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Posted: Jun/08/2008 12:44 PM PST
I would like to start making some compost. I am totally new to the process and have no idea where to begin. I have several questions for whomever can help.
1. Is a compost bin the best way to go? If so, how big of a bin should I get? (I have several trees, herbs, and veggies)
2. What can I put in the pile?
3. I own a juicer...so I've been collecting the pulp left over from fruits and veggies to use in the compost. Is this sound practice? If so, how do I go about drying them out?.. directly in the compost pile?
4. I've also been collecting coffee grounds. Is that also put into the compost pile..or directly into the dirt as is?
5. How long does it take to break down to where I can use it?
6. Is there a certain mix I should use for certain plants? (ex: more of X when making compost for veggies & herbs... more of Y for citrus, mango, or other tropical tree)
7. Last, but not least, How do I use it when ready? Do I turn it into the soil..or spread it over top like mulch?
Any and all input is appreciated. Thank you!
Location: Lancaster, SC
Posted: Jun/09/2008 3:39 AM PST
1. Is a compost bin the best way to go? If so, how big of a bin should I get? (I have several trees, herbs, and veggies) There are a bizillion different techniques. Some like the square bins, the round that you can turn are great, but I am just a piler. We just dump things in a pile at the edge of the woods.
2. What can I put in the pile? There are formulas for that, how much green and how much brown, but we just dump in everything--leaves, grass, eggshells, weeds, veggie scraps. Everything but meat products and diseased plants.
3. I own a juicer...so I've been collecting the pulp left over from fruits and veggies to use in the compost. Is this sound practice? If so, how do I go about drying them out?.. directly in the compost pile? Just throw it in as it is. It's veggie matter!
4. I've also been collecting coffee grounds. Is that also put into the compost pile..or directly into the dirt as is? Throw that in too!
5. How long does it take to break down to where I can use it? That depends on the heat and moisture levels, also how often it is turned.
6. Is there a certain mix I should use for certain plants? (ex: more of X when making compost for veggies & herbs... more of Y for citrus, mango, or other tropical tree) I don't think so, but I'm not sure about that.
7. Last, but not least, How do I use it when ready? Do I turn it into the soil..or spread it over top like mulch? You can use it as a top dressing in the spring, or dig it in as an amendment. The plants will love you for it.
Posted: Jun/09/2008 6:01 AM PST
What Witt said
Here's what I read somewhere about composting:
You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want to, but
Personally, my life can be complicated enough so I keep my composting simple- I throw it in a pile in my bins- made from clearance fencing, open in the front- and turn it when I remember, or feel like it. I throw everything from yard waste, kitchen scraps (minus meat and dairy, that's fed to my rats), coffee grounds, used tea bags, to the bedding from my pet rats. To make it break down faster- break up any branches and other woody waste into small pieces.
Posted: Jun/09/2008 1:33 PM PST
Thank you for the input ladies!
I am now looking into purchasing a bin or making one myself. I would do the pile.. but, the only space that would not look unsightly would be next to the AC. I'm pretty sure you don't want a compost pile anywhere near there.
So, while doing some research online..I've come across an "indoor kitchen composter". It looks like any other small size compost bin..but, it has a spout on the bottom of it for extracting the "compost tea".
My questions are:
1. IF compost tea is a natural result of the composting process..why don't all bins have spouts? I was under the impression that you had to make the tea yourself. If that's the case..how do I make it?
2. When do I know my compost is ready to use?
3. How much do I apply per sq. ft?
Posted: Jun/09/2008 2:15 PM PST
That's an awesome list- Thanks for sharing!
Location: beautiful southern appalachians
Posted: Jun/09/2008 3:53 PM PST
I'd stay away from a kitchen composter. When compost happens, it generates two things: heat and odor. Maybe not overpowering, but I don't think you'd want either one in your kitchen.
The reason compost containers don't have spouts is because compost tea is something you make from finished compost, not from decomposing compost.
2 cents from one of the gents.
Location: Kellyville, Okla
Posted: Jun/09/2008 4:30 PM PST
I agree with Steve about the compost tea, but I do make a manure tea by saving the water that leaks out of my compost turner. I can't see wasting the that good stuff.
Location: South Florida - Zone 9B/10
Posted: Jun/10/2008 5:08 PM PST
I may have put some of the veggie plants that had pests and or disease on them in my compost. I am not sure if they were diseased as we are in a drought and the local extension office said it could have been uneven watering. Do you think I can still use the compost?
Posted: Jun/11/2008 10:44 AM PST
I wouldn't recommend putting anything diseased in the pile.
I am purchasing a used Earth Machine Classic for $50 using craigslist. Anyone have any experience with these?
Posted: Jun/11/2008 1:36 PM PST
Try to get the pile as hot as possible by turning it often, and adding water when needed to keep slightly moist. Putting a tarp or other cover over it can help to hold in the generated heat. That should help to kill any pathogens. You can also sterilize it before using by either baking it or adding boiling water to it- can't remeber for how long for either of those methods those