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Hello Guest!
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There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Compost: Berkeley 18 day [hot] method

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Post  has55 Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:38 pm

audrey where did you buy your 5 gallon buckets screw on lids? All I can find locally is snap on tops, which are hard to pry off.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:32 pm

Winco grocery stores have a bulk foods department and they sell 2 and 5 gallon food grade containers that you can buy screw on lid for.  The bucket was just under $5 the lid was $7.50 or so.  

You might be able to buy them online through winco if you don't have their stores near you.  I LOVE their bulk food dept.  Inexpensive and good food.  Lots of gluten free options too.

Here's the compost we picked up.  It calculated to an estimated 5.2 yards for the price of 4 ($52)

Compost: Berkeley 18 day [hot] method  - Page 11 20150114_100805_resized_zpsab1b25b8

This is very close up so the wood pieces are actually very tiny for the most part - equivalent to 1/2" screened.  If I were to use it in the MM I would screen with my 1/4" hardware cloth screen and remove those, but most of my compost is applied to the surface as no-till so it would be absolutely fine.  The color is a deep coffee grounds color, it's washed out in the picture.

Compost: Berkeley 18 day [hot] method  - Page 11 20150114_100705_resized_zps8b805f72
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Post  has55 Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:46 am

now that's some good looking compost. the prices is awesome. great deal.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:15 pm

Yes, Haas it is. Especially when I calculate my labor per hour to have produced my own 5 cu yd pile, let alone how many months it would have taken! I will always make my own, but if the quality is as good as it looks it will be very helpful to have on hand.

I just noticed the typo in the name of this thread - I've been posting in it for how long, LOL!  I don't think I'm suited to be a detective or an editor Shocked
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Post  Marc Iverson Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:32 pm

audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Winco grocery stores have a bulk foods department and they sell 2 and 5 gallon food grade containers that you can buy screw on lid for.  The bucket was just under $5 the lid was $7.50 or so.  

You might be able to buy them online through winco if you don't have their stores near you.  I LOVE their bulk food dept.  Inexpensive and good food.  Lots of gluten free options too.

I followed the suggestions of some people here and elsewhere that suggested going to supermarkets, especially the bakery sections, and asking if they have any buckets they were going to throw out. I've gotten dozens of free buckets that way, usually with lids, from a variety of places. Every store is different; Safeway wanted to get manager approval from a manager that was almost never there, limit me to two, and charge me 25 or 50 cents. Alpha Beta gave me stacks. A Japanese restaurant -- supposedly Asian places are great for five-gallon buckets because they use them for soy sauce and go through tons of the stuff -- was just a weird experience because the people were odd and alternately quite nice and weirdly suspicious and dodgy, so I stopped going there.

But every town has markets and restaurants. It doesn't really hurt to ask. All they do is recycle the buckets anyway, and would just as soon have them out of their hair.

P.S.: That is some great looking compost!

And grats on all the free coffee grounds. I can't get those easily or cheaply around here; there are people coming for them early every day.
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Post  sanderson Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:02 pm

audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I just noticed the typo in the name of this thread - I've been posting in it for how long, LOL!  I don't think I'm suited to be a detective or an editor Shocked
 Reminds me of a recent TV show where people were asked the following question:  How many of each animal did Moses take into the Ark?"

Thank you for the photo of Gallo compost, Audrey.   drooling   When I am over this stupid cold and the air quality is better, hubby and I will get some for the flower beds and my neighbor's flower beds.  Maybe screen some for the SFG!

I need to get some free buckets for tomatoes this summer.  Optimistic, aren't I, thinking I will tomatoes this time.

Okay, spelling corrected.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:13 pm

Great ideas Marc! If I lived in town I would hunt them up for certain. It's just that we have so much to do when we get down the mountain we never fit in those "I would like to do...." on the list!

However, you can buy the screw on lids for other 5 gallon buckets. They're a two piece system. You rubber mallet the ring on to your bucket then the screw on part works on the ring.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:16 pm

sanderson wrote:
Thank you for the photo of Gallo compost, Audrey.   drooling   When I am over this stupid cold and the air quality is better, hubby and I will get some for the flower beds and my neighbor's flower beds.  Maybe screen some for the SFG!
.
I just spread my first wheelbarrow load. It is really heavy stuff! You can smell the cow manure in the mix (composted, but you can smell it). Because of that, I'm going light on top dressing with it to make sure it isn't going to be a problem to any existing plants.

My dogs are flattening my pile as it's around 100 degrees and they're sunning and warming in it. Oh to have a dog's life Very Happy
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Post  has55 Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:38 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I just noticed the typo in the name of this thread - I've been posting in it for how long, LOL!  I don't think I'm suited to be a detective or an editor Compost: Berkeley 18 day [hot] method  - Page 11 Icon_eek
LOL
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Post  mschaef Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:45 am

I am thinking about trying this method. My problem is I'm house siting for my in laws. They are out of town til march 4. She does raised beds but rows in them and won't do the squares for sfg. She actually got me into sfg so I just think she went back to how she was raise. Now my questioned: using this method I should have compost before she gets back, right? Are paper towel alright to put in the pile? There are some horse farms near where their house is could I just call them to get horse poo if so how should I ask? Should I offer to pay for it? Do I need to contain the pile with some type of fencing or netting or just pile it up? Thanks for all the insight into this method and help.
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Post  sanderson Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:01 pm

mschaef, Yes, you have enough time, but it is a commitment once you start. Have you read through this Topic from the beginning? If not, please do. For browns, I would stay with dead leaves, maybe used bedding straw, and leave the paper and wood products for longer traditional compost piles. Most horse facilities have a pile of manure that you are welcome to shovel into 5 gal buckets and drive away with. Just go there and ask to see the owner, manager, or other person who knows the facility rules, to get permission. No, you do not pay for it. If they want money, say thank you and leave, and go to the next place!
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Post  mschaef Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:42 pm

Sanderson yes I have read through the thread and internet links too. I realizes the commitment need and have two boys the will be helping as needed. They just don't realize yet what I'm going to be having them do, lol. I going to make phone calls instead of driving around. Thanks for the advice.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:07 pm

Have fun making your pile!  Mine finally decided to heat up and has crept it's way to 130.  I'm just going to leave it and watch each day until I see it dropping and then turn it.  I'm not in a hurry for it and history tells me when I have a pile that's slow to heat up turning it can sometimes kill its heating rather than keep it going.

I'm getting almost a 5 gallon bucket of coffee grounds a week from the coffee shop :-)
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Post  sanderson Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:12 pm

What a wonderful source you have going!
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Post  mschaef Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:05 pm

That awesome about the coffee grounds. I need to finish gather everything to start this weekend. I have all the brown leaves I could need and 5 gallon bucket worth of greens. I seem to be unable to host pictures from my tablet but I thinks that more me needing to figure it out. Lol. Could you all give my a estimate about how much of everything I need? Ie will 5 gallons of greens be enough for a 3x3x3 pile.
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Post  Windmere Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:31 am

audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Have fun making your pile!  Mine finally decided to heat up and has crept it's way to 130.  I'm just going to leave it and watch each day until I see it dropping and then turn it.  I'm not in a hurry for it and history tells me when I have a pile that's slow to heat up turning it can sometimes kill its heating rather than keep it going.

I'm getting almost a 5 gallon bucket of coffee grounds a week from the coffee shop :-)
If I give my local Starbucks two or three days notice, they will begin accumulating coffee grounds in a bag just for me.  They'll then give me a call to tell me my grounds are ready for pickup.  It's wonderful!
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Post  sanderson Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:25 am

Mschaef,  One of the hardest things about building a pile is visualizing the sheer volume of material it takes to fill 27 cubic feet (3x3x3).  If you start with 6" of leaves, water well, then add 1-2' of poop and veggies and water well, the weight makes it sink at bit.  Each layer makes the pile higher and heavier and sink more.  I have been using at least 30+ gallons of horse poop, 25-30 gallons of fruits and veggies, 5 gallons of coffee grounds.  5 gallon buckets as topped off.  Thank goodness you have tons of leaves.  Plus chicken poo? What are you calling "5 gallons of greens?"

Anyone else?
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Post  princezoe Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:56 am

It is challenging to collect all the ingredients of a compost  pile in the size the compost pile needs.
I think it is impossible, just collect as much as you can because if you chop grass, leaves, newspaper etc it gets smaller as it was

My question is what do you do with your leftover ?
I put a lot in plastic bags, like grass, leaves, coffee, manure.
I think fruit is more difficult to store for 8 weeks
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Post  sanderson Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:04 am

Richard, so true. However, chopping is really helpful for composting. Fruits and veggies can be stored in the winter outside if it is cold. I put them in one leaf bin during the winter and the sink in and mostly decomposed come spring. I use that leaf material for the first compost, April or May, with manure, coffee and anything I can freeze/refrigerate those last weeks of "winter." You can store some things in bins, cages, garbage cans until you are ready. Leaf pile, dried grass, flowers, coffee, shredded branches (wood chips). Then, when you have enough, make a big manure run and build the pile in layers, wetting thoroughly. In the fall, make a winery run and manure run for the last compost pile of the year. If there is a wood shop business, see if you can get their wood shavings and saw dust. (no plywood or treated/painted wood products)

My composting season is in the summer when the Farmer Markets are in full swing. If we get a heat wave, I really score! Two or 3 hours out in the heat, a lot of produce is past selling. It takes me hours to chop it in the kitchen watching TV, and I have to use it all in the pile within 24 hours.

Have you been reading the "leaf mold" topics recently. Is there any place that wouldn't mind if you rake their leaves for your collection?
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Post  mschaef Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:04 am

Sanderson my 5 gallons of greens are all since Saturday. They are vegetables and fruit waste from the kitchen. Due to health issues right now I can't eat much solid food so I have to either juice or make a smoothie. Lot of green by products for the compost.  Very Happy which is one of the reasons I decided to do a compost bins that will be ready for spring planting.
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Post  jimmy cee Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:18 am

I may have hit the jack pot again..????  I'll be careful not to push tooooo much .
I stopped off at my local grocery store, A large chain locally owned.
Talked to the new produce mgr about some discarded veggies...
He said sure, call anytime, stop in anytime, if they have some it's mine...
Last years supplier for me went sour, I had to deal with another mgr who appeared to be scared of doing something out of the ordinary....I just let that go, it was his decision.
I sharpened up an ice scraper, with the scraps in thos heavy boxes, I just slice it all....at least chop it up some before adding to the piles.Compost: Berkeley 18 day [hot] method  - Page 11 Shredd10
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Post  has55 Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:43 pm

Windmere wrote:
audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Have fun making your pile!  Mine finally decided to heat up and has crept it's way to 130.  I'm just going to leave it and watch each day until I see it dropping and then turn it.  I'm not in a hurry for it and history tells me when I have a pile that's slow to heat up turning it can sometimes kill its heating rather than keep it going.

I'm getting almost a 5 gallon bucket of coffee grounds a week from the coffee shop :-)
If I give my local Starbucks two or three days notice, they will begin accumulating coffee grounds in a bag just for me.  They'll then give me a call to tell me my grounds are ready for pickup.  It's wonderful!
boy windmere, that starbuck loves you. what a blessing.
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Post  sanderson Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:07 pm

You are lucky. There's a lot of competition for the grounds at the 3 Starbucks closest to me. I can call, plead to set them aside for Mrs. Anderson, and when I get there at 8 pm, someone else got them. Sad
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Post  has55 Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:16 pm

sanderson wrote:You are lucky.  There's a lot of competition for the grounds at the 3 Starbucks closest to me.  I can call, plead to set them aside for Mrs. Anderson, and when I get there at 8 pm, someone else got them.  Sad
bad Starbuck. bad Starbuck.  Sad Sad Sad Sad Sad
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:47 pm

I turned my pile yesterday - whew!  Fresh damp cow manure makes a HEAVY pile.  It finally, slowly inched up to 130 and then was dropping.

Resting temp when turned yesterday afternoon was 80 but it's climbed back up to 100 this morning so we'll see when I need to turn again.  

Whew!  I'm out of gardening shape, turning that pile was hard work, LOL!
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