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My first compost endeavor

 
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I've started a compost bin using an old rain barrel with holes drilled on the bottom and sides. For the browns I have dried leaves and for the greens I'm using leaves from a yucca plant and kitchen scraps. Whenever I add new greens I always cover with a thin layer of leaves.

My question is when I add chicken scraps do I need to add water to the bin each time I add browns? I ask because they're very dry.
 
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Brandon,

Nice idea you have there and a great question.  Personally, I don’t use compost tumblers because they take the compost and remove it from the earth, and the earth both adds to the compost and is immensely helped simply by having the compost sitting there in place.

However, there are certain times and circumstances where a tumbler is totally appropriate.  As for the moisture content, I cannot recommend an amount of water to add with browns.  What I can recommend is that the compost should be moist but not wet.  Think of a washcloth that had been wrung out, or used coffee grounds.

Ultimately you have to be the judge of what is best and it may take some trial and error.  If you get your tumbler loaded, give it a couple of spins, maybe let it sit for a day and see what the moisture content is like.  If it feels dry, maybe add a cup of water.  If wet, maybe let some liquid out.  I would think that in a couple of days that you will get the idea of what the appropriate moisture level is—moist but not wet.  Ultimately you want all materials to have access to both water and air and hence the moist rule applies.

Best of luck and please keep us updated!

Eric
 
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Brandon Greer wrote: ...for the greens I'm using leaves from a yucca plant and kitchen scraps.



I'm making the move to using Comfrey leaves as the greens. I'm thinking that after you get them started the deep roots will keep them going in the hottest and driest weather but I haven't tried that in Texas. Maybe if I send you a start you could put it in the ground and water it a little and report on it's progress.  It might need a little shade to begin with.
 
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Burl Smith wrote:

Brandon Greer wrote: ...for the greens I'm using leaves from a yucca plant and kitchen scraps.



I'm making the move to using Comfrey leaves as the greens. I'm thinking that after you get them started the deep roots will keep them going in the hottest and driest weather but I haven't tried that in Texas. Maybe if I send you a start you could put it in the ground and water it a little and report on it's progress.  It might need a little shade to begin with.



Comfrey is typically pretty good at surviving the Texas heat & dry summers, though it seems to appreciate a little shelter from the mid-late afternoon sun. I've had it survive in full sun, but it often goes dormant if I cut it back during the hottest months (which defeats one of the main purposes of growing it). But, if it has a little mulch around it, and doesn't get totally baked in the heat, it'll totally thrive with little to no extra irrigation.
 
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That's encouraging :thumbup: I've propagated 15 plants in two years from an original root cutting and I'm scouting out other places to plant a dozen more for the compost value.
 
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