, and has no odor. The occasional greasy (olive oil) paper towel didn't seem to cause any issues, so I think avocado oil will be fine.

My current compost in the other side is way too wet, and is a bit smelly -- too many rotten tomatoes and not enough wood pellets. It's also overfull. Maybe I'll shuffle some to the now-empty other side so I can fit some wood pellets in. < Your idea about not filling it all the way all at once, so that you have room to adjust your ratios as needed is a good one. 

Pee contains urea - it's high in nitrogen. It can be added to piles that need more 'green.' But I'd stick to adding it to actual compost piles/heaps, not the Jora, because I suspect it's basically just going to drip back out. If your food scraps are like mine (even before the tomato problem), your compost will be wet enough that you won't need more liquid. Part of the reason for the variation in the greens/browns ratio is that some greens are "greener" than others and some browns, "browner" -- and the browns vary in how fluffy they are, complicating things further. I'm not experienced enough to give you exact ratios of the ingredients you listed but I found this page interesting vs trying to calculate ratios:
http://www.compostjunkie.com/compost-ingredients.html
I think I saw the same video you did, but after doing more research my conclusion was that I don't think rock dust is necessary. A compost made from diverse outside sources seems likely to contain sufficient minerals - I think your rabbit manure in particular (counts as a green) will help with supplying minerals.

I would guess the winery would have grape pomace left from the wine making process. But it sounds like it's trickier to work with than more common ingredients because it's rather acidic, wet, and contains seeds that degrade slowly. I'd say wait until you've made a batch or two before trying to include pomace.

For the Jora I do recommend chopping up your food scraps (and any 'long' browns) for faster composting. Anything longer than about 3" starts to get wrapped around the spindle, and around itself. I would skip the deer poop because there are growing concerns about CWD (chronic wasting disease) jumping the species barrier from deer/elk to people. Bacteria and viruses aren't a problem in composted manure, but CWD is a prion-disease like mad cow disease is. It's not a bacteria or a virus, it's a very sturdy, infectious protein. Composting won't 'kill' it. The risk of getting it may be low, but the stakes are high because there's no treatment.

As a final comment, I found my Jora very time consuming to assemble. It wasn't complicated, but it was hard to align the panels. My helper and I are both short, so we couldn't just press straight down like the videos show. Pushing not-straight down meant the whole thing would start to spin during assembly. I recommend watching both of the videos twice before starting, and having them available to start and stop as you work. I also suggest you have a non-rough surface to work on, so you don't scratch the metal because rust will develop at the scratches.
avatar
BeetlesPerSqFt

Female Posts : 1337
Join date : 2016-04-11
Location : Port Matilda, PA Zone 5b/6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  sanderson on 11/29/2017, 3:42 am

I didn't address winery and brewery wastes. Yes, you can use them. Winery wastes are acidic but by the time the compost is finished, it is near neutral.

I use 2 buckets of "greens" [horse manure, mowed grass, produce, coffee grounds with a dash of blood meal) to 1 bucket of chopped/mowed browns [bedding hay and leaves]. Again, I want a hot pile for a bit to pasteurize the manure. The temperature is created by the microorganisms, not the sun or hot weather. Then it starts cooling over the days as different organisms take over. I fill the the tumbler to the top to start. In a couple of days the level has dropped and the material will shift as the tumbler is rotated. To reach a hot temperature, a large volume of material is needed with frequent oxygenating airing. The volume of most tumblers is too small to create high temps.

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast
avatar
sanderson

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 15209
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 69
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/29/2017, 8:56 am

Thanks Beetles and Sanderson!  Beetles, with your working knowledge of the same composter, those were very helpful ideas.  You both discussed the wineries and the pomace, but neither of you mentioned if the micro breweries and the hops/grain by products would be good?  The link Beetles gave for the ratios, is opposite that of Sanderson's use of 2 buckets of green to 1 bucket of brown.  So now I am completely confused!!  This is why I am posting here rather than just reading links for ratios!

Would coffee grounds be an adequate substitute for food scraps?  Unless I get “expired” produce from the store, there’s no way the 2 of us will have enough food scraps to feed the composter.  But coffee grounds are very plentiful around here.

Also, for the food scraps - if I puree them in the Vita-Mix, will that help or hurt the composting process?  I was planning on doing this for the worms, but when I decided to get the composter, I didn’t see much point in even messing with worms.  Do any of you see a reason with the containerized version of SFG to even have worms?  Life is simpler without having worms to feed…

Here are some numbers I've come up with.  I'll have 8 grow bags that will be a max of 16" in diameter x 12" tall.  I believe this to be appr 1.39 cu. ft each.  So 8 bags = 11.12 cu. ft. - then divide by 3 for good MM.  I think this is correct...  Also, since we are doing a self watering system (wicking), I'm thinking Perlite would be fine over the Vermiculite since the water wicking doesn't really need the water holding factor of the Vermiculite as much as the normal SFG system might.  Your thoughts folks?
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  trolleydriver on 11/29/2017, 10:01 am

Here are my thoughts.



  • I would not put the kitchen scraps in the Vitamix. I thought about doing it but it is not necessary. Just make sure the scraps are cut into small pieces.


  • Everyone seems to have their own ratios of browns and greens. This is where you need to experiment. The last bin (not a tumbler) that I filled probably has a two to one ratio of browns to greens by volume. I've seen suggestions of 4 browns to every green by volume.


  • Coffee grounds are great but don't go overboard. You should use the grounds in combination with other greens at the same time such as kitchen scraps, grass clippings, yard waste (pulled plants). Of course some of these things may be hard to find in the winter. Local grocery stores may have scrap veggies but my store would not give them to me for "health and safety" reasons. I guess they figured I would eat them.


  • Try to get the moisture content right. I found this difficult to do in my small EnviroCycle tumbler. As well, I found that my tumbler tended to roll the material into compact balls so I must have been doing something wrong.

____________________________

Ottawa, Canada
Find more about Weather in Ottawa, CA
Click for weather forecast
avatar
trolleydriver

Forum Moderator

Male Posts : 4032
Join date : 2015-05-04
Age : 70
Location : Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 11/29/2017, 1:18 pm

The link I gave has the ratio of carbon to nitrogen for each material and is based on weight - it really isn't taking volume into account. Sanderson is giving you a ratio based on volume -- and her browns have been "concentrated" by being chopped/mowed. How concentrated? Well it depends on how chopped they are, but leaf shredders often claim they reduce the volume by more than 10 to 1. So a single bucket of chopped leaves can hold more weight than 10 buckets worth of unchopped, fluffy leaves. One shredder even claimed a 16:1 compaction! Mowing and hand-chopping will probably result in less concentration than a shredder. If I assume Sanderson's compaction ratio is 4:1, then 2 green to 1 of her buckets of 4:1 concentrated brown would be the same as 2 green to 4 fluffy/unchopped brown -- and 2 to 4 reduces to 1 to 2.  So the volume ratio has been reversed even though the same weight ratio is going in for both the chopped and unchopped examples.

In other words, the volume ratios you see are going vary based on assumptions about which greens and browns a person will use, and how compacted they guess the browns will be.

"Greens" aren't usually fluffy. Chopping them increases their surface area, so bacteria can grow on more surface faster, but chopping doesn't concentrate the "green-ness" as much. I recommend it mostly so the pieces can tumble, and not just tangle up with the spindle and each other. Blenderizing will increase the surface area even more, but I worry about the added liquid because my main composting problem in the Jora has been the contents being too wet. I got compact balls of compost like TD describes. But as I've said, I'm only a beginner. Your having more browns available than greens might suck up more liquid and make it turn out ok. Liquid does drain out of my Jora, but only after it's already really wet in there. Leaving the lid open didn't help dry it out.  

Coffee grounds are comparable to food waste in their greenness, but I agree with TD; I wouldn't rely on them alone. The ANSFG book first edition says coffee grounds should be less than 10% of what's in your compost. Sawdust and several other items are also recommended to be below the 10% total, but a reason isn't explicitly given. I think fresh spent hops/brewery grains (not dried) would be a great "green" for your composter - but again, not as a sole source, and not large volumes. I think the tumbling should help prevent the smell problem -- any green can go smelly without enough air and without enough balancing browns. I'd expect tumbling to distribute the grains into your browns better than trying to flip them around with a shovel or turning fork in a regular compost pile/heap.

I say since you're focused on growing indoors right now, save your limited food waste for the composter and don't worry about worms. 

The part of the link I was trying to emphasize was this "If you're new to composting, please don't get too caught up in these numbers. Trying to do all the math calculations can be quite frustrating. Instead, focus your attention on making sure your pile has a greater amount of carbon containing material than it does nitrogen containing material." and the statement at the end "Please don't stress out by trying to find the perfect ratios."

It's more of an art than a science. Pick what seems like a reasonable starting point, leave room for adjustments, and see what happens.

Regarding perlite, what I'm reading says that it provides better aeration than vermiculite. That could well be beneficial if your wicking process saturates the MM with water. Divide the volume by about half for the compressed peat - it fluffs up to 1 and half to two times the volume once you get it out of the bag. A number of us have missed the sentence about this in the ANSFG book and have had to try to correct the error. Your math looks right to me, so I think you'll only need one bag (usually sold in bags of 3-4cu ft) of compressed peat.
avatar
BeetlesPerSqFt

Female Posts : 1337
Join date : 2016-04-11
Location : Port Matilda, PA Zone 5b/6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/29/2017, 1:54 pm

Thank you TrollyDriver and Beetles - great info in your answers!  Excellent help!  Sounds like the main reason for not using spent hops would be the smell.  But in the sealed and insulated tumbler, it seems that it would mix well and not be a smelly mess.  But then I have nothing but a guess to go on with that.  I sure appreciate the explanation of the ratios in more depth Beetles!  That makes more sense to me than anything else I've read so far.  And I am turning into the "compost research queen" where hardly anything else is being read at this time (got a new composter coming, and a garden waiting on that compost - so time's a ticking!!).
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  sanderson on 11/30/2017, 3:49 am

Beetles, Thank you for explaining why my green-brown ratios are backward. Double mowing leaves and bedding straw definitely compacts a large volume into a small mass. Hence my 1 brown to 2 green ratio.

Regarding vermiculite verses perlite. Perlite tends to float to the top during watering. Some of my pots are white on the top by the end of the season.

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast
avatar
sanderson

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 15209
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 69
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  SQWIB on 11/30/2017, 8:55 am

Wow, after reading through this thread, I am glad I am a "Passive Composter".
avatar
SQWIB

Posts : 110
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/30/2017, 9:34 am

Sanderson - do you feel that your leaves are about 4:1 after the lawn mower - or more like a chipper/shredder at around 10:1? 

Also, if I just go with the "2 buckets of green" and "1 bucket (chopped) of brown" - would my 2 and 1 include all the various types of green and brown?  IE: I should add sawdust and a small amount of wood ash (if desired) in the brown bucket and the coffee grounds in the green buckets?  I've seen rabbit poop classified as greens in some places and as browns in others.  I know I need to be "moderate" with the rabbit poop, but I'm not sure what "bucket" to add it to!  Also, what classification is the spent hops mix considered?  I am thinking with all those microbes that the fermenting process creates, that this mix would be outstanding for kick starting the decomposing process!
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/30/2017, 9:58 am

Additional question: I really like the Berkley 18-day hot compost method, but since I'm using a tumbler composter (jora JK125), how would I best modify that method to fit my needs?  I can't build my garden system till I get the compost, so I'm "uber anxious" as the kids might say!
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  plantoid on 11/30/2017, 2:52 pm

Just add the ingredients that they recommend end try & keep the balance of browns & greens as recommended  & turn the drum every three days .

 If you fill the drum all in one go with the correct mixes of greens & browns  it might be a tad heavy
 Do it a bit at a time & once the volume reaches best heating mode for composting to take place things will get better .


 I've often had a shortage of browns so I resorted to soaking brown cardboard boxes with the hose pipe  & once they had softened tore them up into palm sized pieces ,  then added them as a 2 inch layer to the compost bins .
Shredded scrap paper can also be used  but put it in in thinner layers of 1 " or so thick .
 
 The worms were all over them in a couple of days  by which time we were then adding a layer of green kitchen waste .


 Try to protect you drum from the rain as excess water in the drum will make things heavy & likely to freeze solid in frosty temperatures
avatar
plantoid

Male Posts : 3770
Join date : 2011-11-09
Age : 67

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  sanderson on 11/30/2017, 3:57 pm

@SQWIB wrote:Wow, after reading through this thread, I am glad I am a "Passive Composter".
Don't blame you. Very Happy

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast
avatar
sanderson

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 15209
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 69
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/30/2017, 9:16 pm

Thanks Plantoid, I appreciate the help - this is a fine group of such helpful experienced gardeners!  I rather thought I should keep the same "turning schedule" that they recommend for the Berkley way.

I have been wondering about the "all at once" or "little at a time" thing.  Since they do it all at one time (watering it well of course), I kinda thought I should do the same thing.  They don't say if they water "in layers" or just soak it good when they're done though.  Is there an advantage that they didn't mention for doing it a bit at a time?  Or are you saying that if I do it in stages and check the temps, it will "cook" faster?  Since it's a tumbling composter, filling it all at once is fine with me.  I want the finished product as quickly as possible since I can't even get started till the compost is done!

I'm saving cardboard also for supplemental browns if needed.  But right now, I do have a pretty good collection of leaves from the town residents!  I am curious thought what role the worms play with such rich and nutritious MM that we're working with.  Plus most of the boxes are rather shallow, so I'm a bit stumped as to the true value of the worms.
 
HA HA HA!  Rain!?  We live in the "high altitude desert" and don't see rain very often, and never in the winter!  Though we are considering putting it in the garage though.  Not entirely sure yet...  At least it won't have snow piled up on it that way!
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/30/2017, 9:57 pm

@SQWIB wrote:Wow, after reading through this thread, I am glad I am a "Passive Composter".
Ditto, SQWIB!!!!  I am a lay composter, completely.  But this gorgeous stuff does happen!
avatar
Scorpio Rising

Female Posts : 5590
Join date : 2015-06-12
Age : 56
Location : Ada, Ohio

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/30/2017, 10:20 pm

I can understand the "lazy" composting, but this chick is in a hurry to get going, and patience has NEVER been my virtue!  However, after watching numerous videos on how great the Swedish made Jora composters are, even in the winter, I feel very encouraged and optimistic.  I plan on keeping a journal of what I did to start, temperatures, time for the whole process, etc.  That way if I totally screw this up, perhaps the log will help me NOT make the same mistake again!  For those of you who are unhappy with your tumbler, check out some of the videos on the Jora JK270 (mine is the baby brother - the JK125 though).  I got the box today!  So on Monday, we'll be assembling it and hopefully loading it up!  Crossing my fingers for a successful venture for my first one!

Thank you all BIG hug
for all your wonderful suggestions and help.  There are still a few unanswered questions, but I'll post those again for a "fresh look"...
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 11/30/2017, 11:08 pm

@saganco wrote:Sanderson - do you feel that your leaves are about 4:1 after the lawn mower - or more like a chipper/shredder at around 10:1? 

Also, if I just go with the "2 buckets of green" and "1 bucket (chopped) of brown" - would my 2 and 1 include all the various types of green and brown?  IE: I should add sawdust and a small amount of wood ash (if desired) in the brown bucket and the coffee grounds in the green buckets?  I've seen rabbit poop classified as greens in some places and as browns in others.  I know I need to be "moderate" with the rabbit poop, but I'm not sure what "bucket" to add it to!  Also, what classification is the spent hops mix considered?  I am thinking with all those microbes that the fermenting process creates, that this mix would be outstanding for kick starting the decomposing process!

I don't know the answer to using the fast method with the Jora. I got my first batch a little above 140*F for a brief time, but I wasn't really focused on optimizing it and didn't check the temperature every day. My main goal is not having my food waste (fruit/veg peels and trimmings, coffee grounds, tea bags, and the occasional box of take-out rice that's too old) go to the landfill (or attract mice.) Getting compost out of the process and paying less for trash pickup are bonuses.

Your 2 buckets of green should be a mixture of ingredients, and your 1 bucket of compact brown should be a mixture of ingredients. Rabbit manure has a chemical/weight C:N ratio of 25:1. I've seen 30:1 listed as the split point between green and brown. If the rabbit manure is assumed to be mixed with wood shavings, that could explain it being listed as a brown. The rabbit manure I got from craigslist had way more shavings than actual manure; I did not go back for more from that person! But the "bunny berries" themselves are a green (even though they are brown in color.)

I am pretty sure the hops count as green. I can't find a ratio online, but I'd guess it's somewhere around 15:1-20:1. (Less nitrogen than alfalfa because it's not from a nitrogen-fixing plant, but more than an average leaf because it's a flower < thinking I can't find a resource for where I got this concept; I don't know if it's true!)
avatar
BeetlesPerSqFt

Female Posts : 1337
Join date : 2016-04-11
Location : Port Matilda, PA Zone 5b/6a

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  SQWIB on 11/30/2017, 11:18 pm

Rabbit manure with the bedding can be placed directly in the garden, no composing needed.
I would think that the manure a bedding would be somewhat equal proportions to greens and browns, or at least close enough to consider it nuetral in the compost bin
avatar
SQWIB

Posts : 110
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 11/30/2017, 11:53 pm

Beetles - thanks.  So to make sure I "got it" - the brewery hops stuff will count as part of my one bucket of green.  The bunny poo (I like bunny berries - that's cute), is not mixed with wood, but straw or hay (not sure actually).  Still considered a green?

SQWIB - I'm kinda confused about your advice.  I didn't think we used anything like the rabbit poo and straw in the MM without composting it first...  {scratches head}
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  sanderson on 12/1/2017, 3:19 am

Rabbit berries are considered "cold" manure in that you can add directly to the garden and they won't burn the plants.  Horse, cow and pig manure are "hot" and must be "aged" or composted before adding.  You will get used to the various terms.  Razz

All living / once living matter have both carbon and nitrogen.  Some matter has a high carbon content compared to nitrogen and usually involve tough plant matter like tree (limbs, twigs, wood, sawdust) and support systems like hay stems and corn stalks.  They have a lot of cellulose to make them rigid.  They also take a long time to compost, especially woody things, and since you want to compost faster, I would recommend that you stick with mowed leaves or mowed bedding straw (not hay).

I think the mowed leaves I use are reduced to a 1 volume compared to 4 volumes before mowing.  Give or take.  Have you played around with the Klickitat County calculator I posted earlier?  It's a good way to get a feeling about your mixes.

Brewery wastes.  Some articles call them browns, others greens.  For the small tumbler, maybe limit to half a 5-gallon bucket.

To do the hot 18-day method, volume is required.  I can barely do it in my 80-gallon Lifetime tumbler.  The 18-day method volume is a minimum of 3x3x3' with a maximum 4x4x4'.  It also requires turning every other day starting on the 4th day.  Very labor and time sensitive.  You may need to supplement your homemade compost with purchased compost.  Here are some store-bought composts that members have brought.  http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t21089-recommended-store-bought-compost?highlight=compost

Oh, and for Christmas, buy a 20" compost thermometer.  I saw one on line that was on sale for $20 with probably a $10 (odd size) shipping costs.  I wish I remembered where I saw it.  Embarassed

____________________________

Find more about Weather in Fresno, CA
Click for weather forecast
avatar
sanderson

Forum Moderator Certified SFG Teacher

Female Posts : 15209
Join date : 2013-04-21
Age : 69
Location : Fresno CA Zone 8-9

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  saganco on 12/1/2017, 11:58 am

Thanks Sanderson - you are a wealth of info!  What I was questioning about the rabbit poo going directly onto the plants was not the "warmth" (cuz I knew that it was "cold" compost) - but the concept of adding to the MM in general.  I know that some put a scoop of MM in the beds periodically, but maybe this is a substitute for that action?

What category would you put the brewery waste into for the 1/2 bucket?  Yes, I've played with that calculator, but I haven't been able to get more than 4 ingredients in it, and cannot seem to get above a 20 on it!  Oh, I already have my nice long, color co-ordinated (cuz without my reading glasses, I'm blind) thermometer.  Composter arrived yesterday.  I sure hope I didn't make a mistake in getting the 125 rather than the 270 though!  Thank you for the purchased compost links by the way.  So you HAVE been able to do the 18 day in your 80 gallon then?  My 33 gallon is sounding too small already!!
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Buffalo poo?

Post  saganco on 12/1/2017, 2:26 pm

Anyone happen to know if Buffalo poop would be good?  We have a associate who raises them (open range), and unless he uses all the poo, I'm pretty sure he'd let me have some.  Fresh or aged - I might be able to choose which one I want based on "fast composting".
avatar
saganco

Female Posts : 85
Join date : 2017-11-26
Location : Rocky mountains (zone 5b)

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: New Composter - Need Help Filling Correctly

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum