two practical compost pile questions

rmontcalApril 24, 2013

1. Does anyone find that turning the compost pile is made easier (more fun obviously...) when aided by a significant other? I feel like "honey, help me turn the pile!" would have a lot more gravitas with this forum's support.

2. How do you actually use the compost? The new kitchen stuff is on top and the "finished" stuff in on the bottom. So the good stuff is hard to get to, except that there is also the variable that you are always turning it! (Aside from having two piles, of course...) Should I just grab a handful of a dirty looking leaf/grass mix and put it in the bottom of whatever I am trying to grow?

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2. Before you add compost to soil it needs to be "mature". That means that what you've added is well decomposed and the microbial evolution has stabilized. At some point you need to stop adding stuff, and let the process finish preferably with your help by periodic turning. Just be sure that the overall pile has a decent mix of brown and greens in it or it will tend to stop working, or at least slow way down, before everything is properly decomposed. If you want to keep adding, as in ongoing disposal of kitchen trim, then you need to start a new pile while the old one is "cooking" to finish.

1. It probably depends on the significant other, and that's all that I'm saying ;-]

This post was edited by TXEB on Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 7:22

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 2:51AM
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1. Whether getting help from anyone else in turning compost may be easier depends on where your compost is. Trying to have two people work at one time in my 4 x 4 bins would be a problem with each one getting in the others way.
2. Some people solve your problem by putting their compost bins on a screen so the finished compost falls out where it can be scooped up.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:21AM
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I couldn't get DW to go near the compost if I dragged her out there with the skid loader.

She will however be more than willing to take any compost I would bring her.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:28PM
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1) I find that a carefully chosen wine helps Significant Others help turn a compost pile. Try a moderately priced 2005 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. For some reason, that vintage works absolute wonders.

2) I don't worry too much about my compost being completely finished when it goes in the bottom of a planting hole. I mean, do the worms care? And you'll find this so much easier to justify after snorking down a glass of wine or two, with your S,O.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:51PM
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make it a good 2008 Sonoma Russian River Pinot, and even I'll say screw the compost ... high sweetie-pie ...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:05PM
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LOLOL Lloyd!

The only time I asked DH for help with turning the compost was when I used to mix it with the cement mixer. I couldn't manage to flip the heavy mixer when full. I'm not quite so gung-ho to mix compost like that any longer. I've tried various method of making compost over the years but now only do a pile and it's a one woman turning activity. Another person would only get in the way.

I start a second pile when I decide the first is close to finishing and I since I started to mulch my garden with shredded bark I dig it in each hole like David does. I often do trench composting anyhow and the worms make short work of it.

I especially like the wine when the compost is turned and I can sit on the deck and enjoy looking at the garden! My preference is for wines from BC's Okanagan region. Photo NOT staged! LOL

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:52PM
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@luckygal: you're really one lucky gal you! What a great garden you have got there. That is like something that existed only in my dreams. And it is obvious you have done a great job keeping it. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:29PM
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Is that bird bath/feeder up so high because of the bears?

BTW, absolutely gorgeous!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Keep in mind that after composting, a shower or bubble bath is required. Just saying.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:07PM
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tox - decontamination with brominated, hot, well aerated water (aka hot tub) is preferred.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Thanks ceth k and Lloyd.

Ceth, there's an interesting quote by Thomas Jefferson "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have" which I believe. Altho I am very fortunate I don't really believe in 'luck'.

Lloyd, the birdbath is on a post because when our most recent cat adopted us (and I allowed him to be outside in the daytime) he would lurk by the birdbath and get one bird every day. So DH elevated it and the birds are safe. Cat is no longer allowed outdoors cause I like to keep him safe. While we have bears they've never bothered the birdfeeder. It's also on a tall post with sheet metal around the post to prevent the squirrels climbing it. They get enough seeds because the birds drop a lot. Bears have never come into my house yard altho have been within 20 feet of the house on the other side. I've highjacked this thread enough so won't post more pics but if you want to see bears and other wildlife we live with "they are here."

My apologies for the highjack montcal.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:56PM
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