• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Composting in a barrel?  RSS feed

 
john lindsey
Posts: 17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I make compost from food scraps from the food bank, in barrels to keep the varmints out. I have not been able to get the temperature up to kill pathogens, so I can use dog duty. I think I maybe wasting some carbon and letting too much methane escape.

I tried to put a vent tube made of chicken wire fence, down the center, but that just filled up with compost. I use peat moss to keep it from getting too wet usually. But now I think I should be using BioChar. HOW MUCH MOISTURE WILL IT ABSORB?

I do have red manure worms that do a lot of the work. But I can't help but think there maybe a way to ventilate these barrels to help oxygenate the materials better.

A couple years ago I left them open to the rain for too long the worms drowned. So I put straw in the bottom. That helped them dry a little but not breathe much.

Well OK I think I need to add straw between layers of kitchen waste etc. (All I need to do is figure out how to keep the mice out of the straw.)
Maybe put the barrels up on bricks to ventilate through the bottom? They already have holes.

Has anyone figured out another way?
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1288
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
13
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds like you could use some turning. Try buying an auger designed to dig holes for planting bulbs. Attach it to the end of your drill and go to town. The auger should pull material up from the bottom effectively turning the pile.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bio char isn't going to help your compost, it is designed to be a layer in a field and it is more for bacteria and fungi than moisture.

If you are using food scraps you need to be able to turn your barrels so the compost can mix as you roll the barrel, usually this mean you have to have some type of scraper inside the barrel.

My tumbler has four 2x4 pieces lag screwed to the inside of my homemade drum, these effectively churn up the contents when I give it a spin (once or twice a day).
 
john lindsey
Posts: 17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ya I thought of doing that but the barrels are made of plastic, and it is a bit late to build something new. I aslo think that biochar is better if you put it in your compost. that way it gets charged with bacteria and nutrients , so it doesn't suck any out of the garden.





Bryant RedHawk wrote:Bio char isn't going to help your compost, it is designed to be a layer in a field and it is more for bacteria and fungi than moisture.

If you are using food scraps you need to be able to turn your barrels so the compost can mix as you roll the barrel, usually this mean you have to have some type of scraper inside the barrel.

My tumbler has four 2x4 pieces lag screwed to the inside of my homemade drum, these effectively churn up the contents when I give it a spin (once or twice a day).
 
wayne fajkus
Posts: 677
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can worms survive a hot compost pile?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
worms do not come to a compost heap until it has completed the heat stage, at that point the bacteria come and the fungus spores find their way in then the worms come and feed.

If your heap already has worms, and you add layers that heat up, the worms will retreat until the heat up is finished, then they come back.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau John,  yes biochar needs to be charged with bacteria prior to use. In the fields where biochar has been discovered it is a layer about 2' thick and found about a foot down, this is most likely from the actions of spreading then tilling it in.

I don't think anyone really knows how the layer get to be a foot under the top soil in those cases of discovery.

I have a garden space that has been biochar treated, it has not performed any better or worse than the other garden spaces we have.
I have gotten better improvement by broadcasting Sea-90 than I have with biochar.
But my area is not really anything like the areas where they discovered biochar in the soil, and that may be part of the way it acts on my land.

I believe biochar works but my observations are leaning toward it being better for certain soil types than others.
My land is 1.5 feet of good forest top soil with a 2 foot layer of red clay then you hit bed rock.
The areas I treated with biochar have not shown any difference in productivity, water holding, bio activity than the other, non-treated spaces.

I'm only two years in on the experiment so things may change over time, the discovery of biochar indicated it had been in place for a long time so it may be that it needs to be in situ for quite a while before you really get full benefits from it.
 
john lindsey
Posts: 17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
someone told me the way they disposed of their garbage was to dig trenches and burn it. covering with soil before a complete burn. unaware of biochar itself.

and over hundreds of years with of grains and other plants and not tilling, they could build a lot of soil?      ??












Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau John,  yes biochar needs to be charged with bacteria prior to use. In the fields where biochar has been discovered it is a layer about 2' thick and found about a foot down, this is most likely from the actions of spreading then tilling it in.

I don't think anyone really knows how the layer get to be a foot under the top soil in those cases of discovery.

I have a garden space that has been biochar treated, it has not performed any better or worse than the other garden spaces we have.
I have gotten better improvement by broadcasting Sea-90 than I have with biochar.
But my area is not really anything like the areas where they discovered biochar in the soil, and that may be part of the way it acts on my land.

I believe biochar works but my observations are leaning toward it being better for certain soil types than others.
My land is 1.5 feet of good forest top soil with a 2 foot layer of red clay then you hit bed rock.
The areas I treated with biochar have not shown any difference in productivity, water holding, bio activity than the other, non-treated spaces.

I'm only two years in on the experiment so things may change over time, the discovery of biochar indicated it had been in place for a long time so it may be that it needs to be in situ for quite a while before you really get full benefits from it.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau John,  yes that method will work for bio char making. it is true that soil is built over time, earth mother takes a long time to do it, we can speed up the process quite a lot if we want to.
 
Our earth mother creates biochar by burning a forest, rain comes to put the fire out, or it just runs out of fuel and dies.
What is left behind? Biochar all over the forest floor.
Rains come, seeds sprout and the forest begins to be rebuilt and will continue along until the next forest fire strikes.

Redhawk
 
john lindsey
Posts: 17
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
this is the best video I have seen on building soil:

 
Gravity is a harsh mistress. But this tiny ad is pretty easy to deal with:
learn permaculture through a little hard work and get an acre of land
https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!