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Soil and Composting: WET compost

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 16, Views: 153
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keepingactive
Thousand Oaks, CA
(Zone 10a)

December 27, 2010
3:40 PM

Post #8279367

I'm new at this compost thing. I have really wet compost, not damp, wet, I put in wet coffee grounds, moist vegetable scraps, shredded paper etc.. I don;'t add water anymore, since it has become so wet. My question is what do I DO TO GET IT DRYer. Should I add more shredded paper, top soil, or bagged compost? Should I remove some of it and spread it around, although it is not quite composted?. It is in a tumbler, and it has become so heavy that I am having difficulty turning the tumbler. I have also added 2000 worms. Thanks,
Sue
jdbell
Flower Mound, TX

December 28, 2010
4:59 AM

Post #8280066

You added worms to a tumbler?? Poor worms..

I'd add leaves or other clippings to help with the moisture issue...

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 28, 2010
6:56 AM

Post #8280227

Were they composting worms, or earthworms?

If they are composting worms, I would dump the tumbler's contents into a pile and let the worms do their "thing."

If they are regular earthworms, I would spread the tumbler's contents out into a bed and let them escape.

http://www.ehow.com/facts_6155410_difference-red-worm-red-wiggler.html
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

December 28, 2010
8:22 AM

Post #8280386

A compost pile can heat up to 160 degrees. If your tumbler has the right proportions of carbon and nitrogen, and oxygen from turning regularly, and it reaches this highly desireable temperature, it will kill the worms. Worms are for vermicomposting which is a different system. I too would dump out your tumbler and let the worms do the work. Start over in the tumbler. I'm just feeling sorry for those worms. Or else I would just stop the turning and let the worms do the work in there.
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

December 28, 2010
8:27 AM

Post #8280394

Read about the Indore Composting System by Sir Albert Howard. He describes how to achieve finished compost in 14 days. If I knew how to link it I would.
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 28, 2010
8:50 AM

Post #8280427

http://www.daenvis.org/technology/Indore.htm is a quick one I found.
keepingactive
Thousand Oaks, CA
(Zone 10a)

December 28, 2010
11:58 AM

Post #8280708

Thank you everyone!
I started this composter at least 6 months ago, and have yet to get anything hot. I think I am not doing the greens and browns thing correctly. I will start over and pay more attention to what I am doing.

I purchased the 2000 Red Wigglers from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm, whose ad assured me these little beauties would eat everything in site. Since my composting was not composting, I thought the worms would speed up the process,. I did not think the worms would be injured in the tumbling of the tumbler my bad. I didn't think it through.

I have removed all the wet stuff from the tumbler' it is in a wheelbarrow and will be put in the garage until the rain is over, then I will put it on the back hill, so the worms can do their thing. Since the pile has some un-composted stuff (egg shells, veggies, etc) I am concerned with the raccoons, rats and squirrels finding a place to feed. Should I bury the wet stuff?

Thanks for the info on the Indore Composting system. I have to admit, it is much too complex and way beyond my capabilities. I live in a tract home in CA and just wanted to try to improve both the environment and my yard since losing my job and having to retire earlier than I wanted, or could actually afford. My golden years have turned into brass. LOL
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

December 28, 2010
12:17 PM

Post #8280748

Keeping, there are many sites about the Indore method. Gathering and layering the right materials is the hard part. If that is done than the regular turning you can accomplish easily with a tumbler is all that you have to do. Using a thermometer, once the pile reaches 160 degrees, rotate it. Keep checking temp and rotating when it reaches 160. That's all. To me the gathering and holding raw materials until I have enough and the right ratio, has been the hard part. In other words you would have a nitrogen (green bin) and a carbon (brown) bin. Once they're all gathered they go in the tumbler in the proper ratio. An adequate quantity is required too. 4x4x4 is said to be a good compost pile size. That's 64 cubic feet.
If you fill your tumbler over time with whatever becomes available it isn't a hot compost system, which is what the Idore method is. It seems like a great environment for worms though-minus the tumbling LOL
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

December 28, 2010
10:22 PM

Post #8281471

I spot compost and maybe you should try that. Just dig a hole anywhere in your gardening area, bury your scraps and the worms will come and do your work for you. Later, Sharon.
Azalea
Jonesboro, GA
(Zone 7b)

December 28, 2010
10:30 PM

Post #8281473

I wouldn't worry too much about the worms, unless it gets too hot in the tumbler, or they drown if they are too wet. I have a tumbler and dumped about a pint of worms in it several years ago. They have multipied and I find large clumps of them when I take out compost. My tumbler is not in full sun tho so it probably doesn't get too hot for them. I find may thousands of babies every year, I never completely empty my tumbler, it is a twin, so use one side then the other.
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

December 29, 2010
6:45 AM

Post #8281663

I have a rosy image of spot composting. I envision the soil creatures doing the happy dance with each new deposit of food for them. They never know where the next one will be, just that these wonderful storehouses of food keep showing up. "Over here guys-look at this-woo hoo" They are so happy and have lots of babies and live a life of plenty.
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

December 29, 2010
10:42 PM

Post #8283054

Patti, your post make me break into a great big smile. Thank you. Sharon
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

December 30, 2010
7:09 AM

Post #8283292

So glad you can relate Sharon. If we, in our small way, can provide a life of plenty for anyone or anything in any way, isn't that a great thing?
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

December 30, 2010
9:46 PM

Post #8284428

YES...Happy New Year.
keepingactive
Thousand Oaks, CA
(Zone 10a)

December 30, 2010
10:11 PM

Post #8284459

Okay, I have, as Patti47 so excellently described, spot composted the contents of the tumbler, and am awaiting my lovely worms to start doing the happy dance. Luckily with our recent rains, the holes were not hard to dig. I am starting fresh with my tumbler. By Golly, I will get this right and no worms (or other creatures) will be harmed. I have moved the tumbler to a location that will get more sunshine. The tumbler will be worm-less.

Thank you Patti47 for the laugh. I do hope they do the happy dance, and not start picketing.
sue
Garden_Sass
Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 1, 2011
7:11 AM

Post #8286287

A wet mess in the tumbler - just add dry material, spent straw, shredded leaves, cut up stem trimmings to absorb the excess moisture and add structure. If you container is overly full and hard to turn you can muck it out and "rebuild" with the correct proportions.

YouTube has a series of composting trial results...see - "Testing Home Compost Units: Intro" by the Sacramento CA Master Gardeners, and the other sessions discussing various methods and results.

Ms. Tommie
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

January 1, 2011
1:04 PM

Post #8286902

Here's that video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=o0m5RxUhfxQ

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