Compost Pile

Discussion in 'Green Energy and Sustenance Living' started by TxBuilder, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. Sep 29, 2006 #1
    Let's hear about your compost piles.

    Do you add anything special to yours to get it breaking down real good?

    Any plant life you don't add to it?
     
  2. Sep 29, 2006 #2

    Square Eye

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    Never put food scraps in unless they are fresh vegetables. The grease from cooking and the fat from meat and dairy will cause an ugly stinking mess.
    Leaves and grass, keep the dog stuff out too!

    Turning the compost is about as important as anything, got to keep it from laying too long and drying out on top. A compost heap is actually a bit of work. I usually just rake mine all up and burn it.
     
  3. Oct 1, 2006 #3

    mechanicalmonster

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    My compost is starting in my animal pen. I have woodmulch for my bedding material. I get the woodmulch free from a local firewood dealer. I feed all my vegetable scraps and old bread to the chickens and ducks. The rabbits get a few veggy scraps too. Don't worry the rabbits are in hanging cages in the shed so they are not exposed to the chicken litter. The animals in turn leave good nitrogen filled lets say stuff in the woodmulch. I turn the mulch from time to time with a pitchfork so that the animals have a cleanplace to step plus flies and odors are not a problem. When the woodmulch gets too its capacity with that nitrogen filled stuff I move my pen. (my pen is easy to move it is a ten by ten dog kennel with an 8x10 metal shed in the place of the back panel) I then pile the old litter into a bin made from three large pallets wire tied together to finish it up and keep it turned or sometimes just rake it out and till it under. My wife does drink alot of coffee and obviously animals do not eat coffee grounds. Not a problem those are great to add directly to a garden or to put in with the finishing litter. The way I move my pen around fertilizes alot of space plus before you put in the mulch the chickens will clear alot of weed seeds. The method I use not only will it get alot of your property very fertile but you will have more compost than you can use very quickly. Not a problem many folks will be glad to take it off your hands and will even pay for it. A word of caution if you do not let chicken litter break down awhile before you use it and till it in very well it will burn your plants as it is very high in nitrogen.
     
  4. Oct 1, 2006 #4

    Square Eye

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    The bacterial growth from compost supplimented with poop can make you sick. Be careful when using poop in compost, it needs to be washed off of your skin ASAP! I just can't recommend using poop. :)
     
  5. Oct 2, 2006 #5

    mechanicalmonster

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    You really have to be selective about what poop you use. No doggy human or kitty stuff. Plus I would suggest anyone turn their compost pile just before they take a shower poop or no poop. I have seen severely mismanaged compost piles with and without poop. When people overload it with nitrogen materials and do not have enough carbon materials it can be downright scary. Bacteria can and will grow in any mismanaged heap. I have farmtype animals so I have to dispose of their waste somehow so composting is the way. If I had dogs or cats that stuff would go to the trashcan. My greatgrandparents used farm animal byproducts in their gardens she lived to 106 he lived to 98. You just have to use common sense dealing with it is all.

    I do not suggest getting farm animals just for the fertilizer value but if you do have them please set them up some kind of carbon based bedding. Your neighbors will thank you.
     
  6. Oct 6, 2006 #6

    bethany14

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    We have two composting methods. One is a just a pile of brush, leaves, and the occasional pumpkin or tomato. The other is a composting tumbler, that's where all our kitchen veggie scraps go. We add leaves, water and such to keep it healthy. It has a cool drip pan beneath it and you can water your house plants with it for a yummy treat. Doggie-doo goes far far away from either ;)
     
  7. Oct 7, 2006 #7

    inspectorD

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    I go away and you guy's start discussing fecal matter.

    I po po the idea.....had to.:rolleyes:

    Just remember all that spinach in the news the next time you compost the dew dew.

    E-coli is no joke.

    True organic farmers have no po in their stuff, fish is the limit.
    I have to go with Square Eye on this one.
    Should we do an anonymous poll?....all the politicians are!!!!:D

    Ours will mean more in the long run.:eek:
     
  8. Oct 7, 2006 #8

    mechanicalmonster

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    I don't disagree with the opinions about using poo. I would not personally import poo. I just have to compost it because with the reality of me having about 15 head of farm animals and growing it is there. I can not just load it in the truck and take it to the dump because it is considered a yard waste. If I did not compost it I would literally be knee deep in poo.:eek: I would not grow a vegetable garden on it the first year I incorporated it into the ground even if it were totally broken down. Ornamentals and trees are fair game though.
     
  9. Oct 7, 2006 #9

    Square Eye

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    Farmers have scattered crap for years over fields. In that application, I'm sure that's fine. I'm over 40 and am sure that I have eaten plenty of farm field fresh produce that was fertilized with poop.

    But this, for the most part is a Home Improvement Forum, not a farmer's discussion of highest yielding fertilizer for the buck. Most homeowners wouldn't know how to take care of one cow, much less a herd 40 -400. We're not trying to make you look like a fool. But dogs eat meat and when that excrement hits the compost heap, bacterial growth will accelerate rapidly. Herbivore's excrement scattered on a bare farm field in the rain and the sun will not breed bacteria like a compost heap in a back yard that may or may not get used right away. Every post in this forum has to be considered for what it's worth to the average homeowner, we need to consider the liability of our replies if someone takes what we say out of context. This is the reason I can't recommend poop in any compost heap. Consider this, two kids playing ball in the back yard. The ball gets in the compost.. Which kid goes in after the ball, and how long will they continue to pass the ball back and forth? Will they take the ball in and let the toddler sister play with it? We can't suggest/recommend poop in compost here.

    So, that said, consumer beware, wash your vegetables!


    Tom
     
  10. Oct 7, 2006 #10

    ALPS

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    I put all I can into the compost, I'd rather see stuff be "recyled" than thrown in the trash. All kitcken scraps (exept meat and dairy) go in, as well as paper towels, dryer lint, and floor sweepings. I've even composted cotton t-shirts, socks and towels. Cardboard is also good. From the yard I find all the organic material I can: grass clippings, leaves, garden waste, old mulch, straw, annual plants in the fall. I agree that dog and cat poop should be left out, but horse, cow, rabbit, and chicken manure all quite safe to add.

    I just pulled up all the old plants from the garden today and threw those in. These alone filled up two of the three bins. Along with these I layered in straw and leaves to avoid a stinky mess later on. Once these settle a bit, I'll combine them in the third bin with shreaded leaves mixed in and I'll water it well every few layers. When the pile is complete,I have a 5' length of rebar with a point ground on one end that I use to create air holes. This gets the pile HOT. Sometimes too hot.

    My "secrets" are to keep the pile moist, aerated and turned when it cools off. I can generate a lot of black gold in one summer.
     
  11. Oct 8, 2006 #11

    mechanicalmonster

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    Sustenance Living
    Discussions related to sustenance farming and living. Topics such as rainwater collections, alt. energy, homestead farming, etc.

    Ok what is above was copied and pasted directly out of the title/description area for this forum so If I offended anyone by discussing this like a farmer they might be in the wrong section. When you talk about farming or composting like it or not the use of manure from herbivores is gonna come up.
    I have read a comment from someone that true organic farmers do not use poo, this would be wrong. True organic farmers try to mimmic nature as much as possible. Nature does not build the soil without poo. When you have your garden it attracts deer rabbit and birds to it. While they are there guess what they do. You guessed it they poo in your garden. With this wildlife pooing in your garden do you think you are in danger of fecal cloriform or ecoli. I say not highly likely if you wash it properly.
    Ok about the recent problems with the ecoli in the spinach. I highly doubt that was from those big ole farms using poo. They were most likely using something that is a greater threat to us chemical fertilizer. I am not saying the chemical fertilizer caused the ecoli as that would be highly unlikly. The most likely cause of the ecoli would be the irrigation. Most large farms like the ones that produce this spinach draw water from a river to irrigate their crops. These crops all through their development get sprayed with this water. Ok lets think of how else we use our rivers. We draw water from these rivers for our municipal water systems. When we use this water due to showers washing our hands or flushing it gets piped right to the sewer treatment plant. The treatment plant filters the solids out and dumps it in the river for the municipalities downstream to treat it the same. When municipalities draw the water out for your use they basically poison it with clorine to get rid of the pathogens. Those big farms do not treat it in any way when they draw it from the river. The microorganisms that break this stuff down live in the soil not the rivers but we continue to poison or waterways. These big farms sell our food to factories. Factories put our food in pretty and convenient packaging and print on said pretty packaging prewashed ready to eat. We as a society are to lazy to wash this ourselves to make sure it is done right. We have also gotten lazy to the point that we are actually aquiring the taste for raw food. Please wash and cook your food thoroughly whether it came from a factory farm or your backyard.

    My outright suggestion on whether you should use an herbivores manure in your garden or not would be know what your capable of before you make this decision. If you cannot get your compost pile hot enough and keep it in proper balance to use farm manure you probably do not have any business composting it in the first place plain and simple. Do your research first and I mean further than the scope of what you will find in any forums. A few good places to start would be motherearthnews and journeytoforever. For those of you who cannot get the high amount of materials you need to get a properly heated compost pile I would suggest you do some research on vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is the only safe way to cold compost.

    I am not trying to offend anyone. I know I may seem to be coming on a little harsh and stubborn. That is not my intention at all I am only trying to keep it real. Have a nice day everyone.

    Disclaimor although I mentioned journeytoforever as a good source of info on composting disregard what they say about safely using manure from carnivores and humans. Although they are right about that it takes very advanced skills and involvement that is way way beyond the scope of many of us if not all of us including myself. Get one thing wrong when going that far and you will likely get sick or die. Again never use manure from humans or carnivores such as dogs and cats way way too dangerous. Do not use any meats dairy or grease either.
     
  12. Oct 8, 2006 #12

    mechanicalmonster

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    On this post I will add some links to some good sites related to composting I will edit this post to add more as time permits. I will not descriminate whether it follows my train of thought or not just trying to put the complete picture out there so folks can make their own decisions on what methods they want to use.


    http://www.epa.gov/compost/ Be sure to check out the section basic information it has a chart showing what to compost and what not to compost.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic_Gardening/2006-10-01/Compost_Made_Easy I think this makes composting sound a little easier than it is but it has some great info.

    http://journeytoforever.org/compost_make.html good info here but some may gross you out.

    http://www.compostinfo.com/Default.htm A lot of good reading don't even attempt this site if you are short on time. They even have a neat little game where you build your own heap by dragging and dropping certain items into your bin. when you are finished it tells you your likely results.

    http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/vermicompost107.shtml This tells about my personal favorite composting method. It is a great method for beginers because the worms digestive system kills many pathogens. It is also a very quick method that takes up little space.
     
  13. Oct 8, 2006 #13

    Square Eye

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    Good post.
    Gives us the option to do the research..
    Not offended at all.
    I don't mind at all when someone backs up their opinion or facts with research that we can use.
    The point you made about maintaining the compost is an important one, the more materials you use in composting the more maintenance it will require. Farming has always involved using evey available material back in the earth to promote growth. But I have seen a compost heap with dog mess in it and it's a mosquito and flies pit. It also had mold all over it. I would hate to have to mess with it. Many people have good intentions then don't follow through. This is the reason for my earlier post. It's more work than most are willing to do. When a compost heap gets out of hand, cleaning it up could make you sick.

    Thanks for giving us the option to do the research and see what is involved in using manure in compost. It's better to see someone elses mess than to find yourself in one :)

    Stick around Mechanicalmonster,
    you're part of the crowd now!
    later,
    Tom
     
  14. Oct 8, 2006 #14

    mechanicalmonster

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    I understand your point of view on this. You don't want anyone to go halfhearted in their approach to composting and turn it into a pathogenic mess with poo. I actually appreciate your comments on this. It got me to thinking just because I have been composting for years and succesfully used about every available method out there does not mean I won't leave some important info out. When you do something such as this awhile their are things you automatically do that do not cross your mind when your typing. Just because I am extra careful others may not be. That is the reason for all the links I intend to put up. It gives people a more complete picture than myself or anyone else will give in here. I have never been upset about differing opinions and I hope noone else has. I think a little debate especially on something as important as composting is healthy. I totally agree with you about keeping dog and kitty stuff out. I do not own any dogs or cats partly due to the fact I do not want their pathogens in my yard or home. My neighbors cats still use my gardens as their litter box.:eek: That is why I so wholeheartedly agree with others and stress wash your veggies whether they come from the store or your garden. I apolagise about the long boring posts composting just happens to be something I am very passionate about.

    Composting is very safe if done properly and it will not only improve the environment but will also improve our general health. Please do your research before you start. I have had a friend ask me to look at his pile to tell him what he was doing wrong. All he had in their was foodscraps and coffee grounds. Nitrogen stuff only and no carbons. That is a big no no. It was a big overly wet stinky mess. It was basically a bigger health hazard than poo could probably ever be alone.
     
  15. Oct 8, 2006 #15

    mechanicalmonster

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    A very important note do not try to compost any tobacco waste or throw any butts in your yard. The concern with this is tobacco mosaic disease. Tobaco mosaic disease is not a health concern for you afaik but it will wreak havoc on your tomato crop as well as some other crops.
     
  16. Oct 8, 2006 #16

    ALPS

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    Hot composting does require some maintainance, how much depends on how quickly you want it to finish. You could always pile a bunch of organic material up and leave it alone for a couple of years. It will compost on it's own, but very slowly. But, I'm guessing we are all talking about hot composting in this thread.


    I've found that the more diverse and abundant the materials the easier it is to maintain a hot pile and the quicker it will break down. This is, of course, if the proper balance of carbon to nitrogen is maintained and the pile is kept moist and aerated. Also keep in mind the ideal size of a composting bin should be 4' square.

    I've found that I can save my leaves from the fall all the way until the following summer. This gives me a good brown (carbon) to balance all the grass clippings (green/nitrogen) durring the mowing season.
     
  17. Jan 28, 2008 #17

    TheFentonGuy

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    My wife and I got this unit last summer, and we started to get some soil, but we kept adding to it and we never could finish it (mistake #1). We ended up leaving it outside (mistake #2) and it is a frozen container.. This summer, I hope to add a starter pack to it, to re-activate it when it gets thawed. I hope to get some good compost out of it.... here is the exact model/unit we have:

    http://www.gardeners.com/Back+Porch+Compost+Tumbler/20706,34-374,default,cp.html
     
  18. May 26, 2008 #18

    herbd

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    Hi,

    Because of very limited space, I use a tumbler. Agree with others, proper moister level and turning is key - and turning is easy using tumbler. When it gets too wet and I don't have anything dried out I go to my shop and get some saw dust.

    Herb
     
  19. Feb 16, 2009 #19

    GreenIsGood

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    Our compost pile is home to 20,000 red wiggler worms. We started the compost pile with Yucca plants we dug up during construction on our farm. Plus loads of top soil. Once they were ready, we ordered in some worms!

    During the year we save all our veggie scraps and coffee grounds - we dig holes in the compost pile and pour in the goodies. The piles are about 20' wide by 6' tall - really big!
     
  20. Apr 15, 2009 #20

    DaveyDIY

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    I have a boatload of poo !!
    14' to be exact - 4 F150 truckloads
    Leaves & fall garden clean out went down 1st
    I'll be adding grass clippings on one side, then raking the top over the grass, then more grass

    [​IMG]
     

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