Compost Heap

Up against our newly erected concrete garage which gets no sun as its north facing we have made a compost construction of some timbers which made the roof of our old brick garage.(which has been demolished) This "Heath Robinson" construction is 18"(1'6") deep by 18'(18ft) and nobody will see it but our family.
Now I relise that I have built this thing in haste and maybe dropped a clanger as we were hoping to use this to put garden clippings such as cabbage leaves, carrot tops, spent bean stalks etc..All the usual garden waste AND leaves from our many trees.
We have been told that tree leaves must be seperate from normal garden refuse and that as the heap gets no sun it will take years before they rot down.
Give me some good news please.
Sandra and Micky
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wrote:

All living things are good but Išd skip fat. The surface area is important smaller being better as the main issue is oxygen contact. You can chop it fine or leave it bigger which take longer. Turning your pile increases O2 contact so I'd turn your large into thre or more divisions and turn into the next . Think of O2 as fire, rust, burning, rotting same thing just at different rates in time.
http://compost.css.cornell.edu/physics.html
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden
globalvoicesonline.org
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'Escargo[_2_ Wrote: > ;898514']Up against our newly erected concrete garage which gets no sun > as its north

> the

>

> rot

You can put leaves of most trees in with other waste in a compost heap. Oak takes a long time to decompose though. The lack of sunlight should not be a problem, it is the decomposition process which creates the heat in a heap. However the shallow depth might be, our is 2 metres by 2 metres by 2 metres in depth. And in any case, if the stuff does take a long time to rot down, so what? We only empty out the complete heap of ours every other year.
And if the stuff only turns into some bad smelling slime, then all you do is bury it in the garden and it will rot down in the soil.
--
Owdboggy


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    Shred the leaves, if you can, and disregard further composting advice from that source, sez I.

    The heat comes from aerobic decomposition, not from the sun. It's and indicator, not an instigator. What "Bill S." said: His "site-ation" is excellent, IMO.     The importance of water can't be overemphasized. It might help to think of composting as microbe farming :-) The pile must be kept uniformly moist but not so wet as to trigger anaerobic decomp.     Disregard all of the crap about green-to-brown ratios and nitrogen. If you think it "need" N, then that's what blood meal is for.     That's enough. Too many participants here cannot retain more than a few sentences and I already have overshot the mark.
--
Good Luck,
the Balvenieman
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wrote:

Interesting, I use 10-10-10 with success. An our piles are mostly Oak in 3'dia x 3'H pens. They are under trees, they do get some morning sun, but it basically dries them out.
Cheers
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    Oh, yes; just about any fertilizer will do as an amendment or accelerant, even those "evil chemicals", but manufactured fertilizer should be used sparingly (IMO) and mixed in thoroughly so as not to kill microbes, briefly retarding the process somewhat. My compost piles max out to about the same size as yours; I fence restrain with field wire when volume requires. At present, I'm relocating those activities more proximate the garden. The "new" piles are under a magnolia tree and will not see the sun.
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the Balvenieman
USDA zone 9b, peninsular Florida, U.S.A.
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snipped-for-privacy@invalid.net says...

Compost happens. I don't care how long it takes.

Compost happens even without the pile heating up. It just takes longer.

I don't micromanage the moisture level. Partly due to living in a somewhat rainy/humid area. The bins are across the yard, far enough that I won't notice a moderate smell if they go anaerobic.

If you think it needs some Nitrogen, that's what urine is for. Free, and you don't have to go to the hardware store to get it. Adds moisture, too.
And I don't care if the materiel is "fully" composted. I dig a little trench or hole within the vegetable beds, dump some stuff in, cover with a little soil. Maybe put in a plant right then. Although I am talking about household stuff, rather than, say, horse manure right from the source.
I don't like to just dump stuff on the top of the bed, because (a) other people can see it, and (b) I like in a windy area, where leaves, clippings, etc would get blown off the veg beds.
Really - composting can be as simple or as complex as you want. I prefer simple.
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Get Credit Where Credit Is Due
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    Well, to each his own. Some do care how long compost takes to happen. It can be difficult to distinguish an untended compost heap from a trash pile and especially so when discussing it with zoning code enforcement minions in rented shirts. It can't be said that I micro-manage moisture content but neither am I prepared to wait the years it can take for a trash pile to decompose. I'm in peninsular Florida; tell your mama about rainy and humid but don't tell me. Most years (like right now), I have to cover my working compost in the rainy season. There really is such thing as too wet. I always have composted literally right outside open windows but I am building new compost piles some distance from the house and nearer to the garden for purely practical reasons: Picking, toting, wheelbarrowing are losing their charm, although, sieving ripe compost is my absolute favorite garden "task". Man, with a comfortable bucket to sit on under a shade tree, maybe Rubenstein or Horowitz and a Beethoven sonata in the headset and I'm a happy gardener. Although I do sidedress with finished compost, I wouldn't consider dumping compost or mulch on top of a bed and simply leaving it there, although, some do and call it "no till". A lady named Ruth Stout actually wrote a couple of books about the practice some years back as if it were something new; wish I'd thought of _that_. I mix compost into the soil; by hand; no tools. Neither do I mulch. In a well-spaced intensive bed, mulch simply is a place for cutworms to hide, as far as I can determine. I never in my life heard of anyone mixing "fresh" manure into garden soil until I began reading this ng. I always thought the composting of manures was axiomatic in order to kill seeds, to kill pathogens, and to degrade antibiotics, steroids and whatever else may have passed through the animal's gut that I may not want in mine. I still enjoy the look on rubes' faces when my reply to their question regarding my intentions toward the horse hockey on my truck is, "Eat it".
--
Sorry to have used so many sentences,
the Balvenieman
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Escargo wrote:

The heap needs to be damp (not wet) so this dampness is likely to seep into the garage wall which could cause problems. Also several compartments are better than one as then when one is full you leave it and fill the next. When the oldest has rotted down you dig it out and start refilling it again, and round and round you go. Being only shallow it will lose heat generated by the microbes and so rot down quite slowly. You may be able to improve this by lining and/or covering with old carpet or something similar. Heat loss is no big deal if you have room for (say) three compartments.

Put the leaves in with the rest, the mix will do better than separated. It will take some time but if it is only 2/3 done after a year and you want to use it that is fine. There is no inspector coming to check to make sure you don't use immature compost.
David
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Normal compost bins rely on full sun.
I have a couple of 240 Litre worm farms sitting in the shade because they require shade.
Compost worms need to be purchased because normal earth worms can't exist in a worm farm.
Habitating compost worms. Cabbage leaves, carrot tops, spent bean stalks etc. Egg shells, tea leaves & coffee grounds, vegetable peelings in fact almost all vegetable are welcome except onion skins.
My worm farms don't have the capacity to accept lawn clippings, leaves and branches from trees.

--

John

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John Morrison wrote:

No. They rely on a suitable combination of air, moisture, temperature and nutrients to keep the microorganisms growing and breaking down the organic matter. This does not involve sunlight. In some climates it may be too cold for the bugs to grow well without heat from the sun especially in the colder months but that is by no means universal. Even so you will get breakdown eventually.

Otherwise the worms are likely to get too hot and/or dry out and not thrive.

Yes if you are running a compost worm system. But a basic compost heap does not require compost worms, that is another system of breaking down organic matter.

What is wrong with onion skins? If the worms fart will it disturb your rest?

That may well be true but I don't see what it has to do with the question asked by the OP.
David
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    Perhaps his livestock do not eat onion skins? I know (anecdotally) that they do not decompose as fast as most other plant materials. I learned to exclude dried peanut shells because they remain for years, although, fresh shells compost readily.     I am grateful that the native worms here in Florida have not heard the news that they cannot exist in a worm farm. In the 1950's, my uncle farmed "regular" worms in raised beds, feeding them corn meal, for very many years. However, I am aware that, though the castings were valuable, he was _not_ deliberately composting.
--
the Balvenieman
USDA zone 9b, peninsular Florida, U.S.A.
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No Name;898630 Wrote: > "David Hare-Scott" snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

> rest?-

The kind of worms which are used in British worm farms are exactly the same ones as sold in Angling shops as bait and a lot cheaper than buying them from specialist companies too. Funny how they manage to appear in our heaps all on their own though.
This seems to have wandered off the original question a lot though. About the only thing which does not seem to rot down on my heaps is dry straw.I never add any fertiliser, Garotta or anything else, except the occasional dose of urine when I am caught short in the garden.
--
Owdboggy


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