Rain on Compost pile

blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)April 10, 2012

Im expecting rain tonight. Should I cover my pile? It is covered with a pile of cut grass and I know that rain cannot really penetrate all that cut grass. But should I cover the pile?

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jrmckins

There's no reason to cover it unless it's already a soggy mess.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:33PM
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Lloyd

Moisture control is kinda important....how much rain are we talking about? If a pile had adequate moisture before the rain I'd throw a tarp over it.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:47AM
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Allen456(8)

What about potential hail damage to a compost pile? Should you consider moving it into the garage?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:33AM
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mean_74(4A)

he he he

mean

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:51AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

This is why you need a waterproof bin, so you don't have to stress about it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:20AM
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capoman(5a)

Answer is simple. If you have sufficient moisture in the pile cover it, if not leave it open. The one thing though is if you have a huge clump of grass clippings on top, it may already be soggy. It's usually best to mix clippings with other dry items such as brown leaves.

I personally have a huge bin. I open it when it's dry, and close it when it's wet for rain. I also have several large piles, and for the most part, I can't get them wet enough, so I leave them open to the rain. I always mix my grass clippings in though, as they are always too moist by themselves.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:14PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Hi all. I have to say this forum has to be one of the more "friendlier" forums on gardenweb..hehehe

Yes the rain was just a nice little shower over night and the pile was not too moist before the rain. I do have browns (avacado leaves and shredded paper) under the greens. I was planning on turning the pile after the last of the rains this weekend. I do have alot of fruit rinds and coffee grounds under the pile. I found a bunch of red worms today and put them on the pile as well. I mean, how "wet" is too wet?

Thanks again for your help :)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:27PM
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jrmckins

"Hi all. I have to say this forum has to be one of the more "friendlier" forums on gardenweb..hehehe"

Well, if you want, I can start correcting grammar ... it's always nice to have a grammar-nazi in the mix ... LOL

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 1:32PM
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toxcrusadr

The *ideal* moisture content is damp, not wet. Like a damp sponge, not drippy.

It's important to remember that if you don't do anything, eventually you'll get compost. Mother nature drops organic matter on the ground all the time and it decomposes. When we talk about managing the compost, it's really just to speed up the process and get the largest volume of the best quality compost possible. But it's not essential. A wet pile will eventually dry out.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Allen456(8)

Damp sponges creep me out. I prefer my pile moist like a first date at the drive in theater.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:25PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Too wet is anaerobic which you can look up, if you want, it means that there will be a bad smell like a rotting body. But, tox is right it will all become compost eventually. If you don't feel like managing the pile, you can just leave it alone.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 4:33PM
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tn_gardening

I don't cover my pile.

Sometimes even a hard rain has trouble penetrating a pile. It also helps if you turn it frequently so you can get a feel for the moisture content.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:05PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

I am with tn_gardening. I have NEVER covered any of my piles. If you have a bin and add OM around the outside edge so the pile "dishes" and forces water to the middle, it will suck it up. Must admit I am a passive (first hot, then cold) composter that doesn't turn. Yeah, it takes 2-4 years per pile to finish. Here in KS we either have "soggy" or "sere," very seldom nice and smooth and perfect. Never had anerobic smell, even after several weeks of rainy weather. But, also have wire bins that breathe easily. As toxcrusadr said, "It's important to remember that if you don't do anything, eventually you'll get compost." If it doesn't stink, gonna be aerobic. You should see the garden this year! This 'post' is the most!
hortster

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:32PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Allen 456 - IK! LOL

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:02PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

jrmckins....hahaha I think i get it...more "friendly" and Im an English major...lol

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 8:39AM
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toxcrusadr

We are friendly but some of our palms are moist cuz we're a little nerdy and not used to regular people.

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

Regular people? You mean the ones that take out their trash every week?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:14PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

I have never covered a pile.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 12:02AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

My piles are in covered bins, but that is to keep the moisture in. If it is about to rain, I try to make a point of getting out there and uncovering them. If it snows, I make sure to shovel some into the pile. I am sure that it will not be too long before someone this board reports on attempts to measure the perfect moisture content of their pile.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 12:45AM
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LesIsMore1(4/5 - Colorado)

You're making me jealous...it rained yesterday (.25") for the first time this year. My thirsty micro's sucked up the last 40 gallons of melted snow water again today, and I've had to carve rainwater collection 'funnels' into the top of the piles.

I'm with Lloyd... keeping a good level of moisture is pretty important, but too much is bad. If there's already plenty of moisture on the inside of a pile, I might cover it. Do it all the time during the monsoon season.

You can toss a tarp over it, or be a wacko like me...and try to angle the tarp so that the water gets redirected into big garbage cans, for later use. :)

( if it gets TOO wet, might need to flip it again to help it dry out...

Leslie

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 1:15AM
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