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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:53 am 
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I have to say, I never thought I'd love just having a compost pile rather than a tumbler or a bin, but I super love it. I love turning it with the shovel. It's open on top, but the sides are all garden netting to keep out most animals wanting to nom on things. We divided it in half, so right now we're just throwing stuff into the one end while the other end mixes down. It's gorgeous and super wormy! nom nom worms nom nom Also it so doesn't smell, which is awesome. I was kind of surprised to hear people doing indoor worm composting which is obviously not my scene. Composting is the best.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:44 pm 
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Unfortunately I really don't have the option to do an open compost for several reasons one of the biggest currently being that I physically can't turn it with a shovel. But I'm definitely looking up ways to sift through a tumbler now.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:15 pm 
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heathergalaxy wrote:
nom nom worms nom nom


I love this phrase!

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:35 pm 
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GuineaPig wrote:
Unfortunately I really don't have the option to do an open compost for several reasons one of the biggest currently being that I physically can't turn it with a shovel. But I'm definitely looking up ways to sift through a tumbler now.

You don't necessarily need a shovel. I used a tool called an aerator. You push it into the compost, and as you lift, small wings open up which pulls up the compost. It didn't require a lot of physical strength.
If you are still considering a tumbler, don't get one like this.
Image
This is what I had and as it gets heavier, it got quite hard to rotate. It was also a pain to get the compost out, and sometimes pebbles got into the tracks under the composter which would make it doubly difficult to spin. Perhaps something off the ground that has a handle might be easier to turn.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:55 pm 
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von m wrote:
GuineaPig wrote:
Unfortunately I really don't have the option to do an open compost for several reasons one of the biggest currently being that I physically can't turn it with a shovel. But I'm definitely looking up ways to sift through a tumbler now.

You don't necessarily need a shovel. I used a tool called an aerator. You push it into the compost, and as you lift, small wings open up which pulls up the compost. It didn't require a lot of physical strength.
If you are still considering a tumbler, don't get one like this.
Image
This is what I had and as it gets heavier, it got quite hard to rotate. It was also a pain to get the compost out, and sometimes pebbles got into the tracks under the composter which would make it doubly difficult to spin. Perhaps something off the ground that has a handle might be easier to turn.


I'm definitely going with a tumbler thanks for the info, this is close to one of the designs I was looking at so I'll definitely reconsider. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:31 am 
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compost update: the weather is still wet and nasty, and so i decided to play dirty in my quest to get good compost and a decent green/brown balance: we are now hosting two guinea pigs, who receive as many kitchen scraps as piggies could want, with the only request that they excrete as much as possible. it's only been a few days but the ooky shavings/newspaper is going into the compost with significantly fewer green scraps (really only citrus, teabags, and things like onion skins now), and these guys can poop up a storm. plus, we get to host two cute little guinea pigs (who we have renamed "Fat Charlie" and "Einstein"). if things go well the arrangement may be permanent. here's hoping!

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:48 am 
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Does anyone have any experience with a Green Johanna or similar compost [your=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalekl]daleks[/url]? We have one at the moment, which is going pretty well (well, considering that they require shade, which we don't have the option of n our garden).

The biggest problem with it is that there is no visible way of getting compost out once it's in there. There is a little panel at the bottom, but it's the size of a toaster and and I cannot imagine getting more than a thimbleful out at a time, especially as I followed the instructions and put down a layer of sticks at the bottom which block access to the compost, really. Oh, and the fact that all the "good" compost is under the new stuff I put in, until I stir it in when it becomes mixed up...

Is it worth getting a second composter (they are really cheap here, about £25 as food waste is next on the agenda once the government taught us all that recycling is good. Say what you like about the Nanny State, but I like discount composters) so I can alternate the two year-after-year? The benefits of this are having one all nice and filled with compost ready to be dismantled and ploughed in while the other fills up with banana peels.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:30 am 
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Gulliver wrote:
Does anyone have any experience with a Green Johanna or similar compost [your=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalekl]daleks[/url]? We have one at the moment, which is going pretty well (well, considering that they require shade, which we don't have the option of n our garden).

I've never heard of these before, but that Greencone composter looks fantastic! It says that it will even compost pet waste! Plus you just add stuff to it and leave it. If I had a garden, I would totally get one of these.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:57 am 
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This might be a really dumb question but I'm super new to composting so I have no clue. Can you still compost in the winter months once it drops below freezing?

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:22 am 
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GP, it's not a dumb question. I'd suggest the book "Let it Rot" by Stu Campbell. In the book, he talks about covering the pile with a black tarp. Nitrogen produces heat, so if you constantly added some to your pile, covered it, and made sure to turn it--I think you'd be okay. You are in ATL, right?

At my current home-(which just sold), I'd just throw shiitake in a pile in the side yard and turn it every couple of weeks. My new place is in a pop n' fresh neighborhood, so I can't compost outdoors unless it is in a tumbler or in a worm bin. If I had unlimited funds, I'd have a nice one outside and a worm bin inside, but Mr. J. is freaked out by the idea of worms being inside the house-(shaking head at my spouse's stubborn ignorance).

Anyways, sorry to ramble. Hope that helps. Get that book and a compost thermometer to check the internal temp of your pile.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:35 am 
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GuineaPig wrote:
This might be a really dumb question but I'm super new to composting so I have no clue. Can you still compost in the winter months once it drops below freezing?

No, not a dumb question, and yes you can. If it drops below freezing, the compost pile may freeze and freezing helps to break down fibres. I've composted over Canadian winters. I just keep adding to the bin, making sure to mix in brown stuff and just leave it. I have never had a bin fill up on me before. However if your bin is in full sunlight, it will still generate quite a bit of heat, so it might not even freeze.
Once spring hits, it will break down quite quickly. What you may find is that the compost pile will be very wet, and will probably be stinky too. You will need to add some dry brown stuff to it and turn it to get some air in there. After a few days, it should get back to being non stinky.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:54 am 
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I found mushrooms growing in my compost! I don't know if that's a good sign or not.

I have a tumbler because my FIL bought it for me (even though I already had a plastic bin one) and it's getting pretty heavy, I think i'm going to let it sit for awhile and either freeze my scraps or maybe toss them in the plastic bin that I still have and then add them to the tumbler when I start over.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:42 am 
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my nitrogen injection has worked wonders for my compost.... it got below freezing last night and it was steaming when i looked outside this morning- a first for me!! usually at this time of year it is just a slimy, rotten, anaerobic mess. guinea pig urine + sawdust for the win!!

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:47 am 
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Thanks Jewbacca and Von M!

Ordering that book from amazon right now. And tell Mr. J that worms in the house is just about the most fantastic thing that could ever happen, now I want worms in my house too.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:48 am 
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torque wrote:
my nitrogen injection has worked wonders for my compost.... it got below freezing last night and it was steaming when i looked outside this morning- a first for me!! usually at this time of year it is just a slimy, rotten, anaerobic mess. guinea pig urine + sawdust for the win!!


Nitrogen injection...now this is intriguing.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:20 pm 
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ol' garly cooch
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GuineaPig wrote:
torque wrote:
my nitrogen injection has worked wonders for my compost.... it got below freezing last night and it was steaming when i looked outside this morning- a first for me!! usually at this time of year it is just a slimy, rotten, anaerobic mess. guinea pig urine + sawdust for the win!!


Nitrogen injection...now this is intriguing.



Yes, +1!

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:38 am 
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i read somewhere that adding nitrogen to the pile would speed up heatup. maybe on gardenweb about composting sawdust. first they said urea, which i tried last year with mixed result. someone mentioned using buckets of pee to do it. my compost is mostly greens and almost no brown since we don't have any deciduous matter, so never gets dry enough (hence sawdust) and instead of buying urea, i decided that straight up urine would be better. (not mine, the piggies')

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:21 am 
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von m wrote:
I've never heard of these before, but that Greencone composter looks fantastic! It says that it will even compost pet waste! Plus you just add stuff to it and leave it. If I had a garden, I would totally get one of these.
I got a leaflet about both of them when I was thinking about buying a second Green Johanna, and the green cone is not actually a composter; it's a "food digester".

With the Johanna, you do have to open her up and give her a good hard forking once a month, otherwise she goes musty.

The stick that she came with just did not do the job; you basically have to dig in and turn it all over. Have you tried turning nine months' food waste over with a stick? It's not easy.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:08 am 
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Gulliver wrote:

With the Johanna, you do have to open her up and give her a good hard forking once a month, otherwise she goes musty.


Heh.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:32 am 
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Gulliver wrote:
With the Johanna, you do have to open her up and give her a good hard forking once a month, otherwise she goes musty.

Can't stop laughing! This is what I get for not getting enough sleep last night.

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:31 am 
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Reviving this thread since I'm new to composting. We got a green Johanna and are composting mostly household waste so far - plan to collect lots of leaves this autumn to improve the balance. So far, the only dry stuff we add is newspaper,* and the carbon-rich stuff is mostly that and coffee filters! No surprise that we've had some issues with smell and flies. I've added some dry old soil to it a couple of times, any thoughts on that? I also wonder how much of a difference it makes to chop up the waste? I've been too lazy so far, but if it makes a big difference maybe I'll have to.

*Not a lot of newspaper, since we don't have a daily paper, only the weekly local news.

Tl:dr
Adding old soil in a closed compost bin?
Do I really have to chop up my mouldy taters?

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:12 pm 
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I'm not an expert on composting, but you don't have to chop things up -- they will take longer to break down if they are whole, but if the potatoes are already moldy they've got a head start anyway.

Soil is fine to add. Plain brown cardboard, brown paper bags, paper napkins/paper towels and other plain paper is ok to add too. I have read that you can keep some of this drier brown stuff aside too add when you add a bit of green stuff to it. I haven't tried this myself, but it seemed like a good idea.

I am a lazy composter and almost never turn the pile -- it took a couple years for our compost to get going, but lately it seems like it is breaking things down faster than we can add them.


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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:11 am 
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I was worried my compost was too wet - yesterday I had to water it because there were ants in it!

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:16 pm 
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My Johanna is still going strong. I've actually stopped giving her the monthly forking because she seems pretty self-sufficient nowadays. I chuck in a bucket of water occasionally. I pretty much throw in anything and everything that I think will break down. Avocado pits and skins never seem to break down, but everything else does.I don't really keep a count of what goes in - it's pretty random, but mostly food waste and paper. It has definitely sped up with time.

This spring I used about 2/3 of the contents and my neighbour came to compliment my compost!

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 Post subject: Re: Composting
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:52 pm 
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We were gone four days. It was warm. We came home to a garden that smelled like a rubbish bin, and there's a cloud of flies when the compost bin is opened... The smell has diminished since I've been stirring it every day and added even more old soil to it, but the flies are still there. Living like I do, very close to the neighbours, I need my compost to behave!

Some sort of process has started, because the stuff is warming up.

I'm going to buy some sawdust pellets (the ones people burn for heat) to use instead of soil to cover the kitchen waste. A lot of people seem to get good results with them and they are inexpensive.

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