Ideas for improving this second-generation home composting method

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My first composting method was a disaster but this second generation improved method seems to be working well enough to tell you what it is and to ask about suggestions for improvement.

1. A closeable container sits in the kitchen corner 2. Foodstuffs go into the container instead of in the trash 3. After about a week, we dump the food onto a fenced-in area 4. We chop the food into the soil for about a minute or so 5. This breaks large chunks into small pieces for faster breakdown 6. And it thoroughly 'infects' the foodstuff with soil bacteria 7. After a minute of chopping, the food is barely noticeable 8. Then we shovel a thin layer of soil on top to keep away birds 9. The fence & soil, we found, keeps cyotes & vultures away 10. We spray with water, often daily, to aid bacterial growth 11. We wash the plastic (and sometimes disinfect with chlorine) 12. And the cycle starts anew, with foodstuffs in the kitchen
We've found that we can't even find the food after just a few weeks, although before we fenced it in, the cyotes, vultures, or whatever would dig up the chicken bones, fish skins, etc.
Any ideas or suggestions or comments are welcome.
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You are a long way behind on the curve. You can start here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost
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On Wed, 08 May 2013 00:12:43 -0700, harry wrote:

Reading that, I seem to be missing the mixing in a barrel. Also I seem to not be aiming for that 30:1 carbon:nitrogen mix. None of the composting ideas in that article appeared to be simply placed in the ground. I wonder why?
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On 5/8/2013 4:11 AM, Danny D wrote:

Space and ease of use, most probably. Most ground is already put to use so there's no free space to incorporate garden/kitchen waste. Also, adding it to a heap or barrel is less effort than digging it into the ground, and makes it less available for scavengers.
When I was a kid, our weekly kitchen waste removal chore involved digging a deepish hole in an open spot in the vegetable garden. Every evening the day's kitchen scraps got dumped in, followed by a shovelful of soil. At the end of the week the hole was filled in and a new hole started. But in those days gardening wasn't as space-intensive as it is nowadays. You'd be hard pressed to find much open space in most contemporary gardens.
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On Wed, 08 May 2013 11:16:31 -0500, Moe DeLoughan wrote:

Makes sense. Luckily I have plenty of space.
I was adding it to a square 18" high recycling bin prior - but that bin was too heavy to move after it got full of soil + compost.
Now, I just chop it into the ground; cover with soil; and water it, and it seems to work (although I have to keep animals away as I had found all the bones were dug up if I didn't).
Long term, I'll see how well it works over a year's span. I do realize I'm "breaking the rules" by adding everything (fish, chicken, beef, pork, bacon fat, eggshells, orange peels, banana peels, lettuce cores, avocado pits, stale bread and crackers, etc.) from the kitchen.
I never saw a good explanation of why not.
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On 5/8/2013 4:14 PM, Alfred Fox wrote:

"Attracting rodents" is reason #1, #2 and #3! Not to mention digging into a pocket of rotten meat if one turns the pile. Link here: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ID-182.pdf
Someone who likes breeding worms explains how to (carefully) incorporate meat to a compost: http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/compost-meat-waste-2320.html
I just set up my new compost pile this morning...new home, doing lots of landscaping and planting veg. garden....I just melted some holes in a black plastic tub to keep out by the garden and koi pond. Can dump in kitchen stuff and algae from the pond if the koi don't eat it :o)
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On Wed, 08 May 2013 17:44:04 -0400, Norminn wrote:

To test whether the "diggers" were attracted to my compost, I left the fence open the past two days at my compost pile:

Checking this morning, I don't see evidence of animals digging up the salmon or steak bones yet ...

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On 5/12/2013 11:52 AM, Danny D wrote:

Keep it up and you can be sure rats and other _will_ find it. A day or two isn't long for new food sources to be discovered but rest assured it will be found if it's kept up.
--
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On Sun, 12 May 2013 12:46:22 -0500, dpb wrote:

The holes in the fencing are big enough for rats to get through, so, if/when they find the compost, I'll see some evidence of that, I hope.

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On Sun, 12 May 2013 12:46:22 -0500, dpb wrote:

Tonight, I was working on the pool equipment after dark, about a dozen feet from the compost area, when I see this cute rat walking calmly along the pool plumbing.
I couldn't snap a picture quickly enough, but I did set out two traps and continued working on the pipes under the light of the moon, although one of the traps got the better of my finger in the process:

Anyway, I wasn't back working on the wires, only two feet away, for more than five minutes, when I heard the tell-tale snap.

The rat died immediately as I was there within a couple of seconds and it wasn't moving at all, as I gently removed it and set it aside to see if it was breathing:

I felt really badly for the little guy, but I can't have them chewing on the wires in the heater (which might be why the heater isn't working).
Can't prove it was eating the compost or not - but it could have been, as it was a small one, that could easily get inside the wire mesh fence.
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On Fri, 17 May 2013 09:27:18 +0000, Danny D. wrote:

Looks like it was identified elsewhere as a (big) deer mouse.
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Danny D. wrote:

1 down .. probably a large family to go ..
--
Natural Girl



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R> On Wed, 08 May 2013 17:44:04 -0400, Norminn wrote:

While discussing compost piles, I thought you might appreciate a real compost pile:

The fence is 6ft high. Last years leaves are compacted and partly broken down.
--
Dan Espen

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On Sun, 12 May 2013 13:51:11 -0400, Dan Espen wrote:

Wow. I wish I had that much compost!
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Only if you really like exercise.
1 years leaves pile up much higher than that.
--
Dan Espen

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On Sun, 12 May 2013 20:36:40 -0400, Dan Espen wrote:

I have a lot of Spanish & Scotch Broom, which I pull out (Scotch Broom) by the hundreds, and I cut & glyphosate (Spanish Broom) by the scores; but I don't want to compost that so I put them in the green recycling bins.
It takes a few months because each bin only holds about an hour's worth of cuttings; yet I generally cut for four or five hours at a time.
But, other than that, I don't have compost since I'm in a windy location exposed to the Pacific Ocean winds, which do all my leaf raking for me during the winter storms!
:)
Of course, it all ends up in the pool ... :(
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On Sunday, May 12, 2013 8:30:06 PM UTC-7, Danny D wrote:

Maybe I did the wrong thing...but...a few years ago I dismantled my compost and sold it on Craigs List. I hadn't really been keeping it up properly anyway. So when the City announced that they were now accepting food waste to incorporate into their (quarterly give-away compost events), I decided to go with that. I was surprised when the hand-out said that meat,fat,bones, etc. could be included, but when I called, they said that the compost was produced at such high temperatures that the no-no stuff was rendered harmless.
It's actually a nice community event; people line up in their cars with their bags, pails, other containers. When you get to the head of the line, you climb into a huge "bin" full of this lovely powdery compost, break out your shovel and load up.
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Dan Espen said

Wow, the wife would never tolerate that pile. I had to pitch a fit to get two 4" square bins accepted. :-)
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The pile isn't visible from the rest of the yard.
You can't make compost in 4 inch bins. Well you can, but you can turn the compost over with a teaspoon.
--
Dan Espen

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Dan Espen wrote:

It wouldn't get very hot would it.
D
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