Compost Making. Utterly Confused!!

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You don't have to do bugger-all to make it work. All that scientific stuff will get you efficiency improvements. Depending on a lot of things those improvements may be small or large. Start simple and figure out what could be better based on experience.
I just use wire mesh "bins" which I turn no more often than monthly. In my cool dry climate it takes a season to produce good compost. I've got the time and the space, so...
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A L B E R T A Alfred Falk snipped-for-privacy@arc.ab.ca
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I would not use anything except chicken wire to line the boxes. You do need some air circulation.
Other than that- you don't need to do anything except start adding compostable material. The beauty of compost is that it works all on its own. Sure, if it gets really dry you can hose it down a little. You can add stuff in distinct layers (kitchen scraps/grass/soil for example) and you might speed things up a bit. But none of that is necessary. Um, you mentioned pallets- are they solid on the bottom? Will it be impossible for worms to migrate into the compost? If so, you might want to put some soil with worms on the bottom to start.
Chris
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Depends on temperature.

You can but it isn't absolutely essential
I was just thinking of simply piling in layers of stuff as and

Sounds OK to me

not unless you want it to go fast

it will degrade quite well without it, you may want to lime your garden as compost comes out slightly acidic but it depends on your soil and overall conditions how important this is

Only if you want it to work at maximum speed

no they will find there own way there

no but it is a useful thing to do with that resource

Calm down it is not such a big deal. You can try to be super scientific but if you are not it will still work but take longer.
David
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My Dad runs PVC pipe about his pile. The 6 or 8 inch diameter pipe has holes in it. Think pipe to defuse water but in this case it defuses oxygen. AKA less need to turn. Bill
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On 02/08/08 15:12, David Hare-Scott wrote:

hey David.
you give good practical advice. I think I go with wot u say.
Thanks,, Ed xxx
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Ed,
To answer some of your questions:
You want to have a natural air flow through the pile, so don't line it with anything.
Most important is to keep the pile moist. Dry piles don't go anywhere.
Certain things can add to the speed of the processing. One of these is to chop up everything as fine as you can. I take leaves and grass that have been run through a lawn mower. Straight whole leaves tend to pack together and slow things down. You can add an accelerant, like some fertilizer, but it is not absolutely necessary. I try to alternate the layers of the pile with green (i.e. grass) and brown (leaves). Turn the pile ( I try and do this at least once a season ) putting the dry unprocessed material on the bottom and the dark processed matter, on top. Water tends to settle to the bottom and that's where you want to assist the parts of the pile that are not quite cooked yet.
Sherwin
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On 03/08/08 04:54, Sherwin wrote:

Thanks Sherwin. That is very clear advice.
Ed
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Composting obviously doesn't have to complex or difficult. That being said, there is an excellent work on composting available on the web at: http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/030202/03010200.html
Chas
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wrote:

Good stuff.
I just scored a copy of the original "Let it rot" in a homesteading lot I bought last week but haven't had a chance to thumb thru it yet.
I need some help with a fairly large vermicomposting bin design to process rabbitry waste, preserve the "liquid gold", and not kill my back.
Anyone have any ideas?
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snipped-for-privacy@nomail.please (JustTom) wrote:

I was at a rabbit farm once that built the composting "bins" out of wood right under the rabbit cages, and stocked them with worms. The worms did not look that healthy tho', kinda pale and slender.
That might work if it was managed properly to keep it from becoming too acidic.
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wrote:

I;ve seen those, but I'm redesigning my barn to have the rabbits on the second floor and sliding the waste out of a drain to the bins outside. Most of the acidic urine will be washed out before making it to the bins, and they tend to stay away from the "hot corner" anyway.
I'm kind of thinking of something modular like the "can o worms" thing, only on a much larger scale.
I'd like it to be modular in design so that I could capture all of that lovely "liquid gold" the worm also produce. A little bit of that on the plants and they become very very happy.
I'd also like to easily remove a section of compost without killing my back, and allow stacking new modules as needed, just like the can o worms thing.
I currently basically just use the manure straight or diluted as manure tea, but I'd like the worms to refine it further for me.
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snipped-for-privacy@nomail.please (JustTom) wrote:

The worm castings are she on top of the soil (I gather them in my yard during the rainy season) in little piles. You can scoop them by hand. :-)

Coffee grounds make worms happy too, as does vegetable compost. :-)
Are there any vermiculture lists? I've not looked. My back yard is full of red worms so I've never had to box or buy them.
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wrote:

Not that I could find on usenet, but found a few on yahoo groups.
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snipped-for-privacy@nomail.please (JustTom) wrote:

Wow. I checked Giganews listings, and there is nothing specific for that.
I like Yahoo groups. I'm subbed to a few lists there.
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but apparently not zucchini. I can only presume that the pH of the coffee grounds was to low. The zucks wilted in the late morning light.They are recovering now but aren't happy campers. I put the grounds right where the stem comes out of the ground. I've put coffee grounds in the lettuce patch in the past, with no reaction.
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In article

You are supposed to compost the coffee grounds first, preferably thru earthworms. <g>
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But those zukes will give a good buzz, even without D cells. <g>
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In article

Only if cross-bred with San Pedro. ;-)
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Just to see, I put some garbage with a little water into a plastic pail with lid and left it out in the sun. What I wound up with was a pail of rotting garbage that eventually started breeding crop destroying worms!
I finally doused the whole mess with Malathion and dumped it a dumpster.
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Scientific!!! Nah, I just pile everything in to a wire mesh frame until its over full, leave it until it drops to about half full, spread it on the garden. Works for me see; http://share.ovi.com/media/Muddymike.Garden/Muddymike.10280?sort=5 This one is about 8 ft square and has now been filled way over the top of the frame, and is now well on its way back down again all by itself. The other one is about quarter full, should take another 18 months to completely fill it. the only other thing I do is cover the full one with and old bit of carpet. I lifted a corner last weekend and there were loads of little red worms working away under it.
Yea I know, I even take pictures of the compost heap, if you rummage around you will even find the second one half empty.
Mike
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