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compost 101 - Page 6

post #101 of 252
My pile is looking kinda dry too. Would throwing some water on top help? I would really like to avoid mice.
This is my first compost bin, I've only had it for a month now. I'm so excited.
post #102 of 252
Originally Posted by root*children View Post
We have mice. I have put poison down their holes, as well as got some with the shovel. If we weren't moving in a couple months, I would get the hardware cloth from Home Depot and put it around teh bottom. You're supposed to have it going up the walls a little, but also buried about 6" down - I think they won't dig too far down, and they can't get through the cloth (it's not actually cloth - more like wire). Anyhow, a really effective remedy, which we also CAN'T do is get cats! We have dogs that like to eat cats, so that wouldn't work.

Oh, a couple other things we did - we removed all the bushes that were near it - it was shady with lots of mouse hiding places. If the piles are completely out in the open, it's not *so* appealing to mice. We also planted mint around the edges - that's supposed to be a deterrent.

MINT!! what a great suggestion. the garden is right now totally empty (except for the compost bin), just had a couple of guys help me clear all the weeds this weekend, so it's a blank slate.

there are no trees or anything near the bin, it's next to a fence and on dirt. i can;t do the wire ont he bottom because i have one of those bins that is (this is it: http://www.recycleworks.org/pdf/bckyd_compost_form.pdf ) so no way to do that. i'm gonna try getting on a turning schedule...like after my thursday morning run. i'll be all sweaty anyway and my kids will be in school, so it seems liek the perfect time. and of course, adding water.

wouldn;t putting poison in the mice holes get poison residue to your garden? i'm gonna try for a totally organic garden, so i've gotta come up with some more creative ideas. there is an amazing garden down the street from me and everythign there looks lovely. i know its an organic garden, so maybe i'll pop by when someone is outside there and get some tips.

i also picked up the book someone here reccomended "let it rot" it's wonderful!
post #103 of 252
LOL! I didn't put the poison *IN* the compost pile, I put it in the mouse hole. The mice used to have a hole dug a good ways UNDER the pile (not in it), then when we cut back the bushes, they made a new hole about 2 ft. away, under another bush. I would NEVER recommend putting rat poison in a compost pile

In fact, I don't recommend the poison at all, I just was feeling desperate - our compost pile is right next to the fence, and our neighbor's house sits just on the other side of the fence... I watched the mice run back and forth under the fence, and really was feeling like a shmuck for feeding the mice that were probably also infesting the neighbor's house, KWIM? But, after clearing the area, it really helped. We have a friend who has 3 cats and NO mice, so I think that's really the best method
post #104 of 252
there's another thread here about puting your menstrual blood in the garden. in the part of "let it rot" i was just reading, he says to add blood meal (well, i think he means *cow* blood meal, NOT human menstrual blood LOL ) to the compost bin and that it activates the pile to really get cooking. also says it deters pests. hmmm....i've got the menstrual blood, may as well try it out, eh?

i can just see me walking out to the bin with my full keeper. hmmm. dh is just gonna love this one.
post #105 of 252
I've used menstrual blood to feed my indoor houseplants, they love it! But I don't tell DH, he really would freak a bit...
post #106 of 252
Hi all,
I am new to composting, I am ordering my first compost tumbler. I was wondering what is "compost tea", and what do you do with it?
post #107 of 252
I haven't tried the keeper yet so this isn't something I'm ready to do for my compost...yet!
post #108 of 252
What a great thread -- we just bought a house with a big yard that produces tons of good stuff to compost, plus I'm putting in kitchen scraps. Our house came with a premade bin that was full of leaves, grass, and scrapwood (duh), so I cleared it out to fill in a couple holes in the yard and threw the scrapwood aside, then started layering. There's a bunch of wood chips that were on an old dog run that have been composting by themselves for probably 5 years, they're almost soil, so I'm using that as a brown layer. That stuff had some worms in it, hopefully the right kind. I've also been throwing in weeds, so we'll see if some of my newbie attempts work out.

My question is, what happens if a few no-no things sneak in? Like, for example, dog poop? I threw some on our initial heap and then immediately realized I shouldn't have, but I don't know know that I got it all out of the pile. I did get most of it out, but you know how dog poop is -- breaks into little pieces when it's dry. The thing is, we want to use this compost for vegetable gardening, so would a few odd bad things spoil the whole bin?

Sorry if this was covered elsewhere in the thread. I read through but might have missed it.
post #109 of 252
anyone ever heard of like a community compost pile??? everyone brings their compost to one place? i live in a condo so i can't have a compost pile but i cringe every time i throw away fruit/veg peels or egg shells or coffee grounds...ugh...anyone with a yard/compost pile interested in taking some free compost?
post #110 of 252
I love this thread. Lately I've noticed that I have crickets in my bin. Should I be concerned? Do I need to do something to get rid of them? I see them when I aerate my compost and just figured they were helping the process...now, after reading here, I wonder if I should be doing something to get rid of them.
post #111 of 252
I'm wondering the same thing -- I have gnats and a certain kind of spider that are all over the yard in the dirt. I don't know how I'd get rid of either, because they're both just everywhere right now, and my bin is wood-slatted, so open air. Hmm. I do keep all the food scraps covered, but sometimes one sneaks to the top.
post #112 of 252
Okay, I need help.

I had vaguely noble ambitions to compost food waste, so maybe eight months ago I bought a huge rectangular plastic container with a lid--the sort that goes in a cupboard filled with children's toys. I started throwing food waste and chicken manure (fresh!) into it. We don't mow our own lawn or have any trees on the property, so I haven't been able to add grass clippings; apart from a few trimmings and things from my veggie garden, like rhubarb leaves, it's just been the kitchen waste and chicken manure. Unfortunately, I didn't realise that meat was a no-no; so there must be a fair few post-chicken-stock carcasses in there, as well as a small dead birdie my husband threw in (much to my horror).

As a result, not surprisingly, I have created a monster. The stuff STINKS, and not in a good wholesome earthy way. Every time I lift the lid to add more stuff I get enveloped by the stench and a cloud of small flying beasties. There's soggy, filthy water at the bottom--curious, because the lid always stays on, so I don't see how rain could get in. It has certainly decomposed, because otherwise it would have been full long ago--but there's nothing in that bin which can remotely be given the title of compost.

So... is there anything I can do? Can I fix it? And if not, how do I get rid of it??? I was planning, before this spring's planting, to dig a huge hole in my raised bed and tip the whole mess in, to do what it would. But when the time came I couldn't lift the thing alone, and before DH got around to helping or I bought a shovel I got bored, filled in the hole and planted my crop. So I don't have any spare space in which to dump the stuff. Help! For the record, we're on a rental property so our options are limited; I can't just build a vermiculture operation in a corner of the yard, or dig up half the lawn, or anything drastic like that.
post #113 of 252
OH sweetie! I'm no expert, but I'd say you should get rid of it, read this thread, and start anew. Maybe take it to the dump?
post #114 of 252
Well, you know you have to get rid of it. I think your idea of digging a hole as deep as possible is a good idea. How far away is the bin from the garden? Could you shovel it there, or shovel it in a 5-gallon bucket and haul it to the hole?

The liquid on the bottom is not rain water, it's just normal rotting water funk that comes from everything. make sure you're nose and mouth are well covered (hankerchiefs, etc) or else the gag reflex will be a big problem for this process.

You have to have browns in there. You can't just *not* have any. I don't have trees for leaves or grass to mow, so I take other peoples. No, seriously. Whenever I see yardwaste (cut grass or leaves) that is already bagged up on someone's curb, and pull over and toss the bag in the trunk. You're right about the meat, that goes for dairy also. That's some serious funk, I'm sure!

I'd go for shoveling it.

Good luck!
post #115 of 252
Ack. I was afraid of that... sorta hoping someone would say 'No, if you add some grass clippings from now on it'll be okay'. No such luck! The problem is, my garden's all planted now, so I don't have any spare space in which to dig a hole. Maybe I'll leave it there to fester all summer until I can clear a post-harvest space in my raised bed, big enough to bury it!

If I did bury it, would it do anything, bad or good, for the quality of my soil? It wouldn't cause all the plants planted above it to shrivel and die... right?
post #116 of 252
oh my goodness. i can only imagien how that thing smells. yech.

first of all...STOP ADDING TO IT!!! :

and yea, you gotta have the browns in there or it just won't work. egg cartons and empty TP/paper towel rolls are also browns! and you can go around the neighborhood coollecting leaves if you have to.

i say bury it.
post #117 of 252
Ooh, ooh! I have those! I have egg cartons and toilet paper rolls! If I added those, was sure to add no more meat (there isn't that much in there, we don't eat a lot of meat), and begged the landlord's grass clippings after I mow the lawn... is there any possibility I could still salvage it?
post #118 of 252
Well anything organic (by that I mean biological not just organically grown) will compost eventually. It's just that meat, dairy and fat will really stink before they are finished. After all, composting is just a nice way of saying rotting. When you add that to a closed more or less air tight container (You didn't say you poked holes in your bin) it's going to be an awful stink.

There are 2 types of compost action, aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic decomposition needs oxygen and is the type of action we usually want in our compost. Anaerobic decomposition will still yield compost in the end but it gets really stinky as the type of bacteria that thrive without oxygen tend to produce a lot of stinky byproducts.

If you do want to go to the trouble of trying to salvage it, I would try to get hold of a lot of leaves, newspaper, cardboard and any other brown matter you can get your hands on. Try to get about twice the volume of the stuff you have in your bin already. Then you are going to need a container with some holes in it for drainage and air circulation.

Then you are going to layer your stinky stuff and your brown matter like your making lasagna. It's better if anything you put in your compost is in as small a pieces as possible so shred the paper and leaves if you can. For sure crumple the paper if you can't shred it or it will form a solid chunk and prevent air circulation.

Composted meat won't kill your plants it's even good for them. After all we put blood and bone meal and fish emulsion in our gardens. But it can get really stinky in a home composter and it can also attract animals so that's why it's not recommenced.

So it's possible to salvage your stinky compost but it will take a lot of work and you will probably need a diferent container. The key is getting lot's of brown matter and lot's of air into it.
post #119 of 252
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
...and begged the landlord's grass clippings after I mow the lawn... is there any possibility I could still salvage it?
Let the grass clippings be (those are the best for your lawn)... those are GREENS... you need BROWNS (leaves, shredded newspaper, egg cartons, etc.). It's a great time of year to nab bagged curbed leaves
post #120 of 252
Originally Posted by root*children View Post
You have to have browns in there. You can't just *not* have any. I don't have trees for leaves or grass to mow, so I take other peoples. No, seriously. Whenever I see yardwaste (cut grass or leaves) that is already bagged up on someone's curb, and pull over and toss the bag in the trunk.
I'm glad to know other people do this too. I live in on a military installation in a newly built housing area so I've been taking bagged leaves from the older housing areas. I swear the neighbors think I'm loopy. When I tell them it's for my compost bin, they are genuinely interested but it's always interesting if I'm caught snatching a bag of leaves or grass.
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