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Tips for Home Made Organic Compost

 
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Hi,

I want to produce my own organic compost for growing vegetables and herbs in my garden.

I've built this wooden compost bin a few months ago:



Since then I've been feeding it with my organic waste( I'm vegan so it's 100% vegetables, no meat, eggs, and of course no plastic).
I mix it every once and while with dried leaves but so far it doesn't seem to become anything like good compost.

This is how it looks like:



Lately, even a wasp family decided to build their nest inside the bin, I don't know if it's good or a bad thing.

Anyway, if anyone has any good tips for me it would be great!
thanks
 
steward
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Hi Shir, I believe the ratio of nitrogen to carbon materials is not quite right. It sounds like there is plenty of carbon material from your description, and some nitrogen materials I think are the missing link to get your compost pile to heat up. Nitrogen can come from green things, like fresh grass clippings for example. Nitrogen can also come from things that aren't necessarily green in appearance, like coffee grounds and chicken manure for examples.

There are other ways to convert your materials into compost. Leaving it as is will, with enough time, decay and break down on its own. Another option is letting earthworms do the composting for us and this is called vermincomposting. With your description of vegetable scraps and leaves as the ingredients to your compost pile, this I believe is ideal for vermicomposting if you want to go this route.

Here's some helpful links on composting and vermicomposting:

https://permies.com/t/98570/compost-don#812218

https://permies.com/t/138252/Vermicomposting-Nutrient-Cycling-Homesteads-Apartments
 
gardener
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I agree with everything James said but I'll add in some tips for an actively managed compost pile, which it sounds like what you want.

The critical thing is nitrogen, nitrogen, nitrogen.  95% of compost piles don't have enough.  Plants.  Green plants.  Lots of green plants.

Second thing is particle size.  The smaller and choppier it is, the better.  I used to mow my plants to chop them up, then got a shredder, and those were the best piles I ever had.  Now I just slice it all up with garden shears in a wheelbarrow and that's pretty good.

Moisture is key.  You want it like a wrung out sponge.  You may need to water the pile during heat waves.

Aeration is critical for microbes to break down the particles.  I took a PVC pipe and drilled holes in it then set that right in the middle of the pile.  Also a convenient way to water the center of the pile.

So you want carbon, nitrogen, moisture, and air all jumbled up together.  The best way to do that is turning the pile.  Shovel out the entire compost bin.  Then shovel it back in, in nice, fluffy, airy clumps.  Like jenga.  Build it high.

Do these things then watch the steam rise from your active pile.
 
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I think it just looks far too dry.  A good compost pile can soak up an amazing amount of water.  I turn my compost every week, almost always on Saturday mornings because that's when I have time.  It's a good time to check the moisture levels.  As Rob said, just damp is just right.
 
pollinator
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I agree with Trace as it looks too dry.  This is my first year with serious compost making and I've noticed my piles dry out much quicker than I imagined.  I also give my piles a boost with diluted urine and comfrey tea occasionally as this both adds moisture and a nitrogen boost as well (at least with the urine).  

I really like your compost bin.  I need to construct at least one this year.
 
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I like adding some yeast, I got the idea from a YouTube video of a guy who puts a soda and a beer in every pile he makes. It speeds up decomposition.  I never waste good food though so I either add a yeast sugar and water mix or I add the leftovers from the bottom of my home brew barrel after I have bottled it (it's a kind of wet yeast sludge). It speeds things up and the yeast ferments the sugars in the waste which heats things.
 
Shir Gutman
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Thank you so much for the great tips!

It's been like 6 months since I've started it, turning it up every week and no good results.

I'll try adding green leaves and moisture it as suggested.

I'll also read about using earthworms. there are some worms hanging around the bin but I'm sure they are the right kind.

anyway, thank you again!
 
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