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Composting ??

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by plantingnewb on September 11, 2006 12:44 AM
Can I start a compost bin in the fall?
Will it be ready to use in spring then?
What do I do with it over the winter when it snows?
Should I cover it?
Sorry so many ?? I never composted before. [dunno]
There is an old wooden bin in my backyard half full.
It has been sitting there for 3 years at least.
I'm gonna just throw the stuff in the garden and start over.
I am so excited to start this, since everyone on here keeps talking about composing.
I figured if I'm gonna keep up with you guys I better start doing this too. [Wink]
by SpringFever on September 11, 2006 02:04 AM
Plantingnewb,
The compost that has been sitting soo long have you turned it or watered it?
If it is dark and rich under there I would use that and start a new pile...It will not relly decompose during the winter soo much but maybe a tiny bit!
You could always bag all your goods over winter and let them freeze outside and then add them in the spring!

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Tonight I am having friends for dinner... Hanibal Lector My Album
by plantingnewb on September 11, 2006 02:24 AM
I have used some of the dirt.
It is dark, but not as dark as potting soil.
How dark should it be?
by amy7467 on September 11, 2006 08:45 AM
The trick to composting is to raise the temperature so the stuff breaks down faster. Try adding grass clippings and leaves to the stuff you already have. Keep turning it and you should have some usable stuff before winter. It should be kept moist, but not wet, so if you don't use it before winter keep it covered. If you add enough green (grass) and brown (leaves) you can add kitchen scraps (not meat) and it should break down fairly quick and not have a bad odor. Hope that helps! Good luck!
by patches1414 on September 11, 2006 06:35 PM
Plantingnewb, I started my first compost bin in the fall because I figured I still had several weeks of mowing to do and then I would have all my leaves to add to it. [Wink] A ratio of three part browns to one part greens will help it decompose faster and eliminate odors. I also added all my kitchen scraps and coffee grounds as well as various other things from my list (e.g. dryer lint, shredded newsprint [black only], etc.). The trick is to keep it moist and aerated, so I kept it watered and kept turning it over as long as the weather allowed and by spring I had plenty of finished compost to use in my garden.  - You'll be able to tell when your compost is ready because it will be dark brown, crumbly, and earthy-smelling. [Wink]

Here's a list of some of the things you can and cannot add to your compost. It also shows you the "browns" and "greens" you can use. This is the list I use, but I'm sure others can add to it.

What TO Compost

Common "Brown" (high-carbon) Ingredients
Dry Leaves
Hay and Straw
Corncobs, Stalks, Vegetable Stalks
Shredded Paper (no colored ink)
Pine Needles
Wood Chips and Sawdust
Wood Ash (in moderation)

Common "Green" (high-nitrogen) Ingredients:
Grass, Lawn Clippings, Fresh Leaves
Weeds and Other Garden Wastes
Eggshells, Coffee Grounds, Paper Filters
Kitchen Scraps, Vegetable & Fruit Parings
Horse and Cow Manure
Feathers, Hair, Lint, Sweepings
Seaweed

What NOT to Compost (details)
Chemically-treated Wood Products
Chemically-treated Materials
Diseased Plants
Human Waste
Meat, Bones, and Fatty Foods
Plastic, Glass, or Metals
Paper with Colored Inks
Pernicious Weeds
Pet Wastes

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"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen!"
by weezie13 on September 16, 2006 11:45 PM
Fall is THE BEST TIME to start a compost bin..
When mowing lawn and fallen leaves at the same time, you get instant starter mix..
You mow, and throw that stuff in, and some assorted kitchen scrapes layered, stuff the bin to the top, cover with lid and it'll be about 1/2 half down the inside of the bin by the end of the week..
It'll get hot and steamy and just render right down...keep adding it...as long as you can...
and it will freeze up in the winter..
*I save my scrapes from the kitchen and throw it in every so often, it freezes pretty much instantly...

But come spring, it'll thaw and come back to life...
*I do have a small problem in the spring when it's been so wet and the bin is not heating up sometimes *especially if I've placed the bin in a wetter area or in the shade* and I do find a product called Ringer Compost Starter and that'll give it a good boost..
***even beer can be a great booster, but that is also wet, so sometimes I hold off on the beer until mid~summer when it's hot and dry and in need of a kick~starter***

You've been given some awesome hints and tips and techniques' for composting...
Keep with it, it can be frustrating in the very begining... but you'll get the hang of it..
and the results are wonderfully yummy.......

And don't forget to do a FORUM SEARCH and type in COMPOST, COMPOSTING... on here and you'll find a bunch of posts on it to help you along....

and don't hesitate to ask, if you have any questions, theres a bunch of really good composters here that all just love [Cool] to help and get another gardener into composting... [flower]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by weezie13 on September 16, 2006 11:47 PM
quote:
It has been sitting there for 3 years at least.
I'm gonna just throw the stuff in the garden and start over
You can even set that stuff aside, and layer it in between your new stuff you've thrown in the bin for a kick starter... that's got all the wonderful microbe's, etc in it already, that will help jump start the newly added ingredients as well...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on September 17, 2006 12:00 AM
Amy & Patches
The stuff that is in there now is dark brown.
Can I use it now or should I add grass clippings and wait a few weeks? I don't have any leaves yet. I want to add it to my garden for next years planting, since that soil isn't very rich. My vegis didnt grow very well. [tears] I can wait a few weeks since my zucchinis are still producing slowly. I was going to go out today and pull everything out of the garden. Then I noticed a little zucchini growing. [Wink]
Any advice would be helpful.
Thanks
Tammy
by weezie13 on September 17, 2006 04:45 AM
quote:
Originally posted by plantingnewb:
Amy & Patches
The stuff that is in there now is dark brown.
Can I use it now or should I add grass clippings and wait a few weeks?

What I would do if it were mine, is, empty it..
and put that stuff in some containers you can manage...
Then some I'd use, put on the garden by tilling it in or just leaving it on top and till in spring...

Or utilize it with half potting soil and save it for next summer to pot up some containers..

Then I'd save some, and intermix it with the new compost bins you'd start...*that stuff is excellant starter with the microbe's in it to jump start a new bin.. gets stuff going faster*

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on September 17, 2006 11:07 PM
I'm so excited!
I finally started my composting today. [clappy]
Jerry(my boyfriend) made me a sifter.
I sifted all the old stuff and ended up with 2 garbage cans full. I can't wait to use it & see what a difference it will make.
I threw dry twiggy stuff on the bottom, grass clippings, shredded paper, garden plants that were left out in the rain in a bucket yuck [Frown] , dryed up plants, and some of the old compost , like you adviced Weezie.
I dumped in some beer & water. I hope that was right. [dunno]
Hopefully I did it all right.
Today I will throw in some more stuff as soon as I get out there.
Thanks to all of you for all the encouragement.
Tammy
by weezie13 on September 17, 2006 11:47 PM
Tammy, I am wayyyyyy more than happy to help you get into composting... it is one of the most rewarding projects you can do... I am thrilled to get another gardener into....
Just remember it can or might be a bit frustrating in the begining... don't loose hope..
If you get it right, than that is just that much more fun you have with it early...
I even have a hard time come spring sometimes, but it is very fixable..*sometimes they get too wet and is hard to get it to come back to life*

I do suggest to keep adding stuff to your pile,
but find a source or extra source of browns, come summer... they run low then... *usually during fall there's a ton of it.. and spring has a good amount too.. but summer it can run sparse especially when most you have is kitchen scraps'..
I found finding some saw dust *which does take more to render down, it works your bin hard....
its not like chopped up leaves in the fall, but works when nothing else is available* but even keeping a bag/can/container of chopped leaves to the side of your bin helps too..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by weezie13 on September 17, 2006 11:53 PM
quote:
I sifted all the old stuff
Don't forget to re~use that stuff...
Layer it in between the new layers as you throw
new stuff in... That stuff has all those good microbes' too...and will eventually render down too in time...

(I love throwing in peach pits, pistachios' shells' and such *cause they won't render down* but they get that good stuff in the holes of the shells and are good "space fillers, when you need air in your bin in the middle... and when I sift, they are good breaker downer things to break up big hunks of stuff... does that kinda make any sense)

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on September 24, 2006 10:50 PM
Weezie,
I did take your advice and added the old in between the layers. [thumb]
I have realized that I can come up with way more greens than browns, but I will have leaves soon. Can I use any shredded paper or just newspaper?
I haven't checked on the pile for awhile since it's been raining. I think my biggest problem to overcome is going to be making sure I go out there often enough to turn it.
So since the weather is getting colder (50-60 degrees) will it still heat up? I guess I'm just wondering if I can throw the stuff in and then wait till spring to attend to?
I'm going to go check on it today. How will I know it is working?
Sorry so many ??? but I'm really not sure if I'm doing this right.
Thanks
Tammy
by weezie13 on September 25, 2006 01:56 AM
quote:
Can I use any shredded paper or just newspaper?

Shredded paper works best... **the more exposed edges you have on an item you put in the compost, the quicker it decomposes..**
quote:
So since the weather is getting colder (50-60 degrees) will it still heat up? I guess I'm just wondering if I can throw the stuff in and then wait till spring to attend to?

It'll heat up if you throw in the right ingredients.. *like chopped leaves and grass clippings when you mow the lawn in the fall time..*
I also throw stuff in even in the winter sometimes, it freezes almost instantly.. but come spring it'll all thaw out...***that's the time you have to be careful, cause it can have too much moisture from winter/spring and then too much from kitchen scraps...and takes a bit of patience and a good feel of how to work you pile... ~~~~>I usually add more brown and some beer or that Ringer Compost Starter that really gets it cooking if you have a big problem.
Especially once you get a feel for the compost..
quote:
How will I know it is working?

Usually when you've got all the right ingredients it cooks and you know it.. It steams..but at some point when all ingredients are in there, they are still working and are doing some process with or without steam...
but just at a slower rate...

quote:
Sorry so many ??? but I'm really not sure if I'm doing this right.

No problem at all... always glad to help with composting questions.. Love to get new composters on board everyyyy day... [thumb]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on September 27, 2006 08:39 AM
Weezie,

"Can I use any shredded paper or just newspaper?"
I understand it needs to be shredded, but I actually wanted to know if it could be any paper or does it need to be newspaper?

I just added grass clippings and leaves.
I hope this works for me.
I now wish I had 2 bins, one to add to and one to leave.
I just saw a picture of JohnCT's new bins.
Wow 3 of them. I'm jealous.

Thanks for all your help!
Tammy
by weezie13 on September 27, 2006 09:37 AM
quote:
Originally posted by plantingnewb:
Weezie,
"Can I use any shredded paper or just newspaper?"
I understand it needs to be shredded, but I actually wanted to know if it could be any paper or does it need to be newspaper?

I personally think, newspaper is the best..
because of the basic consistancy of the newspaper as opposed to paper that may have a shiney consistancy *which is a big no~no* and some other types where you don't know what kind of INK they've used in the printing process..

If you're low on "browns", go for some sawdust or woodchips..

quote:
Originally posted by plantingnewb:
I just added grass clippings and leaves.
I now wish I had 2 bins, one to add to and one to leave.
I just saw a picture of JohnCT's new bins.
Wow 3 of them. I'm jealous.

I always try to encourage people to get 3 bins really, if space is available..
One bin for working *throwing stuff in*, one bin resting *sits after you've added your last load in the bin* and one bin that's in use *that you are pulling the compost out of and using*...

[Smile] [Smile] [Smile] by the way, I have 5 bins and 1 double barrel compost tumbler [grin] [clappy]

I'd have 10 more bins if I could too!!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by comfrey on September 27, 2006 09:45 AM
Congratulations Tammy on getting a compost bin working, You'll love it and don't forget some of that white junk mail and envelopes..just remember to remove the plastic window before putting in the pile. There are so many things that people throw in the trash that could be going into a compost pile. I cut my trash amount in half just by sorting things that can be put into the compost pile.

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by weezie13 on September 27, 2006 09:50 AM
quote:
Originally posted by comfrey:
I cut my trash amount in half just by sorting things that can be put into the compost pile.
That is sooooooooooo true....
I compost and such and so does my mother
(who lives right next door to me)
and we share putting out our garbage every week..
*our town has either .50 or $1.00 stickers to put on the bags* and we put a .50 cent sticker on ours, together...
That's how much composting cuts down on garbage.

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on September 30, 2006 09:29 PM
Comfrey & Weezie,
Thanks for all the advice and encouragement.
I woke up early eager to go work out in the yard and decorate for Halloweeen, but changed my mind when I saw the temp. was 40 degrees. Brrrr!! [scaredy] [shocked]
I think I'll wait a few hours.

I did show my boyfriend the picture of the 3 bins. If I bug him enough he'll make it. [Wink]

Can I put fireplace ashes in the compost for a brown?
Thanks again,
Tammy
by weezie13 on September 30, 2006 11:28 PM
You can put ashes in..
But just not alot..

When compost is composting and you put your ingredients in... *Even if you put a ton and a half of leaves, which are acidic* the pile when down composting will be more alkaline than acidic.. when you then put in toooo much ash, it makes it very alkaline and you want your compost more torwards a neutral base than one extreme or the other..

*don't ask me how if putting all those leaves in and it comes out alkaline, more of the compost/decomposing process I guess, but why it goes the other way, I don't know the technical terms for it.. other than ash is very alkaline based, I guess??*

[teacher] [teacher] And NEVER use coal ash.....

Only use wood ash....

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on October 02, 2006 12:31 AM
Weezie,
I think I'm hooked on composting. [flower]
Yesterday I told my boyfriend if he wasn't going to build me 3 bins then I would just use one of his plastic garbage cans. He didn't think he could build them that day. I couldn't wait, so I had him drill a few holes in it & I filled it up.
My original plan was to wait until spring to build the 3 and use the old one that I have now to decide if I was going to be decicated enough to need 3.
As I was pruning and raking, I decided I needed at least one more. Next weekend I'll probably steal another can. [Big Grin] Hopefully the can will be easier, since I can roll it. Turning all the stuff in the bin is not so easy. [Eek!]

I'm still not sure that the stuff is cooking. I haven't noticed it steaming. I have only been turning it on the weekend. I know I should turn it more, but I get so busy & forget or just don't make the time.
Tammy
by weezie13 on October 02, 2006 01:10 AM
quote:
Turning all the stuff in the bin is not so easy.

Just think of all that muscle you're building! [Wink] [Wink] [Big Grin] [thumb]

quote:
I'm still not sure that the stuff is cooking.
Remember, even if you don't see the steaming process... when all those types of ingredients are put together and a good healthy mix...
I'll do it all by itself... [thumb]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on October 09, 2006 04:07 AM
What about toilet paper?
Can that go in the compost?
Our house just got toilet papered for homecoming so just wondering?
Tammy
by weezie13 on October 09, 2006 04:11 AM
Absolutely...
That's one of the fastest things to decompose..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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 -
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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on October 09, 2006 07:59 PM
Weezie,

Thanks for responding to all my questions so fast.
Tammy
by EricDerek on October 10, 2006 04:56 AM
How do you people shred the newspaper?
Just rip it up with your hands?

I've tried using a lawn mower, but found that creates too much of a mess.

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Help!!!
by weezie13 on October 10, 2006 05:05 AM
Do you have a paper shredder???????

I don't personally put news paper in mine,
*I recycle it* and I have unlimited Browns',
so I don't need it.. *but some do require it,
because they don't have the browns available to them...

The paper shredder works pretty good from
what I've heard.. and it creates many "sides" to
the paper which speeds up decomposition, when more sides are available to be broken down.

but if you don't have a shredder, ripping is fine..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by plantingnewb on October 12, 2006 08:23 AM
I use a paper shredder also.
Tammy

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