Composting...

laneaj

Crowing
May 24, 2021
929
2,974
306
Clarksville Tennessee
I'm new to composting and read so much and just thought I'd ask...

how do yall do your composting?

I've read to do separate batches so you have them at different stages.
I've read about "hot" composting.

I currently have residuals from garden that I've stirred and mixed in composting (eggs, banana peels, coffee grounds, chicken poop, etc.) Do I need to do it separately or can I stir and use this.come spring in 3 months?
 

SpicyDisaster

Songster
May 30, 2021
157
542
156
Eastern WA
I've about given up on standard composting and fallen in love with vermicomposting (worm bin). We did a compost pile and compost tumblers but they took almost a year to compost down to usable dirt which was frustrating.

Your climate will impact your composting timing and process. When we lived in a humid climate I was constantly adding extra dry to the pile to keep it from being a soggy mess. Now that we live in an arid climate, we have to regularly moisten and turn the pile or it will dry out.

Hence the worm bins 🤣 We got 500 worms from Uncle Jim's and they go through about a pound of kitchen scraps a week. Super simple, just take the scraps and blend them to be smaller then dump in the worm bin. By the next weekend if they haven't finished I cut down the amount and if they have I increase it. Gonna be adding a third bin soon to increase the yield. And the bins actually smell good, like fresh dirt.

As for if you can use what you have come spring, that depends on how it all looks. If it looks broken down and smells like a pile of dirt then you can use it. If not, then you will need more time.
 

Percheron chick

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 12, 2013
4,744
3,431
391
Hudson, Colorado
I would stop adding new material to the first pile. Continue to flip and water it. Covering it with black plastic will help keep the pile warm and speed up decomposition. Start a second bin, preferably where the chickens can access it so they can eat the tasty bits and stir it up. Turn and water when it becomes too dry. I would use the first bin on next year's garden. Even if it's not totally broken down, use it. It will add valuable nutrients and texture to the soil. As it continues to break down it will just refresh the soil over the growing season. If it's super chunky bury the bits or lightly rake them up and throw them on the second pile.
I have built my compost bins out of pallets. Keeps the chickens from spreading it all over the place. The open slats help aerate the pile. Short enough for the girls to get into and allows for simple cohesive expansion when more bins are needed.
Composting isn't an exact science. We all have different organic materials available to use. The important message is to do it. You will figure out how much work you have to put into it over the next growing season. Leaf mold bins are also another valuable addition for your garden.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,221
37,013
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
You're going to get a lot of different advice since everyone sets it up differently.

I use 80-gal(?) plastic bins (the 2 black things on left) for the sake of neatness and to keep pests out. I alternate bins each year, so while one sits and breaks down, the other one is getting filled. For my browns I keep bags of dried leaves in the greenhouse, so I always have a lot on hand.

For large amounts of compost a set up like this wouldn't do, but I don't need THAT much compost each year.

garden21.jpg
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,340
42,087
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Belding, MI
The important message is to do it.
Nike Compost. (Just Do It.)

I have a 3 bin compost pile. One end is the collection bin. This time of year, it's kitchen vegetable scraps and chicken poop. In the summer, it's that plus weeds I pull in the garden.

When the pile is big enough (it'll be in the spring for this pile), I pitchfork it into the middle bin, and water it if necessary. Depending on how energetic I am, 4 days later I'll pitchfork it into the other end bin. Then a couple days later, back to the middle bin. This aerates the pile and mixes it up. Back and forth for about 3 weeks, and by then it is still chunky, but ready enough to use.

The pile needs a certain size/mass to heat up and do its magic. I have a big garden, so I can use all the compost I can make. Summer of 2020 was my first year with chickens, and I had the BEST compost I've ever had, thanks to their nitrogen rich poop.
 

laneaj

Crowing
May 24, 2021
929
2,974
306
Clarksville Tennessee
Nike Compost. (Just Do It.)
Oh I am! I just haven't the slightest what I'm doin!
Composting isn't an exact science. We all have different organic materials available to use. The important message is to do it. You will figure out how much work you have to put into it over the next growing season.
I'm afraid it has to be more to it than what I'm doin...
So yall tell me how you would fix this mess...or if I should keep going as I am:

Currently have a raised garden bed that I plan to move to the other side of the chicken run before spring. It is made up of old pieces of wood, really good fertilized soil and soil. I have been dumping kitchen stuff into it since everything died out. It also has chicken poop and weeds and old plants from summer as well as their dirt. I have stirred it as best I can before it began getting harder with colder temps. It is not covered...should it be? Does it need to be?? Cuz hubby is gonna complain. I was savings cardboard boxes to lay over the top of the raised bed for what I thought was good for composting and he pitched a fit.
So I have stopped throwing stiff in it...but it is still uncovered.
Like I said I do plan to move the entire thing (don't ask me how lol) to the other side of the run just before spring.
I have a 10x20 covered run that has deep litter which will get cleaned out round same time. It has whatever chickens are eating from pumpkins and stuff that will be in it probably as well as leaves, pine shavings, wood chips, etc.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,340
42,087
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Belding, MI
I have a 10x20 covered run that has deep litter which will get cleaned out round same time.
I have been dumping kitchen stuff into it since everything died out. It also has chicken poop and weeds and old plants from summer as well as their dirt. I have stirred it as best I can before it began getting harder with colder temps. It is not covered...should it be?
No, you don't need to cover it.

I would mix the raised bed soil as you move it to its new location. How are you doing that? If it's by the wheelbarrow load, you can mix it pretty easily as you load and dump.

I would use the deep litter clean out stuff as the beginning of your next compost pile. If it's really well composted already, you could mix it with the raised bed soil, but I think it would be better and safer to let it break down and compost for a while.
 

laneaj

Crowing
May 24, 2021
929
2,974
306
Clarksville Tennessee
No, you don't need to cover it.

I would mix the raised bed soil as you move it to its new location. How are you doing that? If it's by the wheelbarrow load, you can mix it pretty easily as you load and dump.

I would use the deep litter clean out stuff as the beginning of your next compost pile. If it's really well composted already, you could mix it with the raised bed soil, but I think it would be better and safer to let it break down and compost for a while.
Yeah!!! Hubs will be ecstatic!
Yeah probably....I is all on top of black paper so I may push, pull and grunt it yo other side LOLOL.
Do I need to stir it between or and then or just let it be?
It's is broken down underneath the top inch or so! Would u use the bottom portion on bottom of new garden or top of the stuff I'll be moving to do new garden?
Thank yall!!!
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,340
42,087
983
Belding, MI
Do I need to stir it between or and then or just let it be?
It's is broken down underneath the top inch or so! Would u use the bottom portion on bottom of new garden or top of the stuff I'll be moving to do new garden?
Put the best stuff about 2-4 inches below the top surface. That's where the roots will grow and get the most nutrients.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,662
18,970
726
USA
I'm new to composting and read so much and just thought I'd ask...

how do yall do your composting?
Here's my preferred way to do composting:

Build a chicken pen
Get chickens
Put all food scraps and compostable things in the chicken pen
Every now and then, shovel some out to put in the garden-- either put it on the surface, or bury it, or rototill it in depending on the style of garden, what you're planning to plant, and how soon you want to plant it

Some things get eaten by the chickens (like the leftover bit of someone's egg & toast, or a tomato that got too squishy), while some other things get scratched around but not eaten (like onion peels and avocado peels and coffee filters).

Yes, of course the chickens should also have proper chicken food available at all times, and also water. They may eat more or less chicken food depending on what they pick out of the "compost," but in my experience they balance their diet well enough to stay healthy. (That could also be affected by what food scraps are provided, which is determined by what the family eats or does not eat. I have no idea how your household scraps compare with the ones I've dealt with.)
 

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