Galvanized trash can composting.

fmart322(Z6SNJ)June 2, 2014

Hey everyone, hello.
I wanted some input. I have a galvanized trash can just sitting around doing nothing for me, can I use it for composting?

In my mind:
I figure I'll just drill some holes in it and I'm pretty much done. Just add yard
waste.

In reality:
I'm sure there's more to it than just that.

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Too small a volume to develop and maintain sufficient heat to compost.
Need 3' x 3' x 3'.

This post was edited by jean001a on Mon, Jun 2, 14 at 19:30

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 7:29PM
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fmart322(Z6SNJ)

Thanks. I knew it sounded way to simple.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 4:57AM
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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

Well, if you have the space 3 of those 3' cubes would be ideal.

On the other hand, slow composting can work for smaller volumes. According to this table (Potential Survival of Fecal Pathogens in the Environment) baddies are gone in six months (except Cryptosporidium, which shouldn't be a problem, unless you run cattle for your compost.)

I am adding used coffee grounds and egg shells to my plastic trash can composer (no holes, run pretty dry, mostly old compost) and relying on the 6 month rule. Well, that and I conservatively grow no root or leaf crops. Fruiting plants only.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 10:11AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

It will work, you don't really have to have a large hot pile to get compost, but it will be slower. Note when you drill holes through the galvanized coating, rust will begin there. It will take awhile but just be advised the can's years will be numbered. Keep it moist but not too wet, leave the lid ajar for air, use a good brown/green mix, and you'll get some compost. Once you're hooked you'll be making more piles too.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:19PM
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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

You could put just one tap in the can and consider it the world's biggest Bokashi ;-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:26PM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

>> Too small a volume to develop and maintain sufficient heat to compost.
>> Thanks. I knew it sounded way too simple.

Composting really is "way too simple."

I have two 30 gallon plastic trash cans nearly full of noxious garbage under a small layer of old compost and dirt for the smell. When I get my next pickup truck load of manure, they'll be the core of the new pile that will sit until next year. "Pile", not "composter." Because you do not need heat to compost unless you're in a hurry, there is no volume too small.

One of the reasons I save the stuff is the local birds, violent vicious voracious destructive descendents of the mighty dinosaurs, have learned that edible bugs are exceedingly rare in the Summer desert except behind my house. A couple of cactus wrens or mockingbirds can flatten a pile in days.

EDIT: I forgot to be paranoid enough today, but lazygardens jogged my dim memory. A common problem with people who feed pigs slop from galvanized trash cans is (or used to be) that the little meathogs are often victims of heavy metal (iron) poisoning. The acids from the foods are the source culprits, and the symptoms range all the way from failure-to-thrive to death. Dunno if that's a problem for humans doing gardening-type things.

This post was edited by cold_weather_is_evil on Tue, Jun 3, 14 at 15:48

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 2:09PM
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lazy_gardens

No ... it will rust out extremely fast because of the moisture, the organic acids from decomposition, and damage you did to the protective galvanized coating.

==========
cold_weather_is_evil ... I have remesh bins with plastic poultry netting around them to keep small stuff in and birds out.

They do tunnel enthusiastically, don't they?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 3:29PM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

double post...

This post was edited by cold_weather_is_evil on Tue, Jun 3, 14 at 15:49

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 3:47PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

I wouldn't worry about toxicity from the corrosion, since you are not eating the contents like pigs would. Iron and zinc are already present in soil, they are not particularly toxic there, it would take huge amounts to substantially change their concentrations, and even if you did, the plants take up only what they need.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 1:29PM
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