Compost Pile Advice

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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 12:54:35 -0700 (PDT),

It will still decompose, although more slowly and more unevenly. Get yourself a D-handle fork and use it once a month. It will help get oxygen into the pile and you won't have the stink.

It is best not to add anything, except water if needed.

The best mix is 50% green and 50% brown. So your mix of grass and leaves will work fine. It is better to add vegetable scraps, coffee grounds/tea bags, etc. To get your pile to really cook a 1 cubic yard of material is minimum.

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Phisherman wrote:

What I haven't seen anyone list is soil. I add in dirt that contains earthworms.
Tom J
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On 3/17/2008 3:36 PM, Tom J wrote:

I only added dirt to start the composting process. Dirt adds the necessary molds, yeasts, and bacteria. A good compost pile might be too hot in the center for worms. Once the pile is "working", I just leave some old compost in the pile to "innoculate" new material.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I think too many people want to fetishize composting. I like doing it, and I don't mind working at it some, but I don't figure I need to learn all that much about it.
If you don't like turning the whole pile, and I agree that can be a lot of work, you should at least get a fork and mix up the new material and a little bit of the top layer when you put new stuff in the pile. That's sufficient to keep leaves and grass from clumping; when the stuff clumps together, it really slows down the decomposition. After adding a lot of new material, sprinkle a couple of shovelsful of soil over it, and stir that up a little with your fork; lots of bacteria in soil to help with the decomposition. Keep the stuff reasonably moist, and that should be all you need to do.
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Jonathan Ball wrote:

Composting, I mean; not fetishizing it.

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Not really - you've hit the nail on the head, as they say. Grass and leaves will EVENTUALLY rot up into humus. However, a compost pile works best if you have lots of active, hungry redworms, and you regularly go back and put apple cores, banana peels, etc. on it.
We have found a balance by using a 5 gallon bucket for our compost under the kitchen sink. 5 gallons is enough so that we don't have to make trips out to the compost pile more than once every 7 to 10 days. The lid fits tightly, so we rarely get unpleasant odors indoors.
It may help to have an actual enclosure for your compost. I used some wood pallets that a business had discarded, 4 to be exact. I then bought a half gallon of copper napthenate at Lowe's, and proceeded to use an old paint brush to treat all of the wood against rot and fungus. I let the wood air out in the sun for a week. Treating the wood allows the pallets to last for about 10 years instead of just 3 or 4.
Then I turned the pallets on their sides to form a simple box. Next I used wire to bind them together. You can put some chicken wire on the inside if you want. Today as a big bonus, we have lots of active redworms, so I can always get some free fishing bait, too.
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----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: rec.gardens Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 1:56 AM Subject: Re: Compost Pile Advice

actually, grass and leaves WILL be enough to get a compost pile started provided there is enough moisture in the pile (grass is green enough), there is a good quantity of both materials, & things are mixed together. This will heat the pile up nicely. When things cool down the worms will come. Kitchen waste is a very good addition to compost piles.
rob
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