Compost bin design?

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I have about an acre of garden and want to build a fairly substantia
compost bin/arrangement. Does anyone have (or know where I can obtain plans for such a thing?
Thanks
-- Jim20729
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Try here.........
http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/hort/G06957.htm
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On Mon, 3 Sep 2007 12:31:40 +0100, Jim20729

Just pile the material in a few heaps. A bobcat with a scoop helps.
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With an acre of garden you'll have so much organic matter that you'll pretty much need to dig a substantial pit in the ground, at least for pre conditioning before you actually shovel it into a composter that will produce humous (a pile of semi-rotted organic matter is not humous).
I think you're better off buying a ready made composter. It will cost pretty much the same in materials to make one yourself that will actually work, most home made units don't work very well... and you're much better off with several smaller units rather than one gigantic one. Whatever you do do NOT get one of those tumbling composters... in order to properly compost the materials must be in contact with the ground. Also if you reside where there are cold winters the above ground models will slow way down as soon as the weather turns cold and will virtually cease to compost at all with the first frost, those with direct contact with the ground will continue to compost quite a while longer into cold weather. My neighbor purchased one of those new fangled revolving drum models that cost more than $600, just a few weeks ago he finally admitted that it doesn't work, not at all.
I bought this one about 10 years ago, it works very well and it's still going strong (it's the only one I have seen that has a 25 year warranty - I suspect it will last even longer and/or outlast me).
http://tinyurl.com/2l4fkg
http://www.composters.com/compost-bins/soilmaker--soilsaver_17_1.php
My neighbor bought this one this past spring, he's very unhappy with it... he will soon be even more unhappy as this will be its first winter here in fridgid upstate NY. He purchased the large "400" model... I often see him cranking away for like ten minutes at a time, at least it will build big biceps. I don't ever do anything with mine except toss stuff into the top and pull out sweet smelling jet black humous from the bottom, I don't even bother to stir anymore, the one I have really cooks.
http://tinyurl.com/2p7dvx
http://www.composters.com/compost-tumblers/autoflow-compost-tumbler-series_33_2.php
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Sheldon, do you recommend the plastic or wire base, or non at all? I live in Northern Idaho, mountain region- cold winters. Thanks for your sage advice, Deb
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thistletoes wrote:

The wire screen is really not a base per se, it's just a mesh covering that's supposed to keep rodents out of the composter. At the time I bought mine the screen wasn't an available option although I could have easily made one myself of galvanized hardware cloth. The mesh is really only necessary if you have a rodent problem or you live in a municipality that has ordinances concerning composters, usually only in areas where folks live live close together on relatively small lots. I don't think a mesh covering is at all necessary when you live in a rural area
Many years ago I lived in Sandpoint, Idaho, just north of town on Selle Road.
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http://www.composters.com/compost-tumblers/autoflow-compost-tumbler-series_33_2.php
I'll second both comments. I've been using the Soilmaker forever. Works like a charm. And, I know 3 people who are disgusted with the tumbler type of composter. All 3 are the type who fall for anything novel, whether it works or not, so I have no sympathy for them at all.
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"JoeSpareBedroom" wrote:

It's strange how some people's brains operate. My neighbor noticed my composter when I first moved here, he came over to inspect right after I set it up. He asked if that "little thing" worked, as if I moved it 200 miles from where I lived previously and was setting it up because it didn't work. I spent over an hour answering all his questions about composting... I could tell he knew nothing... and he's supposed to be the know-it-all up-stater farm boy... as if there are no rural farms down-state on Long Island. A few days later he was setting up some sort of composter contraption near his vegetable garden, a four foot diameter cylinder of turkey wire with weed block cloth wrapped around it, no lid. For three years I watched him stuff that stupid thing with all sorts of garbage to compost but he never pulled out an ounce of humous, there was no composting happening, I wonder why not. Each spring he dumped out what was nothing but dried leaves, twigs, and household garbage, all of it discernable as the day he dumped it in, just a bit slimey, and stunk worse than community outhouse. He rototilled all that into his garden (then wondered why some of his plants got diseased. This past spring I saw him setting up his new expensive toy. A few days later when I was mowing and passing where he was watering his garden I stopped to chat and in conversation I asked about his new composter... he showed it off like it was his new grandchild, I made no negative comments, in upstate lingo just said "Yup, it sure looks nice, yep". At the end of the summer he came by to see how my plants were doing and that's when he finally admitted that he made a mistake in not listening to my recommendations, he was very disappointed with his new composter, not only didn't it produce a drop of humous, but the plastic crank mechanism was falling apart. I suggested he try to return it, and to get one that sets on the ground like mine.... we'll see, I don't think his ego will permit that. He can buy six like mine for what he paid for that elitist POS. Btw, he's been spending quite a bit of money on boxes of composter enzyme... mine is on the ground and I have all the micro-organisms doing their thing plus tons of earthworms, I can pull out a handful of worms just by lifing the lid and reaching in. If I had to spend all that money I wouldn't bother to compost. When I bought mine over ten years ago it cost $59.... I even suckered myself into ordering a box of enzyme starter powder when I placed my order, I never used it, never even opened the box, I just recently gave it to my neighbor. Composting should be easy and nearly free... so far my $59 composter has cost me like $6/yr and gives me about 50 gallons of perfect humous each year.... I have ten 5 gallon contractor buckets filled to overlfowing from just this summer... no putrid odor, smells exactly like deep woods forest floor... if I didn't know better I'd mistake it for wild mushrooms. My neighbor's tumbler composter smells like ripe town dump.
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Tell him to look up "anaerobic decomposition" online. He'll probably have a stroke from the effort of figuring out how that applies to him.
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With that much area, consider plowing half under for a season. Let it stew. Rotate fallow and used areas.
An above ground compost bin is okay for warm climates. Since you're in the UK, forget it. Dave
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Nonsense. Above-ground compost bins are used successfully by gardeners in every part of the UK. It's so successful in the UK climate, that local councils provide free compost bins on request to encourage more composting of green waste(part of the UK rubbish recycling policy). I have 3 free "daleks" from the council, and two home-made square bins. The home made ones are faster IMHO. The home-made ones are each about a cubic metre in size, made from old pallets wired together at the corners. You could build a run of bays as long as you like. When I want to turn or empty one I just undo the front side. The OP should be able to obtain old pallets free from warehouses if he asks.
At the 80 acre gardens where I work we have compost bays made with stacked second hand wooden railway sleepers; big enough to drive a front-loader in to shovel up the compost when it's ready. <envy>.
Janet
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contains these words:

also very popular and successful in New Zealand with wet cold frosty winters. If worried, build a cover. Ideally one made from tin with a wooden frame that can either be hinged or lifted on/off as required. Even bunging a piece of old carpet on top will be of some benefit.
rob
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wrote:

UKers must have a strange sense of success.
Above ground bins are never okay, above ground bins don't compost... rotting organic matter is not composting. Organisms only found in the earth must be present and in abundance and especially earthworms for composting. Your above ground bins are making putrid slime, not humus. You should be happy to have cool weather, your slop pots won't stink so badly.
In gardening compost used as a noun is actually inaccurate, composting is a process (verb - to compost) that produces humus, not compost... in gardening organic matter is either partially composted or it's humus. Humus is organic matter that has been fully digested, not rotted. Some folks who use above ground bins add digestive enzymes, but that does not function very long as it does not renew itself. Some add earthworms (because proper humus is composed almost entirely of earthworm castings) but unless they can reach the earth as needed they will quickly die as exposure to sunlight heats the mass and the worms will cook.
Above ground composters are a type of industrial equipment used as chemical digesters for dealing with sewage (from port-a-pottys to municipal sewage treatment facilities), not something practical for gardening.
Those above ground bins are nothing other than port-a-pottys masquerading as composters, they produce sludge, not humus.
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contains these words:

Just a guess, but I wonder if what she calls an above ground bin is exactly what you and I are using. Let's find out.
Janet, this sits on the ground. Something similar could be made from any number of other materials. Does this fit your general idea of an above ground bin? http://www.composters.com/compost-bins/soilmaker--soilsaver_17_1.php
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Following this thread an "above ground composter" evolved into the rotory type, a bin with no ground contact whatsoever. Actually if the bin provides the organic matter with any ground contact it is not an above ground composter... I really don't think any normal brained person would argue whether the organic matter sits directly on the ground or in a depression... it's either "above ground" (as in suspended)or it's not.
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contains these words:

A "normal brained" person would have actually read Janet's entire post (the part that you snipped), where she describes exactly what she's talking about in reference to her homemade bins using pallets. Additionally, before going off and attributing a misperception to some other part of the thread, one might have googled what a "dalek" composter is, even if they had made no connection to Dr. Who.
http://www.pembroke-dock.co.uk/Roberts%20Rambles/Daleks%203.JPG
Additionally, your narrow definitions concerning composting are beyond curmudgeonly. Decomposition of organic matter has several intersecting words to describe the state of the decomposition, which some people might use interchangeably. The techniques might vary, the results may vary with some drawbacks, but it's all good to avoid throwing organic matter in the landfill. Nature will continue the process, no matter what state the organic material has achieved or what words a mere human uses to describe it.
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Yes. But what a price!!!!!
Here's the models supplied by local councils (prices in sterling).
http://www.wasteawarescotland.org.uk/html/compost_camp.asp
Here's pallet compost bins http://images.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=pallet+compost+bin&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2
Janet.
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contains these words:

I know. But, I'm referring to a generic category of composters. The links were to illustrate that category.
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contains these words:

That's a great site for a variety of composting choices, but will surely twist "someone's" knickers........... OMG, the Green Cone doesn't produce humus!
http://www.wasteawarescotland.org.uk/html/compost_cone.asp

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Understand that Sheldon has little credibility. As for calling him a two year old, you have insulted all two year olds on the planet.....
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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