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? about size of pile....

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by pagarden on June 09, 2006 12:54 PM
so my bin is 3x3 ft which is good size to get it cooking right? it's mostly straw, grass clippings, some leaves, and kitchen scraps. it doesn't smell. last time we mowed the grass the bin was about 90% full, it settled and cooked a bit and now is less than 1/2 full. my problem is that after it settles a bit it seems to cool off. is that due to the size- because it ends up so small or is it something else? do i keep adding to it so it stays big or do i just let it get smaller and smaller? and how often should i turn it? if i do it about 2 times a week is that too often and maybe that's why it cools off? i do make sure it's wet but not soaked.
by Longy on June 09, 2006 05:49 PM
It sounds like it's almost ready. If you keep adding to it, it'll never be ready. Next time you turn it, check it out. You can turn it daily if you want. The stuff you put in there should bear no resemblance to what it was originally. It should be brown and have an earthy forest floor smell. If you think it needs further composting, you can add some greens to heat it up again. like comfrey or grass clippings. Chicken manure. Other manures. However, if it's down to half its size, it might be done.

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The secret is the soil.
by johnCT on June 10, 2006 12:40 AM
Sounds like it is cooking down a bit, but it is normal for it to settle a lot. When that happens its time to turn it again to get the oxygen mixed back in. It always cools off when it runs out of greens. Not because you're turning it. Turning it helps it to start cooking again. I usually only add fresh grass clippings to a cooking pile because they are a great source of greens to start it cooking again and they break down quick enough that you don't need to be worried about it never being done. Otherwise, you should start a new pile with any new material.

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John - Zone 6
by pagarden on June 10, 2006 01:08 AM
the only thing that bear a resemblance to what it was before is some straw. everything else is pretty brown and unidentifiable. so next time we mow (maybe next week) i'll just add grass and mix it thoroughly and see how that goes. thanks guys. i suppose i just have more questions than i thought for my fist time. next time i won't bother ya all so much! [Smile]
by tkhooper on June 12, 2006 01:34 AM
It's no bother at all. We love talking about composting.

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