Awesome move! Congrats
I have two 5’x5’ bins both made out of hardwire and a tarp for totally encasing compost while cooking. They are down a slope from my chicken coop. One is for catching chicken coop waste. My method is pretty simple. 2 thirds Carbon(leaves, paper, etc.), then food waste and chicken poop, layer so on and so forth ... and green. I wouldn’t worry about frozen scraps ... just stick em in gradually ...they add good nitrogen from they ice. Cover the big pile tight with a tarp. Some folks turn after two days. I don’t always do that.
I start out keep food waste in sealed buckets where the food breaks down just a bit break down a little. I put rotten yogurt or other products like that in the center sometimes. If you want to speed up the compost process, put in a little meat ( I’m talking an 1/8 cup or less). The maggots will come in and break it down quick. Compost is all about layering for me ... alcohol and vinegar added to buckets of food waste is a nice touch.
I enjoyed living in a cold climate when composting ... the compost was really rich. I had to relearn layering when we moved to a warm climate.
Had an old fence that was falling apart and needed to come down anyway. So I repurposed the gateway part for a clothesline and the fence portion for our compost bin.
After reading the Humanure Handbook (freely available to read online.) I’ve taken his approach to composting. I don’t turn it. Instead whenever I add I just dig into the center add then cover. The left side is cover material (lawn debris). The right side is the compost. Every time I add to the right I cover with more from the left.
Picked up a compost thermometer which has been reading between 60-80F all winter long. This pile was started in September.
Honestly I question if it’s too small. This summer will decide that.
Winter composting is instant composting out of a dedicated blender under the sink. When full, zip it through, then open window out to garden and throw it on the bed. Have employed this method in the summer, depositing it below mulch. In a week or two it’s gone. Lovely, healthy soil results. Leaving city apt. for country farmhouse WILL feel like getting out of jail. Enjoy your newfound freedom. Have lived New England wilderness life all my adult life and no freedom like it anywhere. After 16+ years this old farmhouse is about to be completely restored, as well as 175 yr. old barn. The kids will fight over it😊
I live in the mountains outside of Helena MT and we have lots of animals that visit our homestead-in-progress. (bears, coyotes, wolves, deer, elk, hide-and-seek champions, and plenty of smaller ones also).
I screwed together 4 pallets for a temporary compost bin last fall. So far birds and deer like it the most. We add whatever does not go to the chickens to it all the time. Strange winter with lack of snow so far and warm temps.
But the compost seems to like it.
Will be starting a new garden this spring so, unfortunately, will be purchasing organic composted garden soil, (local place has it, $450 for a 15 yard dump truck full). I will mix this with what I call dirt here and add kitchen scraps to it directly during the growing season. I have done this many times during the past decades of gardening and it works well.
First of all, I am in West Virginia, zone 6.
I have about ten piles, in four categories. The most conventional are two bins above my garden, made of concrete blocks. For these: I start a pile in one bin, eventually turn it over into the other, and the one that has already been forked into a second bin gets turned out onto the ground, where my free range chickens sometimes do some additional turning (unfortunately, also worm removal). I moved this pair of bins from the side of my garden for two reasons: because the side is on a slope and the blocks kept separating, and it's flatter above the garden, and because this way any nutrients draining out of the pile are running down into my garden. The other thing is that taking advice from permaculture, this area is near my chicken coop. So when it's time to clean the coop, I drag the proceeds on a tarp a short distance downhill to the piles, and I time cleaning the coop for when I'm going to turn a pile. That way I can layer chicken bedding in with other ingredients.
I have two garden spaces besides my main garden, and each often has a pile just heaped in one corner. Often this includes sunflower plant parts or cornstalks; sunflowers have allellopathic properties and both benefit from being chopped into one foot pieces (makes the pile much easier to turn)...after a year or so the toxins from the sunflowers are gone and I can spread the compost.
In the woods that surround my one acre clearing, I have several piles of half rotted logs, branches, etc. The thing I learned here is not to remove branches on a slope, as they hold leaves--I had a bare slope below my house for a couple of years before I figured this out.
The fourth category is a pair of wire bins in which I put shredded leaves. I gather these from our mile-long lane; this reducing the softening of our gravel road from organic matter, as well as giving it to me for garden use. It isn't necessary to shred the leaves, but if you do you have leaf mulch in one year; if you don't it takes two. Another thing I learned when I experimented with a bin in the woods was --not to do that. Dunno about the difference in composting rate in shade but what happens is that the local trees, run their greedy feeder roots up into your leafmold and make such a tangled mess you can't collect the finished leafmold.
Maybe the most important key is that while I do have a composting outhouse (this involves four buckets which I dump into one of two more concrete, covered bins, alternating each year; I use the proceeds in my orchard and flowerbed. This is a fifth category come to think of it), we also have what I call a pisseria in the house. Did you know that most of the nitrogen and potassium that passes through you comes out in your pee, which is also nearly always sterile? So I dump the pee bucket every few days on a compost pile, cycling around my clearing to the next pile whose turn it is each time. I'm sure this helps the piles decompose; I rarely get hot compost.
Well, Hawley, you seem worried that your landlord may not approve of the look of your composting, which is odd. If you are planning to have chickens, your composting will be much easier: Any veggie scraps and meat scraps you may have and will be converted quickly into delicious eggs. As far as freezing stuff you plan to compost, that freezer uses a fair amount of energy, so it might be better to reserve it for other goodies, like stuff to make veggie stock, or improve chicken stock, but stuff that will get composted, no. I'm in zone 4b, and every day, my hens get some goodies. sometimes it is not much. [They still need grain anyway, but less]. The other day, I discovered that a bunch of potatoes that I was keeping in the unheated garage froze. Normally, it would go directly to the compost pile, if I didn't have chickens. I took the soft potatoes and brought them in, boiled them and gave them to the chickens. I still have a few [I'm stretching the pile.
As far as adding to the pile during the winter, of course, do it. If the pile is already working, it will just work better because of the insulation caused by the stuff you put on top. If it is *not* working, just pile it up anyway: It will start working when it is ready: when it warms up a bit. But I'd rather not mess around with compost that has to be turned over: My back told me not to, and I always listen to my back.
My main source of compost is the chicken litter, which I remove whenever it needs to, and also comfrey tea: Both are weed-free, so I don't have brambles growing in a pile. I'd rather compost "in situ", which for me is the alleys of the garden. I have raised beds in most places, and so I get some large quantities of bark and wood chips. I place them in the alleys, and when they start allowing weeds, that is my cue to turn the alleys into the beds. But I don't care to walk in the gooey messes that you may be thinking of composting, so back to the chickens: I give it to them and they turn all that into eggs. No fuss, no muss, no odors, no turning the pile... When there is no snow on the ground, I have to cart their litter to my fruit trees, with the 4-wheeler and a 4 cu.ft. cart. That is a chore. In the winter, I have an enormous shovel. Here, they call it a Yooper Scooper. I guess our friends in Michigan are fond of the tool. They use it for snow. You just shove it under the pile, then drag the pile where you want and tip it empty. They use it for snow, but there is no rule that you can't use it for manure. Just make sure you get the biggest heaviest metal one. These plastic things made in china will break on the first try! It is fantastic for moving the manure in the cold of winter because it glides over the snow like a sled! I actually *prefer* cleaning the coop in winter. Here are some pictures of Yooper scoopers:
https://www.google.com/search?q=yooper+scooper+metal&sxsrf=ALeKk01pvxOF0_TnOtnZ4ujvY14MOzUPRw:1612488400181&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjm-6-yy9HuAhWOK80KHWUUBQIQ_AUoAnoECAgQBA&biw=1106&bih=560 If you are hellbent on making a compost pile, keep it close to the garden: It may be a chore to take the stuff to the garden, pile it, turn it, wait till it's done, weed it, transport it where you want to once it is done, but you will have less flies, less odors, less mice if you keep it away from human quarters. You may want to get familiar with comfrey: You put it in a barrel, add water and stand back. It will reek something awful but if you want to quick start a pile of compost, it is great!
Good luck on your project.
$10.00 is a donation. $1,000 is an investment, $1,000,000 is a purchase.
My compost setup has 4 bins made from pallets. I only fill 2 of the bins at a time. That lets me turn them easily since there is always an empty bin next to a full bin. Very quick and easy. Then I have an area on the downhill side of the bins where I store the finished compost. Works well and can produce a lot of compost fairly quickly. I'm still working through the compost I made during the summer.
Cultivate abundance for people, plants and wildlife - Growing with Nature
Hayley, if you live in Ontario, you must check out redwormcomposting.com...Bentley Christie has several articles on cold weather composting/vermicomposting. He too, lives in Ontario. He's a great reference!
We remodeled our bathroom and removed the tub, and replaced it with a shower. It was a rather Extra Large 1950's tub. I commandeered it as a bin for my worms years ago. I also have 2 concrete mixing tubs that complete my bin setup (not pictured). It has the built in drain, but that's all the drainage it has, so I work very hard on keeping moisture levels right where they need to be. It's sturdy and does the job. I keep a screen that's wrapped in plastic over the top as a lid to keep the rain out.
Update on new garden bed built with on site composting here:
I got the area done in Nov, covered with 6" of compost. I planted some garlics and potatoes. I have harvested garlics and potatoes are producing. In spring, I broadcast ed Asian greens but they did just so so. I guess the seeds were too small to make soil contact. Squashes are doing great, less than 7 weeks past last frost day, I have harvested several summer squashes and there are over a dozen winter squashes growing.
So far I don't need to water the plants even when they sit in fun sun over 12hr a day with a 90 degree high temperature.
I built more garden areas the same way throughout the winter/spring. Next I am going to move on into the front yard, but i will be using a green camouflage print tarp to make the pile less noticeable.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit