Hello, i just got started with a compost pile in my home. Its small, I added lots of brown leaves, sticks, paper, and kitchen scraps.
My family consumes lots of fruits and vegetables so we have lots of 'waste' I have been saving those to add to the pile but Im afraid that if I do, the pile wont break it down and the process will last 'forever' since we have lots of new green material every week.
Do you have any tips? Should I create a new pile? Or throw these green away?
I found someone with a similar question here but since I dont have a tumbler I figured I should create a new topic.[
Run two (or more) piles. When one is full, start adding your new waste to the next pile while the first one 'finishes'. You can speed up finishing by turning, inoculating with compost tea, etc.
Alternatively, run a flow-through worm bin.
Add it to the heap. Toss some of the older material on top to cover what you add. By covering the new material, flies are not a problem and the greens and browns are brought into contact with each other. This promotes faster decomposition.
Keeping the heap on the ground is fine. The soil life is able to interact with the heap. Worms, bacteria and insects can crawl in and speed up the process.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
posted 4 years ago
thank you Ken! Great info!
I will probably create another pile to deal with the extra volume and use this method you suggested of moving the older material on top of the new in my current pile.
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
posted 4 years ago
How much material you generate is an important factor.
- not much: a worm bin is great; or you can even bury them directly in the garden
- medium amounts: some type of bin system
- large amounts: heaps or windrows
I don't have lots of worms, but if I dig just a bit I always find 3-4. I'd say I have a medium amount of material here, so I will probably have a BIN such as http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Compost-Bin directly in the soil.
Guys I can't thank you enough. I really appreciate you taking the time to teach me about this great technique.
Actually, continuous inputs are really great for vermicomposting. I add small bits to my bins nearly every day.
You generally gauge how much in the way of inputs you can add by watching the bin, and seeing how fast the worms take care of it. If you're adding too much, the bin will start to smell sour. Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) will begin to take over the bin. Technically, BSFL won't harm your worms, but it's an indicator that you're putting in too much material at a time. Some people like the BSFL because they do tear up and break down the material very quickly, and the worms like the easy living of that, but I've never had a successful worm bin where the BSFL were highly populated. Too much food means BSFL domination. Gradual increases means better worm population.
The idea is to add enough food material to keep up with whatever the worms eat on a daily basis, and just a tiny bit more to allow for growth. In time, the worms will multiply nicely, and you can add more material in. After a while, you'll have enough worms to take keep up with your output.
When I start to have copious amounts of compost, and I want to remove some, I'll start feeding at only one end of the bin. The worms will migrate over to whatever end I'm feeding. When the vast bulk of them have migrated to the feeding end, I can dig out whatever compost i want from the other side. Then, I can spread the worms and working compost across the bin and start the process over again.
My family usually generates about a gallon of compostable materials a day.
I have 6 piles.
5 are leaf piles. And the other is bulk palm fronds and small branches to provide shelter for the Anole Lizards, Skinks, Glass Snakes and Corn Snakes that call my backyard home.
The active pile (fewer leaves at first) gets all the inputs, and i take scoops of leaves/grass clippings from the other piles to cover the food scraps so the possum doesn't bring his friends.
Once that is full and over flowing the enclosure i move on to the next one and let that one cook.
I can usually get two roaring each season and use the others to mulch the beds or top off the above piles as they receive kitchen scraps.
As long as you are covering/burying the scraps in the pile to camouflage against raiders you can't fail.
I also set those piles where i plan on expanding or planting the next season.. The pile does double duty in breaking down food scraps and preparing the soil directly beneath it.
posted 4 years ago
First pic, you can see the four (three on the left, one bottom right) all of these were established in December. I just started putting kitchen scraps in the first one.
Second pic, you see the ones on the left and after the bed on the right it's my active pile. Like i said it gets all the scraps until it's full, then cooks.
You can also see the oak wood stack i use for mushroom cultivation, hugel composting and fire wood, behind that, along the fence, is the bulk heap. Next to another wood pile and my industrial spool compost tumbler i use to compost only vigorous weeds.
We have what we call the compost staging area. It's just a piece of wire fence, mebbe 15' or so, fastened together, up in the garden. We dump our garbage in it all winter long. The birds eat stuff out of there. Sooner or later, I'll mix up a hot method pile, and put it all in there. Works for us, don't mind the smell.....