Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Do you compost?

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,942
I'm considering composting my (non animal) kitchen garbage for 2 reasons:

1. Improve our poor soil
2. Reduce what we send to the landfill.

Of course I'll Google it but does anyone have any recommendations on what equipment/techniques/processes to avoid?

Also, if you used to compost but stopped because you felt the results were not worth the time/effort/expense I'd like to hear that too.
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
Compost varies...

Seriously, it really does. You get out what you put in, so think about what you're going to use it for before deciding what you'll compost and what you won't. For example, we eat a lot of citrus fruit, and make juice too, so we were putting a ton of acidic peel and pulp into our compost. Not a huge problem, but if you dig it into the garden regularly you can eventually alter the pH of your soil, meaning you have to be careful what you grow there, as many things don't like too much acid.

Don't add eggshells, they will never rot down in a million years. Coffee grinds don't really do so well in large amounts either, but a few are fine. Grass cuttings are ok in small amounts, they help to generate heat and get things moving, but too much an you end up with run-off. If you want a good general purpose garden compost as the end result, try to add as much of a variety of items as possible, not too much of any one thing.

You don't need anything fancy in the way of equipment. At the most basic, you can just designate a corner of your garden, dump stuff there and cover it with plastic, weighed down with stones or bricks. Or, you can buy a static or revolving composter. The revolving ones turn like an old fashioned butter churn, so you can mix things up. Quite helpful to get it going, but not essential, by any stretch. Your local area might have an incentive scheme - we got our compost bins from the council, for a nominal charge.

You can buy starter liquid to get things going, but you don't really need it. Keep it aerated and turn it over with a garden fork occasionally, and you should get nice rich garden compost. If you want to use it for 'finer' work like potting or cuttings, you'll need to mix with peat and a little vermiculite, and it can take a bit of practice to get the mix right, but it's do-able. That's when it's quite important to test the pH and try to put the right things in in the first place.

We've always composted kitchen waste, can't imagine any reason not to since we have the space and can use the compost.
 

ksinger

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
5,078
We have "Heap", and "Son of Heap". No special anythings, just 2 heaps. Grass clippings, kitchen stuff, grounds, you name it. Great stuff.

The tender, slimy bits though, go to the worm bins. ;))
 

davi_el_mejor

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,947

Skippy123

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Messages
24,299
we do :D
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
In a way, we all do... :D

And seriously, in my town some people do, and it has become a fad in a neighbor town; each local newspaper gives you advises on building compost pits. I tried to talk my husband into building one in our back yard, but he said, over his dead body...
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
Hi Kenny-did you know there's a local composting class, and the city sells a variety of composting bins? Google our city + composting, and check out the first link that comes up. We're going to do it, I think, because we're also planning to take advantage of the drought-tolerant lawn replacement program and put in a native plant garden.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,942
Thanks for all the tips. :wavey:

Yeah I'm learning that cities vary.
Some cities forbid composting because some residents will not buy vermin-proof bins and they end up inadvertently increasing the mice and rat populations.

Some cities encourage composting (vermin-free) by offering free training workshops and selling the proper bins at deep discounts, so check with your local government.

One source says to smash up eggshells into small pieces and compost them.

I hear parts of Canada will soon REQUIRE all residents to compost kitchen scraps.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,942
Thanks Selkie.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,942
crasru|1314555397|3003671 said:
I tried to talk my husband into building one in our back yard, but he said, over his dead body...
Will it compost?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,942
davi_el_mejor|1314554378|3003658 said:
we just started :D
We bought this http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ideas-7-...25D6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1314553874&sr=8-4
we put:
all our veggie scraps
coffee grinds,
egg shells,
dryer lint,
some of the paper towels,
some of the stuff we shred (bills/junk mail),
stupid pears that fall into our yard.
We're hoping to use some of the good stuff next year in our garden :D
Does that bin rotate?
If so that's a clever design; it sounds easier than stirring stinky heavy gunk with a shovel.
Dryer lint? That biodegrades? You only use lint from natural cloth like cotton, linen, wool. Right?
Do you compost bills before or after paying them? Will the government pay them if we compost the paper?
Which paper towels? - Are you talking about what has contaminated them or certain "paper-recipes"?
Are there smart pears?

Next YEAR? :-o :-o :-o
Composting takes THAT long?
 

lyra

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
5,202
kenny|1314557633|3003699 said:
Thanks for all the tips. :wavey:

I hear parts of Canada will soon REQUIRE all residents to compost kitchen scraps.
Our city has a compost program. It's not totally required, but we are provided with a small green outdoor bin that they pick up every week along with the regular blue box recycling. We only get garbage pick-up every 2 weeks, and it is only for a certain limit (2 cans only). So really, it makes the recycling/composting mandatory only in the sense that most people would be over their garbage allotment if they didn't do it. The city uses the composted material, which is great.

Good luck with your project Kenny. We have done our own composting in the past, with mixed results. We accidentally created a worm farm once, and actually that worked better in the gardens than the compost! ;))
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
We compost about 99% of our leaves every fall. We picked the northern corner of our yard and have about 6 bins that we made out of chicken wire about 5' in height. We have over an acre of land and were sick and tired of bagging leaves every fall(we'd have over 50 bags). So we mulch the leaves and throw it into the bins. I will throw in veggie peelings and coffee grounds in there as well and even grass clippings when we collect the clippings. We have been doing this for over 15 years and have the most beautiful compost you have ever seen.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,293
I have a compost bin purchased at a city composting event years ago and worked it for a year or two, then lost interest. :oops: We have huge elm trees in my neighborhood and the roots grow up into the compost - that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it! Anyhow, my city has had curbside pick-up for yard clippings forever, and that stuff gets composted, so the yard waste at least never went to the landfill. Last year they added the option of using greenwaste cans that get picked up weekly alongside the regular garbage. That's what I use now, and I don't feel at all bad about adding kitchen waste to that bin. I will start a worm bin one of these days though!

If you do decide to try a static compost bin or pile, treat yourself to a good spade fork. You'll be glad you did!
 

Ninna

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Messages
303
We can't have an open compost pile in our neighborhood since we are provided with greenwaste+garbage+recycling cans weekly.
Currently we 2 inexpensive metal garbage cans with tight lids and drilled holes all the way around and bottom of the trash cans.
Mixing: every weekend DH rolls them around the yard on their side a few times, we usually get finished compost in 3-4 weeks.
I like ratio 4:1 browns to greens:
8" good soil
Fruit, peels, cores and old produce cut up
Tea bags and coffee grounds
Shredded documents from work
Spent flowers and fillers from work
Leaves
 

TristanC

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
995
Worms. Get worms. Add more organic bits. And worms.
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Messages
6,482
We have two compost piles, a formal one is a rotating "barrel". It is heavy and hard to flip (turn) so we are kind of not using it as much, and an informal "pile". We don't do the ideal ratio of stuff (too much produce, not enough leaves and grasses) so sure enough the worms showed up. It is crazy with worms. So we inadvertantly got a vermiculture compost pile going. As far as vermin except for the worms haven't noticed anything in ours, but our neighbors who have an open (wire mesh) compost pile get raccoon visitors.
It's not hard at all. If you mess up the ratios (green to brown, oxygen, water) it's not like it will fail but just take longer to compost. Pretty much all the fertilizer we use in our gardens are from compost and every year it looks better.
 

davi_el_mejor

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,947
kenny|1314564808|3003796 said:
davi_el_mejor|1314554378|3003658 said:
we just started :D
We bought this http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ideas-7-...25D6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1314553874&sr=8-4
we put:
all our veggie scraps
coffee grinds,
egg shells,
dryer lint,
some of the paper towels,
some of the stuff we shred (bills/junk mail),
stupid pears that fall into our yard.
We're hoping to use some of the good stuff next year in our garden :D
Does that bin rotate?
If so that's a clever design; it sounds easier than stirring stinky heavy gunk with a shovel.
Dryer lint? That biodegrades? You only use lint from natural cloth like cotton, linen, wool. Right?
Do you compost bills before or after paying them? Will the government pay them if we compost the paper?
Which paper towels? - Are you talking about what has contaminated them or certain "paper-recipes"?
Are there smart pears?

Next YEAR? :-o :-o :-o
Composting takes THAT long?
The base has wheels on it and the drum rotates on them. Really easy to spin.

Our dryer lint is full of dog hair LOL We wear mostly cotton, some may be blends, but the amount of non-natural fibers won't hurt anything in the long run.

The bills :errrr: HAHA everything is done online, but sometimes they send us stuff in the mail, that stuff gets shredded, wetted and dumped

Paper towels that weren't used to clean up animal stuff or used with cleaning supplies, so not that many go in the compost.

I ask the pears what 2+2 is and none have been able to answer, so they get tossed in. Should one be able to answer it will be spared and sent on a national tour.

We didn't have our hopes set too high, should we get some good stuff by fall, we'll turn that into the dirt in our garden patch. But low expectations mean little to no disappointment ;-)
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
9,294
Nope. My grandfathers both did (one still does) but the work they put into it really wasn't worth what they got out.

Our city has "yard waste" containers that we can get along with our garbage and recycling service. The "yard waste" is really a composting bin. They encourage you to toss in all of your kitchen scraps and anything else that can be composted (paper towels, grease soaked pizza boxes :knockout: , etc). The bin is collected each week and actually used as compost.
 

Amys Bling

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
11,025
No- but the family I lived with in the Netherlands did. They had a recycling can, garbage can, and compost can in their kitchen.
 

MonkeyPie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
6,059
My dad does. Everything from the kitchen goes into it - coffee grinds, eggshells, banana peels. He rotates it all winter and come spring, starts turning it into the soil. His gardens go CRAZY every single year, and he has really bad dirt without the compost (thick, hard clay). Every year we give away bags and bags of veggies and tomatoes because there is just no way we can eat it all, even freezing half of it. And even with my son eating every tomato he sees lol.
 

HopeDream

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
2,146
We always had a compost bin when I was growing up, and now the city I live in has an extensive composting program: our large compost/yardwaste bin is collected once every 2 weeks. It's great!

If you live in a dry area, don't forget to water your compost to keep it moist enought to decay properly. Worms are great for breaking down vegetable matter. woodlice/pillbugs/sowbugs/rolypolys are also quite helpful decomposers. Also, turn your compost once or twice a season (mix it up with a shovel or pitchfork)to help it decay evenly.
 

Echidna

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
723
TristanC|1314606977|3004319 said:
Worms. Get worms. Add more organic bits. And worms.
Ditto this! Could be our climate, but DH worked out that we couldn't generate enough volume or heat in our compost to make it work. So we got a thousand new wormy pets :lol: Worm farming is great!
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
Echidna|1315479234|3012537 said:
TristanC|1314606977|3004319 said:
Worms. Get worms. Add more organic bits. And worms.
Ditto this! Could be our climate, but DH worked out that we couldn't generate enough volume or heat in our compost to make it work. So we got a thousand new wormy pets :lol: Worm farming is great!

We have been composting (big volumes of compost) for almost 15 years and never had to add worms. We must be lucky. For an area that is all clay I think we have the lone property with the lushest soil and the best vegetation.
 

House Cat

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
4,153
Yes.

I have a heap outside and I do bokashi composting. You can even use bokashi for your pet waste. Bokashi is more...fermenting for a few weeks, then burying the fermented waste for the worms.

What I like about bokashi is that I can compost things that can't go into my traditional pile. Although, if you go to the composting forum on gardenweb, they compost just about everything. They just make sure their piles are good and hot.

Between bokashi, my heap outside, and recycling...there is hardly anything in my trash can. :bigsmile:

There are a lot of expensive bokashi systems. I didn't buy any of them. I bought 2 $3.00 5 gallon buckets and ordered the inoculated wheat bran. I guess you can make the bran yourself, but I'm too busy gardening to deal with all of that. :D
 

House Cat

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
4,153
One other thing....

I had a $500 compostumbler. It was junk. I had better results making a pile outside of the tumbler than I ever did inside of the tumbler.

Luckily, it was a gift or I would have been sick over it. I sold it on craigslist!


If you want compost fast, shred your materials with your lawn mower, then mix em up.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations
    Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations
    Tennis Bracelet Love
    Tennis Bracelet Love
    Pretty Princess Cut
    Pretty Princess Cut

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top