I started composting in late summer, bought the Gardener's supply pyramid
job. Yes I know, it is a yuppie composter but give me a break, I live in a
city neighborhood and I wanted something that looked attractive and had
various defenses against bad smells in case something should go awry in the
green/brown balance. (cover and charcoal filter).
Over the summer I had no problem keeping the compost between 80 and 110
degrees and the stuff seemed to break down fast judging from the falling
level of debris inside. Since October, however, I have had a hard time
getting the compost above 55. I realize that the temperature outside
probably makes it more difficult for the composter to retain heat but at
this rate, the compost will be stalled over the winter.
Here is my modus opperandi: The balance of brown to green has been
consistent. We've had extremely dry weather (and the holes in the composter
top aren't sufficient to water it when it does rain) so with every 6 inches
of material, I add about 4 gallons of water.
I tried using the Gardener's supply compost accellerator and it was hard to
mix and figure out unless you were composting in batches. It didn't really
work for me, but that may have been a factor of how I applied it. After that
was gone, I bought some from Johnny's Seeds which I have been using. I
haven't used it enough to say it works or doesn't but my compost is still
hovering around 55.
Any tips or ideas?
You don't say where your live, so I have no idea what your Winter weather is
like. And you don't say what you put in your compost pile other than snake
oil (I mean "accellerator"), so it's pretty hard to give tips. I can advise
not to waste your money on additives to the compost pile. Compost happens
naturally. Temperature depends upon lots of things: ingredients, size of
ingredients, moisture (I actually like to keep my piles on the dry side,
especially to start, because vegetable waste contains so much water), size
of pile, and frequency of turning the pile. These all affect temperature.
It's pretty hard to keep a pile hot during freezing weather, although one
year, when I was working on my piles every day, my most active pile would be
frozen on the outside and 140 degrees in the center.
My compost pile has never performed like it should; i.e. no noticeable
heat and very long breakdown periods. I have always wondered about
adding a septic tank treatment(Rid-ex or equivalent) to the pile,
since it's purpose is to break down organic solids. Since the compost
is used for flowers instead of vegetables, I do not think unwanted
bacteria would be a problem. Has anyone tried this? Any problems with
I took about 3 lbs. of rabbit food (alfalfa pellets), soaked it in about
3 gals. of water, poured it on the bottom third of leaves and covered with
the rest and it was visibly steaming by the second day. This is on a compost
pile that's 10 ft. round and 5 ft. high. I think that would be safer and
cheaper than Rid-ex.
the best system I have seen for composting is round bins, toss in a bit of manure
once in a while, a bit of dirt for the bacteria, keep it watered and plant
bins, the water that leaches out of the bins is a fert tea and the plants do
fantastic. no need to mess with the compost turning it, etc. Ingrid
List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List
Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame
Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other
compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the
endorsements or recommendations I make.
Through cooler seasons you won't get heat in a pile of less than a few
cubic yards of material without some kind of serious insulation.
Even the large piles will freeze a foot or more deep on all surfaces
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