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Compost pit? Empty Compost pit?

Post  DorothyG on 10/22/2017, 10:07 pm

We bought a new house this summer, right in the middle of garden season, and I think I found a compost pit. I'll list my questions so you can have them in mind as you read about what I found.

First question, do you think this is a compost pit? Second question, does this work? Third question, is this worth saving?  (Probably not.)
About 6 foot back into the woods there is a part of a cattle panel sticking up about a foot above the surrounding ground.  It is shaped into a square approximately 6' on all sides.  There are vegetable scraps, cut grass and discarded plants on the top.  There are horse weeds and other grasses grown up close to it.  It doesn't appear to be lined

Where it is situated, if you didn't know it was there and caught your foot in the panel it wouldn't end well.  Little if any light will get to it with the trees, underbrush, and weeds.  The air circulation probably isn't good, even across the top of it.  I have no idea how deep it is but stirring it thoroughly would be a real issue for my short arms. I would think that any compost liquid would be just soaking down into the ground.

Now that I have pretty much talked myself out of trying to rescue this find, what do you guys think?
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Post  No_Such_Reality on 10/23/2017, 12:05 am

Welcome and hello. Smile

Sounds like a simple compost pile. A little surprising to have a cattle panel walling it.  My FIL has cold composted in a pile his entire life and has an enviable garden. The FIL's pile is a pretty consistent 2.5-3ft high and six foot diameter.  Perhaps the panel and having sunk it is for winds and to keep animals from scattering it.

Here's the best part, you don't have to do anything. You just throw the compostable stuff on top when you get it. Lawn clippings,leave, weeds, veggie scraps, cardboard, you name it, old leather dress shoe, go ahead throw it in and then, just forg about it.  

Whenever you need compost, go shovel fresh stuff off the edge and dig into beautiful black gold down by bottom.
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Post  DorothyG on 10/24/2017, 12:05 am

I'll have to go check it out in more detail.  I'd be tickled if there is good usable compost there.  This new place doesn't have the soil quality of the old place.  I call it Sandy Oaks (when my husband isn't around Compost pit? Icon_lol ).
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Post  plantoid on 10/24/2017, 6:08 am

I'd use a long stick and push it into the enclosure   just in case it deeper than you first think & full of stuff you don't want to drown in .  There's no way I'd ever climb over the fencing wall & stand on the contents just in case it is a small sink hole , old well  or old fashioned outside long drop toilet filled with years of rot-able rubbish & such .
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Post  sanderson on 10/24/2017, 3:25 pm

Good advice, Plantoid. Caution in exploring the area, be it the depth of the pit or snakes (?).

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Post  DorothyG on 10/25/2017, 12:17 am

@plantoid wrote:I'd use a long stick and push it into the enclosure   just in case it deeper than you first think & full of stuff you don't want to drown in .  There's no way I'd ever climb over the fencing wall & stand on the contents just in case it is a small sink hole , old well  or old fashioned outside long drop toilet filled with years of rot-able rubbish & such .
I'm dying here thinking of stepping into the ???  No way I would step on it, I'm a big girl and not real agile at times.  Laughing

Sanderson, snakes are an issue here.  We did live right on a creek bank, I mean right on it, less than 15 foot from it.  Snakes were not a problem.  In a little over 14 years I only found a couple in the yard not counting the ones the cats brought to the mowed lawn to play with.  Been here about six weeks and have seen several copperheads and one rat snake.  But then again, we are at the end of civilization here.   Wink
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Post  sanderson on 10/25/2017, 3:52 pm

I mentioned snakes because my husband is from MO.  When he was 8-10 years old, he was sitting on the grass by the large lawn mower, trying to take off the blade to sharpen it, when a small copperhead crawled up his pant leg.  He said he never moved so fast in his life, jumping up and pulling the Levis off over his work boots.  He said the snake probably pulled out of the pants when he jumped up, but that was hind sight.

For you younger folks, Levis were roomier back then, in the 50's.  Couldn't do it with today's pants.  For those that don't believe he would sharpen a blade at such a young age, farm kids learned farming skills when they were young.

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Post  DorothyG on 10/25/2017, 11:24 pm

I am a little cautious when I enter the greenhouse on cooler days.  Just looks like a place a snake would like to hang out.  Last weekend when I cleaned it out and worked the soil there was a small, pencil sized snake that zipped out and into the rock garden on the west side of it.
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Post  Kelejan on 10/26/2017, 12:10 am

Fascinating, DorothyG.  Just be careful as others have said.  Let us know what you come up with.

I have a compost pile up my hill under the trees.  I started year before last with a roll of chicken wire and started filling it up with all the stuff I did not put into my regular pile.  Stuff like pieces of wood from the birch trees deadfall; and when I got overwhelmed with grass cuttings and leaves donated by my neighbours, I just leave them there to rot.   This spring of 2018 I will have a look at it to see how it is doing and I hope to find a quantity of finish compost there.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.
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