It is currently Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:34 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: city composting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:08 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 6
bonjour everyone
for mission purposes i moved to paris, france. i have the good luck to have a small (very small) garden and want to compost.

how can i make a small composter that is city safe (no access to rats, other city vermin)? i have coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable peels and newspaper - typical city stuff.

miss texas
debsteroonie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
I would look for the thickest pvc (plastic) trash bin you are willing to tolerate, one with a tight lid. That's what I use and I simply drilled a bunch of holes in it for ventilation.

If you have a cool, shady spot then perhaps worm composting would make sense?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 6
thank you very much.

several questions as i am new at this:
1. do i put the holes in the lid, towards the top of the bin or towards the bottom or both top and bottom so that air can circulate.

2. do i just put the debris in the bin and stir every so often?

3. how do i know i can be ready to use it?
thank you ever so much again.
d


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:20 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
The one I use is one of the big city cans that the truck can pick up and dump. I put the holes everywhere but on the lid and set it on bricks so that excess liquid will drain out.

It doesn't sound like you are composting anything that would require you to get the pile really hot to kill pathogens and weed seeds but if you want to speed things up you can mix a little molasses (couple ounces in a gallon of water) and mix it into the compost when it gets dry, this will just break it down faster.

You know compost is ready when you can't really identify the origin of the pieces - just a brown, nondescript mess.

You might also consider worm composting if you aren't planning on producing a ton of the stuff.

Composting reduces the volume of the materials by a LOT - like one can of well rotted compost equals 10-20 cans of ingredients for me depending what it is (grass clippings, old produce etc break down a lot, coffee grounds not as much).

Sometimes the best idea is to have two cans or piles. I start stacking stuff outside the bin a few weeks before I plan on using it or start a second pile while I 'finish' the first. If you really want to finish it off fast use some molasses (any cheap sugar) and a few handfuls of a natural fertilizer (protein/nitrogen). Stir that up good and turn it every 4-5 days for a couple weeks until it looks done. If it isn't rotted completely it will smell, finished compost smells like forest floor.

If you screw up, so what! It will finish rotting on it's own.

Note: You will get bugs in the bin. Don't freak out if you throw in some foodscraps and find fly larvae in there, they are just breaking stuff down faster for you and after a while that sudden desire to throw up when you see them will go away (wink).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:52 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 6
CH3, thanks again. your explanation is very clear. i will buy a bin this weekend.
have a great new year!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
Image
Image

You can see that my bin is not exactly high tech, I just re-cycled a recycling bin :-)

The compost inside here is pretty close to finished, you'll see some fungus on top where the combination of heat and moisture from below with some darkness makes ideal conditions for it. a few days before I shot that picture the bin was full to the top but I had just added some dry molasses (molasses sprayed on seed hulls packaged for animal feed).

Notice how much it has reduced. This batch was mostly grass clippings with some kitchen scraps, cardboard, pet poop etcetera. The landscape firm who manages my neighborhood's common areas had just scalped the grass to plant winter rye and left behind 2 large lawn/leaf bags full of chopped grass and leaves. Those 20 bags (2-3 would fill the empty bin) decomposed to one bin in about 4 weeks. I kept stirring it and adding to it and used molasses and coffee grounds to speed it up.

I get about 50-100 pounds of coffee grounds in a given week from the Starbucks down the road from my neighborhood and it's great stuff.

Enjoy! I do love all of the fresh flowers and windowboxes in Paris! Hope you enjoy your time there, I'm afraid I would gain 300 pounds there in my favorite restaurants.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 6
dear ch3
thanks for the discusting photos. i have started collecting 'stuff' and will get to the container this week.
easy as pie!

please contact me if you are in paris.
thanks again and happy new year (we can say that until the end of january in france).
d


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:35 am
Posts: 102
I have to get a shout out for worm composting with red wiggler worms...a relatively small worm bin can compost a lot of garbage.

My worms compost, all of our coffee, tea, veggie, and fruit waste (5 or more lbs a day), garden waste, newspaper, cardboard, junk mail, bagged leaves saved from other's curb, over 100 pumpkins from friends, neighbors, and curbside after Halloween, about 8 bales of straw saved from the curb after Halloween, about 80 lbs of restaurant produce and coffee waste a week. With proper feeding, there is no smell at all--the bins are closed, so no access for rats, some apartment dwellars have them under the kitchen sink, they turn your waste into gardening (or houseplant) gold.

I have a worm friend who set up a large OSCR bin for a worm experiment. He has put in 586 lbs of food into the worm bin, and the bin is still at about 10 inches in height. In ideal conditions, worms can reduce the volume of waste by over 90%, I think my friend has even gone beyond the 90%!

I can help you find a european worm source, if you would like to try. It really is low maintenance and worm compost just can't be beat as a soil amendment.

I have a simple worm bin plan set up on my website, if you would like to check it out--they will compost a LOT faster than normal composting too.
Best!
worm rancher
http://www.txwormranch.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:06 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 6
dear worm rancher

thanks for the thought but my living space is very small (your master closet size maybe or smaller) although my garden is bigger.

i have taken the advice of CH3 and have poked holes in a plastic tub. this should be enough compost for the moment. as it is cold here now i am storing it up for the warmer days and my planting.

one question: are egg shells and meat scraps ok too>

thanks for all your help.
d


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
Egg shells are fine, the coffee is a bit acid and will balance the calcium in the shells. Meat is controversial in some circles. I compost it but I have a large volume and get things HOT. Everything breaks down and in your situation the two questions are:

1. How big is the tub you setup?
2. How thick is it?

Rats are amazing little chewers and if you look at the picture of my bin you will notice one hole is a bit larger than all the others near the bottom? It was hard to drill that bin, let alone chew a hole in it :-)

If your bin is sturdy and you bury it well then you are fine.

By the way - no need to wait, even in cold weather stuff will start breaking down for you. There is a nice cloud of steam coming from my bin all winter long.

....and I am thinking about trying wormranchers worm bin just for something new to do and to get more worms that I can disperse around new beds.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:40 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 6
hi
my tub is small and not really adequate, but it is a start, just to see. then i will invest in a stronger, bigger bin.

if my professional program allows, i have found a composting conference on saturday.

thanks always
d


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
Debs - in that case stay away from meat for now (I would anyway). The rest will rot a tab slower than it would with a large volume but not everyone needs to produce 500 gallons of finished compost every year :-). Just be sure to go ahead and mix it all up and let it start sooner rather than later, no need to wait for warm weather. A little cheap sugar like mollasses now and then will speed things up for you nicely.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:16 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:35 am
Posts: 102
Hold on there, CH--vermicomposting is much more than throwing regular yard earthworms into your compost...and the results are much more than just regular compost (which is pretty great stuff too!). Here is a great intro to vermicomposting piece by New Mexico State: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/h-164.pdf

Once you start vermicomposting, you will be "hooked"! (and that is a worm pun, since you can use them as bait as well :lol: )
Since I see my vermicompost as SUPER compost, I don't just go throw a ton in my garden bed, but use it as an amendment, or make a tea. Here is info I give in educational classes:

WHAT IS VERMICOMPOST?
A natural amendment of mostly finished worm compost (food and bedding) enriched with worm “poop” and mucus.
WHY USE VERMICOMPOST? (from Wikipedia)
Vermicompost is richer in many nutrients than compost produced by other composting methods. It is also rich in microbial life which helps convert nutrients already present in the soil into plant-available forms. Unlike other compost, worm castings also contain worm mucus which keeps nutrients from washing away with the first watering and holds moisture better than plain soil.

Soil Use of vermicompost:
• improves its physical structure;
• enriches soil with micro-organisms, adding plant hormones such as auxins and gibberellic acid, and adding enzymes such as phosphatase and cellulase; "microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and organic matter that the worm ingests" according to researcher Clive Edwards];
• attracts deep-burrowing earthworms already present in the soil;
• improves water holding capacity;
• enhances germination, plant growth, and crop yield
• improves root growth and structure
How I use Vermicompost:
• Where I put seeds in, I prep with a light coating of vermicompost. For example--I make a 1 inch depression along a row to plant my bush beans and sprinkle vermicompost into that depression. For lettuce, I lightly sprinkle vermicompost along the top, broadcast my seed, then lightly cover with garden soil.
• When I put transplants in (broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, etc.), I sprinkle around the edge of the root zone, after planting
• To increase plant health of mature plants, I will sprinkle vermicompost around root zone
* I also make a foliar tea with the vermicompost for plant health

Come check out my Blog and Website:
http://blog.txwormranch.com/
www.txwormranch.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: city composting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
Rancher - I read your site yesterday and am planning to come visit you soon :-)

I came to the conclusion long ago that it's better to feed my worms and let them feed my plants. If you can help me figure out how to setup a good system I'm ready to give it a try. Given that you are 20 miles from me I'm guessing that my assumptions about it being too hot around here in the summer to do it outside may be off base and I can think of plenty of uses for extra 'super compost'. I see that the composting worms aren't the same as my garden worms... lol, ok, threadjack in progress. I'll get with you on this on another topic or PM.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by eWeblife