I"ll take a stab at it -I am planning to start vermicomposting very soon (I'm currently reading Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Applehoff). Should I have a "regular" non-worm compost pile going as well?
Depends how much waste you are talking about. We have leaves, tons of food waste, etc, that would just overwhelm a worm bin. If you only have a bit of food waste and nothing else, then just a worm bin will be fine, but I'll suspect most of us on this board at least have leaves and a good amount of food, and need a regular size bin as well.-I pulled a bunch of weeds today, and after reading this thread, I'm happy to see that I can put them to good use in compost. Can I just keep them in the plastic bags that I put them in when we were pulling them out? Do they need air? How long should it take for them to get hot enough? I'm in southern california, so it's already fairly warm here (it's been in the 80's, but will get cooler again before it gets really hot). Also, will the weeds count as brown or green matter?
You can't put plastic bags in your compost pile. YOu need to just add them in with everything else. They are greens.-This might be a dumb question, but with the pallet-method, how is the compost going to come out? Is one pallet like a door? Sorry if I'm missing something here. I'm having a hard time visualizing it.
One side is the door. You can do it on hinges, or be cheap like me and and have it connected with wire clothes hangers -I saw something mentioned about eggshells here, but it was never answered. In relation to vermicomopsting, Mary Applehoff recommends them, and she crushes hers with a rolling pin before adding it to the mix. What are some thoughts here on eggshells?
That's true for everything - making it into smaller bits will help it compost faster. But I don't find it necessary to actually crumble the egg shells, these just crunch up naturally in the kitchen bucket with all the other compost.-Straw counts as brown matter, correct? Where would I find straw? We don't have a ton of leaves here, so I need alternatives. I actually found a bunch today while weeding, but they ended up with the weeds eventually. So, I will get to use those, down the line
Yes, straw is a brown. Our feed n' seed sells bales for $4.50 each. Leaves are very easy to get though - usually folks just bag them up and set them on the curb, and I grab them up!-My friend talked to me today about her compost pile. She is doing the hole in the ground method, with pebbles at the bottom. Does anyone have a clue what the pebbles are for? Also, wouldn't there be safety issues with a hole in the ground? Am I missing something?
I have no idea what pebbles would be for ... sounds more like she's building a root cellar! I've never heard of digging a hole for compost, but there are lots of potential problems I see. One is that you are going to have to disturb a large amount of dirt to get a big enough hole. But then when everything has fully composted, it's a very small amount, so you'd have to get way deep in the hole to get all the compost out.*If I make the shipping pallet bin, do I need to stir it, or do the holes provide enough air circulation?
Stirring is optional in any compost. The variable is how fast you want it to decompose. Stirring it speeds up the process by months!*If I do need to stir it, how exactly do I go about that?
I stir by either getting at it from the top, or a more serious stir by popping the door off and stirring from the side (inevitably some falls out, but I just scoop it back in before replacing the door). I also stir a bit everytime I add ingredients.*I have a TON of dead leaves we just raked up from last fall. I want to make compost as fast as possible. So I know I need to shred them - can I just do this with a lawn mower? I can probably borrow a mower from a neighbor (we just have a reel mower).
I believe that's the best way to shred them is with a lawn mower. You'll be amazed at how little there really is!*I read somewhere that with lots of leaves you will want a nitrogen source so they decompose faster. Would urine be a good nitrogen source? I have a DH and a baby (EC'd) who could both contribute urine
Yes, urine is fine for compost - we've known homesteaders who had their homemade toilet drain through the wall and down into the compost. Manure is also great and will probably pack a bigger punch nitrogen wise *With all that brown material (dead leaves) and just whatever kitchen stuff we generate starting now, will I need to find more "green" material? And if so what?
I've not found a need for it, you generally want alot more browns than greens. If you need more, just ask at your natural food store next time you're there - they usually have buckets of waste from teh produce department.
*Any chance I will have compost in time to use it in my vegetable garden this year?
You can if you stir at least once a week. We often put compost in our garden that's not fully composted, and it works fine!*Can/should I just put some wire fencing directly on the ground und bn er the pallets, or should it be up off the ground?
For what purpose? I use hardware cloth (like very small-holed chicken wire), and nail it to the bottom of the bins - going about 1' above ground level, and the rest underground - we do it for mice.*With a regular compost heap, would there be any reason to ALSO do worm composting? I just always thought that worm composting was really cool but does it serve any purpose that normal compost won't?
I don't know much about vermicomposting, and have wondered that myself. It seems that vermicomposting will break down things very quickly, and you'll be able to add them to your garden much quicker - also the worm compost packs a nutrient-filled punch