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#121 of 252 Old 10-01-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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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.
HA! you should have seen the looks on people's faces when i brought home a giant bag of watermelon rinds from dd's school carnival last year. "it's for my worm composter" sure got a lot of funny looks and questions. lots of my friends compost, though, so i'm not the only mom who is carting apple cores home from the picnic!
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#122 of 252 Old 10-01-2007, 05:26 PM
 
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HA! you should have seen the looks on people's faces when i brought home a giant bag of watermelon rinds from dd's school carnival last year. "it's for my worm composter" sure got a lot of funny looks and questions. lots of my friends compost, though, so i'm not the only mom who is carting apple cores home from the picnic!
I've carted stuff from picnics as well. Our new favorite is collecting cans and other recyclables while we attend functions. It's getting to the point where I, and the kids, can't stand to see others throw things away that can be recycled or composted. I guess others could see it as borderline OCD in a way.
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#123 of 252 Old 10-01-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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Okay, I'm going to give it a go. The salvaging, I mean. Because I'm stubborn... and don't have anywhere to bury it! But this is one of those (many!) occasions in which my delicate condition will require the help of my husband... I can foresee it. I do have scads of newspaper, and a surprising quantity of egg cartons. Leaves will be trickier--it's spring here, not autumn!

If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.

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#124 of 252 Old 10-02-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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Okay, I'm going to give it a go. The salvaging, I mean. Because I'm stubborn... and don't have anywhere to bury it! But this is one of those (many!) occasions in which my delicate condition will require the help of my husband... I can foresee it. I do have scads of newspaper, and a surprising quantity of egg cartons. Leaves will be trickier--it's spring here, not autumn!

be sure to SHRED the newspaper. if not, it takes forever to decompose and it gets really soggy and gross. shredded, it goes really really fast.
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#125 of 252 Old 10-04-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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Okay; I watched three episodes of M*A*S*H* today while shredding newspaper. My fingers were black, but I got a decent pile! And I cut up a few egg cartons and a toilet roll inner to go in as well. I'm rather glad to find something to do with old newspaper; I never get around to recycling it, so I have masses in my garage. I poked the browns under the squelchy mass as best I could, and left the lid ajar (awaiting DH's expertise in poking holes in the top). I'd forgotten just how vile that stuff smelled... something like a public lavatory crossed with a garbage dump. Real pretty.

Here's hoping!

If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.

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#126 of 252 Old 10-04-2007, 07:47 PM
 
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I'm not sure how well pushing the newspaper down into the bin is going to work. I really need to be dumped out of the bin and retuned a layer at a time so that air can get mixed into it as you go. You will also need holes in the sides and bottom as well as the top to get air moving through it.

Like I said before, it's possible to salvage it but it will be a lot of work.

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#127 of 252 Old 10-24-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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Can I use magazines? I didn't find this addressed. I hope I don't sound too stupid asking this. I just have a butt ton of old magazines right now that I need to do something with and I thought that it would be nice to do something productive with them besides having the kids cut them into a million and one shreds.
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#128 of 252 Old 10-24-2007, 04:50 PM
 
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No, don't use magazines. You don't want the glossy finish stuff or all the colored inks in there. Usually libraries have magazine drop-offs, so they can be enjoyed again

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#129 of 252 Old 10-24-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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That was what I was guessing, but wanted to be sure in case I could use it. Darn.
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#130 of 252 Old 01-13-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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Ok, I read all the posts and I'm feeling overwealmed! The hardware store sells one kind of bin and it's 75 dollars. I'd like to make one, but I don't want mice. We just got the mice under control (cat) and I don't want to lure them back. So, what can I make with no skills and few tools that won't let mice in???
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#131 of 252 Old 01-13-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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Can dryer lint & hair go in a compost bin? I know someone that puts their lint & hair in their compost. I had never heard of that before and I'm curious to know if others do this.
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#132 of 252 Old 01-13-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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Hair can go in, but dryer lint should only go in if you have natural fibers in the load (cotton, linen, hemp, etc... not polyester )

Flor - we just moved to a new house, so I get to rebuild our compost bin (out of wooden pallets) and try to get it going without the mice (that was a problem in our last one). Anyhow, a friend gave me these tips:
1) get a cat that's a good mouser (sounds like you've already got that under control)
2) get the compost area out in the open (not next to woods or any good hiding place for mice)
3) use hardware cloth. I just bought a big roll of it from Lowe's for about $10-$15. I'm going to staple it to the bin along the bottom, so that it goes up the bin a about a foot, and under it about ... hmm... I think it's supposed to be 6"? There's a certain depth that mice won't dig under. I'll have to google it. Then I'll dig down so the cloth (it's actually like very small holed chicken wire) can be underground.

The friend that shared these with me lives very rurally and has absolutely no problems with rodents for 10 years now, except the occasional squirrel that sneaks in to get a bite

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#133 of 252 Old 01-14-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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Hair can go in, but dryer lint should only go in if you have natural fibers in the load (cotton, linen, hemp, etc... not polyester )

Flor - we just moved to a new house, so I get to rebuild our compost bin (out of wooden pallets) and try to get it going without the mice (that was a problem in our last one). Anyhow, a friend gave me these tips:
1) get a cat that's a good mouser (sounds like you've already got that under control)
2) get the compost area out in the open (not next to woods or any good hiding place for mice)
3) use hardware cloth. I just bought a big roll of it from Lowe's for about $10-$15. I'm going to staple it to the bin along the bottom, so that it goes up the bin a about a foot, and under it about ... hmm... I think it's supposed to be 6"? There's a certain depth that mice won't dig under. I'll have to google it. Then I'll dig down so the cloth (it's actually like very small holed chicken wire) can be underground.

The friend that shared these with me lives very rurally and has absolutely no problems with rodents for 10 years now, except the occasional squirrel that sneaks in to get a bite

This looks like the direction we'll be taking. But, aren't pallets pretty open? What will stop the mice from crawling up 1 foot? I've seen a rat climb up about 15 feet on the side of a stucco house!
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#134 of 252 Old 01-14-2008, 12:53 AM
 
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They could crawl up, but at the risk of being very exposed (that's why it would also be out in the open). Our problem with mice was that they were burrowing under, stashing food there, etc. I guess I just wouldn't worry too much about the occasional mousey who scales the pallets to get a potato peeling

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#135 of 252 Old 02-26-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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Can I drill holes in a plastic garbage can with a lid to compost in? I'm limited on funds and only have a patio (no yard). I'm gardening in containers, but would like to compost also.
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#136 of 252 Old 03-09-2008, 01:37 AM
 
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You'd think after reading through seven pages, I'd have this figured out by now. Not so! Here are my questions:

-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?

-On that same note, Mary Applehoff says to use small amounts of meat, bone meal, dairy, etc. Any thoughts on that? Is it different with worms?

-I read somewhere in this thread that worms are not recommended. Was that just in relation to a regular compost pile? They seem like a pretty wonderful idea to me!

-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?

-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.

-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?

-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.

-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 think that's it for now...

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#137 of 252 Old 03-09-2008, 11:58 PM
 
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Ok I am wanting to start my compost bin ASAP. I read through this thread and am still confused about some things. Sorry if I missed the answers to these. So in addition to waiting for answers to a few of the questions asked by the PP, I am wondering:

*If I make the shipping pallet bin, do I need to stir it, or do the holes provide enough air circulation?

*If I do need to stir it, how exactly do I go about that?

*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 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. :

*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?

*Any chance I will have compost in time to use it in my vegetable garden this year?

*Can/should I just put some wire fencing directly on the ground under the pallets, or should it be up off the ground?

*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?

Wow sorry for all the questions! Any help is greatly appreciated!

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#138 of 252 Old 03-16-2008, 04:29 AM
 
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I'll come back and try to answer some of these last two posts questions. Can anyone else help these ladies with some of there questions?

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#139 of 252 Old 03-16-2008, 11:27 AM
 
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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

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#140 of 252 Old 03-17-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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Wow, thanks for taking the time to answer all those questions! We ended up just putting up some old chainlink with metal fenceposts we had laying around and now we have a whole bunch of dead leaves and grass from our yard in there and I have also been putting in all the food waste we've generated the past week.

Another thing I'm a little confused about...can I keep adding stuff, and then as I stir it just take out some of the stuff that's "done" to use in the garden, or would that not work? Because I've read in a couple places that you want to start a new compost pile if you have more to add. But what about the waste that you constantly generate?

Thanks!

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#141 of 252 Old 03-17-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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We have 2 composts, right next to eachother. We only fill one each year, then at the same time each year (spring for us), we start using the other bin. When the year is up, you should have completely finished compost in one bin, and empty it to your garden, then start filling up that bin again, while the other one composts.

We've also done fine with only 1 bin, you just have to be okay with getting some not quite composted stuff in your gardens every so often

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#142 of 252 Old 03-17-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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Julie, thank you so much for answering all of my questions!

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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'm definitely going to be doing both! We have a ton of food waste (not because we throw good stuff away, but we eat tons of fruits and veggies, so we have lots of peels, skins, etc. to toss, along with tons of eggshells).


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-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.
Hm, okay. I know that I can't put the plastic bags in. From what I understood in other posts about composting with weeds, the weeds had to be totally dead before they went in the pile, so I was talking about letting them die in the bags before adding them in. But, you're saying to just throw the weeds in right away, right? I don't want any more weeds growing out of my compost pile, so that's my big concern!



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-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!
I decided to put a post on Freecycle that I'm looking for leaves and grass clippings. I'm going out today to pick up about twenty bags of leaves! I forgot that we have a feed store nearby too, so I could always get straw there if I needed to.

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-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.
Good to know. BTW, what's a root cellar?

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#143 of 252 Old 03-17-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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We ended up just putting up some old chainlink with metal fenceposts we had laying around and now we have a whole bunch of dead leaves and grass from our yard in there and I have also been putting in all the food waste we've generated the past week.
Ooh, interesting idea Mel. We have plenty of old materials lying around the yard to do something like that...

I'm also wondering if I can just make a pile on the ground. Actually, it would be on cardboard, since it's weed city where I'm going to be composting. Would that work though, atleast temporarily, until we get a better contraption set up?

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#144 of 252 Old 03-17-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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Hm, okay. I know that I can't put the plastic bags in. From what I understood in other posts about composting with weeds, the weeds had to be totally dead before they went in the pile, so I was talking about letting them die in the bags before adding them in. But, you're saying to just throw the weeds in right away, right? I don't want any more weeds growing out of my compost pile, so that's my big concern!

No, this will be fine if your pile is getting hot enough. If for some reason you see a weed growing out of the edge of the pile (where it's cooler), then just make sure to pluck it before it flowers/seeds.



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Good to know. BTW, what's a root cellar?
It's long-term storage for veggies & fruits, usually for roots (carrots, taters, etc.). In the old days, they dug pits in the ground for this, and sometimes still do.

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#145 of 252 Old 03-17-2008, 08:24 PM
 
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Ooh, interesting idea Mel. We have plenty of old materials lying around the yard to do something like that...

I'm also wondering if I can just make a pile on the ground. Actually, it would be on cardboard, since it's weed city where I'm going to be composting. Would that work though, atleast temporarily, until we get a better contraption set up?
Yes you can just make a pile on the ground. Any bin that you make will keep the pile contained and help keep animals from spreading the compost around but they are not strictly nessisary. I would skip the cardboard. The pile itself will be enough to smother any weeds once it gets big enough and the cardboard might interfear with rain water draining properly. YOu want your pile damp but not too wet. It's a good idea to keep it in contact with the ground for that reason.

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#146 of 252 Old 03-19-2008, 12:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiannon Feimorgan View Post
Yes you can just make a pile on the ground. Any bin that you make will keep the pile contained and help keep animals from spreading the compost around but they are not strictly nessisary. I would skip the cardboard. The pile itself will be enough to smother any weeds once it gets big enough and the cardboard might interfear with rain water draining properly. YOu want your pile damp but not too wet. It's a good idea to keep it in contact with the ground for that reason.
well, until i have some sort of containment contraption, i now officially have an unresticted pile on the ground! i put some tywigs on the ground, dumped my food waste over it, and a bunch of leaves over that. i'm so excited to officially be composting!

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#147 of 252 Old 04-03-2008, 01:26 AM
 
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I've been composting for about a week! Can I compost:

eggs (I think of these as meat)?
eggshells (do I need to wash them)?
rice, oatmeal, pasta (plain, no oils)?
bread?
things with sugar on them (like oatmeal with honey, or peaches in syrup)?



Any place with a list of things not to throw in? I have a book but it just talks about greens and browns without no's and yes's.
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#148 of 252 Old 04-03-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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Congratulations Rikki Jean & Flor! Flor, you can use all of that except the eggs. The shells are great for the compost and don't need to be washed, but not the actual egg.
I find that it's better to have a list of what *not* to use in compost, since nearly everything can go in:
don't put these in a common compost pile:
dairy, meat, poop of non-vegetarian animals (dog, cat, tiger, etc ), thick sticks, branches, things with lots of pesticides (other people's grass clippings, etc.), large pits (avocados, mangoes).

Now, of course, some of things actually could go in a compost pile, well all of them really, but most will take a LONG time to compost, and the dog poo would need a VERY hot pile (hotter than normal) to kill the bad stuff.

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#149 of 252 Old 04-03-2008, 03:21 PM
 
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Thanks for the help. I have been putting pits in-- they aren't harmful, right, they just won't break down?

and I notice you didn't say "oils," I told dh no oils (but maybe I meant butter) but he asked why he could put avocado and coffee grounds in but not pasta with olive oil. Which I couldn't answer.
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#150 of 252 Old 04-03-2008, 03:52 PM
 
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163 things you can compost

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