Compost Bin question

outsideplaying_gw(7)April 18, 2012

This may sound like a stupid question, but after using wire bins for composting, I have bought a large compost bin to try to obtain faster results for some of my compost. Do any of you put your bins on black plastic or weed barrier or just set it on top of the grass? I plan to take some of my existing mulch and put it into the bin to get started. Any other tips for starting in the new bin?

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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

You should set the bin on the dirt ground so it can drain out.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:41AM
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robertz6

You did not say now big. The pile should sit directly on the earth without a barrier which might prevent the movement of worms. But it will not affect your fast composting the way other factors will.

SAMM
Size of bin (I like 4' diameter at least two feet high for a small bin and 4'by8'by 24" high for a large one)
Air and Moisture in the correct range
Material Mix Good mix of 'greens' and 'browns'. The particle size is important, whole leaves for example, take much longer to break down than finely shredded leaves of the same species.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:10PM
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toxcrusadr

Most grass will die as soon as you fill the bin. If you have Bermuda grass, nothing short of concrete will stop it from coming up into the pile anyway, and I'm not too sure about the concrete. :-]

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:17PM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

Only solid poured concrete will stop bermuda. It will easily get between the gaps between concrete blocks. If there is one plant in the world I could eradicate it would be bermuda grass. Such an ugly grass and impossible to get it to behave.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:23PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

My ENTIRE FRONT YARD is BURMUDA! I hate it! I have to mow it all the time! Its getting into my roses on the side of the house and no matter how deep I pull it up IT COMES BACK! I literally have to dig 2 feet down almost right next to the base of one of my favorite roses to get rid of it.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 2:09PM
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outsideplaying_gw(7)

No kidding about bermuda grass! We have plenty, thank you, and I fight that battle too! That is part of my dilemma about where to locate this one! I should have mentioned...the bin is 12 cu ft; 28" square, 34" high. I bought it from Gardener's Supply after comparing 2 at Sam's and Costco, plus it was 15% off.

If I put it near my existing wire cage compost piles, there is a lot of wild bermuda (not good). I could put it closer to the house near the woods, and a little closer to the back door but it would be in an area that doesn't get as much sun but the ground is mossy and a bit compacted and DH would probably complain a bit about mowing around it. Plus I'd have to haul the mulch a bit further. There are a couple of other areas I'm looking at that are out of the way. I want to make sure the rain will fall on it as there are drainage holes on the top which allow rain (or the sprinkler system water) to drain into the bin. And definitely want to avoid the bermuda creep.

Thanks for all your input! Keep 'em coming.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 2:28PM
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toxcrusadr

I have a Bermuda patch near a previous compost bin location that I think I got from bringing in other people's grass clippings. Anyway it did get up into my bins but I turned and used the compost often enough that it didn't get much of a foothold. All I had to do was make sure when I was digging out finished compost that I didn't take those evil white roots and rhizomes along with it.

That patch is still there despite scorched earth treatments, and it is the only thing I've ever found that can outcompete my aggressive coarse fescue lawn grass.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:29PM
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tomatotomata

Bermuda grass and cockroaches; they'll outlast us all.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 5:44PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Tox it is impossible to get rid of weedy grassy without getting rid of the lawn. I dumped my lawn after years of poa annua. It hides in your lawn and is always make seeds. I am happier with no lawn and no weedy grass.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 5:07PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Yes. I wish I could convince my grandmother to let me put in a drought tolerant front yard. My city council has all the plans and plants and will even discount my water bill. Alot of the plants are pretty nice too.

I have a large front yard and it is all BERMUDA! I want to make half of it brick with a nice wood lattice awning with a nice raised 2 foot planer with about 5 different dwarf citrus separating in front of that the drought tolerant garden! No water!!

Anyways. If I were to set a compost bin on the ground I would dig up any grass AND roots first

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:53PM
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outsideplaying_gw(7)

The hot, humid south thrives on having bermuda lawns, or zoysia. And there are many common wild bermuda grasses (weeds) that thrive as well. Yep, bermuda and roaches, among some other invasives and pests, will outlive us all. Kudzu and Chinese privet are pretty close behind here in the South.

I think I settled on a spot yesterday, for now. We had some trees cut and the stumps ground a couple of years ago. I was planning to make a shrub bed, but gave it up (too many beds already). I do have some shrubs on the other end of this bed where our propane tank resides. So I've put the bin on the opposite end for now as I do keep the weeds under fair control there and it is close to the garden which is a real plus for me.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 9:43AM
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idaho_gardener

My compost bins have been made of wooden pallets, often lined with used leaf bags. They sit directly on the ground.

Here's an odd factoid. When I moved my compost bins, I dug into the soil where the compost bins had been setting. No worms, nothing unusual, just the clay soil that is typical of my area. I had expected to find lots of worms and beautiful soil. Nada.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 11:47AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I think the compost pile might get too hot for earthworms.

Now after you mulch it into your soil you will get more worms!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:21PM
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jrmckins

"I think the compost pile might get too hot for earthworms."

I've read that before but then I think "only the center gets really hot. The rest is "safe" for the worms" ... This seems like the sensible answer. I've never heard of a pile that is the same temp all the way through it.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Lloyd

If the compost pile was hot and sat there long enough, the soil temperature will rise as well.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

As I have dug into various soils over the years I noticed that during the sunniest months of the year there were very few earthworms to be found so I measured soil temperatures and found that when they get over about the mid 60s the earthworms apparently go down to cooler areas. Except in a vermicomposting system, earthworms are not significant participants in the composting process. Because earthworms also need a fairly moist environment a properly made compost pile will be too dry for them as well. If the material in a non vermicomposting system is moist enough for earthworms it will be too wet for the bacteria that would digest that material as well as not having enough air in the mix for them to function.
There is no really good reason to put any kind of barrier under any compost bin.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 7:11AM
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jrmckins

"There is no really good reason to put any kind of barrier under any compost bin."
Agreed! Mine is on some hard clay. I imagine if I move my bins the soil underneath will be a lot better than it was before i started composting. With that said, "a lot better", in reference to my clay, is still pretty crappy. My bermuda grass struggles in this "soil".

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:08AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

The only reason I have a bottom on my bin is because if I didnt it would fall apart! Lol I do have many large holes in the bottom though.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:27PM
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