Composting....do you do it? what does your setup look like?

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Never really done a lot of composting but it seems like a good idea for all kinds of reasons. Should I buy a composting container or make something? Where should I put it in the (sun?)

Tips/tricks?
 

Golddiggie

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You can use a container, or just make a 'bin' to contain the pile. I've seen both systems used with great success. It's just a matter of how much you plan to compost. If you have a lower amount, over the year, you can easily use the containers. If you want to include grass trimmings, and such, then you'll probably want something larger. At my sister/mother's place, the compost pile is contained with cinder blocks. Every so often it gets moved/turned over. You will want to have some dirt that you can toss onto whatever you put on the pile. That serves a couple of purposes. For one thing, it helps hide it from scavengers. For another, it helps the organics to break down. During the warmer months, it's not a bad idea to add a bit of water to the pile too (helps things move along).

If you can, try to go to a nursery, or even Lowe's/HD to get some advise on building a very productive compost pile/setup.

I look forward to the day when I have one. I'll need to be living in a different place (renting this house), where I can actually put a garden in, that will do well (not enough sun in the back yard).

BTW, from what I recall, you want to position the pile so you get as much sun on it as possible. Several hours at least (if possible).
 
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My compost pile is just that: A pile of crap along the woodline in my backyard. No containers, though you could always just build a simple wood corral. Anything potentially stinky gets buried in it.

Since my municipality charges per trash bag, we compost all organic food waste, like corn husks, banana peels, and the like. A number of people have said not to do this, but I also use it for the dog's poop which seems to help along the earthworm population . We have a shovel we keep right next to the pile for. After the pile gets to a certain size, I start a second one right next to it. After a couple years, the first pile is done then the second pile "ferments".
 

Golddiggie

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subscribed, been wondering how to start this as well.
can the compost pile be allowed to freeze in the winter?
You can't prevent it from freezing in the winter.

IMO, if you have the volume to do as Obie does, do so. I would also suggest turning over piles at least once a year (more often if you have the room). My father used to do this every few months to the pile(s) and we got GREAT stuff from them. Covering up even non-stinky items helps to break them down faster too.

Keep in mind, a compost pile won't give you great stuff instantly. You'll need to work on it for a bit. I'd suggest planning on using the results the following growing season.
 
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I bought a large piece of plastic lattice, formed it in to a hoop, zip-tied it together and staked it to the ground. I keep it next to a brush disposal area in the corner of my yard. I use probably half as many trash bags as I used to. It's been a couple years and I haven't used any of it for planting yet, but I plan to in the spring.
 
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ive used several methods one I just made a corral out of chicken wire and rebar, it worked good the only drawback was your adding new material to ready to use compost. currently im using a plastic composter someone gave me basically a round tube the size of a 55 gallon drum with a cover, doesn't work all that great and is kinda small, the only benefit of this is it is easy to turn over. I'm thinking of going to a three bin system 3bins 3x3x3 all nailed together made out of scrap wood or old pallets. with this method you can add this years debris then move on to the next bin with new material while you are waiting for the first bin to break down and so on.
 
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Woodstone

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I've got three of something similar to this in my backyard... Geobin Composting System, Geobin Compost Bin Review, Reviews

Every season:

the third one gets used in the garden,
stuff in the second gets flipped to the empty third (aeration),
stuff in the first gets flipped to the empty second (aeration),
and now I have one to fill over the year...works for me...black gold every time.

I use these because it is easy to keep my dog out of them.

Would probably just use piles if I could...would be A LOT easier to flip the piles.

EVERYTHING goes into them except cooked items...paper towels, tissues, foodstuffs, leaves, green cuttings, lobster shells (ok, cooked), etc. - no woody items and no animal wastes.
 
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Woodstone

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Thanks for all the info. I am reading up on the right ratios for sure.

Anyone have experience with a product like this: Amazon.com: Lifetime 60028 65-Gallon Compost Tumbler: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Easy to tumble?
I bet most of those tumblers work fairly well but they are limited in size.
Your waste is also not sitting on the ground attracting the necessary critters, bugs, worms, etc.
You'll essentially have to add it all in with "hot mix" and other "boosters" they try to sell you.
Plus keeping it damp/wet is key and in a tumbler, you've got the thing all bundled up in a plastic drum.
I don't care to water mine because they sit for a year or two and get plenty of moisture with the weather...you'll specifically need to water.
Your biggest benefit is you can overturn and aerate at will.
It all comes down to what you are willing to sacrifice.
 

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IMO/IME, worms are a good thing to have going through the compost pile.

Have/get a pitch fork and you can 'fluff' the pile periodically.
 

Woodstone

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Worms are KEY.
A lot of shops even sell worms to add to your compost pile.
If you've got a good pile going...you'll have a worm factory, which you can add to other piles etc.
I turned over a pile this year and literally could reach down and grab fists full of baby worms in certain pockets...strange to see the first time, trust me!
 
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Those nice looking ones like that tumbler will break it down slower than a box made from pallets on the ground, or a circle frame of chicken wire. You need a certain large mass of junk to get the pile really cooking. The worms and other bugs that get in there from being directly on the ground help as well.
BUT, that tumbler is much nicer to look at that some pallets strapped together. Also much easier to turn than a pitchfork into a pile.

You can google "composting bin ideas" for some sample ideas for how to build one, if that's the way you want to go.

I tried to give it a go a few years back. I didn't end up generating enough greens consistently to work over the leaves from the previous fall. I might give it a go again this year, after seeing this thread. The side by side bins using 5 pallets is the easiest way to "turn" the pile. Just shovel it from one bin to the other! Good luck
 
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I have a rickety little corral that I built with 2x2's and 2x6's that sits next to my shed facing south/south west where it gets a good amount of daily sun. I throw in all my egshells, any unused plant material from food prep, coffee grinds, grass clippings, and leaves that are already a little broken down from a leaf pile at the edge of my yard. I turn it once a week with a pitchfork, and once in a while I'll weed it to keep the volunteer vegetable plants from taking hold.

I get out black dirt that makes my vegetables grow twice as big as unfed plants. My only beef with my setup is I dont really put in enough to get out enough to feed my whole garden bed.

My mother has one of the pre made bins from the hardware store. She follows a similar routine for positioning and what goes into it, but with more grass clippings (she loves her lawn and bags her leaves, I mow my crabgrass and dump my leaves in a pile) and the output is garbage compared to mine.

As to composting in the winter, you dont really get any output, but the freeze thaw cycle does an excellent job in preparing stuff for breakdown in the spring.

I forgot where online I saw it, but some site I was on had a really cool compost heap build with cinder blocks and a piece of plexiglass over the top. The next season they removed the plexi and the top two layers of blocks and had a really good raised bed ready to plant.
 
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corrals, tumblers, bins


guys its a pile of waste dont make it more complicated. We have a pile on the edge of the woods, that's it.
In my case, corral is just a nice descriptor for a shitty three sided box. While I agree it isnt complicated, I find the idea of having to buy dirt to improve my soil completely retarded. For my minimal effort, I get free, rich soil to add to my garden. My next door neighbor has a waste pile out back of his property, he gets nothing back but half decomposed leaves.
 

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In my case, corral is just a nice descriptor for a shitty three sided box. While I agree it isnt complicated, I find the idea of having to buy dirt to improve my soil completely retarded. For my minimal effort, I get free, rich soil to add to my garden. My next door neighbor has a waste pile out back of his property, he gets nothing back but half decomposed leaves.
Do we live next door to each other?

I need to find a way to make my leaf/lawn clipping pile decompose faster. Is it just lime and periodic pitchforking?
 

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IME, putting up some sides just helps to contain the pile. Depending on where you are, that could be of value, or not. Growing up, our compost pile was anywhere in the garden we wanted. I believe we even had a section of the garden set up for composting during the growing season. The area was large enough to easily contain the pile too.

Man, all this talk of composting and what you do with it really makes me want to get a place where I can do it.
 

GunGrey

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In my case, corral is just a nice descriptor for a shitty three sided box. While I agree it isnt complicated, I find the idea of having to buy dirt to improve my soil completely retarded. For my minimal effort, I get free, rich soil to add to my garden. My next door neighbor has a waste pile out back of his property, he gets nothing back but half decomposed leaves.
probably because he just keeps piling it up and doesnt do jack with it. Gotta turn it over cant just keep piling it aeration is the key to success

it you just pile it, it will mat down and nothing will happen.
 
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I need to find a way to make my leaf/lawn clipping pile decompose faster.
Put down the rake and use a lawn mower with a bag to do most of your fall yard cleanup. Leaves get chopped up and mixed in with the grass, and decomp faster as a result. The relative dampness of the grass also helps keep the leaves from blowing from the compost back onto your lawn.

Also, in addition to the dog, the wife and I have two cats. We compost the pine pellet litter we use. I find that the baking soda we add and the ammonia and urea from the cat piss eliminates any need to add a basic chemical, like lime.
 
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for leaves theres a couple ways

put them in the middle of the pile

or just do a leaf pile by creating a base of sticks then pile on top. also you can do layers of dirt in between layers of leafs.

Chop it, smaller pieces break down faster
 
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