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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Homemade Compost Activator Toplef10Homemade Compost Activator 1zd3ho10

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.

Homemade Compost Activator I22gcj10Homemade Compost Activator 14dhcg10

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Post  Cincinnati 6/28/2011, 8:59 pm

When I purchased my compost tumbler, I received a box of activator. It sells for about $15/box and gives me about 4 wheelbarrows full per box. The last batch quit cooking and I had to add more to get it started again. I have been getting wonderful looking compost, but it is costing me almost as much if not more than bagged compost because of the cost of activator.

I read recently to dump a beer over the raw ingredients. I also read about bone meal or blood meal. I haven't tried any of these.

Is there a good homemade activator/accelerant to get the next batch cooking? Am I being too cheap?, AND the cost of activator worth it for faster compost?
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Post  boffer 6/28/2011, 9:17 pm

@Cincinnati wrote:...I read recently to dump a beer over the raw ingredients....Is there a good homemade activator/accelerant to get the next batch cooking? Am I being too cheap?, AND the cost of activator worth it for faster compost?

LOL I have gotten negative feedback from other forum members for consistently advocating this method, but it has decades of positive results: don't dump good beer on your compost pile, oh no, drink it first, and then pee on your compost pile. Have a kegger and invite your gentlemen guests to by-pass the powder room in favor of your compost pile.

Seriously. Human urine is a compost catalyst. So is green grass, blood meal, rabbit pellets, and alfalfa meal.

Sorry, I really can't speak to making compost quickly. Cut grass is 20% of my compost, but it's ready when it's ready.
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Post  busygirl 6/28/2011, 9:46 pm

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Post  camprn 6/28/2011, 9:48 pm

@boffer wrote:
@Cincinnati wrote:...I read recently to dump a beer over the raw ingredients....Is there a good homemade activator/accelerant to get the next batch cooking? Am I being too cheap?, AND the cost of activator worth it for faster compost?

LOL I have gotten negative feedback from other forum members for consistently advocating this method, but it has decades of positive results: don't dump good beer on your compost pile, oh no, drink it first, and then pee on your compost pile. Have a kegger and invite your gentlemen guests to by-pass the powder room in favor of your compost pile.

Seriously. Human urine is a compost catalyst. So is green grass, blood meal, rabbit pellets, and alfalfa meal.

Sorry, I really can't speak to making compost quickly. Cut grass is 20% of my compost, but it's ready when it's ready.
+1 also see this thread from last year Speeding up my compost
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Post  boffer 6/28/2011, 9:56 pm

@camprn wrote: also see this thread from last year Speeding up my compost

I had forgotten about that thread. Why do 'peeing on the compost' and 'seriously' always go together? ROFL

@camprn wrote:Time to pee on the compost pile.
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Post  littlejo 6/28/2011, 9:59 pm

I will agree that 'boffer' is correct with the urine. Enough said about that!

A good mix of green and brown items should get you a fairly quick compost in a tumbler, but if you are impatient, here is a recipe that I recently used. Mine got very hot, so ya might want to go easy with the ammonia!

1 cup ammonia, from the grocery store.
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup liquid soap
2 gal. water

mix all up, and add sparingly to the composter. It will heat up within a couple of hrs.
mine was some good looking compost, finished in 2 weeks. But, I've got it set aside, curing.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 6/28/2011, 11:53 pm

My 6 year old activated the compost today....lol. I looked out the window and ran out to ask him what he was doing. He told me he didn't want to come inside. So, two things genetically passed right down to him from me...

Laziness and multi-tasking.
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Post  Mamachibi 6/29/2011, 8:51 am

Another compost activator is kombucha "mothers." If you happen to make homemade kombucha, you can take your used "shroom" and either just toss it into the pile or stick it in the blender with some water and mix it up. GREAT bacteria in that stuff!
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Post  Glendale-gardener 6/29/2011, 11:21 am

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:

Laziness and multi-tasking.

Homemade Compost Activator 523562 fantastic!
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Post  pattipan 6/29/2011, 11:44 am

These common plants are good natural compost activators...

Yarrow:
Homemade Compost Activator Yarrow


Comfrey:
Homemade Compost Activator Comfrey


Dandelions:
Homemade Compost Activator Dandelions


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Post  TN_GARDENER 7/11/2011, 8:30 pm

I too am one of those weirdos that adds filtered beer to his compost pile. Give me some credit...I wait until after dark Very Happy

I've also heard that adding some existing compost will help (shovel full of dirt will probably also work).
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