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My Compost Pile

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My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/24/2011, 11:40 pm

I have a compost pile(I'm about to transfer it to a bin I'm making) and I'm just wondering how difficult it'll really be to compost through the winter. Winters can get really cold here. If the weather gets too cold to effectively compost, I'm thinking that I can just continue to add to it and when the weather gets warm enough(maybe in late March) I can turn it and get all of the things (that I added to it over the winter) to compost in time to prepare my SFG boxes.

Thoughts anyone?
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  westie42 on 10/25/2011, 1:57 am

From The Rodale Book of Composting p.192 -Winter Bins-
“Winter composting does not have to be confined to a pit. An existing bin, well insulated with bales of straw or hay and covered from the elements can continue the process during cold temps, but at a slower rate than summer. Structures similar to cold frames can also be used in cold weather, using south slanting glass lids to catch sun and protect the heaps from rain, snow and drying winds. Manure added helps to keep temps high enough for microbial activity.” I did cut a couple redundant words out. It is a worth while book.
I just built and filled a new 12ft x 4x4 three bin composter. Previously just had a black plastic dome job that was fair but slow, hard to mix and at times anaerobic. I know filling all 3 sections of this new bin creates more work managing the mixing process but want high productivity ASAP. It is layered dry grass, fine chopped leaves, 4 kinds of manure and some dirt to give an earthy variety to the microbes. It has a 4 inch vertical wire mesh tube in the middle if each section for ventilation and was built on a 12 ft pallet hoping for good air circulation coming from below also. I watered each layer before adding the next. In a week it has generated a lot of heat and a little odor, definitely no worse than some of the nearby farm odors. Another key item is my daily application of activator consisting of approximately 1/2 gal of urine from my bed pan. I have it covered across the entire top with a black cloth like burlap or weed barrier to give some wind protection yet draw in as much solar energy as possible. After freeze up I may add a clear plastic cover but till then the little rain we are getting is appreciated. I plan to mix the stacks a few times for a while. Since this is new I do not anticipate the compost being ready in early spring so I may buy some in bulk nearby until this is ready. My current volume is about 200 cubic feet of fairly dense materials, hoping for around 70+ cubic feet finished compost. I also have built a leaf corral on pallets that will accululate another 150 cu ft of ground leaves ready for next summers grass and the needed poop is not a problem in a small town in farm country.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/25/2011, 9:27 am

Father Time fixes everything. Don't worry too much about things, especially in winter. Composting is not a quick process no matter what. It will break down....over time.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/26/2011, 7:09 am

Where I live I am surrounded by woods. What do you think of me going into the woods and raking up as much of the forestry compost to add to my compost pile? I figured that I could maybe fit 2 or 3 large trash bags into my car.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  westie42 on 10/26/2011, 9:51 am

That would be outstanding as it would be rich in nutrients and microbes both but it mite be a bit one dimensional for compost as apposed to what MM calls for. MM is already 2/3 non nutritional by design so it does need the good quality well rounded compost in it. Just figure something else to augment it with, IMO. I get forest compost as often as possible just for variety in my compost content.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/26/2011, 7:43 pm

Well since there's a lot of farms around me, I want to find a farmer that will let me take a bucket of cow manure. I'm sure I will be able to. There's someone who lives about 8 miles from me that raises chickens and I am willing to bet that they'll let me take a bucket of chicken manure. I found a woman on craigslist that has horse manure free for the taking. I just have to go down there and get it.
Mix all of that stuff with the forestry compost I am going to get and the compost pile I already have should provide some great stuff.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  westie42 on 10/27/2011, 12:18 am

Ask around for people with rabbits. Around here they are extremely glad to have somebody pick up the manure and people with horse riding stables also seem glad to have it removed. Once you get on a roll the stuff just seems to show up constantly. Rabbits are usually pets and the owners are dumbfounded and unhappy dealing with the stuff and the stable people usually have all the work they need without having to haul it off. I have found some good sources by watching Craigslist.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  middlemamma on 10/27/2011, 4:51 am

Same here, Craigslist is a great resource. I found rabbit manure as well and will continue to get it from this lady.

A friend of mine that row gardens beat me to a llamma source! Dang it!

Sometimes I even see leaves already bagged up for free on Craigslist.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/27/2011, 8:07 am

I found on craigslist someone who raises rabbits and give away bags of the manure. Unfortunately he's in New Jersey.

However, there is an Amish family that lives about 15 minutes from me and they always have a "Rabbits for Sale" sign on their front lawn. I'm hoping that they'll let me take a bucket or two of manure.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/27/2011, 9:04 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:...they always have a "Rabbits for Sale" sign on their front lawn.

LOL...Imagine that.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  mijejo on 10/27/2011, 11:34 am

I am considering getting two angora bunnies next spring. They will be for pet, fiber, and manure purposes. How much poo can I expect from them as adults? Oh, and they will be the same sex so that their numbers will stay at two!
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/27/2011, 12:17 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:...they always have a "Rabbits for Sale" sign on their front lawn.

LOL...Imagine that.

yeah.....that sign has been there for at least 18 years and I never really put two and two together until just the other night. LOL
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  CaptainKidney on 10/27/2011, 1:22 pm

`That's why the sign is there, they keep putting two and two together. Rabbits can only multiply, not divide.....my bad.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Kelejan on 10/27/2011, 2:03 pm

@CaptainKidney wrote:`That's why the sign is there, they keep putting two and two together. Rabbits can only multiply, not divide.....my bad.



You beat me to it, Captain.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/27/2011, 3:14 pm



When I joined this website I never realized I was going to be associated with such comedians
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/27/2011, 4:03 pm

Get used to it, Too Tall. It just takes a couple of us to get going to bring out the worst in everyone else. Too much professionalism makes BBG a dull boy.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Denese on 10/27/2011, 6:34 pm

@mijejo wrote:I am considering getting two angora bunnies next spring. They will be for pet, fiber, and manure purposes. How much poo can I expect from them as adults? Oh, and they will be the same sex so that their numbers will stay at two!

Be sure they are DEFINITELY both same sex. My daughter was told her two were both female (by a vet, no less). NOT!! Thirty days after bringing them home, she had 15 baby bunnies. She immediately separated them, but obviously not soon enough, because another thirty days later, she had 9 more!! Shocked Plus she had adopted two more that her neighbor was just going to let go outside. So, at one time, she had 28 bunnies in her basement!! She had to separate boys from girls, so she learned really fast how to sex them, properly. Laughing It took her 3 years to get them all adopted out. She kept 2, one of which just recently had to be put down. But for quite awhile she had bunny poo coming out her ears. She has a beautiful compost pile of grass clippings and bunny poo at the far end of her back yard. Very Happy Her two bunnies would produce about a five gallon bucket of poo (including litter and some hay mixed in) each week.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  middlemamma on 10/27/2011, 8:15 pm

Holy rabbit poo batman!
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/27/2011, 8:41 pm

I've been wondering about putting fish in the compost pile. If I would put manure on top don't you think that would discourage any animals?
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  camprn on 10/28/2011, 7:17 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:I've been wondering about putting fish in the compost pile. If I would put manure on top don't you think that would discourage any animals?
I put fish scraps into my compost pile by either digging a small hole to drop it into or pitching it on top and covering with a turn of a shovel full of the same pile.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/28/2011, 7:58 pm

the only animals I ever see around here are rabbits, squirrels, and the occasional groundhog. I have never seen racoons.

Last year I went down to the local pond and caught about 20 panfish and added one to each hole I dug for peppers and tomatoes, and I never had anything bother them. I was just wondering if a larger amount of fish would be more attractive to animals.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/28/2011, 8:03 pm

Not if they are somewhat buried.
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/28/2011, 8:13 pm

especially buried under a pile of horse poop Cool
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  camprn on 10/28/2011, 8:49 pm

My compost pile is a stop on a nightly route of a young skunk. She just nibbles a bit off the top and doesn't really make a mess of the place. She's welcome to take a bit of all that scrap food.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/28/2011, 10:30 pm

I've never had any animals disturb my compost pile. Yesterday I bought the wire fencing and posts to build my own bin. Can animals climb the sides of the bin?? It's going to be 4ft high.
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