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Too lazy

 
pollinator
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I think I'm to lazy to compost.  I built a pile that was to dry and did nothing.  I pulled it apart rebuilt it layer  by layer, watering each layer, and it heated up for about three days.  Yesterday I turned it into the next compartment.  There is no way I am doing this every week, or even once a month.  Way too much work.  I think I will find some old PVC pipe, drill a bunch of holes in it, and put it in the pile.  This should give it air, and I should be able to water all parts of the pile at once.  I saw this on YouTube.  I think it is worth a try.  Has anyone tried this method?  I just don't want to have a keep moving this pile, and it is full of weeds, so I need it to get hot and stay hot long enough to kill the weed seeds.  I know it needs to get to 140, but for how long?  
I think in the future I will just try to keep the weed seeds out of the compost, then I won't have to worry about it.
 
pollinator
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I am also terrible at composting.  I live in cold wet climate where it is really hard to get a compost pile hot enough to kill the weed seeds.  At this point I don't even try anymore.  I have out sourced the work to my chickens.  We can get wood chops for free and use them in the heavily trafficked areas of the chicken run.  Everything from garden waste to kitchen scraps gets given to the chickens and they do the composting for us.   We dig out the  broken down wood chip based compost  that the chickens make  and put them on the garden beds where needed.  A new layer of chips is put down for chickens and the process repeats.  It mostly gets used in the fall under mulch or around perennials trees and shrubs so I don't worry about it being fresh from the chicken run.  

 
pollinator
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I'm too lazy for compost piles, too.

I have a bin just for the winter when it's too much work to bury kitchen scraps. I've always got a new garden bed or another layer to add on a hugel, so I use the partially decomposed stuff from the bin in one of my projects in the spring or summer.

The rest of the year, scraps get buried in dirt or mulch. Leaves, pruned branches, lawn clippings all get used as mulch.
 
Jan White
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For weedy stuff, I just bury it deeper.
 
pollinator
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I love making compost!  I like turning it.  I love the smell of it, and the worms that are everywhere, and the way you can see the tiny creatures in it when you pick up a handful.  Compost makes me happy :)  
 
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I'm medium lazy when it comes to compost.  Once a year I clean out the deep bedding in the chicken coop.  Once a year I clean the leaf/manure compost from their run.  Both become a pile in the compost bin in the garden (6'x6').  Food scraps go to the chickens to turn into poop and then the leaf/manure compost.  Garden clean up (weeds, dead bean plants, broccoli trees, etc) get piled in an empty bin in the fall.  They get smaller by spring and then get covered by the chicken manure/leaf compost and cook like crazy for a month or two before going onto the garden in mid summer.

But I rarely turn the compost.  Once this year we dug out the compost and layered it with fresh grass clippings to get it cooking.  One of these years I'll have my system/rotation down good enough to talk more about.  For now I'm just lazy and trying to get the most compost out of the least work.  

We made 1000 gallons of compost this year, primarily from the chickens, their bedding and fall leaves.
 
gardener
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:I think I will find some old PVC pipe, drill a bunch of holes in it, and put it in the pile.  .


I tried this in my large compost tube pile (pig wire, about a meter across, 6 feet tall). It didn`t work, but I have never gotten compost to work here. Too wet and not enough browns. I have also changed my tune and moved to rabbits plus bokashi. Apparently compost needs more space/time than I can dedicate to it in a tiny garden.
 
pollinator
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I totally get both sides of this discussion: I love making compost heaps, turning them, screening the finished stuff, watching the chickens go nuts over all the wriggly things that we uncover...but these days I've got enough on that the piles don't get all the love that they could potentially get. Time is the limiting factor by a long shot. I would also have to admit that I don't bounce back from prolonged exertion like I did in my 20s and 30s...or 40s. You could call that lazy and I wouldn't argue.

My general solution is to make more of them and turn less frequently (if at all). This has meant a trend toward putting bigger and chunkier things into a pile so that there will be more voids and air passages, and just leaving them for a year or more. I've also started putting biochar on as I add materials. And when I get a trailer load of prunings, wood shavings, or whatever, sometimes I just find an out of the way spot under some trees and dump it. I'll come back in a year, take off the top layer of branches and leaves, and there will be a small mountain of loose, crumbly black amazingness just waiting to be scooped up.

Advantages to slow/cold composting are less loss of nutrients, especially C and N.

 
pollinator
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I mostly do sheet mulching or bury organic material, or if I have a lot of it, I make a pile.  I prefer to make piles directly in the garden, and then just plant on top of them when the time is right.  Squash especially like to grow in a compost heap.

I never ever ever turn my piles.  That's what worms are for!  
 
Jen Fulkerson
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OK I lied, I was putting wood chips in my chicken coop, and noticed an area that was quite warm, so I thought I should mix some of that with my compost.  My thinking was like using a starter for sour dough.  Probably not at all the same, but that was my thinking. I started it but had to stop because it got dark.  The only place my pile was hot was where I had added some fresh greens from the garden.  It had a bad smell, but at least it was hot.  I wonder if I don't have enough greens.  Maybe this is my problem?  Anyway I'm still messing with it.
 
pollinator
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If I did not have a tractor, I probably would not turn my piles either. I wonder if maybe you could find a mechanical means to turn your pile so that it works a little better for you, without as much physical labor?
 
Mike Haasl
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:It had a bad smell, but at least it was hot.  I wonder if I don't have enough greens.  Maybe this is my problem?  Anyway I'm still messing with it.

I think if it smells bad it means you have too many greens.  Maybe add some browns to that part of the pile to even it out?
 
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I saw a great idea from Geoff Lawtons greening the dessert project where they had chicken tractor the ran back and forth over the compost area.  They pile all the stuff up and then when its time to turn they put the chicken on top of it and they rip the pile apart.  Then you rake it back together into a pile, fully aerated and fertilized.  
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I thought smell meant to many greens also, but it was the only part of the pile that was hot, this is why I'm confused.
 
gardener
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I do both:

Hot, active, turned compost as well as cold, lazy, let it rot over the course of several years compost.

On the first weekend closest to Oct. 1, I plant a cover crop throughout the garden and orchard.  It's cool season grasses, legumes, nitrogen fixers. lots of buckwheat . . . and it usually comes up like gangbusters.  Right now, that cover crop is about 6 inches high already.

Then on the second weekend of January, I cut it all down and make a massive compost pile.  I have a group of students to help, but it takes us about 4 hours to cut it all down, pile it up, and build a hot pile.  I collect shredded paper, used straw from the chicken coop, dried leaves . . . lots of browns to balance all those greens from my cover crop.  Within a week, it's up to 150 degrees.  We turn it every 3rd day (Berkley method) for 3 weeks and it's pretty much ready to sift and go into my potting mix (half compost, half sharp sand).

BUT for stuff like tomato vines, squash vines, stringy and woody stuff (pepper plants), that stuff all gets piled up into a big lazy cold compost pile and left to rot.  It takes 2 years for that stuff to fully break down.  I've posted this elsewhere, but I like to pile that stuff up on the south side of my fruit trees to keep the soil on that side cool.  I've got a south facing hillside that's planted with avocados, figs, peaches, asian pears and such . . . and the slow-rot compost piles keep the soil moist and the roots cool on the hot side of the tree.  Sweet potatoes have colonized that entire space, so the green vines of the sweet potatoes climb up over the cold compost piles and cover them up.  It all looks lovely back there.

If you don't like the hassle of hot composting, then don't.  But please keep all that carbon on your land.  Find a place to pile it up and let the microbes do their thing over time.
 
pollinator
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If you have the space, why not use several compost methods simultaneously?

Buy or make a compost tumbler. Spinning it around for a few seconds a day is all you need to create fast compost.

Put your food scraps in a worm farm.

Make a huge compost pile and the centre will compost anyway. Or just put it in a compost bin and leave it for a year. If it has weed seed then just use it for pots and things that are easy to weed, not your garden beds.

Put stuff in a container with water, cover with a lid and leave it for a year and you’ll have anaerobically fermented compost.
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