Assistance for faster compost please

What can I add to my compost pile of hay and goat/rabbit manure and some leaves to speed up the composting time. I did layer it somewhat with older compost/dirt from an older pile,did wet it and have covered it up with a tarp(I found out that does help speed up the breakdown process as the pile doesn't dry out) Thanks all you composters :) Jerome
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1) Build a henyard and buy some chickens
2) Put the compost heap inside of the chicken yard in a corner
Works for me. ;-) I never have to "turn" compost. The chooks keep it all stirred up, especially the kitchen scraps.
By the time they rake it thru the wire, it's ready for the garden. 2 weeks tops for most stuff...
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On Tue, 20 Apr 2004 09:55:30 -0400 in

it going pretty quickly. Keep the pile damp, toss it once a week, and get yourself a pitchfork, go around the sides every couple days, and loosen it up with the pitchfork around the sides, so it gets air. Covering it with a tarp might help raise the temperature, but it needs air to live.
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JRYezierski said:

Air -- ideally, the base of the pile should be constructed in some way to let air enter at the bottom, and then convection will carry it up through the composting matter.

Mix the pile up thoroughly. Get air into the bottom. Put some airways up through the pile. The tarp may help keep the pile from drying out, but make sure it isn't also preventing the pile from breathing -- you may need to suspend it over the pile somehow. A fast, hot composting pile needs to breathe.
Send me an email (see sig for correction) and I can send you some information on hot, batch composting.
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Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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this is the first year I tried to get compost going quickly. Usually, I turn in about 1 month in, and use it about a month after that as mulch!
This year, I came into a lot of organics all at once, so was able to build 2 piles right away! And BIG ones, about 6' tall, and in 6' diameter steel wire enclosures.
one more thing I did, that i never did before, is to install right in the center of each stack, a 2" pvc pipe, that i drilled 3/8" holes in, about every 6" around the pipe. The pipe is good for 2 things. First, it keeps a good, fresh supply of air to the core of the pile. Second, it is VERY easy to test the temperature--I just drop an old candy thermometer on the end of a string into the pile to test the temp.
Another thing I did, was instead of watering it like normal, while building, I made sort of a slurry of nice, fresh hog manure from a buddy. I had mostly carbon based stuff (some old straw bales left over from last halloween!), some veggie scraps, but kind of layered the straw with fresh grass clippings from my mower with a collection bag on it.
I'll tell you, it topped and stayed at 160 degrees for about 3 days. I turned the piles, they topped at 160 again., but by then had reduced in volume that when I turned them again, they topped at 160 again--after I combined them.
When I turned it last, it topped out at 120, so I think I'm getting close to finished with this batch.
I think the trick is SURFACE AREA. The bacteria cannot enter throught tough veggie skins, branches, bark, and stuff like that.
The mower with collector did a fine job on the lawn clippings--especially the leaves I didn't get around to raking last fall! The straw I didn't worry so much about--sort of shook it loose and airy. My hedge trimmings (and there were plenty of those in the pile) were cut up into smaller pieces. I used a lopper on bigger chuncks, to cut them down to short lengths, and the smaller ones with a hand shears. most likely they won't break down durning this run, but will help innoculate the next one.
Also, I added as much kitchen waste as possible. but this time i used an old clunker of a blender from a resale shop to grind it up. It's kind of a nasty process, but seems to help really get the pile going. I add my egg shells, veggie peelings, rotten veggies, stuff that I get from the local produce place.... and I cube them up, add some water, then set it to "pulse" to blend it up into a nasty looking sludge.
Then I use a turning fork (the best investment I ever made), open the pile about a foot deep, then dump it in and cover it back up with working compost.
no smell, no bugs, no sweat!
If you get to it, chekc out "let it rot"--the ultimate guide to composint!
Later John
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On 22 Apr 2004 21:31:39 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Bpyboy) wrote:

You're a Devoted man aren't you John? There are those guys who *INVEST* in their lawns, but you are REALLY invested in your composting! ;-D
I'd like to have a good compost supply myself, and if I were young or had access to a pickup and some teenagers with too much energy I'd run around and pick up as many leaves as I could in the fall and mow 'em up and make at least a pile of leaves to use or let rot.. but I don't think that I could go so far as to use a blender to grind up garbage.. <shudder> at least not in the quantities you seem to be talkin'about!
But.. I can almost see ya out there with your fork leanin' on it just a beamin' in your pride of achievement! And Congratulations in your energy and dedication! It's a great energy burner, exercise, and feeding your compost to feed the ground so you can feed yourself is great! Now, could you come move this big pile o' stuff in my back yard? ;-)
Janice
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Great post John - a keeper if ever there was one.
Many thanks
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Another thing to add to speed up the composting is COKE! I remember reading about it in Organic Gardening a few years back. I don't know if it is the carbonization, the sugar, or the phosphoric acid. I find that it does heat the pile up. I also add stale beer. Don't limit your compost collecting to only solids. Fishtank water is good as are many of the liquids we pour down the drain.
Ed
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Laser6328) wrote in message

What about Mtn Dew, coffee, OJ, and/or milk?
Cinnamon L - Cincinnati OH
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snipped-for-privacy@cinci.rr.com (Cinnamon) wrote in message

I think the Dew, Coffee and OJ would all be fine. I'd worry about the smell of the milk though it would obviously decompose in a compost heap.
Phosphoric acid is high in phosphate so it seems that would be very helpful for lots of green plants (i.e. after you composted the material). As high school ecology students can attest, dumping Coke into an aqueous community creates great algal blooms.
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But in the garden and mixed with the other compost, it's not going to smell bad like you spilt the milk in the boot of the car.
Steve
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