Newbie Compost Questions

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Newbie Compost Questions

Post by KrisHu » Mon, 12 Mar 2001 22:30:59



Sorry if this question has been asked a thousand times, but I cannot find
the info on a Deja/Google search. I am thinking of composting, first time,
and was wondering how long it takes for the stuff to break down into useable
compost.

I have seen adverti***ts for "rolling bins" that claim as little as two
weeks is needed, which seems way to short (are they adding some type of
enzyme to speed up breakdown?), and have heard that it takes as long as 6
months naturally, which seems a bit long. Which is it?

Also:
Must it sit in full sun? or does it self-heat allowing me to hide it in the
back where it's very shady, will shade slow it down?
Are these "rolling bins" good? seems easier than sticking a fork in it to
turn it.
If one is continually adding new material, how do you get an evenly
brokendown pile?
How do you know when to stop adding new material?

Thanks.

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Newbie Compost Questions

Post by <zent.. » Tue, 13 Mar 2001 01:25:04


Quote:

> I have seen adverti***ts for "rolling bins" that claim as little as two
> weeks is needed, which seems way to short (are they adding some type of
> enzyme to speed up breakdown?), and have heard that it takes as long as 6
> months naturally, which seems a bit long. Which is it?

  I guess the right answer is it depends. Under absolute perfect conditions
you might get it done in 2 weeks but I doubt thats normal. How long it
really takes depends on how much effort you want to put into it. I don't
turn it. I don't do a good job of mixing browns and greens when I throw
things in. I often don't cut things into small enough sizes. So it takes me
a while. What I do is I have two compost piles. When the first fills up I
start filling the second. During that time the first will shrink so I go
back to adding to the first. Eventually both are full up so I take the first
apart pulling the finished stuff out and moving the still unfinished stuff
back into the pile.

  If you are the type that is willing to keep a close eye on things then you
can get it to finish much quicker then me. Personally I don't see the need.

Nick

--
-----------------------------
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Bermuda triangle?
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Newbie Compost Questions

Post by Ashcrow Larkspur » Tue, 13 Mar 2001 09:34:13


Welcome to rec.gardens, newbie! We've all been there, so relax! ;)

There's plenty of great books, resources, and sites to better answer this
question, but I'll give you a few basics.

One: direct sunlight isn't really that importiant. The bacteria that you want
to be active creates their own heat, they don't need sunlight to work.  Compost
needs to stay as wet as a wrung out sponge to be active.  Not too wet, or it
will use the kind of bacteria that makes it stink (anaerobic bacteria), and not
too dry or it will slow down.

Secondly, after a bin is full, it's full.  Don't keep adding, as the process
will need time to digest all the material.  Usually the rule is to turn the
pile once every two weeks for the fastest decomposiion.  Turning also mixes in
fresh oxygen and exposes the materials to more of the bacteria.  This is all
essential for fast decomposition.

Those rolling bins don't work very well, in my opinion. I prefer just some sort
of box or such that is open to the soil underneath so that earthworms can enter
the mix and help keep things going.  Earthworms provide castings, which is even
more beneficial than compost alone.

Lastly, don't worry over it too much.  If you're not enjoying it, don't stress
out too much.  Some gardeners just bury their trimings and organic material
instead of composting.  This works well too!  Others shred their material with
a lawn mower.  This is an excellent way to speed up the process.  Others cover
their soil with a heavy layer of the material.  This is excellent as well as it
eliminates the need for a compost bin.

Keep experimenting and you'll find a way that works for you.  There is no set
way to do it.

Quote:

> Sorry if this question has been asked a thousand times, but I cannot find
> the info on a Deja/Google search. I am thinking of composting, first time,
> and was wondering how long it takes for the stuff to break down into useable
> compost.

> I have seen adverti***ts for "rolling bins" that claim as little as two
> weeks is needed, which seems way to short (are they adding some type of
> enzyme to speed up breakdown?), and have heard that it takes as long as 6
> months naturally, which seems a bit long. Which is it?

> Also:
> Must it sit in full sun? or does it self-heat allowing me to hide it in the
> back where it's very shady, will shade slow it down?
> Are these "rolling bins" good? seems easier than sticking a fork in it to
> turn it.
> If one is continually adding new material, how do you get an evenly
> brokendown pile?
> How do you know when to stop adding new material?

> Thanks.

> -----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
> http://www.moonsgarden.com/ - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
> -----==  Over 80,000 Newsgroups - 16 Different Servers! =-----

 
 
 

Newbie Compost Questions

Post by Leslie Bos » Tue, 13 Mar 2001 09:58:37


Aside from Ashcrows excellent advice, you could also go to the link
below which is the message board for 'MasterComposter.com'. Like here,
there is a great source of knowledgeable people and they basically just
talk composting..

http://pub30.bravenet.com/forum/show.php?usernum=2544104454&cpv=1

Leslie

Quote:

> Welcome to rec.gardens, newbie! We've all been there, so relax! ;)

> There's plenty of great books, resources, and sites to better answer this
> question, but I'll give you a few basics.

> One: direct sunlight isn't really that importiant. The bacteria that you want
> to be active creates their own heat,

--
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Newbie Compost Questions

Post by Sylvia Steige » Tue, 13 Mar 2001 16:06:17


Hi.  I'm a new composter myself, but have been reading voraciously to
try to make it work and have redworms growing in an aquarium in my house
for when I get the rolling composter finished!

Everything I've read boils down to "the more involved you get, the more
quickly the compost will be done."  That matters to me because I want to
have lots of compost to work into my soil this spring.  Check out books
your library has on composting.  I did buy a compost thermometer along
with my worm from Worm's Way, because it seems the compost will form
most expeditiously if you let it get up to 130-140 F before turning it,
but you need to watch the rolling composter and turn it every few days
if you really want to get it done in a couple of weeks.  I plan to sift
the barrel contents to get out the ready-to-use compost but leave worms
and not-yet-composted stuff to add more trash to.

--
Sylvia Steiger RN BS
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Cheyenne WY, zone 5a
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Newbie Compost Questions

Post by BeeCroft » Tue, 13 Mar 2001 22:53:28


Quote:
>because it seems the compost will form
>most expeditiously if you let it get up to 130-140 F before turning it,

A good pile will get hotter than this.
If you turn it when the temperature drops to about 120 you get fast results and
a second spike of temperature.
For fastest compost you want a 30/1 carbon to nitrogen ratio,shredded
materials, and the moistness of a wet but not dripping sponge.
If you pile damp organic material out in the weather it will rot. The heat is
nice because it kills some pathogens and some weed seeds.
If you make a weedy compost use it in deep shade where the weeds just cant
establish themselves.
If your compost is a bit slow and you can add grass clippings when you turn it,
it will speed up as they are nitrogen rich.
Compost is done when it cools and you no longer can recognize the ingrediants
for what they were.
 
 
 

Newbie Compost Questions

Post by Carol Crawfor » Wed, 14 Mar 2001 19:55:09


You might try this web site
http://www.a-horizon.com/compost/compost_menu.html

It provides some much needed answers, I composted with good results
from some of the advice found here

Good Luck