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Moving my compost bin Empty Moving my compost bin

Post  altagarden on 5/8/2011, 10:26 am

I have one of those black barrel composters and after two years it has done nothing for me. No compost. I am thinking about moving it in hopes of improving the situation. It is on the north side of a fence, in our alley, and too far away to reach with a hose for wetting. Any tips on location or helping it compost faster? I turn it, I've added soil and bone & blood meal, I've left the lid off when it rains. We have warm summers and long cold winters. (I don't add compost material in the winter. Too much snow to trudge through)
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Post  Furbalsmom on 5/8/2011, 3:48 pm

Compost happens, but it does need to be consistantly moist, not wet. If you can't reach the bin with your hose, can you at least take a bucket of water to it, when needed? If it gets too wet, you can always add dry ingredients like shredded paper or chopped straw.

If the bin is on the North side of the fence, does that mean it is shaded by the fence and does not get much sun at all?

My compost pile is located near a big tree so has partial sun and partial shade during the day. I fed it green trimmings from the kitchen and healthy chopped up plant debris from the garden, along with shredded paper, dried grass, coffee grounds and egg shells. The pile did not get turned more than 6 times during last summer and fall, but this spring I had great compost.

Hope this helps.
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Post  WardinWake on 5/8/2011, 9:50 pm

@altagarden wrote:I have one of those black barrel composters and after two years it has done nothing for me. No compost. I am thinking about moving it in hopes of improving the situation. It is on the north side of a fence, in our alley, and too far away to reach with a hose for wetting. Any tips on location or helping it compost faster? I turn it, I've added soil and bone & blood meal, I've left the lid off when it rains. We have warm summers and long cold winters. (I don't add compost material in the winter. Too much snow to trudge through)

Altgarden:

It would appear that the location of a compost pile (bin) is not a big issue. Even in very cold weather a properly balanced (green/brown mix) and the right amount of moisture will produce compost. To check for proper moisture content reach into the middle of the bin and pull out a handful and give it a squeeze. If a few drops of water come out you are in the ball park. Too much moisture will cause the compost to become "Swampy" and too little will not allow the compost to heat up.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  altagarden on 5/19/2011, 12:12 am

Thanks for the help. I won't move it if that doesn't make a difference, but I will dump a bucket of water on it every time I go out there. I did give it a good turn and noticed that there is about 10 inches of almost compost at the very bottom so that is a good sign. I will keep it up and hopefully use the compost next year.
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Post  Kelejan on 7/9/2011, 12:56 pm

I have one of those black plastic turntable compost thingies.

Today I was thinking of sifting some of the contents so that I would have compost ready for when I replant some of my squares.

So I checked it and find that it has hundreds of worms in it, all wriggling away like mad, seeing as I turned it before I opened the lid.

So what do I do now? Sift it and pick out the worms to return to my main compost pile or add the worms to my squares? Or leave it until the activity has died down which I assume would happen when the worms run out of food?
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Post  HouseofWool on 7/9/2011, 7:54 pm

I would just sift and let the worms end up where they will. They aren't bad for your garden and are beneficial to the compost.
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Post  Square Jo on 7/10/2011, 11:39 am

I think I have one of the same black barrel compost thingy that you do, and I find plain simple piles to be far better and easier than the barrel. I just add shredded paper (mulched leaves are great too) whenever kitchen scraps and/or grass clippings are added. when I add scraps etc… I take my compost fork and get inside the pile, put down the scraps, cover them with shredded newspaper and then cover the whole thing with the compost that I took off the top. once in a while I shower it with the hose and turn it. Sometimes I add an accelerator. It is amazing to watch how much it shrinks after a big rain! As long as your kitchen scraps are covered , no varmits will get to them!
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Post  Kelejan on 7/10/2011, 11:54 am

I am beginning to realise why the local nursery sold me this compost barrel.

Even though I only half filled it, it is hard to turn as my arms are not quite long enough to comfortably reach the slots where one's fingers go. It does not have a handle to crank. I do much better with my 4x4 wood piles.

Other disadvantage is that the barrel is sitting on grass so that area is hard to keep neat.

I am thinking I will sift what I can, and then put the rest on my main pile and then locate the barrel on my back deck near the house so that during the winter I can open the door and toss in the kitchen scraps as my big compost piles will be under several feet of snow (at times).
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Post  trukrebew on 7/11/2011, 1:05 am

Altagarden, I think I have the same thing. It's called the Earth Machine. For various reasons, I've ended up moving mine almost every year for the last 4 years. Mostly within the same area of the yard. It only gets about 5-6 hours of full sun each day, the same as my garden. Sad But I've always been able to get good compost out. Smile
I don't water it much. If I know we're getting a few days of rain, I'll leave the top off. Every once in a while I'll empty my dehumidifier bucket into it, when I remember. I figure the kitchen scraps (especially melon rinds/guts) and the occasional grass clippings add enough moisture. I always top it off with a some handfuls of dried leaves saved from last fall.
Actually, moving that bin is the best thing you can do. Because it is so small at the top (only as wide as a trash can), and everything settles into the lower half no matter how much I put into it, turning the contents is not easy. I use a shovel and scoop from one side to the other and then back again. But I can never turn the bottom or sides effectively. However, each time I've moved the Earth Machine, I've been able to literally turn the entire pile over.
I say move the Earth!
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Post  TN_GARDENER on 7/11/2011, 7:49 pm

I too find that my "normal" compost pile works a lot better than my tumbler.

One other thing I discovered is used coffee grounds. Check with local coffee shops and see if you can get some. Those UCGs have really made my pile heat up. I've been sitting near 150* for weeks.
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Post  waynegossman on 7/15/2011, 12:40 am

I have started stopping by the local coffee shop on my way home from work. They put out a bag of coffee grounds that is so big I can barely put it in my car. I have been told it counts as "green" compost material and it is warm and moist already. (I know the warmth does not make a real difference to the pile, but it has psychological impact to me. The moisture, though, makes the whole pile nice and damp.)
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Post  camprn on 7/15/2011, 7:01 am

@waynegossman wrote:I have started stopping by the local coffee shop on my way home from work. They put out a bag of coffee grounds that is so big I can barely put it in my car. I have been told it counts as "green" compost material and it is warm and moist already. (I know the warmth does not make a real difference to the pile, but it has psychological impact to me. The moisture, though, makes the whole pile nice and damp.)
Oh, but the warmth WILL make a difference, it actually makes all the difference in how accelerated the composting process is. The hotter the pile, the faster you have finished compost and the fewer weed seeds you will have in the end. Hooray for coffee grounds!!!
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Post  teamhillbilly on 8/7/2011, 10:05 am

@waynegossman wrote:I have started stopping by the local coffee shop on my way home from work. They put out a bag of coffee grounds that is so big I can barely put it in my car. I have been told it counts as "green" compost material and it is warm and moist already. (I know the warmth does not make a real difference to the pile, but it has psychological impact to me. The moisture, though, makes the whole pile nice and damp.)
I would count coffee as a brown part,try feeding that to so red worms you have a goldmine in the shop will keep saving use grounds for you;)
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Post  camprn on 8/7/2011, 11:48 am

@teamhillbilly wrote:
@waynegossman wrote:I have started stopping by the local coffee shop on my way home from work. They put out a bag of coffee grounds that is so big I can barely put it in my car. I have been told it counts as "green" compost material and it is warm and moist already. (I know the warmth does not make a real difference to the pile, but it has psychological impact to me. The moisture, though, makes the whole pile nice and damp.)
I would count coffee as a brown part,try feeding that to so red worms you have a goldmine in the shop will keep saving use grounds for you;)
Nice find Wayne! Despite the color, my coffee grounds are classified as green because of their nitrogen content. LOVE 'EM!!! i use them as a mulch for the hostas, which go gangbusters. What a Face

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