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Things everyone should know about compost but probably don't

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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Sorry it took so long to get back to this thread.

About the fungi and electricity.

Fungi respond to the electrical impulses that plants give off sometimes in conjunction with a release of exudates, by letting these impulses travel along the mycelium threads, this seems to signal bacteria and other organisms that are far away to come to where the signal originated.
This means that many more bacteria can come to service a plant than what would be in the immediate vicinity of the plant.
Fungi also respond to the electric charges that we call lightening in much the same way, so far I have been able to record the event and the strength of the charge but I still have to find out the maximum distance and which if any bacteria respond.
It is also possible that along with a lightening charge dispersal there could be a response to the accompanying ozone which is created by the lightening.
Since I am in the process of the work, I really can't say much more at this time.

Redhawk



Dr. Redhawk,

Thank you for your post. I want to apologize for replying so late, but I suppose being on permies I should assume you would be proud of me for being outside instead. I have been thinking on your response for a long time now and greatly appreciate your research. I look forward to your book
 
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Jay Angler wrote:Bryant Redhawk wrote:

Almost never do those who write about compost heap making remember to bring up soil as a component of a good compost heap.

It's worse than that Dr. Redhawk. I remember reading at least two sources of composting instructions saying specifically to *never* add soil to one's compost heap. Since I've never been very impressed with my composting efforts, we're going to try your way!  Thanks!



I was also taught not to add soil to a compost heap.  The reason being that the microbes and other life working in garden soil are adapted to working at soil temperatures, not the warmer temperatures generated while compost is actively decomposing.  So adding soil would slow it down.  My heap, I'd add, is contained and lidded, and populated by tiger worms.  I'll have to have a think about this!  
 
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I just realized that today, May 29th, is Learn about composting day, observed on this date since 2011 so I thought I would bump this thread
 
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Soil can be thought of as a buffering agent for compost,

This is true even when worm composting. Sometimes you can put too much food in there for the worms to eat and the bin will get unbalanced. One of the things that will help in these situations is to add some soil, or even plain dirt. Dirt will bring in with it bazillions of bacteria that will get right to work trying to clean it up so the worms aren't run out of their own bin by too much of a good thing.

Yeah, you might have to remove some food, add some bedding (coir, sawdust, paper, leaves, what-have-you), but dirt is often part of a good recipe to correct an unbalanced bin.
 
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Is there a list of preferred animal manures for hot composting?

I currently have access to all the aged horse poo I can handle.  I can also get all the wood chips I can use. Lucky me living in a hardwood heavy suburbia.  

I suspect there are also some small farms that grow pigs, chickens, goats etc. with
little to no chemicals. I realize some medications may be required at times to keep the animals alive and producing.

I have a vacant lot next to my house and the owner almost never comes to see it. once in 12 years maybe.

I would like to start a hot compost pile and let friends/neighbors come and get what they need from this pile. In fact I can make several piles each a cubic meter in size.  
I can also introuduce them into Dr. Redhawks soil series and methods of growing healthy crops.  I think leading by example is the best way.  My fruit trees are so healthy now. minimal insect and disease problems.
 
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Manures for hot composting, in the order of "hotness":

Goose and Duck
Sheep
Chicken
Game Birds

Manures that will hot compost but not by themselves:

Goat
Donkey
Horse
Bovine
Hog

Manures that can be used directly on gardens (no composting or aging required:

Guinea Pig
Rabbit
Deer

How's that Dennis? I tried to cover all the manures we would normally have access to.

Redhawk
 
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Jay Angler wrote:It's worse than that Dr. Redhawk. I remember reading at least two sources of composting instructions saying specifically to *never* add soil to one's compost heap. Since I've never been very impressed with my composting efforts, we're going to try your way!  Thanks!


I've read that advice too, including that you shouldn't even put the roots of pulled weeds in the compost because they might have some soil on them.  Oy.  I never followed that advice, but in past lives, I dutifully knocked what soil I could off the roots.

I suspect that a lot of the people who are writing compost advice and instructions, especially in random articles on the internet, are just repeating stuff they read elsewhere, often without understanding the context in which the advice they're repeating was given.

When I was buying my new house, I decided to do some internet searches to see if any new info or useful tips on composting had come out in the 12 years that I had been living in an apartment.  Almost without exception,* I found list after list of composting dos and don'ts that just repeated the same specious advice over and over. Of particular interest to me were the wide variety things they said that you should never put in the compost and the often senseless reasons why.  

I started to wonder if many of the people who wrote those articles had ever even composted anything beyond yard waste before.  Because according to them, I was doing it all wrong way back when, and I'm doing it all wrong now. In fact, I just emptied my kitchen compost bucket into my closed add-as-you-go bin that is partially full of mixed materials, and just about everything I put in was on the verboten list.  Including:

- The 2 innermost cloves of a fist of garlic.  NO! GARLIC HAS ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES
- 1/3 of a red onion.  EVEN MORE ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES
- Leftover rice from takeout. NO GRAINS!  THEY ATTRACT VERMIN!  AND NO COOKED FOODS ARE ALLOWED BECAUSE SOMEHOW THE APPLICATION OF HEAT RENDERS FOOD UN-DECOMPOSABLE.
- 2 eggshells. THEY TAKE TOO LONG TO BREAK DOWN.
- A banana peel.  I DON'T REMEMBER WHAT'S WRONG WITH BANANA PEELS, BUT THEY WERE DEFINITELY ON A FORBIDDEN LIST SOMEWHERE
- Some spoiled milk.  NO DAIRY!  BECAUSE...REASONS.
- The center ribs from some curly kale and the stems from 2 button mushrooms.  I GUESS THOSE ARE OKAY.

You'd think a compost sinner like me would end up with a stinky vermin-ridden mess instead of beautiful sweet crumbly finished compost, but apparently I'm doing something right after all.

In the end, I have made some changes to my composting practices based on things I've learned on the internet in the past few months, but those have all come from this site and the few others that take a more serious approach.  

And yes, I now add soil like a good girl.


* Note that I did say ALMOST without exception.  I found Permies while searching for composting info.
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Manures for hot composting, in the order of "hotness":


How's that Dennis? I tried to cover all the manures we would normally have access to.

Redhawk


Thank you Dr. Redhawk.  This is exactly what I am looking for.
Now to see what hobby Farmers are in my area that need someone to remove their composts.
 
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I have usually been a lazy composter. I have created some big hot piles that I turned a few times, but most of my composting has been done in a tall plastic barrel device where I purposely did not include the bottom piece. This allows worms from the ground to freely migrate into the mix.

This tower was used mostly for kitchen waste which tends to be too wet. So I often added dry leaves and dry soil.

Because of the soggy nature, I generally put quite a bit of soil in one corner of the composter as it was being filled. This was meant to be a dry corridor for worms and somewhere they could retreat to if things got too gummy. Worms were always found throughout the mixture.

Although it usually had the lid on, there was sometimes enough moisture that leachate would come out the bottom. Brassicas were planted all around it and they grew extremely well, more than 2 feet tall.

A couple times I came upon rock powder amendments that are generally broadcast on the soil. I put them in the compost with the theory that they would adhere to soil particles and be less likely to leech. And I figured that they might be used in the gizzard of worms, becoming pulverized.

I've also done trenches. I dig the trench and deposit the days scraps and cover with soil each time. By the time a trench is filled it may contain 1/3 kitchen scraps and 2/3 backfill soil. This is done in the row between vegetable crops. After filling a trench, it becomes necessary to put a board down for walking, to avoid getting really squishy goo on shoes.
 
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I'm one of those weirdos wh ohappens to have good soil.  You bet yer booties I throw some in my pile.

I did something unusual:  I composted in winter last year.  For some odd reason, the plants that were fed with this particular batch of compost reacted almost immediately as though they were fertilized with a perfect synthetic mix.  Knowing that I never come up with anything new, I began searching online for newer and better and the latest composting methods and if someone had come up with a forumula that works this well.  Indeed:

Johnson Su Bioreactor  

I figured that my moisture content was not high enough.  In no way will I bother to build like he does.  I had an accidental Johnson Su Bioreactor and just needed to qualify the parameters that caused it.  Namely, the cool weather.  More specifically, higher moisture content over a longer period of time.  I rebuilt my compost pile to contain the moisture into the pile and reduce the air flow.  

Best compst ever.  Needs only to be turned once in its lifetime, not unlike Charles Dowding's compost pile.  
 
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This is a very interesting thread and concept.

I have a large pile of biomass in a little spot in one of my fields. It contains a mix of grass, leaves, Spruce, Cedar, Juniper, all sorts of wood shavings, and a mess of other stuff I cannot remember. At the moment I do not have access to a loader to cover it with soil but that That is the plan.

My only comment is  that some folks may misinterpret the reason to prevent carbon dioxide from leaving the heap.

Carbon dioxide is not pollution, and is extremely beneficial in the atmosphere. And although carbon is very important in the soil, and a great fertilizer, it is also very healthy for the planet to have significantly more CO2 in the atmosphere than we have now.
The earth absolutely thrives at CO2 levels 10 times higher than today! This is proven by science.

Carbon in the soil and CO2 in the atmosphere, the more the merrier!
CO2/carbon feeds the world

 
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Brad Hengen wrote: This is a very interesting thread and concept.

I have a large pile of biomass in a little spot in one of my fields. It contains a mix of grass, leaves, Spruce, Cedar, Juniper, all sorts of wood shavings, and a mess of other stuff I cannot remember. At the moment I do not have access to a loader to cover it with soil but that That is the plan.

My only comment is  that some folks may misinterpret the reason to prevent carbon dioxide from leaving the heap.

Carbon dioxide is not pollution, and is extremely beneficial in the atmosphere. And although carbon is very important in the soil, and a great fertilizer, it is also very healthy for the planet to have significantly more CO2 in the atmosphere than we have now.
The earth absolutely thrives at CO2 levels 10 times higher than today! This is proven by science.

Carbon in the soil and CO2 in the atmosphere, the more the merrier!
CO2/carbon feeds the world



I am going to have to disagree with your thought of more CO2 is beneficial, science has proven that this particular green house gas is causing the heat up of the planet, therefore it is not beneficial as you think.
The levels you mention (10 times higher), Occurred in a different age, now, if you want to have animals like sabre tooth tigers and their companion animals roaming the earth again, then sure we need higher temps and more CO2 to accomplish that scenario.
When the atmosphere was even close to what you mention, Modern humans were just getting a foot hold and were more food animal than predator, since most of the predators were larger than the humans.
Earth will thrive, no  matter what levels of any of our atmospheric gasses are, but Humans probably wouldn't be here or we would be very much like the ancients, hiding high up on cliffs or in caves.

Redhawk
 
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I have read that the increased concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is changing how plants grow, particularly that they produce less protein, including in the pollen, which is adding to the stress on our bees (I think both honey bees and native bees) which are already highly stressed. Yes, there are plenty of non-bee pollinated plants, but loosing all the bee-pollinated ones will make the planet look very different.

I'm currently reading a book about all the ways to try to get more carbon into the soil (polycultures of both annual and perennial plants sounds pretty miraculous as does mob grazing). I had not been as aware of how more soil carbon is part of infiltrating and holding water in the soil, which is very important for both drought management *and* flood management.

Carbon is cool stuff and free for the taking if you compost and grow lots of plants!
 
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Jay Angler wrote: I remember reading at least two sources of composting instructions saying specifically to *never* add soil to one's compost heap. Since I've never been very impressed with my composting efforts, we're going to try your way!  Thanks!



To be fair, I have never had luck with adding soil to a compost bin. I use the tumbler method and have a turn over of about 2-3 weeks per batch. I use bokashi bin methods to pre-ferment all of my nitro and use dried leaves for my carbon. Adding soil weighs down my material and seems to slow down the heating up. I am wondering why my results are so much different than those who use soil in their batches.
 
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I’m fairly new to composting, or well, my family has always had composting piles, but that existed of throwing on whatever organic material waste we had in no particular order and then just let the chickens have a go at it. To be fair, our crops seemed to do just fine using this method. But I would prefer to have a little more knowledge of what I’m doing though, so I’m trying to read up as much as I can. Apologies if this might be a very beginner question!
The point that is still unclear to me is the tilling of the compost. If you’re working with a normal compost heap on the ground, and you build up the brown, green and soil layer lasagna, capping it off with soil: how often, if at all should you till the pile, resulting in destroying the layers and having the cap worked into the compost as well?And after tilling, do you need to cap it off again with soil? I’m not even sure how you should be tilling, do you till so all the layers are completely mixed, or is it enough to just work it over a bit so some oxygen gets into the pile? Is it just me or can information on composting be overwhelmingly detailed and confusingly vague at the same time?!
 
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hau s. Bard, it sseems that you are using the term tilling in place of turnig, we till the soil but we turn a compost heap, the difference is soil involvemment. When you first build a heap you layer it as you describe, then as the heating subsides some folks turn the heap, others use pipe to aad air to the heap (my preference) so the heap will continue to heat. Both methods will make good compost. It sounds to me like you aare doing well at making compost. If you want more help or have other questions, let me know.

Redhawk
 
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Sharon Hill wrote:

Jay Angler wrote: I remember reading at least two sources of composting instructions saying specifically to *never* add soil to one's compost heap. Since I've never been very impressed with my composting efforts, we're going to try your way!  Thanks!



To be fair, I have never had luck with adding soil to a compost bin. I use the tumbler method and have a turn over of about 2-3 weeks per batch. I use bokashi bin methods to pre-ferment all of my nitro and use dried leaves for my carbon. Adding soil weighs down my material and seems to slow down the heating up. I am wondering why my results are so much different than those who use soil in their batches.

 

When using tumblers you do not add soil normally, tumblers are mixing every day so the soil would not work as it does in static heaps.

Redhawk
 
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Another thing I've read in many places and am beginning to question is the idea of "letting your compost finish for a year". I believe this is supposed to be particularly used where animal manure is part of the original building material and I think the implication is that you need the extra year to be sure there's no bad bugs like e-coli.

My observation: I had three compost rows, all with lots of horse shit, duck shit, green and brown plant parts and dead animals/parts added to them.
One of the rows was covered by a tarp and had burdock that grew up around it shading it a fair bit.
The second only had grass around it, so the already old tarp (I soooo... want to find an alternative to tarps to keep compost heaps moist in our drought, but I'm not there yet. A discussion for below...) started to disintegrate and seeds in the pile germinated and grew through the holes.
The third pile got consolidated by shovelling the east end on top of the west end so I could add more fresh stuff to one side with the new and old touching.

All piles got thoroughly disturbed in the last couple of weeks while I tried to build and fill raised beds. It seems to me that the pile that had the burdock growing around it had finished material about the colour of coir, and almost no worms. The compost that "finished" by having plants growing through the tarp seemed to have a darker more soil-like quality to much of it (particularly the parts nearest the plants) . The pile that "finished" by having it disturbed and then having fresh material leaning against it seems to be similar in colour to the first pile, but had more worms than it did - in other words it was somewhat in between.

The first question! Have people noticed a difference in the quality of the finished compost when plants were grown on the resting pile? Are there plants that people would specifically recommend for this? I have to admit that I wouldn't have added any water to the two piles with no plants, but I remember watering the one with the plants, as it had a volunteer melon and I was hoping it would actually produce fruit which in fact it did just barely - we don't really get enough heat to grow good melons! That said, the one advantage of using crappy tarps is that they trap the moisture in the pile which the things I have easily available in the kind of quantity I'd need wouldn't trap the moisture as well.

The second question! Is this "resting" thing really necessary or desirable? It does seem to stabilize the material, so if I then move it to a raised bed it doesn't shrink to half the size. Is the encouragement to do so just the typical modern attitude that microbes are scary and some are dangerous when in fact, most of the bad ones will already have died?

The third question! What are people's suggestions for covering working coposts that are usually being added to every week or so - sometimes on top, sometimes stuff dug in, sometime stuff added to one end, or for covering resting composts when your dirt is solid clay so a complete "soil cap" simply isn't possible?

The whole reason I'm composting so much is that we got a piece of land that is mostly forest, but in one area the former owner's son added a bunch of mineral soil/clay fill from his pond building company and ran big equipment on it - think very compacted, impossible to work once it dries out, but the areas I've worked on with compost or around compost are starting to be something like soil. This is the only area I've got available that gets sun and it would be overrun with Himalayan blackberry and pioneer trees if I don't keep them at bay and plant the stuff I would chose that need that sun.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:
The third question! What are people's suggestions for covering working coposts that are usually being added to every week or so - sometimes on top, sometimes stuff dug in, sometime stuff added to one end, or for covering resting composts when your dirt is solid clay so a complete "soil cap" simply isn't possible?

The whole reason I'm composting so much is that we got a piece of land that is mostly forest, but in one area the former owner's son added a bunch of mineral soil/clay fill from his pond building company and ran big equipment on it - think very compacted, impossible to work once it dries out, but the areas I've worked on with compost or around compost are starting to be something like soil. This is the only area I've got available that gets sun and it would be overrun with Himalayan blackberry and pioneer trees if I don't keep them at bay and plant the stuff I would chose that need that sun.


A lot of good questions, I will comment on the last one.
I have a clay field, probably the bottom of a lake filled with volcanic ash. If it is too dry ore too wet it is impossible to work with. By mowing with a scythe and piling up the mix of green ans dry grass and covering it with old carpet it composts down to workable soil. The carpet was torn out due to pet damage and some was cut in convenient 4 foot wide strips and rolled up. Curly dock come up in the space between the strips breaking up the clay when worked with the broad fork. I shift the carpet strips 2 feet after forking and adding more grass  then transplant squash into the slits between the strips of carpet.
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Some references in Sir Albert Howard books also tell to use clay soil in the compost. I couldn't get exact references ....Clay has a strong ability to absorb ammonia, preventing nitrogen loss. A clay coating also holds moisture. Without soil, “an even and vigorous mycelial growth is never quickly obtained.” Howard said “the fungi are the storm troops of the composting process, and must be furnished with all the armament they need.”

So adding soil at the top makes sense..



Regards,
Nandan
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau s. Bard, it sseems that you are using the term tilling in place of turnig, we till the soil but we turn a compost heap, the difference is soil involvemment. When you first build a heap you layer it as you describe, then as the heating subsides some folks turn the heap, others use pipe to aad air to the heap (my preference) so the heap will continue to heat. Both methods will make good compost. It sounds to me like you aare doing well at making compost. If you want more help or have other questions, let me know.

Redhawk



Ah apologies for using the wrong terminology! Thanks for your explanation.
How often would you need to turn the compost heap? You say when the heat subsides. But I can imagine if one makes a compost heap out of kitchen waste, you are continually adding to the pile, so the pile would continually heat and cool down as you add more, right?
 
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I used to turn my heaps on a monthly schedule, then in the 1980's I stopped the practice of turning. I had done an experiment of simply adding air through a piece of pipe shoved into a series of heaps, my control heaps were turned just as I had always done. The results showed that the air addition made finished compost just as fast, with less effort and the microbe counts were higher in these no turn heaps. The finished compost had more bacteria and fungal hyphae compared to the control heaps.

When you continue to make additions to a working heap, the finished compost will always be the bottom of the heap. If you are adding to and turning a heap, you will not be able to have finished compost to use and the microbes can't multiply to high count levels because of the connstant disruptions of additions and turning. Compost needs undisturbed time so the microbes that do the decomposition can complete their work. Tumblers do not fit this model because they are a selfcontained system that is disturbed daily.

Redhawk
 
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Dr. Redhawk,  Do you put the pipes down vertically into the center or horizontal?  How many and spaced?  thanks I was about to acquire a lot of Spent Beer Grain and wanted to do several large piles and do not look forward to turning.
 
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I use a single 3/4" pipe that I insert at a 45 deg. angle I then use an air compressor and blower tlp to get the air in. The pipe is pushed to the bottom and pulled out slowly so the depth of the heap recieves air, I work my way around the heap making 6 to 8 insertations into the heap (currently I have 4 heaps going).

Redhawk
 
Nandakumar Palaparambil
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Dear Redhawk,

When you say 3/4 of original carbon atoms will escape to atmosphere if there is no soil added, is there any material for reference for this? Would like to read a bit more on this topic.



Regards,
Nandan
 
Jay Angler
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I use a single 3/4" pipe that I insert at a 45 deg. angle I then use an air compressor and blower tlp to get the air in. The pipe is pushed to the bottom and pulled out slowly so the depth of the heap receives air, I work my way around the heap making 6 to 8 insertations into the heap (currently I have 4 heaps going).

Redhawk

My Hubby is really intrigued by this idea and is willing to help me make it work on our property, but he had a few questions we're hoping you would be willing to elaborate on (he's a techie - not so good with "vague" or "be creative", but he builds good stuff!) :

1/  What material is the pipe made of?  Steel?  Plastic?

2/  Pipe is 3/4” nominal diameter.  How long is it?  Is the end fully open?

3/  Any conceptual problem with cutting the end at a slant (60 degrees?) and welding on a plate to block the end and then drilling some holes in the pipe near the end to let the air escape with the objective of making the pipe easier to insert into the pile?

4/  What pressure is applied to the pipe in PSI?

5/  What air compressor volume is required?  Compressor size in HP. or Cubic Feet per minute?

6/  How much air is used?  Six to eight insertions per pile at what pressure and how slowly is the pipe withdrawn from the pile?

7/ How often do you aerate the piles?  Same as the previous monthly turning schedule?

8/ How big are the piles (L X W X H)?

Any of these that you're willing to give Hubby specs on would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks Jay

 
Dennis Bangham
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How often should this be done?  Weekly or every day?  Or when the internal temperature drops?  
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Jay,  I'm happy to help.
1) I use PVC pipe the 3/4 is the ID.
2) the end was heated with a heat gun to soften then pressed flat (1/4" opening (easier with a clamp while it cools)).
3) that causes too little volume and jetting holes to form.
4) 40 psi, the blower nozzel is 6" long, inserted all the way into pipe.
5) mine is 6gal. Pancake with 9cfm at 90 psi
6) 6" in 5 sec.
7) I start aireation when internal temp reduces 10 deg. f. Then every 3 weeks till heap reduces by 1/2 volume.
8) 5 cubed, or 6x4x6 (depends on contents), no further additions are made once the heap is to finished size, then a new heap is started. I can build a 5cubed heap in 3 weeks of clean up of the farm.
Hope that covers those questions.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Ohhhhhh...

I put a section of french drain pipe (3 or 4 inches diameter) straight across the lower level of one of my piles and it didn't seem to do anything. I didn't realize that you should actively inject air.

Thanks!
 
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Has anyone ever tried this type of composting (Johnson-Su Bioreactor or Redhawk Method) incorporating Bokashi methods?  I'd be very interested in hearing how it turned out.

Laurie
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau laurie, bokashi method additions to this method work well. The bokashi brings additional bacteria to a heap and the air additions result in most pathogenic anaerobes dying off (what we want to happen). You end up with more types of good organisms, always a good thing for the soil.

Redhawk
 
Laurie St Thomas
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Is it possible to get pictures of everyone's version of this?  I would love to see it
 
Hans Quistorff
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I don't have any pictures of the experiment but this is the history of it.  Had a plastic barrel that had the top cut off to use for watering the horses. I put grass I was cutting because I did not have animals to eat it into the barrel and filled it with water and put a plastic grate and bricks on top to keep it submerged.  Added some cow manure from visitors that had eaten all the grass in their field and ate a wheel barrow full of bitter pears I intended to compost.  Used the brown liquid to water plants for a while but my efforts to aerate the barrel failed so I ended the project by using the liquid to soak a compost pile of coarse material and then piling the wet grass residue on top to weigh it down. I think the dying anaerobic bacteria provided nitrogen to stimulate aerobic composting of the coarse material.
 
bonnie bright
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 Laurie, I looked itno Johnson Su Bio Reactor because I accidentally made it one year. I thot, wow.  What is this that I made that works so well?  Knowing I don't come up with something wonderful first, I looked online for the latest and greatest and found the Johnson SU Bioreactor.  I figure I accidentally created an environment that retained at least 75% moisture so it cooked it perfectly.

So I looked into Dr Johnson's compost system for about two years on and off, but never built it as I have a bad back.  My idea was to come close to it within the system I had.  

But here's the thing I came to realize eventually:

You gotta be obsessive like me and watch videos like gabillioins of times, taking snapshots of portions of the video to view at a larger scale or slow it down to listen to the tone of speech and try to figure out what's missing.  Because he doesn't let on everything . . .

except on occasion he barely mentions the fact that once the pile cools down, he adds 5 lbs of worms.

The Johnson Su Bioreactor is just a gigantic worm farm.  Notice he lets it sit for a year.  Or more.  Yeah. We already should know that vermiculture is one of the best for plant fertilizer.  

The take away for me was to enclose my own system sufficient to maintain a higher moisture level which I had already garnered by comparing my compost with Charles Dowding's compost, a UK resident with higher humidity and moisture levels.  Dowding has videos showing how he has tons of worms in his compost, because he only turns it once within its life.  

Johnson Su Bioreactor is just a gigantic worm bin done very well.  
 
pollinator
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I'm on my second year of Johnson su compost. I don't add worms, they show up anyway.

I covered the inside of the wire surround with compost and the top with some mouldy cotton cushions. The result after about 6 months was brown very soft, aromatic compost I had never seen before. Used up with great success as potting soil.

This spring I built 3 JS composts, now half to two-thirds rotted down. I just put the remainder of the last heap on top for inoculation.

I transplant most of my veggies and this is my main way of getting good microbes to all my plot.
 
Hans Quistorff
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