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Old 03-06-11, 09:04 AM   #1
work4bike
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Any Composters Out There?

Iím an avid composter, been doing it now for nearly five years. Just curious if anyone else composts and what method you use?

When I first started I read many articles online and books from the library. I was undecided on which bin design I wanted to build and was NOT going to buy one from a store. As I was trying to decide which bin design I wanted, I decided I would just start burying my food waste and compostable material in a shallow hole in the back corner of my yard, then cover with leaves to trap in the moisture. Nearly five years later I have not built a bin and donít plan to; I later found out thereís a name for my composting method Ė Pit Composting

This method works perfect for me, because I donít have all that much food waste and it breaks down very fast, because there are tons of organisms (large and small) that just devour it, vice in a bin where the bulk of the break down process is by microorganisms Ė my pile attracts tons of little composters, including numerous worms. There is practically no maintenance; the only real maintenance I do is turn the pile, which I do as I add food waste/compostable materials, much of which is bulky stuff to keep the pile aerated. I never need to turn the pile between adding food waste, so itís practically maintenance free.

Iíve used the finished compost on my garden with great results, one of which was tomatoes that grew well over 7-feet tall and were very healthy. Also, my pile is near three large trees, so theyíre getting the benefits of what their root systems can suck up. And itís great to not ever need to buy fertilizer/soil amendments.
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Old 03-06-11, 09:21 AM   #2
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Yup, we compost everything we can. Currently we're using a black plastic compost bin. Not my favourite method as it's more difficult to turn over. The best method we've used is simply piling it up in the corner of our yard. However that's when we had a large enough yard that we could hide the pile.
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Old 03-06-11, 09:30 AM   #3
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Yes, for the last ~6 years. I cobbled a few old pallets together to create a bin behind the garage. I've been neglectful in turning it but haven't removed anything from it in that time. To be fair, I only throw kitchen scraps in it...not too many longer-term items like the branches/twigs, etc that drop from my box elder and chestnut trees. Since starting, the bin has been composting itself
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Old 03-06-11, 09:48 AM   #4
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We all become compost at some point in time.
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Old 03-06-11, 09:53 AM   #5
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I am using a stackable that works well in the given space. I toss a lot out there with the exception of proteins because they don't break down as fast of other foods. Fortunately, the worms came on their own and do a good job at helping to get rid of waste so that I can use the compost at the beginning of every season.
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Old 03-06-11, 09:57 AM   #6
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My worms are always alert with the compost being 90% coffee grounds
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Old 03-06-11, 11:13 AM   #7
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Pile in the corner of the garden. I've also started saving every scrap metal for recycling, even the foil from wine bottles. Now I need to hire one of those guys that make gold leaf to compact it for me.
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Old 03-06-11, 11:22 AM   #8
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Yep. I've got one of those green plastic compost bins that is nearly full. I plan on having a vegetable garden this year for the first time at this house so I should have a good start with compost. I use it mainly for grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen waste although once the grass slows down it's growing cycle in the summer heat I usually just mulch that into the yard.
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Old 03-06-11, 07:21 PM   #9
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Our current house came w/ one of these:



Previously I have only just made a pile.

I just dug 5 gal out of ours.

I also operate a large (dumpster-sized) worm bin at my kids' school. Yesterday I took 2 wheelbarrows' worth of castings out of that one. I emptied it over the summer. I can't quite remember if these 2 wheelbarrows are from all the school lunches to date, or if I did harvest one other time earlier in the year.
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Old 03-06-11, 07:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
Yup, we compost everything we can. Currently we're using a black plastic compost bin. Not my favourite method as it's more difficult to turn over. The best method we've used is simply piling it up in the corner of our yard. However that's when we had a large enough yard that we could hide the pile.
I started composting last year. I got one of those squarish green plastic deals.
It's big enough that I can use a rake to turn the pile. Maybe you can use a shovel
or pitchfork to mix up the compost.
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Old 03-06-11, 07:50 PM   #11
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I compost everything I eat.

Also, yes, I have a compost pile for yard waste.
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Old 03-06-11, 08:01 PM   #12
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We compost a fair amount. I had one of those black box composters and also wasn't real good about turning it. Passed it down and got a tumbler-type composter. I throw in the scraps, toss in a little water as needed and give it a spin. Great for aeration and speeds along the process.

My main issue is collecting the finished product. I keep piling scraps in, realizing that I should be scooping out some "black gold". I guess I need to start a separate pile for a few weeks to let the tumbler finish up, dump the tumbler and put the second pile in?
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Old 03-06-11, 09:53 PM   #13
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We have 1/2 of a plastic barrel, which is open at both ends. This sits in our garden. We throw our compostables in there. Every now and then I move the 1/2 barrel to a new location and work the compost into the soil. It works really well.
I also bury fish in the garden. In the spring I go out and catch several carp or dogfish which I bury about a foot below where the tomatoes will go. My maters do quite well because of this.
I like your pit composting idea.
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Old 03-07-11, 05:37 AM   #14
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Irving Berlin was a good composter.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:05 AM   #15
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I have a small yard that is mostly hardscape with a couple of planter beds. I have some fruit trees in large pots and use other big pots for tomatoes and other veggies. What kind of compost bin would work for me? A big bin won't fit in my yard.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:14 AM   #16
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I have a small yard that is mostly hardscape with a couple of planter beds. I have some fruit trees in large pots and use other big pots for tomatoes and other veggies. What kind of compost bin would work for me? A big bin won't fit in my yard.
http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-La...atalogId=10053

It would fit next to the trash cans.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I have a small yard that is mostly hardscape with a couple of planter beds. I have some fruit trees in large pots and use other big pots for tomatoes and other veggies. What kind of compost bin would work for me? A big bin won't fit in my yard.
Another option - Indoor vermiculturing This is more popular for apartment dwellers or people who don't generate much waste and/or would rather not go outside to dump scraps into a traditional barrel or bin.
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Old 03-07-11, 11:11 AM   #18
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Got a pen made of loosely stacked cinder blocks out back. Not fancy. Hard to turn. Hard to get at the stuff on the bottom. Not real pretty. But it does swallow up what I make and I make a haphazard effort to mix it some and remove the good stuff when I find a vein.

There could be bears living in there for all I know. Or care. If nature will eat my organic waste, then I will not ask too many questions.

I also just throw a lot of organic material directly it the vege garden bed. Not an elegant solution, but the soil there needs as much structure as I can find.

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Old 03-07-11, 12:07 PM   #19
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My hometown was selling black composting bins 8 years ago, my parents bought one. We put it behind a toolshed and compost everything we can -- egg shells, coffee grinds, basically anything organic that isn't meat or dairy. Every couple of years they go on a planting spree and use the compost from the bottom of the pile.

It looks like the one HardyWeinburg posted is what we use.
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Old 03-08-11, 11:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I have a small yard that is mostly hardscape with a couple of planter beds. I have some fruit trees in large pots and use other big pots for tomatoes and other veggies. What kind of compost bin would work for me? A big bin won't fit in my yard.
Two questions: How much free earth do you have and how much do you have to compost?

Iíve set aside the back corner of my lot itís an 8í x 12í area (96 sq. feet) and within that I have a pile of leaves in which I bury food scraps under, this pile of leaves is about 5 foot in diameter and between 12-18 inches tall, and I donít even use up all the area under the leaves, much less the entire 96 sq. ft. And because I bury the food about six inches underground and that area is covered by leaves Iíve never had a problem with critters.

I like the look of my compost pile, probably because I like a woodland-look to my yard. Iíve done this by ripping up most of my grass around all my trees (thatís what initially made up my compost pile) and replacing with mulch. I donít buy the mulch I go around to various neighborhoods and gather bags of leaves and bring home to scatter around; also can get free woodchips from tree removal companies. And just recently talked to a landscaper that will send me his collected leaves for free, itís easier for him to drop it off at my house than to take to a disposal site.

Actually I donít really have enough kitchen waste to justify such a large composting area, it could handle so much more stuff, but I keep it since I like to watch the soil being created and all the organisms involved with that process. Really all I would have to do is take my kitchen scraps and bury them under the mulched areas, never needing to turn the pile since there are so many earthworms now in my yard, along with other decomposing organisms (not to mention the microscopic decomposers), they do all the work. I can take a bucket of scraps out and bury it and have it be compost in about a month, max. Note: it's not humus, but it's decomposed enough to use in my garden

I generate about 5 pounds of scraps every two days, thatís about average for me. If you generate about the same amount you could just bury it in your planter beds, probably I donít know how big they are. There really is no reason to turn a pile unless itís a really big pile. The decomposers do all the work, unless itís a REALLY large pile, then you get the problem of it collapsing on itself as it decomposes, locking in air and creating a stinky situation, but you donít have that problem when you bury in very fertile ground.
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Old 03-08-11, 11:57 AM   #21
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My kitchen trash can doubles as a composter if I don't empty it often enough.
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Old 03-08-11, 12:35 PM   #22
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There really is no reason to turn a pile unless it’s a really big pile. The decomposers do all the work, unless it’s a REALLY large pile, then you get the problem of it collapsing on itself as it decomposes, locking in air and creating a stinky situation, but you don’t have that problem when you bury in very fertile ground.
Depends on how quickly you want it to compost. Turning it speeds the process which is particularly helpful when the grass is growing so fast in the early summer. Even then it fills up eventually.
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Old 03-08-11, 12:43 PM   #23
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I slapped together a box with 4 pallets and some heavy duty zipties. It sits near the backdoor next to the garbage and recycling bins. Sometimes I turn it, sometimes I don't. It doesn't really care. It's a fairly cold pile now, but has lots of little critters in there. As spring comes and my neighbors start putting their grass clippings out, I'll steal some to increase the nitrogen content and warm the pile. But like I said, it really doesn't care. It'll all eventually break down.
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Old 03-08-11, 12:58 PM   #24
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I also harvest my neighbor's grass clippings out of her yardwaste bin
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Old 03-08-11, 01:01 PM   #25
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It's funny that since I started with the composting, I've started noticing how much organic material my neighbors just throw away.
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