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 Post subject: Ready to compost
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:45 am
Posts: 92
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
I have a 6'x6' open wire compost bin with a "wire chimney" in the center. I have oodles of shreded leaves (from a friend's yard - they're ok, no chemicals), and oodles of bags of kitchen scraps. Plus, after reading the forum, found I can put in shreded paper (no glossy stuff). How should I start? I tried composting for a couple of years to no avail! I turned it, added new material to it, dampened it when we had dry weather like now, etc., but really no compost. What did I do wrong? It's sitting in the corner of my yard where it gets sunlight most of the day and of course the rain (if we ever get any more). Should I get rid of what I've got and just start over with the new stuff? If so, what goes in when? Help!


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 Post subject: compost
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 7:33 am
Posts: 764
Location: Plano & land at Dodd City,TEXAS
Maybeljj-

Gee, it sounds like you're good to go. Maybe Cap't Compost will chime in b/c he's the expert. If you can get a hold of 'Progressive Farmer' magazine he has a great article in there.

I started my compost pile w/lots less than you have. I have a smaller-than-chicken-wire semicircle & just started w/leaves, kitchen scraps, old dirt from dead houseplants, & maybe 1/2 bag of black kow. It settles down after a while & seems like there's not very much there & I could never get enuf to spread it all over my yard. But what I get is great for flower beds, etc.

Good luck.

Patty

PS-I put a bunch of sticks in there over a year ago & STILL have trouble turning b/c of that-so that would be my only "don't".

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 Post subject: Ready to Compost
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2003 4:36 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Robinson,TEXAS
I noticed you mentioned keeping it Damp. Did you wet the pile thoroughly when you started the pile? It takes a lot of water to get the pile to working. You should start with a layer of leaves or other carbon material, wet it, add a layer of nitrogen material, wet it, and continue until the pile is built. I would suggest at this point if all the food material has dried out to get some molasses, food scraps or manure to supply nitrogen and mix this material in and wet the pile thoroughly. Getting the pile wet is the most important think at this point especially as dry as it has been. As a Master Composter this is what we always teach in our classes.
Richard Spitzer


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 Post subject: compost
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 6:42 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 7:33 am
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Location: Plano & land at Dodd City,TEXAS
Richard-

I forgot to add the water part-and my compost pile is not easy to get to to water so that is probably why I'm not getting as much. Also forgot the molasses part. I've spread dry molasses on the yard & save some for the pile.

Patty

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 Post subject: Composting
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:45 am
Posts: 92
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Thank you both for your responses. I have lots of dried molasses as well. I have some stuff in my compost pile right now - from 2 years back. Perhaps there is great compost in the very bottom, but I have yet to see it. I guess I should remove the dry material on the tops and start over? If there is compost in the bottom, take it out first and then layer the leaves/dry stuff, wet it, then the kitchen scraps, and keep on with the layers? Put my molasses perhaps on top as well as mid point of the pile? In other words, start off from scratch? I'm pretty sure the kitchen scraps have become liquid by now! It's been outside in closed up bags. In fact, I saw some maggots in some of it, so they've been hard at work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 56
Location: McKinney,TX
Can you start a new pile right next to the one that you have? That might make it easier to start a new layered/watered pile using what you have with less work. Also, if I don't need compost right away, I don't turn mine once I have it started since it is so hard to do. Instead, almost daily, I take my bag of kitchen produce scraps and a small shovel out to the pile. I dig a small hole in the top of the pile, water the hole a bit, then drop in the kitchen scraps and cover it back up. I keep track of where I have buried them so I move around the top of the pile. I stop adding more a month before I want to use it. By the next season when I need compost (3 or 4 months later), it is finished.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:45 am
Posts: 92
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Thank you for your reply. Yes, I guess I could start a new one, but not very easily. It would only be a pile on the ground instead of being in a wired area. I noticed yesterday that the existing pile had gone down - again. Perhaps those little critters that eat all that stuff got hungrier! I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the idea. As far as the kitchen scraps, I have a bunch! I've been collecting for several months and keeping them in leak-proof bags.

Thanks again to everyone for your responses.


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 Post subject: compost pile
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 7:33 am
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Location: Plano & land at Dodd City,TEXAS
I would turn the existing pile & go from there. Seems like you have a good enclosure, etc. Turning once a week is recommended but I've not been that consistent.

Patty

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