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Compost starter, or something else

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Compost starter, or something else

Post  arla on 11/28/2011, 1:14 pm

I think my bin is lacking in nitrogen, doesn't seem to be heating up much despite my constant "mixing" (is turning really mixing, or am I just doing it flat out wrong?) the temp in my pile seems to be a fairly constant 65, occasionally 70 but not much higher. The main composition, lets see, I've put in a lot of leaves recently (somewhat shredded through my blower/shredder), 4 tomato plants, 2 cucumber plants, and kitchen scraps (all the remains of my wifes juicing, other assorted scraps as we get them).

Just wondering what else I need to do to make this pile work, it's approx 3ftx 3ftx 3ft now, so should be big enough from what I read, but just doesn't seem to warm up.

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Re: Compost starter, or something else

Post  boffer on 11/28/2011, 1:21 pm

Are the contents moist? If so, you could help things along by adding some nitrogen with fresh cut grass if available, blood meal, alfalfa pellets, manure, or even compost.
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Re: Compost starter, or something else

Post  arla on 11/28/2011, 1:28 pm

It is somewhat moist, it's open to the air and it's the rainy season here in CA so it is getting "watered" every few days or so, not sure grass clippings have been helping much, my grass just isn't long enough, so I guess buying something is the way to go. How do I figure how much to add? I'm seeing boxes of bloodmeal and thinking do I just buy and add the entire lot, or figure some measurement, problem with most of these things is it says "add X per y LB's of compostables" and I've got no clue how many lb's of compostables I have.

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Re: Compost starter, or something else

Post  southern gardener on 11/28/2011, 1:56 pm

arla...trying sprinkling your pile down until it's pretty moist. We have been doing that and WOW has it gotten HOT! Easily 140 degrees. We just added more dead leaves, so we'll spray it down again, and I'll bet it's cookin' in a couple of days again. I always thought dryer was better, and moisture would cool it off, but it actually makes it hotter!! Give it a try...
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Re: Compost starter, or something else

Post  staf74 on 11/28/2011, 4:15 pm

All the advice given will help no end. For me, straight up Rabbit manure (complete with pee / limited hay for extra nitrogen) heats that pile up quicker than anything I've ever used!!!!
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Re: Compost starter, or something else

Post  littlejo on 11/28/2011, 5:20 pm

Well, it's hard to decide what you need. If you have plenty of brown stuff, leaves, etc, then you probably need nitrogen, any manure, blood meal, or just plain ole dog food. The dog food is high in nitrogen and probably cheaper than blood meal. Just sprinkle on as you put the pile back together. Be sure to wet it down good. I would cover the pile with a tarp to keep in the heat and keep the pile from getting too wet.

http://www.compost-info-guide.com/building_pile.htm
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Re: Compost starter, or something else

Post  TN_GARDENER on 11/29/2011, 7:36 am

I tend to agree with the others. Sounds like you might need more green stuff.

Got any grass clippings?

What about used coffee grounds?

I also am one of those pee freaks. Very Happy

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