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Compost - question and answer thread

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default woody stuff in compost

Post by John Cossham on 11th April 2011, 6:31 pm

The previous messages, about woody stuff including conifer twigs and hemp stems, shows the importance of riddling your compost before use. The carbon-rich chunks, especially conifer which does take ages to rot can easily be riddled or screened out, the particles which fall through the seive are 'good compost' and all the stuff too big to go through can be put back on the heap, for another go round with lots of juicy putrescible nitrogen-rich materials.

I riddle with 3 things; a 'grandad riddle' which is basically a sheet of galvanised chicken wire on a wooden frame, about a metre square, which I prop up on something for materials to be rubbed through, OR a Rotaseive, which is a circular screen with a rotating bar above it which breaks up lumps and lets particles fall through, OR, when doing big quantities, I get my electric Scheppach RS400 rotary soil sifter out, and the rotating cylinder lets small particles fall through whilst larger bits pass out into a recepticle in a different area. It's a lovely bit of kit.

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Post by mr_sfstk8d on 11th April 2011, 6:35 pm

Oh, that does sound lovely. All I've got is "old granddad", lol. Wouldn't mind a rotoseive though.
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default Rotaseive info

Post by John Cossham on 11th April 2011, 6:49 pm

I do recommend this product; I use it to mix seed and potting compost too... http://www.rotasieve.co.uk/

John
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Post by Compostwoman on 11th April 2011, 10:50 pm

I am quite happy to just " re compost" my stuff though John. I have the space and enough surplus material to do this , though!

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Post by John Cossham on 11th April 2011, 11:56 pm

Compostwoman wrote:I am quite happy to just " re compost" my stuff though John. I have the space and enough surplus material to do this , though!

"Re-compost my stuff through John" sounds just very odd, to me. I do 'process' food and then deposit it as humanure for composting, but to use me as a composter... well I think I'm probably more of an anaerobic digester actually!!!

John Laughing
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Post by Compostwoman on 11th April 2011, 11:59 pm

Razz Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

I said "though"...not " through"!! But sorry if the " lumpy bits" of Aubiose were painful....... Shocked



Off to bed now, teaching Master Composters tomorrow Very Happy

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default Re: Compost - question and answer thread

Post by John Cossham on 12th April 2011, 12:34 am

oops... it's late and my vision is fuzzy.... maybe my brain's turning to compost.... sorry!
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Post by Sparhawk on 12th April 2011, 9:15 am

Computer screen, tea... Again...


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"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Compost - question and answer thread

Post by Jaded Green on 20th May 2011, 1:53 pm

I'm wondering about the "blanket" I use in my wormery. I have bought the coir onesfrom Wiggly wigglers in the past, but am wondering what o use instead that would be recycling something and free.

We have used layers of shreddings. I am currentl wondering whether to cut a pice of cardboard box to fit or a thick layer of newspaper.

does anyone have any answers?
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Post by John Cossham on 20th May 2011, 2:31 pm

I just use a newspaper... a whole one, which they seem to be happy underneath.
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Post by Jaded Green on 20th May 2011, 3:27 pm

Thank you - I'll give that a try. Nice and easy to find!!
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Post by polgara on 26th May 2011, 3:30 pm

OH has found too many ants in the compost bin, any ideas how to get rid of at least some of them?

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No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
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] Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think...

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!


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Post by Compostwoman on 26th May 2011, 3:35 pm

Ants means the compost is too dry so try adding some water

BUT they will do no harm and actually do good work in the compost. So consider leaving them be, if you can?

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Post by polgara on 26th May 2011, 3:45 pm

I can leave them but I don`t know wether OH will. He already threatened ant powder, but I told him NO in no uncertain terms.

I thought it might be a bit dry , so I may do that.

Thanks CW knew you would know.

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No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
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] Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think...

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!


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default Re: Compost - question and answer thread

Post by Compostwoman on 26th May 2011, 4:08 pm

polgara wrote:I can leave them but I don`t know wether OH will. He already threatened ant powder, but I told him NO in no uncertain terms.

I thought it might be a bit dry , so I may do that.

Thanks CW knew you would know.

My pleasure!

Tell OH that ant powder will not do the compost any good at all, as it will also kill other, helpful creatures which do the composting work Shocked

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Post by John Cossham on 27th May 2011, 12:19 am

Yes, totally agree that ants like the dryer end of the compost heap spectrum, and they may do no major harm but thay are carnivores and will be eating springtails, possibly small worms, beetle larvae and other denizens of your plastic bin. The solution is to give it a dig over, disrupt them, and put a thick layer of chopped up fruit and veg on top, or other quite wet materials. Maybe at this time of year, a 10 cm layer of grass cuttings?

But if they survive this onslaught, and re-appear, do just ignore them and keep chucking stuff on the pile. The major decomposers are bacteria and fungi, which won't be affected by ants.

John, who never suffers from ants as he tends to have wet drippy heaps rather than the dry crunchy ones!
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Post by John Cossham on 27th May 2011, 12:21 am

and who has *just* become a 'Junior Apprentice'!!! Woo! Very Happy
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Post by Compostwoman on 27th May 2011, 8:58 am

John , that is good advice in general but in this case digging over the heap might be a bit difficult for either Pol or her OH.

Which is where wetting it further would be a good alternative.

Wet and sloppy? sounds a bit suspect - should be " damp-like-a-sponge , surely?

Wink

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Post by John Cossham on 27th May 2011, 12:49 pm

Agreed, if moving the stuff around a bit with a stick, garden fork or 'Compostmate' screwy thing (very very easy to use!) is difficult for any reason, just add moist materials, allow rainwater to fall on the pile, or washing-up water (with biodegradable w-u-liquid, if w-u-liquid is used) or if you really want to improve the situation, urine is a great accelerator.
Compost heaps don't actually need to be dug over, but it can help break up compacted layers and lumps, adds air, improves drainage, and speeds things up.
So, good luck with your anty bin!
John

As for my heaps, I bring back over 150kg of fruit and veg a week on my bike trailer and this makes my 40+ compost systems a bit on the damp side. However, many of them are in tumblers which are well drained (hence the drips!) and others are raised up off the ground on pallets. I do add wood chips, shredded hedge, sawdust and cardboard.
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Post by Compostwoman on 27th May 2011, 12:51 pm

Compostman keeps on covering up the bins with straw and chicken poo in them...I need the moisture in them so I have to put up signs saying "leave off"!!

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Post by Compostwoman on 27th May 2011, 12:52 pm

I also have a "Wee here" sign, for bins which need added urine.

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Post by John Cossham on 27th May 2011, 4:53 pm

How incredibly organised. I'm the only person who uses my multitudinous heaps so I know what's what.

Yours sounds like a good system!
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Post by Compostwoman on 27th May 2011, 6:59 pm

John Cossham wrote:How incredibly organised. I'm the only person who uses my multitudinous heaps so I know what's what.

Yours sounds like a good system!

Well it seems to work, at least.

Have split off the " how many bins" etc posts into a separate thread!

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Post by Chilli-head on 25th June 2012, 12:20 pm

I turned a compost heap at the lotty at the weekend. I have a couple of old pallet type heaps there, so about a cubic metre, and it usually works as a slow, cold heap - this one was mostly composted but a bit heavy and wet, as you might imagine given the weather.

I'd like to reduce the weed population by hotting up my compost, and sometimes it happens, but - there are a few things in the normal composting instructions I don't seem to be able to get right.

To get a hot heap, apparently I should try to build a heap in one go. Nice idea, but where do I get a cubic metre of stuff all at once ? Instructions often say to save stuff up until there is enough to build a hot heap, but asking nicely does not seem to be enough to stop the saved up material starting to compost before I'm ready to build my heap. Is it just not possible on my scale ?

Now, having got my 1m3 bin filled (in stages) and half composted, and then turn it. I now have less than half a bin left ! Do I top it up with fresh material, or start a new bin ?
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Post by Dandelion on 25th June 2012, 7:20 pm

I think that sounds like two questions. Personally if it was me, I would put the compost you've made into another container (I use a wooden box which was a huge tool box on wheels from Ikea, about a metre in length, and a bit less wide/high.) This takes what comes out of a plastic dalek compost bin after it has composted. It than has a chance to dry out a bit, as the wood breaths more than plastic, then I start the bin going afresh. When I use the stuff from the wooden box I sieve it, and the uncomposted stuff goes back into the dalek for a bit more rotting.
The bit about heating the compost up - I would say that most people don't have anough waste to create a hot compost bin. Garden Organic say that most people produce a mix, in that sometimes the bin is hot but mostly cold. The thing which I find makes the bin heat up is comfrey - I have a little patch of it, from which some feeds the chickens, some is fermenting to make liquid feed, but the rest gets cut and put on the compost heap.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird on 25th June 2012, 10:12 pm

Ooh, Dandelion, you sound very well organised. I have pretty much the same issues as Chilli-head. I have three wooden compost bins, each about 1 cubic metre. I tend to keep going until one is full, then start on a new one. It takes quite a time to fill one, so by the time a second is nearly full, the first is fairly well composted at the bottom at least. So I take off the uncomposted/semi-composted material from the top and add it to the newer heap.

I haven't attempted to use any of my compost for seedlings - it just tends to get added to the plots or used in potato planters. It is usually too variable to do much else with. I do tend to take the view however, that it is going to rot down eventually (unless I inadvertantly add couch grass to it, which I swear never, ever dies).
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