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Discussion Starter #1
I'm interested in making compost and I have the following ingredients:


1. Half a dump-truck load of wood chips. These wood chips are not aged; they are 2-3 months old.

2. Good-sized pile of grass clippings. About half a pick-up truck load.

3. Good-sized pile of dead dried leaves. About half a pick-up load now, but if I collect the rest of the leaves that have fallen since, it would be a full pick-up load.

4. Big rubbermaid tub of rabbit poop.

5. Probably about 10 gallons of kitchen waste compost that I've been adding to a barrel for a while now. Figured I could add some of this as a "starter."

I was planning on making "speed compost"--where you make a big pile of everything and turn it every one or two days and have finished compost in less than 2 months

My question is, how much of each of these ingredients do I use in my pile to get good compost?

Also, I have a tree stump in my yard that I don't like. Can I drill holes in it, fill the holes with "Stump-Out," then put my compost pile on top of it? I figure after having compost on top of it for a few months that tree stump is a goner.

Any other compost suggestions are welcome.
 

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I wouldnt worry about turning it that often this time of year. Your pile shouldnt be super hot. Can you get more manure?
 

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Oh I see you want speed composting....in that case you definitely need more manure!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I also have a chicken coop that's had chickens in there about 3 weeks. I could collect some manure from there, and there's also a guy two houses down with horses, maybe I could get some manure from him.

Would it behoove me to make some compost tea, add a bunch of molasses to it, then dump it onto the top of the pile after I've finished assembling the pile? Seems like it might help.
 

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You want a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 25/30% carbon to 1% nitrogen. Whatever that means. Browns and greens. It's not rocket science. Put all your stuff in a pile and stir it up. If it doesn't heat up you need more nitrogen. If it's stinky, you need more carbon.

Here a chart: http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/c-n-ratio/

And do check out the Extreme Composting thread. It's not just extreme, it's epic.
 

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You want a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 25/30% carbon to 1% nitrogen. Whatever that means.
I think that should be "parts" and not %. As in, 30 parts carbon material to 1 part nitrogen material or 30 - five gallon buckets of carbon material to one - five gallon bucket of nitrogen material.

That is the ratio that I try to follow. But, I do not sit there and measure it out.

If it doesn't heat up you need more nitrogen. If it's stinky, you need more carbon.

That is a very good rule of thumb to follow, especially when the pile starts to smell. I had many a compost pile in bear country and the bears were never attracted to them since they did not stink.


I'm interested in making compost and I have the following ingredients:


1. Half a dump-truck load of wood chips. These wood chips are not aged; they are 2-3 months old.

2. Good-sized pile of grass clippings. About half a pick-up truck load.

3. Good-sized pile of dead dried leaves. About half a pick-up load now, but if I collect the rest of the leaves that have fallen since, it would be a full pick-up load.

4. Big rubbermaid tub of rabbit poop.

5. Probably about 10 gallons of kitchen waste compost that I've been adding to a barrel for a while now. Figured I could add some of this as a "starter."

I was planning on making "speed compost"--where you make a big pile of everything and turn it every one or two days and have finished compost in less than 2 months

My question is, how much of each of these ingredients do I use in my pile to get good compost?

Also, I have a tree stump in my yard that I don't like. Can I drill holes in it, fill the holes with "Stump-Out," then put my compost pile on top of it? I figure after having compost on top of it for a few months that tree stump is a goner.

Any other compost suggestions are welcome.

I do what is called "hot" composting which sounds to me to be the same thing you are calling "speed" composting, but I do not turn it every one or two days. I have a long thermometer that I stick into the pile and I pay attention to the temperature. Usually it spikes at about 160 degrees F and then starts to go back down. That is when I turn it to aerate and moisten the pile.

One source of manure that I use is the stall bedding from a horse farm. It has saw dust and wood "shavings" mixed in. The wood shavings take a bit longer than two months to compost down so I can only imagine that wood "chips" would take a bit longer.

Grass clippings can be a double edged sword. If they are freshly cut and green then it would be considered a nitrogen material. If they are old, dry and brown they might be considered more of a carbon material.

I try to collect leaves as soon as they drop, then mulch and bag them. Leaves lose their nutrients as they die and dry up. When I open the leaf bags in the spring to use in a compost bin I can still smell that fresh sweet odor that the leaves had in the Fall. I also take two or three leaf bags and set them aside each year and do not touch them for at least five years. They turn into leaf mold which is great stuff for seeding.

I am betting that the barrel of kitchen waste has a bit of an odor to it by now. Throw it into the middle of the pile and mix it up.

With regards to the "stump-out", I would be a little reluctant to use it without understanding what was in the mixture that rots out the stump. Read the label and see if there are things in the ingredients that make your skin crawl. If so, think about not using it in the compost. I use my compost primarily for a vegetable garden and I try very hard to keep the nasty stuff out of my garden.

TRellis
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the help everyone! I'll do what I can with my ingredients tomorrow. :)

Too bad about the wood chips taking so long, but at least hopefully they'll be broken down by sometime in spring.
 

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I've got a pile of 100 ton composting right now. There is steam coming off every morning. I don't think you can hide the the smell of decomposition with carbon, maybe you can override it. But your gonna need more way more carbon...Just IMO...on the top of the pile. I'm striving for the complete pile to compost, so I've wet it down. I've been surprised at the moisture amounts in the hot spots It's wet, not just a damp feeling!damp feeling spots have lots of mold growing, wet feeling is hot!!! You can't stick your hand into it, and leave it!

It's a pile of bad hay and straw,..30 ton, two belly dumps of manure....maybe 40 plus ton, a guy who has been hauling in wood chips in a bobtail single axle most of the summer, Couldn't guess how much they have brought? A load a day for quite a while, now a load every 3-4 days? City who has been bringing grass clippings and now leaves.

It's all free to me, the bad hay and straw, I collected on a return home with a stackwagon. The rest they haul to me!

I've put a hose and sprinkler on it twice, for a week...got some brown water out of it. just takes a lot to soak it up! over 100,000 gallons. I'm on well water, so overall expense isn't exorbitantly high. And there are still some spots that need watered!

Still, I smell it working! At first it was a sour mash smell, then a little bit of ammonia smell. Doesn't bother me, cuz I know its working! If you've got a big pile of decaying/decomposing material nearby, you will notice it!

Little peeper toads are all over it, depite being surrounded by open space. This was this morning at 23*
 

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I've got a pile of 100 ton composting right now. There is steam coming off every morning. I don't think you can hide the the smell of decomposition with carbon, maybe you can override it. But your gonna need more way more carbon...Just IMO...on the top of the pile. I'm striving for the complete pile to compost, so I've wet it down. I've been surprised at the moisture amounts in the hot spots It's wet, not just a damp feeling!damp feeling spots have lots of mold growing, wet feeling is hot!!! You can't stick your hand into it, and leave it!

It's a pile of bad hay and straw,..30 ton, two belly dumps of manure....maybe 40 plus ton, a guy who has been hauling in wood chips in a bobtail single axle most of the summer, Couldn't guess how much they have brought? A load a day for quite a while, now a load every 3-4 days? City who has been bringing grass clippings and now leaves.

It's all free to me, the bad hay and straw, I collected on a return home with a stackwagon. The rest they haul to me!

I've put a hose and sprinkler on it twice, for a week...got some brown water out of it. just takes a lot to soak it up! over 100,000 gallons. I'm on well water, so overall expense isn't exorbitantly high. And there are still some spots that need watered!

Still, I smell it working! At first it was a sour mash smell, then a little bit of ammonia smell. Doesn't bother me, cuz I know its working! If you've got a big pile of decaying/decomposing material nearby, you will notice it!

Little peeper toads are all over it, depite being surrounded by open space. This was this morning at 23*
I dream of the day that I have both the space and the equipment to compost like you do. In my present location I have to make do with four Lehigh style compost bins. Hot composting them during the entire year I can reliably get at least ten bins (320 cubic feet, minimally) of finished compost to use in my garden. Just enough to spread about 6 inches of compost in each garden bed every year. I would like more, but presently, I am just not able to do so.

... It is not that the carbon hides the smell of decomposition, it prevents the microorganisms that do the composting from giving off nitrogen in the form of ammonia due to a lack of carbon material. At least according to "The Rodale book of composting".

Because I now have neighbors living real close to my garden area I have to keep bad odors to a minimum. Therefore, I have to pay fairly close attention to the mixture ratio of the compost.

TRellis
 

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Depending on what you will do with the compost I would not put the wood chips in. I would shread the leaves with a lawn mower to help break down quicker. If the wood chips have green bark and leaves mixed I would wet good and keep it separate, turn the pile every 2-3 weeks, then in the spring use it for a bottom layer in raised beds or mulch around trees and such. After you start the compost pile you can add more as you see fit when you turn it, not enough heat add more green, slimy mess add more dry. You could add the center of the chip pile then if needed....James
 
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