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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've got a compost bin in our garden, and we've been putting kitchen waste in it ever since we moved in last summer. Also some leaves and grass cuttings.<br><br><br><br>
I'm not sure it's working so well. The good thing is that it doesn't seem to get full, so I guess some what we put in there must be decomposing after all. The bad thing is that I can't actually see much properly decomposed matter ... Not sure how that is possible!<br><br><br><br>
My concerns are firstly that I'm not sure it stays warm enough. The bin is made from plastic (about 5mm thick), but as we live in England and don't always have so much sunny weather this time of year, I suspect that it's just not warm enough in there. The compost bins I've seen before (in Norway, i.e. even further north) were built from wood and were insulated with styrofoam (polystyrene).<br><br><br><br>
Secondly, the previous tenants had evidently chopped up their Christmas tree and put in the bin, and that is still far from decomposed. I've been taking out bits and pieces every time I check the state of the bin contents.<br><br><br><br>
Thirdly, we collect kitchen waste in supposedly compostable bags in the kitchen. When they are full, we throw the entire bag into the bin. Would it be better to open the bag and empty the contents directly into the bin? Or does it not matter?<br><br><br><br>
Finally, I don't really have a clue. If anyone has any experience and advice about composting - this is the thread for you!
 

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IS what size is the bin , does it have ventilation holes , how much grass clippings do you put into it (thickness of layer ) , how thick are the layer of leaves , are they damp or dry when you add them ? and yes , its better to to bust open the your kitchen bags .<br><br><br><br>
Weather has little to do with it , in the old days the British aristocracy use to grow pineapples with snow around in the middle of winter .
 

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Well, we compost. I have a hole in my back yard with some fencing around it to keep animals and babies out that I toss kitchen scraps into. Mine seems to be working just fine. I don't use bags at all though.
 

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zikes - that tree ain't helping! I'd tear the bags open before putting them in. That way it'll mix better when you turn the compost.<br><br><br><br>
I've always had luck with plastic bins, but I've always lived south of you. I partially buried mine once, and I think it helped things tremmendously. I guess the most important thing there is that you allow for some ventilation.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Fritemare</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Well, we compost. I have a hole in my back yard with some fencing around it to keep animals and babies out that I toss kitchen scraps into. Mine seems to be working just fine. I don't use bags at all though.</div>
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Yeah, babies don't compost well at all! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:">
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>bluesand</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
IS what size is the bin , does it have ventilation holes , how much grass clippings do you put into it (thickness of layer ) , how thick are the layer of leaves , are they damp or dry when you add them ? and yes , its better to to bust open the your kitchen bags .<br><br><br><br>
Weather has little to do with it , in the old days the British aristocracy use to grow pineapples with snow around in the middle of winter .</div>
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Sizewise it's roughly about a meter high. It's barrel-shaped with a diameter of roughly 0.5 meter. So that gives us a volume of about 1m*3.14*(0.25m)^2 which is approximately 0.2m³. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
No ventilation holes except the hatch on the bottom where I can rake out composted matter. I can't seem to close this hatch completely, Maybe that's a good thing.<br><br><br><br>
Grass and leaves: There isn't much in there now, since it's winter and I haven't been cutting any grass or raking leaves.<br><br><br><br>
You might be right about temperature, although I'm still not convinced on that one ...<br><br><br><br>
Thanks for your advice!<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Fritemare</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Well, we compost. I have a hole in my back yard with some fencing around it to keep animals and babies out that I toss kitchen scraps into. Mine seems to be working just fine. I don't use bags at all though.</div>
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Lucky you! I'll start opening up those bags, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>abroadinSacto</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
zikes - that tree ain't helping! I'd tear the bags open before putting them in. That way it'll mix better when you turn the compost.<br><br><br><br>
I've always had luck with plastic bins, but I've always lived south of you. I partially buried mine once, and I think it helped things tremmendously. I guess the most important thing there is that you allow for some ventilation.</div>
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Thanks ... I might go looking for a new bin, since ours doesn't seem to have much in terms of ventilation. Or I guess I could poke some holes in the one we have ...<br><br><br><br>
My boss told me he has three bins. The waste first goes into bin #1, then proceeds to #2 and finally bin #3. I guess this way one is sure that the compost gets mixed around somewhat etc.
 

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re: the bags, that's only about 1/3 of our kitchen waste, so while it may not help, I don't see that as the root of the problem. I check it every now and then and try to stir things up with the shovel, but it not decomposing very much, even the "free" waste.<br><br><br><br>
In talking earlier, I said that I suspected the lack of "brown" stuff is part of the problem. I'll have to do a bit of raking on the front lawn this week and toss that in.<br><br><br><br>
I've wondered too about adding some worms. We had a compost bin (very small) at a school where I once worked, and the worms were a big part of the decomposition process.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks for the tip about ventilation. I've not seen that on any of the sites/directions I've read. Our form of bin seems to be pretty commonly used too, so I wonder if people are poking holes in the lid perhaps. Hm.
 

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My bins have come with a couple of slit vents on the side near the top. They're not terribly obvious looking down from the top.<br><br><br><br>
Grass clippings are great because they are loaded with nitrogen which has obvious benefits as a fertilizer. I understand that nitrogen also helps keep the temperature up in the composting process. I read of one case (I think it was in Rodale's Book of Composting) where a small tropical community was composting chopped up saplings using their own urine as the primary nitrogen component. It worked so well the compost was ready to use in just over a month. Of course, if you choose to use this method, please be discreet.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Indian Summer</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Sizewise it's roughly about a meter high. It's barrel-shaped with a diameter of roughly 0.5 meter. So that gives us a volume of about 1m*3.14*(0.25m)^2 which is approximately 0.2m³. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
No ventilation holes except the hatch on the bottom where I can rake out composted matter. I can't seem to close this hatch completely, Maybe that's a good thing.<br><br><br><br>
Grass and leaves: There isn't much in there now, since it's winter and I haven't been cutting any grass or raking leaves.<br><br><br><br>
You might be right about temperature, although I'm still not convinced on that one ...<br></div>
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^ Well in some ways your concerns are correct about the temp . Temp generated is a big part in composting and outside temp might slow it down slightly .<br><br><br><br>
The size sounds o/k<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Holes in the side might help for more ventilation . But best not to put holes in top of bin . The only thing I have found with those bins (a good one is very efficient ) is that the mice get in them ...they love them , you might have to mesh up the vents if you think it will be a problem . So you come to getting the compost out the bottom hatch if its not closed and you have mice nests coming out with the compost .<br><br><br><br>
Worms have a freeze point so I don't know the temp where you are , so maybe it might not work . You can build a worm farm in a shed (non smelly) and freeze point wont worry them, there are no end on designs on the net .<br><br><br><br>
Its best to layer your compost , branches , coarse material at the bottom and layer it different material to the top , about 20 cm each . Fulling it up with grass clipping is not the greatest of ideas .<br><br><br><br>
To accelerate the composting (if you have a rotor mower ) just run the mower (with catcher on ) over clippings , even leaves . It really saves space and helps with the composting .<br><br><br><br>
Two to three bins is an excellent idea . you can pick them up at garage sales cheap<br><br><br><br>
best of luck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:">
 

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HEre is a good <a href="http://www.city.davis.ca.us/pw/compost/troubleshooting.cfm" target="_blank">composting troubleshooting guide</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>abroadinSacto</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Grass clippings are great because they are loaded with nitrogen which has obvious benefits as a fertilizer. I understand that nitrogen also helps keep the temperature up in the composting process. I read of one case (I think it was in Rodale's Book of Composting) where a small tropical community was composting chopped up saplings using their own urine as the primary nitrogen component. It worked so well the compost was ready to use in just over a month. Of course, if you choose to use this method, please be discreet.</div>
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Re: urine ... The parents of a friend of mine were experiencing some troubles with their compost. I guess the dad had been hearing stories about the benefits of this method, and so he tried it. And supposedly it worked really well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Soy 6-Pack</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
HEre is a good <a href="http://www.city.davis.ca.us/pw/compost/troubleshooting.cfm" target="_blank">composting troubleshooting guide</a></div>
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Hm... I think I'm going to try some of that. I'll try to chop up the contents better, and maybe see if there's some grass that needs cutting.<br><br><br><br>
I'll have to see if I can shut that hatch properly as well. Don't want little rodents nesting in there! On the other hand, the neighbourhood has a huge cat population...
 

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I see this thread is relatively fresh. Tomorrow I am going to the hardware store for 2X4s and chicken wire to make a big compost bin with 3 separate sections. I had a lot of garden waste in the yard and decided that this was the year to begin to compost. I already have some "leaf piles" that have yielded nice black leaf mold.
 

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IS ...was going to mention it when you originally kicked of the thread , but did not know if the idea worked (I was there when they built them ) any way , have heard back that the idea does work . That is , to use a couple of old freezers with holes drilled along the bottom for air circulation and liquid (smelly ) drainage . You use the liquid as a feeder for your plants . Because of the insulation , they have fast heat generation and break down . You use the second one to shovel the contents of the first one into .<br><br>
The base inside is best to be made pallet like or the first layer a very course mixture , otherwise , you wont get air flow .
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for that ... um, not sure I have that many old freezers lying around, but at least this seems to indicate that heat and insulation <i>are</i> factors to be considered. And the base thing too. I'll try to take all this into consideration whenever I set up a new composter.
 

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Hi well, I got some wood and some hardware wire today.<br><br><br><br>
I was just reading that grass clippings (I guess during certain times) burn way too hot, and need to be dried some. (nitrogen vs carbon in the right combinations). We have explosions here of dry corn silos that kill people. A lot of people tend to forget that this stuff is chemistry and very powerful.
 

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gita...grass clippings are fine to use, you just want to mix it in well w/ your carbon materials. its about keeping the ratiio. keep it aerated by turning it often and you should be safe.
 

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They are very nitrogen-- If you have a lot it is recommended to dry them a bit. This is all<br><br>
Subjective. How much is "a lot?" who knows.
 
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