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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:47 am 
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Not a creepy cheese pocket person
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One of my friends has a bokashi in her apartment. She loves it.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 10:44 am 
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jewbacca wrote:
At home I have my compost in a giant pile, two of them to be precise. One that's ready to go to amend the soil, and one from last season. If you're really wondering how efficient your piles are, you can always get a compost thermometer. I'm personally a fan of surprises, but hard core compost nerdy mc dorkians will say, "You're getting that plant because the internal temperature isn't hot enough." For those of you wanting to get a leg up on compost activators, beware: they are usually just blood or bone meal, and likely sourced from god knows where. Grass clippings are a great source of nitro.

How often do you turn it?

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 12:27 pm 
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ol' garly cooch
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Oh, once a month, sometimes twice a month. When we move, I'm gonna talk Mr. J. into letting me have a worm bin.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Is worm compost treated differently than regular compost? Or can I just get a bag full from a coworker with a worm bin and dump it in and wait for the magic to happen?


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 1:19 pm 
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ol' garly cooch
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Mel,
Yep-worm compost is just their poo. Compost is vegetable scraps that have rotted with air and some time. Not just any worm can be used for composting, you need red worms for that job, or African night crawlers. Both breeds are an invasive species that will eat half their weight per day-(can you imagine doing that?). So for 1lb of red worms, you'll feed 'em 1/2lb of (well chopped) veggie scraps per day.

Red worms are an invasive species, and shouldn't be released into your compost piles outside. Leave that to earthworms who will eat, aerate, and burrow to their five heart's content. Besides, the hot temperatures of the compost will kill the red wigglers.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 1:36 pm 
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I have an outdoor compost bin that has an open bottom, so I guess that means no red worms for me (which is what my coworker has). And you would have to filter out the worms, right, before dumping compost around the yard?

And the compost gets too hot for regular earthworms? Now I feel like a crasshole for dropping in the occasional worm I stumble across.

I have so many questions!


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 6:02 pm 
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ol' garly cooch
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Mel,
Don't feel like a crasshole. Earthworms are burrowers, so they won't hang out where it's hot or near the surface--I doubt you've hurt any of them. With a worm bin you do need to filter out the worms, which is why I like a tiered worm bin: you harvest the castings at the bottom most level as the wigglers move up to eat.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 10:31 pm 
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i have to admit, i know we should turn our compost, but we usually don't. We leave piles of stuff behind at our old houses that we never did anything but layer- scraps and green stuff, watered occasionally and left to itself. Currently, our compost lives in the old broken down grill/oven thing built into the retaining wall behind our house. If we are still here this fall, i plan to actually try to get some of the materials and put them in to my little raised beds. But, really, i hope we have moved by then.

We haven't ever had a problem with animals. And it really cuts back on our waste. we have a toddler in diapers (mostly cloth, but i am not a purist,we do buy some disposables) and we still only have about one bag of kitchen bag sized bag of garbage a week. I recycle a lot, my husband hates that i will fish things out of the garbage when he throws them away.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 5:33 am 
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Veglicious wrote:
The reason I chose a Bokashi is because I rent and don't have much space. Also, I'm impatient and you can use the Bokashi pretty quickly. It sits in your kitchen so you don't have to worry about taking the compost outside (I know this wouldn't take much effort, but I'm sure I'd make excuses not to take it out!)

Me too, I don't have the space for a compost heap but I keep both of my bins outside, I just have a container on the kitchen bench that I take outside to empty.


jildez wrote:
I recycle a lot, my husband hates that i will fish things out of the garbage when he throws them away.

My bf is a lot better at thinking before binning things now, mostly because I say "RECYCLING!!!!!" loudly when I know he's about to bin something and I will open the bin and get it out if he forgets.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 8:14 am 
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jildez wrote:
I recycle a lot, my husband hates that i will fish things out of the garbage when he throws them away.


Mine gets annoyed because I watch him throwing things in the trash and make HIM fish them out and wash them to be recycled. We have really good recycling here, they take everything (EB containers! yogurt cups!), and you don't have to separate out plastics/metals OR paper. It just all goes in one.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:55 pm 
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Not sure if this should be in a different thread because it is about municipal compost. But it is a pretty interesting article about how pesticides and toxins may show up in compost: http://motherjones.com/environment/2011 ... ur-compost

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:15 am 
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ol' garly cooch
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Woah! Thanks, Aubade. I'm so glad I do it myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:22 pm 
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OK, compost folks, tell me what i should use for my "browns"!

No deciduous leaves, or so few that it's almost none. Very little dried up grass either. Haven't seen straw. My options seem to be:
-shredded newspaper, which includes colored ink but not glossy pages
-sawdust
-long pine needles (both of these i seem to recall hearing were Bad Options, but i can't remember why)
-whatever else you smart folks come up with...

I'm pretty much at the point of abandoning my pile and burying my organic waste in trenches to improve the soil (or maybe just make the worms happy). Making matters worse, we've just moved from the dry and cold stage of winter to the wet and cold stage, during which the pile pretty much just gets slimey no matter what you put in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Anywhere you can get straw? A friend of mine used to get the straw from a pet feed store from bales that fell apart. Or cardboard? White cotton rags?

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:08 pm 
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i can get cardboard. the rags we get (from our shop) are totally acrylic.
bales of straw, seriously, i have never seen in this country. bales of hay are those huge 1ton rolls that you see in cow country, but that's hours from here out in the country, and i hesitate to think what they would cost (or how i would get it back home). i can't BELIEVE it. I even checked at the jockey club to see what they bed the horses with, and it's sawdust or else just bare floors (sadface).

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:34 pm 
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mollyjade wrote:
Anywhere you can get straw? A friend of mine used to get the straw from a pet feed store from bales that fell apart. Or cardboard? White cotton rags?


Lowe's and Home Depot sell bails of hay and straw for around $3-4 and they're huge. I used to buy them for my goats when we were in a pinch.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:38 pm 
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is there a particular brand of bins anyone recommends? I'm so worried I'll get the wrong one and end up with a pile of trash in my backyard.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:39 pm 
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One more question, how much is too much to pay for a composting bin?

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:44 pm 
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GuineaPig wrote:
Lowe's and Home Depot sell bails of hay and straw

we don't have stores like that here in Brazil, which is why i'm looking for alternatives. thanks though.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:14 pm 
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ol' garly cooch
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GuineaPig wrote:
One more question, how much is too much to pay for a composting bin?



I really wouldn't pay more than $100 for one, but I'm cheap. Make sure you have plenty of room to move it around. Not a fan of the tumblers because I don't think they are effective.

Green+Brown+Moisture+Air+time= awesome compost.

Stay away from commercial compost activators, as they usually contain blood meal. Use your menstrual blood if you're cool with that.

Torquie--what about burlap? The bags that coffee beans and other dried sundries come in? Shred it up and I'm sure that stuff breaks down, as it is a natural fiber.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:37 pm 
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torque wrote:
GuineaPig wrote:
Lowe's and Home Depot sell bails of hay and straw

we don't have stores like that here in Brazil, which is why i'm looking for alternatives. thanks though.


Oh I'm sorry I thought Mollyjade was asking where to buy straw or hay and I know she lives in the states which is why I made the recommendation.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:42 pm 
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For those who do use a tumbler how do you separate fresh waste from the usable soil?

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:23 pm 
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torque wrote:
OK, compost folks, tell me what i should use for my "browns"!

No deciduous leaves, or so few that it's almost none. Very little dried up grass either. Haven't seen straw. My options seem to be:
-shredded newspaper, which includes colored ink but not glossy pages
-sawdust
-long pine needles (both of these i seem to recall hearing were Bad Options, but i can't remember why)
-whatever else you smart folks come up with...

I'm pretty much at the point of abandoning my pile and burying my organic waste in trenches to improve the soil (or maybe just make the worms happy). Making matters worse, we've just moved from the dry and cold stage of winter to the wet and cold stage, during which the pile pretty much just gets slimey no matter what you put in it.

I was in a situation like yours a couple of years ago. I used shredded newspaper and coconut coir for my brown stuff. I bought mine from a garden centre, maybe you can find some there. It's marketed as an alternative to peat moss. It crumbles in your hand so I would just break some off and crumble it into the pile. It worked great especially when the pile was wet after winter.
Newspaper works well but I would stay away from the glossy stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:40 pm 
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GuineaPig wrote:
For those who do use a tumbler how do you separate fresh waste from the usable soil?

Couple of options. You can either stop adding to the tumbler and let it compost for a few weeks, turning it every so often until it is fully composted, or you could sift compost through through a screen. I'm sure it's easy to make one, there are lots of images online for ideas. I used an old deep fryer basket that I found at the thrift store as a sifter.
If you opt to let everything sit for a few weeks, chopping everything up really small will help a lot. Big chunks take longer to break down, and don't put in really hard items like mango pits, or twigs.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:45 am 
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von m wrote:
GuineaPig wrote:
For those who do use a tumbler how do you separate fresh waste from the usable soil?

Couple of options. You can either stop adding to the tumbler and let it compost for a few weeks, turning it every so often until it is fully composted, or you could sift compost through through a screen. I'm sure it's easy to make one, there are lots of images online for ideas. I used an old deep fryer basket that I found at the thrift store as a sifter.
If you opt to let everything sit for a few weeks, chopping everything up really small will help a lot. Big chunks take longer to break down, and don't put in really hard items like mango pits, or twigs.


Thanks I'm trying to think of the easiest way to go about it since I won't have the physical ability to turn anything else but a tumbler (and someone might have to start helping me do that in a couple months). I'll definitely look up some sifting methods although the old deep fryer basket sounds genius. I like cheap and effective, that's my style.

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