Need ideas - compost / DIY related

Kusanar

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 30, 2014
3,128
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Roanoke area, Va.
Ok, so, I have horses, they are going to be fed hay all winter in a run in shed which = lots of horse manure all in one place. Over the summer they have been wandering almost 10 acres so no need to clean any of it up but I will need to clean some this winter to keep them from getting their shed super gross.

My thought is to make compost bins from landscape fabric, essentially just a 3-4 foot across circle that is open on both ends so it is sitting on the dirt and open on top to be filled, and just put them near the fence in that area, let them sit and compost down until around this time next year (which should give the freshest manure around 9 months and the oldest around 12 months composting time) then take it down to the gardens and till it in in the fall to make room for next year's crop of manure.

I have researched humanure and those compost piles are not turned and are fully broken down after 1 year, so I do not believe that turning will be NEEDED since I am willing to let them sit in place for a year. Horse manure without bedding added is also pretty firmly in the ideal C/N range so I don't think it will need to be mixed with anything, there will likely be some stray hay gathered as well but not much as they are eating from a hay net.

The issue I am trying to wrap my head around is that I believe these compost bins will need to be able to be opened in order to empty them and I am trying to figure out how to secure them closed in such a way that I can open them again later. I do have a sewing machine and am willing to sew them and am thinking about sewing 3-4 channels in each to slip a piece of PVC or a dowel in to help hold the fabric up for filling and then pull back out once the bin is full and will stand on it's own.

Does anyone have any concerns with this idea or ideas on how to close it and open it again later?
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
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I'm not sure landscape cloth would be strong enough...? A big pile of compost will be heavy and push hard against the side.

Here's some thing I do for another purpose that might work. I take regular fencing, the 2x3 coated wire stuff. For a 4' diameter bin, you'd need about 12.5' of fence. Cut the horizontal wires right next to a vertical, so that you have 2" of open wire end. Make the circle of fence (ground for the bottom, open on top) and use those 2" bits to wrap around the other end of the fencing, one 2x3 opening to each wire. You don't have to do every one, but that's the most secure. I use 3-4 posts to help hold the shape and make it stand up. Fence posts would certainly work, but the posts I use I just push into the ground. They don't have to go the whole height of the fence.

When you're ready to open it, untwist the wire ends and open up the circle. The coated fencing will last quite a while.

I envy you your horse manure! I have a big garden, and chicken poop was one of the reasons I got chickens.
 

Kusanar

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 30, 2014
3,128
7,569
426
Roanoke area, Va.
I'm not sure landscape cloth would be strong enough...? A big pile of compost will be heavy and push hard against the side.

Here's some thing I do for another purpose that might work. I take regular fencing, the 2x3 coated wire stuff. For a 4' diameter bin, you'd need about 12.5' of fence. Cut the horizontal wires right next to a vertical, so that you have 2" of open wire end. Make the circle of fence (ground for the bottom, open on top) and use those 2" bits to wrap around the other end of the fencing, one 2x3 opening to each wire. You don't have to do every one, but that's the most secure. I use 3-4 posts to help hold the shape and make it stand up. Fence posts would certainly work, but the posts I use I just push into the ground. They don't have to go the whole height of the fence.

When you're ready to open it, untwist the wire ends and open up the circle. The coated fencing will last quite a while.

I envy you your horse manure! I have a big garden, and chicken poop was one of the reasons I got chickens.
The landscape cloth is to do a mix of these 2 methods as well as I have seen a guy sewing grow bags from landscape fabric.


Amazon Link

I'll look at the wire you suggested.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,331
36,474
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Belding, MI
Oh, I was thinking landscape fabric like weedblock fabric! D'oh! :th :oops:

Sure, if the fabric is strong enough and you have a machine that can handle it, I think your idea of PVC pipes to hold it up would work fine! How about a strip of Velcro to hold it closed? That stuff is very strong.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
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Pallets work well for holding in compost piles. Don’t need to rip them apart, just secure them together like a fence.

I don’t do this now, but as a kid we always put the horse manure on the garden in the fall then planted in the spring. It’s just high in nitrogen so it had time to break down. We didn’t actually compost it at all. Cow poop doesn’t even need to be composted and can be put directly on the garden and planted immediately.
 

Kusanar

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 30, 2014
3,128
7,569
426
Roanoke area, Va.
Oh, I was thinking landscape fabric like weedblock fabric! D'oh! :th :oops:

Sure, if the fabric is strong enough and you have a machine that can handle it, I think your idea of PVC pipes to hold it up would work fine! How about a strip of Velcro to hold it closed? That stuff is very strong.
Apparently the fabric comes in different thicknesses. Good idea on velcro, that should work and it is really strong when pulled across it's self rather than peeled so that should work well!

Pallets work well for holding in compost piles. Don’t need to rip them apart, just secure them together like a fence.

I don’t do this now, but as a kid we always put the horse manure on the garden in the fall then planted in the spring. It’s just high in nitrogen so it had time to break down. We didn’t actually compost it at all. Cow poop doesn’t even need to be composted and can be put directly on the garden and planted immediately.
Yeah, I just kinda want a way to contain the manure up where it is being produced rather than having to deal with moving it a decent distance in the winter when it is cold. I do enough work out in the cold hauling hay to the beasts so they can turn it into manure!

I have thought about pallets, I just don't really have a way to haul them at the moment and I don't want something like that in the field with the boys, I can just see them getting a leg through the boards and tearing themselves up. Landscape fabric bags would probably tear before the horse was hurt.
 

MomJones

Songster
Feb 22, 2019
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South Carolina
Have you considered pallets? You can stand them up and have 2 or 3 sections, oldest to newest that are aging continuously until you're ready to use them.
 

Kusanar

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 30, 2014
3,128
7,569
426
Roanoke area, Va.
Have you considered pallets? You can stand them up and have 2 or 3 sections, oldest to newest that are aging continuously until you're ready to use them.
I have, but I don't want to A) have to take the manure a long way in the winter so want something near the shed and B) don't want pallets where the horses can climb in and on them and hurt themselves.
 

Red-Stars-in-RI

Crowing
7 Years
Mar 24, 2014
1,320
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Rhode Island
I’m pretty sure that straight horse manure is NOT the ideal ratio for composting. Way too much N without enough C.

The good news is it sounds like you have some waste bedding and hay available, which are ideal additions to even the pile out.
 

Kusanar

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 30, 2014
3,128
7,569
426
Roanoke area, Va.
I’m pretty sure that straight horse manure is NOT the ideal ratio for composting. Way too much N without enough C.

The good news is it sounds like you have some waste bedding and hay available, which are ideal additions to even the pile out.
I haven't actually tested myself, but, the internet ( .edu sites) states that it is ideal by it's self.

This Link
" 1) A carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio between 15:1 and 40:1. Horse manure itself has a C:N ratio of 30:1"

This Link
"The ideal C/N ratio for composting is generally considered to be around 30:1, or 30 parts carbon for each part nitrogen by weight."

I only have them in a run in shed with a dirt floor and minimal hay wasted due to small hole hay net. I COULD add some sawdust from my cat litter boxes, but that would be urine soaked so not sure what it's C:N ratio would be and what it would do to the general ratio.
 

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