Another question about using the compost bin?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by r.h. in okla., Sep 1, 2005.

  1. Okay so the soldier larvae's are good for the compost as determined in my last thread about composting. Okay now I need to know, is it alright to keep adding more to the barrel or do I need to start another one? This first one I added just about everything I could find and packed it to the top. Since then I have been adding kitchen vegetable waste every few days. The worms have done a tremendous job of breaking everything down and all of it is now compacted down to about the bottom 1/4 of the barrel. In fact it is so mushy down in the bottom I don't think it is getting air anymore since all my air holes are in the bottom of the barrel. That is why I need to know if I should grab another trash barrel and start another composting bin, or should I just empty this one somewhere and reuse it again, or what do you do for the next step?

    I have enough green matter around this homestead that I could easily have several composting bins going at the same time. So any advice will be very thankful. R.H.
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you have too much green material in it. Most green stuff is at least 95% water. When it breaks down, it becomes the mush at the bottom. The holes you have are simply drain holes. You should have had some holes on the side since the material is now plugging those bottom holes. For proper composting, the material also needs oxygen.

    You can start a new bin or just keep adding to the mess that you have. Don't expect a massive quantity of compost when it's mainly green material. Even at 90% water, you'd only get 10 pounds of finished compost per hundredweight. You should be able to improve on it shortly when leaves begin falling. Then you can mix in a lot more brown material. Ideal ratio is 20 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen.

    Martin
     

  3. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Compost is only as old as the last thing you put in it, so at some point you stop adding to the pile and start a new one, or not if you don't feel like it, compost is very forgiving. If your compost smells add some shredded leaves or newspaper, otherwise I would leave it alone and start a new one. Of course I might not be the best person to ask, I have 8 compost heaps at the moment and I need to build a couple more so I can finish clearing out the raised beds. My name is Paula and I am a certified compost wacko.
     
  4. Thanks, I kind of thought maybe it was too moist. When I first filled it up it had about 20 percent green stuff and the rest dried grass clippings that had been left out on the lawn drying for about 3 days. Since then I have been adding kitchen waste every 4 days or so. I also kind of wondered if I needed some kind of a vent hole toward the top for better air circulation. Also, I am finding it hard to turn the matter over with a shovel. So I'm thinking of building some kind of a tumbler so I can easily turn the pile for a better mixture. Once again thanks for the info.

    R.H. in Oklahoma.
     
  5. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    r.h., you fairly well started out with 100% greens! Your grass clippings would have been considered green just a if they were second cutting of hay or alfalfa pellets. Since they were living when you cut them, they were still a green after only 3 days.

    Got any old oat or wheat straw and a bagging mower around? Chop some of that up and mix it into your mess somehow. It's not the best carbon answer but will help keep it from becoming too anaerobic.

    Of course, I could add shredded leaves right now if that problem existed here. Each fall, I fill a minimum 50 construction cleanup bags with a mix of maple and oak leaves. These are carefully stacked around the cement foundation of the house just like straw bales. In the spring, they are reduced to about 15 bags after shredding. They are my source of browns in my tumbler all summer. Right on schedule, down to the last bag right now!

    Martin
     
  6. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    I'm no composting expert; I tend to just add whatever is 'current', never stir and wait patiently for mother nature to do her thing. But I do know I filled a nice huge black plastic 'official' (3' diameter/3' tall) bin on the fence line with all manner of stuff for over 13 years and never got nuttin' from it. Every spring I anticipated the rewards but it seems my 'goodies' had evaporated into some black hole...

    When my neighbor moved a year ago she thanked me for all the wonderful soil I'd been 'slipping' into her yard all those years. :bash:

    Moved it where all would be mine and harvested my 1st crop just a few weeks ago. Have 2 others cooking now located where I am guaranteed to reap the rewards.

    katy *who never got flies but grew some great leeks in the mess...*