can compost in the shade?
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Author:  sandysoil [ Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  can compost in the shade?

I have a heap of leaves, etc in the back yard in a sunny spot. If I move the pile to a shady spot, will it still cook? I want to use the sunny spot for something else. Thanks!!

Author:  Dirt Doctor [ Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: can compost in the shade?

You can compost in the basement. Sunlight is unnecessary. The composting process goes on inside the pile, not on the outside edge. The microbes provide the heat.

Author:  CaptainCompostAL [ Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: can compost in the shade?

Most of my compost that I make and sell is under partial shade. These piles still get up to temperatures near 160 degrees F ! It is all in your ingredients, the mixture blend, moisture levels, and aeration levels. The hot aerobic microbes do all the work digesting the proteins and carbs in the pile, converting the energy locked inside the organic matter sugars, etc. into heat energy.

I normally can make a ton of mature compost in 1-2 months with hot active aerobic compost windrows.

Happy Gardening!

Author:  RossK [ Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: can compost in the shade?

I just tended to my three compost piles today. Opened them up a bit, let some air in. Sprinkled in some dry molasses. Sprayed some water down into those gaps. Said hello to some Eisenia fetida friends down inside the one pile, and also noticed the first robin bird in the rear garden after several months. I wonder if he was observing me.....talking to those worms !

We are having unseaonably warm days lately....and it is certain that yet more winter snows will happen here at 6,840 ft. It has to, we desparately need the water. Up to now a winter drought would be a fitting description....so I hand-watered all trees and perennials again and dragged the hose-end sprinkler around to also keep the lawn thatch damp. Don't want those spider mites making-camp in my lawn !

As for our original poster here.....can you chop those leaves up somehow ?, maybe run the lawn mower over smaller piles and then rake up the chunks. Surely you have more than just leaves to offer. Any horse or cattle barns nearby ?

Author:  sandysoil [ Sat May 09, 2009 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: can compost in the shade?

Thx for all the great advice. I'm in the suburbs with 14 mature trees on 0.25 acres (LOTS of leaves), so based on all the advice I'm sure my mixture and aeration are the problem. The ivy climbs through my pile in the summer, and some potato and onion scraps i threw in actually sprouted and grew, so I'm sure this means the pile is not hot enough. I can buy manure in bags pretty cheap. If I used only dead leaves and bagged manure, what would be the right ratio? My kitchen scraps are too little to speak of . . . thank you!!!!

Author:  Love My Garden! [ Sun May 10, 2009 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: can compost in the shade?

Under the composting topic, in the Library on this site, it says the ratio is "80% vegetative matter and 20% animal waste", but goes on to say that any mix will compost.

I'm looking forward to good things from the pile I just started. I buy manure, as you are thinking to do, and added a 40# bag to 3 bags of leaves and some grass clippings (a gift from the next door neighbors :D ). I treated the soil with Agrispon before I built the pile, and then added diluted liquid molasses after the whole thing was finished.

It's not cooking yet, but hopefully soon.

God speed! :wink:

Author:  user_48634 [ Thu May 21, 2009 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: can compost in the shade?

Before you buy any more manure, look for a horse stable in your area. They are usually more than willing to let people come take away their manure.

I harvest manure as follows:
Materials needed
1 5-gallon bucket
1 shovel
1 box of 9- or 13-gallon trash bags
1 wheelbarrow (optional)

  1. Open one or two bags and line the bucket as you would a trash basket.
  2. Shovel manure into the bag/bucket until it is 1/3 full (they get heavy), remove from the bucket, and tie off
  3. Reline the bucket and repeat.
This works well and allows you to carry fresh manure in any car without odor. If you use really cheap bags, you might want to use two at a time.

Author:  Love My Garden! [ Thu May 21, 2009 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: can compost in the shade?

Excellent tip. Thank you!

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