I like to start an organic compost bin at the corner of my garden.
After reading this group, my idea to get started is to have a 4-5' high
wire mesh (the smallest mesh size) rolled about 5' diameter. Keep the
roll standing on its sides vertically on a level ground or optionally
on top of a layer of stone/cement patio/walkway blocks. With adequate
support to keep the wire roll (bin) falling on its side. Then fill the
wire bin with 1 layer of grass clippings, lop it with 1 layer of bunny
house bedding (woodshave or brown paper shreddings + its organic waste)
collected while cleaning its hutch, and other kitchen waste, then one
layer of sand or garden soil and leaves. At about 1-2' from the ground,
insert couple of 6' long 1" pvc pipes horizontally with drilled holes,
criss-cross to one another inserted thru a hole made on the wire mesh
on opposite sides, spray it with water from garden hose. Repeat the
process till the bin in full. Then cover it with a tarp. If can get
some red or garden worms add them on top of the pile. Do I miss
anything? The only downside I see in this plan is that I wont be able
to turn the bin of this size. Is that Ok?
USDA Zone 6
Best to have 2 bins so you can turn the pile every so often. Actually,
you don't need a bin at all. I don't use air pipes. A pile on the
ground works well. You don't need to turn the pile either, although
that will speed up the process. You'll know it is working properly by
the heat it produces.
Another person hooked by all the bogus composting info out there.
I defy anyone to pile damp organic material in the weather and not have
You don't need a bin or any other kind of container.
If you want a hot compost you will need about 1 cu yd of material or
more per batch.
Mixing the ingrediants works better than layering.
Wetting them before piling works better than trying to wet the pile
The smaller the pieces the faster the bacteria can go to work because
there is more surface area. ( run em over with a mower)
You can fine tune by feel or by smell, too much carbon and the pile
stays colder, too much nitrogen and the pile outgasses ammonia.
Optimum is 30-1 carbon to nitrogen ( there are whole books on this lol)
You turn the pile when the initial heat drops off to put the outside
parts towards the center.
It's done when it cools and leaves no longer look like leaves and horse
turds no longer look like horse turds etc
Now I am sure if you open a copy of " Martha Stewart Lying" you can
find a gold vermeil compost turner and autographed green wellies if
that's your bent but you don't need em.
Don't put sick or diseased plant parts in your compost ( except as
And if you feel the need to compost very seedy weeds save that compost
in a seperate pile for areas deep in the shade where they can't grow
We were the wierdos composting in the 1950's because as my Dad used to
say , "you can't just take from the soil, you have to put back"
You don't *need* a bin, but they sure are nice to contain the whole mess. If
you have limited space, a worm box is preferable. I wouldn't have a compost
heap where I have our worm box. It would be too annoying to the neighbors.
I agree that bins are a good idea to contain everything. I also like to
use bins that have solid (not wire) sides. They heat up faster and keep
the smell in. Also, a lid (or something that covers the top) helps in
those respects too.
An aerobic compost pile that is cooking right along shouldn't smell.
Anerobic composting stinks, and where I live, draws bears.
I use a cage made up of four panels of chicken wire. It's easy
to toss everything into the cage, then if needed, pick the cage
up and move it over a bit, then fill it up again.
Now that I have laying hens, they are fascinated by anything that
I plant in the yard. *sigh* So I put my compost cage around
my newly planted globe artichoke plants, in last year's compost
pile spot, which was the biddie's favorite place to scratch. If
the hens don't get in, the 'chokes should do well.
Do a Google for the "compost calculator." It'll tell you how
to balance your greens and browns. Nitrogen/carbon balance.
The way to a man's heart is between the fourth and the fifth rib.
Mixing is important. I'd leave the pipes out, they will make it difficult
to mix. If the texture is fine, you could put some cuttings from shrubs in
to help bring in oxygen. Of course, turning is the best way to add oxygen.
John Henry Wheeler
USDA Zone 7
Mixing is important, and putting the compost in a pile instead of in a
box makes the job of mixing easier because we can attack the pile from
all sides to mix things, and we can re-organize the compile piles in
small number of piles or one large pile easier without the compost bin
to get in the way. If someone doesn't like to see the compost pile, he
can plant flowers or shrubs in front of it and the compost pile will
disappear in the background. In my opinion, a compost pile with or
without flowers in front of it looks nicer than a huge plastic compost
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