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Author Topic: Compost bins  (Read 10543 times)
puckie
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Compost bins
« on: August 12, 2009, 18:03:15 PM »

Have read a lot about garden compost bins,where you convert any veggies,leafs, left overs to finally get compost out after couple of months.Have browsed the internet.My question is that if one has confined space to place it in,does this bin produce odour that can affect neighbours ? I know that it has to be placed on soil so that any liquids will drain in soil.I have a space but is close to neighbours and don't want to buy it first and then try. Any suggestions
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jap
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2009, 21:33:32 PM »

Hi, I have just started my compost bin again. The first time I did it I put a lot of twigs and palm leaves and it never turned into compost. I am now reading on the net and I think the secret is to put small pieces of kitchen left overs and a good quantity of dry leaves.  You can try to make a compost bin by buying what we call Chicken wire (jew tal-fniek) about 4ft high and make a circle and tie it with plastic ties. that way you can make it as big as you want. They say it is not supposed to smell if you do it right. If it smells you are putting to much of the green stuff and too little of dry matter.  Hope it works for you as much as I hope it works for me. What i told you is what I have read.
Jap
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puckie
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2009, 18:58:25 PM »

HI Jap,
            Many thanks for replying back.I thought everybody is out from home swimming !! Well turning back to the subject,honestly to say was going to buy a plastic one.reason is that since garden is small and well kept deserves it,but is a very good idea as well.I usually collect leaves and store them in sacks in the sun to dry out.Then can mix the kitchen left overs with these dried leaves.
             I asked the question regarding the odour as unfortunately,when you ask a compost bin seller cannot be 100% sure !!!.Over here is different.I don't want to buy one and after some time just empty it and use it as a storage for something else due to odour.Many thanks jap.
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MG
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2009, 14:31:53 PM »

Some composting facts:

You need to 'start' the composting preferably by placing already or part-composted material as the lowest layer in the bin. Otherwise it can take far longer to start the process. Alternatively, put soft stuff first - kitchen fruit scraps, etc.

You need to keep the heap humid. Not soggy wet but humid. Dryness is an excellent preserver but preserving is the last thing we need. Water it in summer occasionally, and ideally place in a shaded space.

While the bin or whatever will have air holes, unfortunately a very well ventilated one (i.e. something made out of chicken wire) will not work very well here - only the core will retain the necessary humidity.

The heap/bin/whatever should not be smelly but one that is composed of almost exclusively soft and wet material needs to be properly managed.

The result is NOT anything like shop compost. It is a fine, almost dusty, black textured material. Not ideal for planting into in its neat state. Use it to improve other soils.

MG
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puckie
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2009, 18:27:53 PM »

Many thanks MG,
                           So first I need to find a shady area to place bin.Then to start with friut left overs .Shall I add drier leaves or ? At the moment am shredding leaves collected and drying them in trays to later add to the bin.Am I doing the process right ? I still have to purchase a bin but better be prepared first.Today was working very close to BSS and passed by.Although he does not stock bins but gave the idea that there exists sack similar to compost in form to mix with the mixture.When spinkled with water will produce a bacteria that will better the conversion process.I don't know that's the reason of asking for other opinions here.
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apples and pears
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2009, 20:34:51 PM »

I have had a plastic compost bin for the pat 4 months, the only ‘problem’ I had was the swarms of fruit flies,

The good thing was that the snails went for the compost bin like flies go to sugar.

Don’t get your hopes up; I fill the compost bin 4 or 5 times to the top and over, only to have it compost down to a quarter of the 250L bin.
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MG
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009, 20:47:09 PM »

Many thanks MG,
                           So first I need to find a shady area to place bin.Then to start with friut left overs .Shall I add drier leaves or ? At the moment am shredding leaves collected and drying them in trays to later add to the bin.Am I doing the process right ? I still have to purchase a bin but better be prepared first.Today was working very close to BSS and passed by.Although he does not stock bins but gave the idea that there exists sack similar to compost in form to mix with the mixture.When spinkled with water will produce a bacteria that will better the conversion process.I don't know that's the reason of asking for other opinions here.

AFS have bins too, forgot the litreage but go for the biggest you can fit.

Yes you can buy accelerant (sorry forgot the correct term) to start things off.  Not really necessary though.

Personally would not bother with procedures - just dump leaves into the bin as soon as they are available, too much hassle otherwise as a&p states, a properly set up compost heap reduces in volume quite dramatically - that basket of carefully dried/shredded leaves converts into barely a handful of compost!

Yes add dried leaves if available no problem but keep the heap moist. In summer if kept moist the process is faster than in winter.

If I put a lot of dry material on the heap, I tend to include a thin layer/sprinkling of ordinary garden soil, i.e. interspersed layers of soil, this helps with maintaining the humidity as the soil wets easily while many dry leaves just shed off the wetness so the uppermost layers are really not doing much composting at all.

Also recyling a small amount of what comes out of the bottom seems to work too.

Beware that compost heaps tend to atttact millepedes too, ideal feeding and breeding ground, for this reason if you have the option keep some distance from the house.

MG
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puckie
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009, 22:23:35 PM »

Many thanks to all,
                                Yes ,so better keep the leaves in their natural state instead of drying them out.I was trying to dry them out.Tomorrow will collect all.Hopefully AFS  will open as I think they are on shut down at the moment.I think better start the earliest possible so as to take advatage of the summer season.Will let you know how things are going but first we need a compost bin !!Many thanks again.

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rixu
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2009, 14:59:15 PM »

Hi!  I have a small chicken wire compost bin in which I put pruned leaves and twigs (cut about 3cm) which I started last November.  Like MG said, it did dry out this summer (at least the outer part).  I was afraid to put in it kitchen scraps because like puckie's, my space is confined and have neighbours on both sides of my yard and garden and was afraid of the smell.

However, during an internet search, I came across another method.  This process will take longer, but one can use plastic garbage bags (30 or 40 gallons),  fill them with organic materials, nitrogen and 1 cup lime and after shaking well, put 1lt of water and close tightly.  It can be stored outdoors in the summer and in a garage or basement in winter.  It said that no turning or additional water is necessary and should be finished in about 6-12 months.

Don't know if it actually works, but for someone with a small yard like me would be very practical.  Anyone has any experience or more information about this method?

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/DEPUTATE/AIRWASTE/WM/RECYCLE/FACTS/compost.htm


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MG
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2009, 18:06:28 PM »

The garbage-bag composting seems a bit tricky, seems easy to go wrong and either end up with nothing much happening at all else a stinky, slimy mess. This because the overall humidity will depend to a great extent upon the moisture content of the organic material included, which can vary wildly.

Furthermore, hmmm, most garbage bags nowadays are degradable themselves! Ooops!!

The footprint of a 400 litre compost bin such as those available from AFS is not very large anyway. Not more than say that of three medium sized garbage bags. They are nice and square, and tall-ish which is where the volume comes from. And if a fair percentage of the feed material is going to be kitchen based, then such a bin will be easier to manage than any sealed bag, again see above ref to controlling the ideal humidity levels, fruit and veg bits are way too wet to seal in a bag.

The one thing they don't have is a base. These are designed (I suppose) to be placed on a soil surface. Possibly they could be placed on a pallet on which sackcloth has been placed, maybe the pallet itself could be elevated a bit on some tiles or bricks at its four corners and driptrays placed underneath, if this could be a problem.

MG
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puckie
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2009, 18:16:03 PM »

Well friends,
                   This week bought a compost bin from AFS of 280 litres.Have browsed a lot of sites over the net.Is seems that in our summer the challenge is not that hard.It is required to put 1/3 of greens(kitchen friuts scraps,veggies,etc) and 2/3 of browns(dried leaves).In summer when one trims plants,trees,etc ends up with fast dried leaves.The trick is in winter.In winter one consumes the same friuts and veggies but from where you get the dried leaves/browns to mix to ?  My idea now is to look forward and store in a dry place dried leaves and trimmings for the coming winter if possible.Is it a good idea ? I think whoever ends up without browns stored in winter cannot have a balanced compost bin during the time,ending up with a soggy and smelly bin!One should also remember to mix(aerate) the contents of the bin twice weekly and also monitor moisture and dryness in it.
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MG
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2009, 01:18:17 AM »

Would not worry about Winter. The bin has a lid, no? It will also by then have a base of "summer" material which means that any excess moisture will easily drain away.

No worries, will take care of itself.

MG
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puckie
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2009, 13:47:34 PM »

Many thanks,
                    Well will stick to it and mix it twice weekly.Thanks all for the help.This forum is really worth.Everybody help everybody here!! Much obliged.
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apples and pears
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2009, 20:33:51 PM »

AS MG said to add soil, I found adding a bag (2-3 litres) of soil from under a Carob tree is very useful to get things started. The stuff you buy won't have all the microbes the natural stuff has.
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MG
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Re: Compost bins
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2009, 15:23:24 PM »

Yes what you find underneath carob trees is pretty much what you are to expect out of your compost heap. Good idea to add some of this to start off your heap, especially if it's from a surface, actively composting layer.

The older carobs are a good source of ready made black stuff. Carobs are incredibly "productive" trees, they are, at various times of year, dropping either large volumes of leaves (start, and throughout summer), carobs (currently and soon) and flower spikes. Naturally this accumulates over the years and composts.

If you use this the one slight irritation you will have to contend with, is little carob trees sprouting in your pots!

As with your own home made stuff it is also rather dusty, hard to wet, and probably not too good at retaining moisture so it will need to be combined with some other substrate to make it usable. Good earthy fun however.

MG
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