Compost Heap

I started a compost heap 12 months ago, its in a 200 Ltrs plastic container, however the compost of grass cuttings , garden waste etc. does not appear to be "breaking down", also the waste is cold.
It probably needs something to kick start it, suggestions I have had are LIME or URINE
Would any of the members agree with this or are there other alternatives
All help will be appreciated
United Kingdom (North West)
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Gringo


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No personal experience but yarrow leaves are reputed for accelerating decomposition of compost. Compost needs to be turned over from time to time and kept humid. A little dirt thrown on top would be good and urine can't hurt. Lime would certainly decompose your compost but the results would be of little utility.
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- Billy
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Aeration and nitrogen rich materials.
<http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/homecompost/materials.html
I'd hazard a guess the main issue is the plastic container not being porous. The above site list carbon and nitrogen info.
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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On 4/6/2009 5:26 AM, Gringo wrote:

My compost is in a pile inside a corner formed by intersection of two walls. It gets stirred about once a month, after which I water it.
Composting requires air and moisture. You might have a moist "mess", but I don't think it gets enough air in a plastic container.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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I run three.
One just garden debris that is big but rots. Low attention with occasions of finding something good to move.
Two a place for old hot dogs and Maoist debris. The local vultures visit and defecate here. I'm popular with the big birds in black but really wonder why. Third a rotating drum where stuff you can handle with a smile goes .
PS Maoist inspired from that Nazi.
Bill laugh and help it rot such is the mystery.
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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how long did it take the vultures to find pile #2? we're thinking of building a 'roadkill cafe', with other goodies like refrigerator cleanouts (pity the vultures migrate. i lost almost a hundred pounds of meat in the 8 day power outage). lee
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We have many vultures about. If I place a dead animal in my back yard they will clean it up for me. How to attract does not make too much sense as just about everything dead anywhere is taken. I've fed these guys for years and they are within 40 yards of me as I type.
I'd put something out and check in a few days. Things dissolve from above and below and nothing is wasted. Sounds strange but how many dead birds have we seen in the wild ? Cars another matter. Sorry no specific answer but it may really matter on you vulture populations. They are either trained or I am.
Bill
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wrote:

Oh lord, I'm bustin' a gut here.... No disrespect intended at all...towards you or your beliefs...
A Grand Irony, a divine comedy of sorts........vegans, who disdain the eating of flesh, offering their meat to the vultures, acknowledging the value of meat....and winding up as buzzard shit at the end....
Oh eff me, V...thanks for this minor epiphany...I'm not sure what it means, but I am finding a hilarious joy and irony in this......
Buzzard shit.........
Thanks and peace, Charlie
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you know, eagles are just as happy to eat road kill or otherwise dead carcasses as they are to hunt fresh meat... lee
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Just some thoughts..
My first compost pile would not heat up. I used a 50/50 green/brown mix, added some water, nothing happened. It wasn't until I got the heap large, it started to cook. My conclusion here is that the volume of the heap is very important, start with at least 1 cubic yard and chances of success increase. I have had success in the sun or shade. The tumblers, earth machines, compost balls, etc, surprisingly don't work as well as making compost that is in direct contact with the ground. Making compost is somewhat an art, but once you get one going it is like taking care of a pet. Gardening is certainly limited without compost.
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wrote:

Oh good grief, Victoria, lighten up and quit taking yourself so seriously. I told you I wasn't laughing at your beliefs.
You remind me greatly of my dear departed Aunt Maggie, God rest her soul, a prickly dour woman, if ever there was one. We cousins couldn't but help poking on her and starting a tirade. God we loved her.....and we knew she loved us.
BTW, if Tibetan vultures are nearly as large as humans, is their shit size similar? Incoming!!! Gives new meaning to duck and cover. :-)
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Charlie

There was a young monk in China who was a very serious practitioner of
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On Mon, 6 Apr 2009 13:26:44 +0100, Gringo

Possibly you need to add some garden soil or a shovel of compost to the mix and stir it up. Definitely do not add lime. If the mix is dry you'd be better off adding plain water than urine. I've had strikingly better results when compost is on bare ground than in a container.
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garden centres, and DIY stores. It's an accelerant which generates the heat necessary to stimulate the break down. Without it, things will happen naturally but it definitely speeds things up. So does pee but not as quickly. OTOH it is cheaper and is totally recycled :-))
Don't add lime. Make sure that you do not add cooked non vegetable matter or you will attract rats. Don't stuff it full of grass cuttings which congeal into a slimy mass due to lack of air.
Either of the following links will be helpful, if you haven't found them already:
http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0903/compost_heap.asp
http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/composting/index.php
Hope this helps.
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Gopher .... I know my place!

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On 4/7/2009 6:14 AM, Gopher wrote [in part]:

Heat does not cause quick decomposition. Heat is a result of active decomposition. The bacteria and fungi that convert plant matter into compost generate heat as they work.
A cold compost pile is a symptom -- not a cause -- of a lack of decomposition.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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I'd agree to suggestions of adding 'browns' - small, chopped sticks, dried leaves, shredded paper products, straw, whathaveyou - and turning the pile with some regularity. Aeration is usually needed to heat up the pile as well. "Cold" composting (aka static composting) can be equally successful but just takes a much longer time to achieve similar results. And often doesn't kill off weed seeds or any pathogens.
Alfalfa meal breaks down rather rapidly and generates heat as it does so - one of the reasons it is suggested to use sparingly in the immediate root zone of most plants. It can burn. Actually, any good nitrogen source will work to stimulate some microbial activity and are often recommended as compost activators - alfalfa meal, blood or bone meal, urine :-)
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