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Discussion Starter #1
Going to clean the straw out of the duck pen this weekend, so I think I've got a pretty good starter for a compost pile. What would you suggest as a container? And is it too late to spread compost on the garden after it's starting to come up? Any links you could recommend?

Thanks in advance.
 

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le person
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I think a nice simple bin is just wire shaped in a circle. I used 2" x 4" welded wire that was six feet wide. I cut it 8 feet long, then in half lengthwise and them brought them into a circle. That way they are about three feet tall, and three feet across. Then to turn the pile you can just pull the wire up and set it down to the side, then refill it, thus turning the contents upside down and aerating it.
 
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A wire bin is good, as Southerngurl suggested. Only problem with straw is that it can take a long time to break down if it's barley. That's why straw is used to hold soil and retain moisture when planting grass seed. However, it's great stuff once it's broken down.

Compost may be added to a garden as mulch at any time. If fresh or "hot", best to keep it 3 or 4 inches away from young plants. I use a large compost tumbler to turn out a batch every 3 weeks. After allowing it to further "cure" for a week, it's applied almost 2 inches thick. Rains then slowly leech the nutrients into the soil where the plants can use them. Whatever remains after harvest is tilled into the soil in the fall.

Martin
 

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I use worms to do my composting these days so I keep a worm bin inside our spare bedroom. However, when I kept a bin outside, I just had a three "bin" system. I would through food scraps, hay, etc in the first bin, as it breaks down I would move it with a pitchfork into the second bin. The final bins store the actual compost ready for use.

I have spread compost on things that have already sprouted and it only can only help IMHO.

Check out www.mastercomposter.com They have great information.
 

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If your neighbor has an existing hot pile of compost, ask them if you can have some to start yours :)

Also, if possible, remember to mix "green" and "brown" raw matter. If you have a chipper shredder to run the straw through and mix in some grass clippings as you go it will break down fast with some microbes from a working compost pile :)

Of course, no worries... if you just pile it up it will break down eventually, it's just a matter of when.
 

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winding down
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I use old wooden pallets to compost in. I just wire them together. I can open one side to push in a wheelbarrow, or fork/shovel stuff out.

I had four of them, side by side, but now I have one big one, set up as a 4 x 8. The reason I switched? Because if I make it big enough for the free range chickens to get in and out (take-off space) then they turn it for me and I only need one. They do it fast, fast, fast, too!! Even the wheat straw bedding.

I love those chickens. I'll never turn compost again!

Meg
 

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I generally put the duckie straw to any areas still uncovered in the garden, if there's any left I add it to the compost pile. No container. Water it periodically and turn it with the pitch fork. It's been rain, hot and humid and breaking down faster this year.

I also compost with worms in a very large rubbermaid bin. Food scraps and coffee grounds for them. Usually, enough compost to mix for the container plants.
 

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Windy Island Acres
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Also recently ran across a neat website on building your compost between rows. I'll post it if I find it again.
Basically, the idea is to make you walkways your compost piles, and then the following year, plant in your former walkways, and make your former rows into compost piles (that;s a mouthful...did I make that clear?)
Sounds good.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much! I'm going to put "duckie straw" around exisiting plants and then try to get my hands on some pallets (shouldn't be too hard) and have DH build me a bin. Again thanks for all the info and ideas!
 
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