Composting questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Agilityscots, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    I am *finally* composting in a large rubbermaid plastic trash can wtih air holes drilled into sides and lid (makes a tumbler). I have a good mix of chicken litter, vegetable scraps and dog hair.

    Questions:

    1. Do I have to continue to add water to it? I added water the first day I set it up, a couple weeks ago, and the pile is starting to heat and shrink significantly...but am not sure if I need to wet it down again.

    2. Is tumbling it on its side enough, or do I need to toss it like a large salad? I've been tumbling it every few days...is that enough?

    3. Okay, this is a totally dumb one, but I have to ask: are mold and a ton of bugs/flies normal? It doesn't stink, other than having a very earthy smell.

    Amy
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  2. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Quote:Only if it's really dried out. It's suppose to be as "wet as a wrung out sponge" Basicly moist to the touch not sopping wet.

    Quote:Toss is like a salad only if it starts to clump up. Otherwise it should be fine

    Quote:yup all kinds of bugs, they help with the break down. If it IS stinking then you have a problem. Earthy smell is what you want
     
  3. Bubba

    Bubba Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2007
    Coyote is right on.

    The point of tumbling/mixing it is to add oxygen to it.
    It should be warm if not HOT to the touch if its working right.

    Bubba
     
  4. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Okay, good--I guess I'm fumbling along in the right direction!

    I did notice after a couple weeks it's started to shrink! The material was almost up to the top of the can, and now it's lost about 1/4-1/3 of its bulk! It also looks moist still (not that I'm sticking my hand in it!) and can also feel heat rising from it when I open the lid.

    Can I continue to add material to it? Or do I need to start another one?

    Amy
     
  5. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Let this one keep cooking and start another one, if you want some compost soon. If you add new stuff to the stuff that is already cooking it will slow down the process.
     
  6. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    Am I doing it wrong by having just a big pile in the woods instead of a compost bin? I toss it and water it. I would need a HUGE compost bin for all the compoat I have. Everything seems to be composting properly.
     
  7. karri25

    karri25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2007
    Arkansas
    Composting is whatever you want it to be. You can have a big throw pile that you turn every once in a while or a perfect little compost bin that will be ready in a month. It's really a personal preferance. I'm a laid back composter but I also do lasagna gardens so I don't need my stuff fully composted. It's just so much easier for me now that I spend so much tim ein a chicken coop:)

    Agilityscots-sounds like your compost is doing great!
    *I had to edit your name-I accidentally put Agilitysocks (blushing)*
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2007
  8. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    Well, I guess mine is fine then. I don't need any compost until next spring so I'll keep up with my pile in the woods.
     
  9. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    I was hoping to get compost for this fall, when I till the area that will be my garden patch for next spring. Do you think I'll be able to use it this fall if I continue to add to it every couple days now? I wish we could have built one of those giant ones from pallets, but we would have had to place it too far from the house for it to be convenient.

    And Karri25, I think Agilitysocks is kind of cute! [​IMG]

    Amy
     
  10. den10hens

    den10hens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    I think compost will do itself pretty much, people just try to make it faster or more uniform. My Dad swears by the "pile in the woods" method. [​IMG]

    I used to have a huge wood and wire 3 compartment compost bin that my DH and I built form plans in a "composting"book. It was nice, but a lot of work to pitchfork in and out of the 3 compartments.

    This is my small scale set up now:
    2 upsidedown, bottomless utility sinks; big new stuff goes in here. When one is full I pick it up, all the pile stays in place because it is molded to the sink shape. I pitchfork it into the second one. When the second one is full, I repeat that process, the stuff that has been in the second one goes into the garbage can, (also bottomless and upside down) layered with pine shavings/hay and chicken poo from the coop. It starts to cook right away. Rain keeps it moist, or I'll water it if it is dry, bottomless allows water out and worms in. I love it!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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