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Compost bin help/advice needed


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Emma1917
U.K.
Posts: 24
Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:47 pm   Post subject: Compost bin help/advice needed


I was a brand new gardener this summer, trying to grow vegetables outdoors and in a greenhouse. My son (who has now moved out) started a compost bin the previous year and I have just been throwing veggie peelings, crusts of bread and weeds that I have pulled, into the bin. I hope that none of those were things I should have excluded. The bin is now very smelly and I'm probably not doing the right thing. I've neglected the garden for a few weeks as I havn't been very well and many weeds have grown and leaves have fallen. I was tempted to pull the weeds and gather the leaves, put them to one side in a plastic sack and dig the contents of the compost bin into the weeded garden (starting a new batch with the weeds and leaves. I have an uncomfortable feeling that this might not be the right thing to do so would someone please give me guidance here. I'd be very grateful.




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redrose

Michigan
Posts: 243
Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:16 am   


It's great that you're making a compost site. Compost can act as one of the best and cheapest fertilizers.
Ingredients:
They're often made up of grass clippings, leaves, weeds, tree clippings, etc, but can be made up of so much more. Almost anything from the kitchen can be used, though meats take a bit longer to break down. Egg shells are particularly good, though too take time to break down. Manure is also a great substance to add, but only that which comes from herbivorous (plant eaters) animals, since the feces of meat eaters contains dangerous pathogens. Coffee grounds and filters a good, as are hair and newspaper. Corn cobs, cardboard, and even dryer lint are also fine to use.
Maintenance:
It's helpful to the breakdown process if the compost is turned once to twice within the process, as it helps to keep all parts of it moist and the heat evenly distributed, allowing all ingredients to break down efficiently.
It sounds as though you took a more passive method, allowing the compost to breakdown on its own without interfering any, which is perfectly fine, however this can take a year or two.
Another technique is a managed compost pile, which can take only a few weeks. It's quite simple, really. This just means that the pile is being rotated and turned on a regular or semi-regular basis.
Keep in mind:
If the compost becomes too dry, the process will slow. If the pile becomes too wet, the nutrients can be washed away and the compost won't be of much use after that.
Hope this helped. It sounds as though your compost should be ready, and it doesn't sound as though you've included anything destructive to the compost process. You should be fine!

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nan1234
Chicago Area
Posts: 160
Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:08 am   


I bulit a passive compost bin with two cells several years ago but was not satisified. It takes a whole year to make compost and I need to transfer contents from one cell to another several times during the process. This year, I ordered tumbler rotating compost bin and it takes only one month to break down the whole load.

A well-constructed compost system should not produce offensive odors, although it will not be odor-free.

1. Ventilation. Adequate ventilation is essential to the decomposition process. A compost bin without good air circulation will develop strong smell. For passive compst bin, You can improve drainage and ventilation by having the material slightly off the floor. For passive compost bin, you will need to turn the compost pile every two to four weeks so that materials at the edges are brought to the center of the pile. Turning the pile is important for complete composting and for controlling odor. A rotating compost bin saves your labor time. You simply give it a spin every the other day.

2. Browns. Using kitchen waste will end up too much greens. If your compst has ammonia odor, your mix probably is too rich in nitrogen. You'll need to add browsn. Browns are a source of carbon, and provide energy for the microbes. Browns can be tree leaves collected at fall, dried grass, straw, corn cobs, small twigs and branches, wood chips, sawdust. If you do not have plenty browns, shredded newspapers also work (do not use color papers). On the other hand, if you have mostly brown material, try adding a handful of commercial 10-10-10 fertilizer to supply nitrogen and speed the compost process.

3.Avoid animal products or waste. These material will develop unplesent smell.

4. Add grass clips only in a thin layer. A thick layer of grass clips forms compact barrier resulting in poor air circulation.

5. Bacteria, fungi, worms, and a variety of inveratebrates perform the primary breakdown of organic materials. You may also add layers of soil or finished compost to supply more bacteria and speed the composting process. You can also use commercial starters (e.g. compost activator) with bacteria and microbes. Earthworms and insects help to break down large materials in the compost pile.

6. Moist. Compost moisture should be comparable to the wetness of a wrung-out sponge. Too much vegetable peels and fruits is often the cause of the problem of too much moist. If you smell a musty odor, it may be because the mix is too moist and it may even develop a foul sulfurous odor. You'll need to add absorbant material such as wood chips or sawdust and turn the pile. Avoid adding fruits with seeds into the compost. If the compost is too dry, materials will decompose very slowly. Watering is needed for large amounts of brown material.

7. Tempreture. Temperature is one of the key indicators in composting. Microbial breakdown of organic material will generate heat. A well constructed compost can heat up to 100F or 110F within two to three days. In winter, an insulation coat will help to speed up the compost process.

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redrose

Michigan
Posts: 243
Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:24 am   


There are a number of sites with similar information, if anyone would like further information.

Composting in the Home Garden

How to Compost your Organic Waste

Composting Resource Sheet

A Backyard Composting Primer

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Emma1917
U.K.
Posts: 24
Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:13 pm   Post subject: Composting


Thank you so much for all your help. This is really appreciated. I shall look up the other sites suggested as well. Emma.

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glendann

Texas
Posts: 9512
Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:57 pm   


Turkey are chicken litter or sheep is one of the best ing.to add to the compost pile.Cotton seed meal or hulls peat moss,limestone,soy bean oil and
straw (not hay)straw breaks down faster because its not solid.Keep it turned about once a week .It will ferment just keep turning .When it breaks down good Till into regular topsoil and you will have a wonderful garden.

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