Thinking of building a large compost pile?

kossetxFebruary 1, 2010

Interesting compost pile size observations I came up with. At least to me. :)

I have a cyclone fence compost pile. ItÂs in the shape of a 12Â diameter circle, 4Â high. It contains mostly leaves although I put as many greens in it as I can find. Being that it is mostly leaves it takes a long time to decompose. I was thinking of adding a second pile so I could alternate piles year by year. I wanted to find how big a 50Â section of fence would give me in diameter and while I was doing that I decided to see what the volume of the piles was. Being that they are a cylinder it was easy to find volume but I was somewhat surprised at the results. Using the formula v=3.14 X radius squared X height divided by 27, I came up with the following. All of the sizes listed are rounded off slightly, either up or down.

A 10Â diameter pile will contain an unfinished volume of 11.6 cubic yards.

A 11Â diameter pile will contain an unfinished volume of 14.0 cubic yards.

A 12Â diameter pile will contain an unfinished volume of 16.8 cubic yards.

A 13Â diameter pile will contain an unfinished volume of 19.7 cubic yards.

A 14Â diameter pile will contain an unfinished volume of 22.8 cubic yards.

A 15Â diameter pile will contain an unfinished volume of 26.2 cubic yards.

A 16Â diameter pile will contain an unfinished volume of 29.8 cubic yards.

A 50Â length of chain link fence will yield a 16Â diameter pile, 4Â high.

A 50Â length of chain link fence will yield 2, 8Â diameter piles 4Â high, each containing 7.4 cu yards of unfinished compost.

Probably more than many folks need but I use all I can get. I still buy some. Hope it helps someone.

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Lloyd

Large piles can be fun but one has to be aware of the potential for anaerobic conditions developing especially in a hot pile.

This bin has a twenty four foot circumference and holds about 7 cubic yards if filled to heaping. Fresh air entrainment to the centre is unlikely so either frequent turning, or some means to get air into the pile is almost a necessity.

Once one gets into that kind of volumes it may be best to think of windrows.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 8:30PM
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heirloomjunkie(5a)

Lloyd, went to your flickr page. Amazing pictures. Is that your own operation? If so, where do you get the compostables? And you had mentioned before that you don't garden. What do you do with the compost?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:05PM
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Lloyd

Hi Kim, Ya that's my hobby. My brother is the mechanic/welder guy, I'm the doofus coming up with the ideas and doing the composting.

I posted a brief summary over in this thread (towards the end).

I used to have a garden when DW was more able but haven't in a few years.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 1:11AM
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kossetx

Me personally, I use a tractor to turn my pile. It have a 8' gate on one side to allow access. Even if you didn't turn, there is nothing wrong with the pile going anarobic. It still makes compost. Your ideas of winrows are just that, your ideas. I was mearly giving people ideas on volumes of cylinder containment.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Lloyd

"there is nothing wrong with the pile going anarobic"

I disagree.

"Your ideas of winrows are just that, your ideas."

Well, not exactly my idea, but, okay.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:34AM
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