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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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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Post  Hawgwild 2/20/2022, 8:35 pm

Took me a few days but finally finished rebuilding and adding to my compost bins. I'll probably start a compost pile in the center for now then it will be used for finished compost. I used ceder boards in the bins and will add another row of cedar to top it off next time I run to town..

Got plenty of leaves now for compost but will check around town and pick up a few bags when I seen them. New pile of compost on the right and is layered with lots of green stuff like the first one on the left. Really liking this stuff... Very Happy 

New compost bins X3 C_bin_10

Also picked up this little auger from Amazon attached to my drill. It's 24" long and blades are 2" wide. Works great for aerating compost piles..

New compost bins X3 Auger10
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Post  OhioGardener 2/21/2022, 8:50 am

Some nice looking bins there. If you can fill the first one to the top so that it has the ability to get hot and start composting down, they you'll be able to turn it into the second bin to finish its process as you start re-filling the first bin.  If you get a lot of rain in your area, you may want to cover the bin with cardboard or something to keep the compost from getting too wet.

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New compost bins X3 Empty Lots of rain coming out way...

Post  Hawgwild 2/21/2022, 9:50 am

Yep...Lots of rain in the forecast for the next 4-5 days. Have already covered the first pile with canvas on the left and will cover the other on the right today. Thanks for the advice.

Scottie
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Post  sanderson 2/21/2022, 3:08 pm

As OG mentioned, combine the piles into bin one.  You want the raw pile a solid cube 3' high minimum in order to generate heat.  Make sure it's really moist, lighting the fire, so to speak.  Buy a 20*F compost thermometer so you can check the interior heat.  140-160*F is lift off.  When it gets hot, turn into bin #2.  When that heats up, turn it back to #1.  And, so on.

I bought an auger for our drill, and it about broke my arm when it got stuck.  I then went to the gold standard and bought a manure fork at Home Depot.  Razz  New compost bins X3 Compos50

Recommendation:  To make it easier for you to turn from one bin to the other, I think you should cut the front posts off to flush or near flush.

Now, to totally make your day, you need a removable front for each bin, to keep the contents in.  Something like this front.  [I modified the lining over the years, but the front with removable slats was from the get go.]  New compost bins X3 Compos51

Expand your ingredient search beyond leaves (at this time of the year). Produce and farmer market culls, horse manure, stable bedding straw waste, raw or boiled shrimp shells for trace minerals from the gulf, moldy alfalfa or oat hay that can't be fed to the animals, cotton hulls, produce processing plant waste, etc.

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New compost bins X3 Empty Thanks for the advice sanderson...

Post  Hawgwild 2/21/2022, 8:45 pm

Appreciate the advice and tips...got a little more work to do on those bins to get it all right. Will move that pile of compost on the right to the first bin...then start another  larger pile on the right....that is whenever it stops raining in northwest Louisiana....  Rolling Eyes

I do have a thermometer about a foot long I use in my fish fryer outside...Checked the first pile on the left and was about 127 degrees..Its been going about a week now. It did get soaked late last week from the rain and temps were pretty chilly in upper 20's to low 30's at night last week also....I'm sure that had some affect on it.  Got it covered now. Just started the one on the right yesterday.

Got a the old school standard pitch fork and use it a good bit too.  Using that auger with no real issues. It will jerk around a good bit when hits the harder ground but really like the way it aerates the compost.

Will check with my neighbor as I believe they still have some horses so might be able to get a load of "road apples" too. Very Happy

Thanks a bunch,
Scottie
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Post  OhioGardener 2/22/2022, 7:36 am

As the weather warms, so will the compost, as long as there is a good mixture of "browns" to "greens".

This is the thermometer I use:
https://www.amazon.com/REOTEMP-Backyard-Compost-Thermometer-Instructions/dp/B002P5RGMI

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New compost bins X3 Empty Got thermometer

Post  Hawgwild 2/22/2022, 1:48 pm

Thanks Oho...got that thermometer ordered...now got to wait for the rain to stop..

Did finally get some more seeds started in my SFG's...leaf lettuce, spinach, beets, and carrots..Also have already planted onions, garlic that is up about 4", brussles sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. Many of these plants really never did well in my traditional row garden. Just excited about the new possibilities in a SFG,

Scottie
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Post  Frost? 3/3/2022, 11:36 am

I'm either going to get called to a higher level, or drag my comrades down!  I have two compost piles separated by the width of the yard.  When the principal one is full (cinder block), I start dumping my lawn trimmings, and leaf mulch into an open wire corral for future use.

New compost bins X3 100_6621

When I rake the weeds out of the lake (couple times a year), I throw them on the cage corral.

New compost bins X3 100_6622

I collect the kitchen scraps in an old "half" burn barrel covered with chicken wire.  Every so often I knock down the principal compost pile and rebuild it with new grass clippings and kitchen mush.

New compost bins X3 100_6623

When I need compost (I keep a garbage can full on hand), I dig into the depths of the pile an screen out some beautiful black gold.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/1/2022, 9:48 am

Finally got some more pallets to finish the 3-section compost bin. Got the first section built last year, and had planned to get it finished this spring, but better late than never...

The old bin did not offer a capability to move the compost to another bin to finish composting while I started a new batch.
New compost bins X3 Pallet12

New compost bins X3 Pallet13

After emptying the old bin, and removing it, the pallets were set up for the new 3-bay compost bin.
New compost bins X3 First_15

The new 3-bay compost bin is completed. They have been lined with landscape fabric, and boards have been made to close the front opening. The old compost was turned into the new compost bin middle section to complete composting.
New compost bins X3 Finish11

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Post  sanderson 8/3/2022, 11:43 pm

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Post  OhioGardener 8/4/2022, 8:51 am

I put together a short video on the process of building the new compost bins. It was a very simple build process.


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Post  JAM23 8/5/2022, 8:21 am

This is a great video OhioGardener! I think your compost bins turned out great! I would love a three bin system (only have 2 at the moment). If I ever get the space to rebuild, I will definitely be reviewing this video! Thanks for sharing.
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Post  Hawgwild 8/6/2022, 8:50 am

Very nice bins and really liked the video. I'd say you are ready to do some serious composting along with those 2 jora tumblers.....really nice
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Post  OhioGardener 8/6/2022, 10:22 am

Hawgwild wrote:Very nice bins and really liked the video. I'd say you are ready to do some serious composting along with those 2 jora tumblers.....really nice

Thanks! Those two Jora tumblers are used for kitchen scraps and juice bar pulp, which is nice because they are varmint proof. And the open compost bins are used for garden trimmings, bulk coffee grounds, etc.  But, I never seem to have enough compost.  A couple days ago I cleaned off a 4x8 bed from expired bush beans and had to a 2" of compost to bring the bed back up to level - that took the compost from two sections of the Jora composter. But, the cut off bean plants and the tomato plant trimmings did fill about a foot of the left section of the new compost bins, so that is a start....

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Post  JAM23 8/6/2022, 11:49 am

OhioGardener, you have inspired me to flip the compost from the "full" bin to the "empty" bin and this is what half of the pile looks like! I'm so excited because this is my first time composting!! So now I will get busy filling the empty side up again and let this side sit and continue to finish. Question-should I be covering this side of the compost bin now or still just leave it alone? It is under pretty good shade cover until the fall. Thanks in advance!


New compost bins X3 Img_2034
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Post  OhioGardener 8/6/2022, 12:21 pm

JAM23 wrote:Question-should I be covering this side of the compost bin now or still just leave it alone? It is under pretty good shade cover until the fall.

Looks like you are making some good compost there! Congratulations!

In general, yes it should be covered. If the compost is nice and moist - it looks like it is in the picture - it should be covered to prevent rain or snow from saturating it. If it isn't moist, water it and then cover it.  Use cardboard or carpet to cover it, and weigh it down with boards or stones. Here is a picture of mine after it was turned into the second bin and covered to finish composting.
New compost bins X3 Covere10

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Post  JAM23 8/6/2022, 4:00 pm

Thanks! I just covered it with cardboard and bricks.
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Post  sanderson 8/7/2022, 5:09 am

When I had the 3'x3'x3' compost bin, I covered the compost with cardboard and a double layer of bridal tulle.  The evaporation/steam would get caught on the tulle and drip down.  The early design had garden fencing lined with window screen to hold in the compost.  New compost bins X3 Compos61

Later on I changed the lining out for 1/2" hardware cloth lined with weed fabric.
New compost bins X3 Compos63

To protect the compost for the winter, I used a blue tarp with a center PVC pole to make a tent so the water would run off.  Later on, my husband made a plywood roof on hinges.

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