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 Post subject: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:51 am 
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I'm thinking about jumping on the composting bandwagon seeing that I throw out so many valuable vegetable scraps, and my yard looks like crepe. I don't have a lot of money to spend, so if you have experience with making your own compost bin and have had success with it, please do share!

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:23 pm 
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I took the road of least resistance approach and don't worry too much about proper composting. I have a chain link fence and sectioned off a corner of it with chicken wire. Wired on one side and s-hooks on the other so it can be easily opened. I just dump all of my leaves in there, throw the scraps in and cover with leaves. I turn it once in a while and never really water. This method isn't the fastest - but I like it!

If you don't have outdoor pets you could even just do a pile in your yard. Just be aware that any type of open compost will attract things like skunks, racoons, rats...


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:29 pm 
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i am also a piler. but the last house i bought a few meters of pig wire (bigger and heavier than chicken wire) and made a big circle with it, and used that. it was super easy to use, fill and take apart. every once in a while i threw some urea fertilizer on it, turned once in a while.

mostly though, i throw my veg scraps and organic waste directly into my garden. it`s the lazy way.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:54 pm 
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torque wrote:
mostly though, i throw my veg scraps and organic waste directly into my garden. it`s the lazy way.


Wow, you can do that? That definitely sounds desirable since I'm lazy. I have a dog, but he's not outside by himself very much so that might actually work! Also the main reason I want to start composting now is because I just bought a juicer and plan on using it a lot. It seems like the scraps from that are broken down quite a bit anyway, so maybe I could just throw the pulp into my garden. Hmmmmm.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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look up Ruth Stout, my hero.
http://www.squidoo.com/ruthstout
http://www.matrifocus.com/SAM08/gardening.htm
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic- ... spx?page=2

she calls for hay, but i do the same thing with my scraps, with no hay. I juice a lot and the bits that the guinea pigs don't get (they love the macerating juicer pulp from green juice) goes into the garden. I DO have a fenced garden though, or the dogs would be in heaven.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:29 pm 
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Just a quick suggestion. For those of you who want to compost "directly in the garden", please bury your scraps in a shallow trench or pit. Perhaps I am too concerned with sanitary issues, but leaving exposed decaying veggies on the surface of the garden where you are trying to grow fresh veg just sets off my disease alarm.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:59 am 
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At the ol' Jewbacca compound, I just threw stuff in a pile, then would occasionally turn it and mix in dirt and grass clippings. Now that we've moved to Pop n' Fresh Village and I deal with an HOA, I compost at work using the worm bin and our outdoor tumbler.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:14 pm 
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Mine is just a pile surrounded by chicken wire to contain it. I occasionally turn it when I remember to. Seems to work okay.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:57 pm 
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Just thought I'd mention an alternative idea to your vegetable scraps... do you make your own vegetable broth? You can save the scraps from most veggies in a freezer bag and make broth when you collect enough. We did it last winter and had a surplus of broth.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:14 am 
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kdub wrote:
Just thought I'd mention an alternative idea to your vegetable scraps... do you make your own vegetable broth? You can save the scraps from most veggies in a freezer bag and make broth when you collect enough. We did it last winter and had a surplus of broth.


Yeah I thought about that, but it's way too efficient for me to actually be consistent with. I'm just not good at keeping up with that kind of stuff, as much as I'd like to haha.

Thanks for all of your suggestions! I'm making a homemade bin out of an old plastic bin I found in my garage. DH is going to drill some holes in it, and I'll start layering the scraps with some top soil I bought and I guess dead leaves and grass clippings? And the whole thing will only cost be around $10. Who needs some big expensive composting system anyway?

So do I just start by putting some soil at the bottom of the bin, then layer my scraps on top, and then put more dirt on top of that? Then do I just keep layering it with more soil/leaves as I add more scraps?

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:52 pm 
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You definitely don't need to spend a lot of money on a compost tumbler or some such contraption! I don't think you absolutely have to layer, but we have found that layering with paper and/or dead leaves once in a while does cut down on the bug attraction. We've never added any soil to it, though. It turns into super fertile soil anyway. We bought two cheap plastic garbage cans and drilled holes in the bottom of both. We filled up one with veggie scraps eventually, then dumped it over in the other, and started over with the empty garbage can. That way we had nice, fresh compost at the top of the dumped over one, ready to add to the garden.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:22 pm 
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Location: It's hot. All the time.
I have a loosely constructed pile in my back yard but I have a fence. Also, I live in the subtropics so everything rots quickly. The citrus/roof/Norwegian rats are uninterested in my pile of leaves and greens. I keep a container in my kitchen and when it's full, I dump in it the pile and mix it with some brown leaves.

This zine from Microcosm is only $4 and might answer some of your questions.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:09 am 
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sunnybear wrote:
So do I just start by putting some soil at the bottom of the bin, then layer my scraps on top, and then put more dirt on top of that? Then do I just keep layering it with more soil/leaves as I add more scraps?


You don't need to add soil, just scraps and dry, dead leafy stuff (or sawdust, paper, straw, etc.) I dump my kitchen bin about once a week. I'll turn the existing pile to toss things up, dump on the fresh stuff, then cover that in dry stuff. I don't worry too much about getting the ideal balance of wet to dry, but the dry does cut down on flies and smells.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:42 am 
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I suggest "Let it Rot" which discusses all aspects of composting:
http://www.wormsway.com/detail.aspx?t=prod&sku=LIR900

If you decide to order that, call 1-800-274-WORM, that way you'll save more $ on shipping. That book can easily be put in a bubble mailer for $5.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:37 am 
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I have a raised garden bed - for next year. So I'm composting in that with mostly grass clippings and some leftover peat moss. It's almost full. I'll add stuff to it next Spring. We had another one near the back fence and we got amazing soil out of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:46 pm 
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Yes I empty them every year and spread the compost all over my front garden to protect some of the plants in winter and it's then ready to feed the new plants next year.
I am interested in finding a source for large quantities of compost, my garden is about 3/4 of an acre and I cant produce enough of my own to cover my needs. The soil in my area is marginal and heavy in clay and I know that large amounts of compost would only be beneficial.

I have been using pallets, "55-50 pound bags per pallet" of Black Kow composted cow manure and it is "supposed to be" organic. I have had good results with it but purchasing enough for my entire garden would be extremely cost prohibitive, costs about $280.00 for each pallet.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:13 am 
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I just have a pile in the back of the yard. I don't even have wire or anything to contain it. I turn it less often than I should. It still works. I have a couple of questions though. Can I put nail clippings and hair in my compost, or will they attract raccoons and rats and such because they are animal products?

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:22 am 
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i always throw those things in the compost. my spouse's eggshells go in there too. we never have critters in the compost, although if you're swarming with raccoons or something then i'm sure they'll be in the compost anyway.

in this new house we have the wire thing again. i'm experimenting using sugar cane waste for the browns, as we just don't get leaves for our brown matter.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:45 am 
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You don't need any special bin per se. We have ours in compartments made by corrugated tin roofing held in place by pipes hammered into the ground.

But the best decomposition happens when a pile is at least 3 feet wide, deep, and high.

One thing that's really helped us, though, is adding a thick layer of wood chips. Check out Garden of Eden on youtube for details, or at my blog. They have helped keep the moisture in, so we don't burn through compost anywhere nearly as fast as we used to.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:37 am 
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torque wrote:
i always throw those things in the compost. my spouse's eggshells go in there too. we never have critters in the compost, although if you're swarming with raccoons or something then i'm sure they'll be in the compost anyway.

in this new house we have the wire thing again. i'm experimenting using sugar cane waste for the browns, as we just don't get leaves for our brown matter.

Thanks torque. I've known about egg shells for a while now. It blew my mind at first, but makes sense that as long as they are washed well of any egg goo they will be fine. My spouse rarely uses whole eggs these days, but when there are shells they always go in the compost. I wish I could share some of my leaves with you. I've got waaaaaay more than enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your homemade compost bin!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:15 pm 
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I know this a really old thread but it seemed the most relevant one.

Can I put used paper hankies in the compost? I have a terrible cold at the moment and am blowing my nose on toilet paper and the nose won't stop running so I have piles and piles of paper going in the bin. I'm sure it isn't appropriate for the paper recycling pile, so I've been putting it in the landfill bin, but would it be safe to compost?
I put my food waste into those compostable bags made of starch, to avoid having to scrub out a bucket, so I don't think anyone would be at risk of touching the hankies or having my germs fly up when they put their own scraps in. The compost pile I use is in a community garden. The kitchen scraps are kept in lidded plastic bins at first to avoid pests, then added to the big pile with leaves, grass clippings etc. when they're pretty well rotted. The finished compost is used on edible plants.

I know paper can be useful in compost to get the right balance. I'd never put human faeces or vomit in the compost. I don't know if common cold-induced nasal mucous is a problem in terms of spreading disease?


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