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Soil and Composting: Will moving my compost bin to a shady area slow things down?

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ShaynaPearl
Maynard, MA

March 18, 2012
8:07 PM

Post #9048043

Hi,
I just started composting less than 2 years ago. I filled the first bin up a bit over a year ago and it's *almost* ready to use. (I can't understand how some people get their compost finished in just a few months!)

Now, I would like to put a garden bed where the compost bins are, and move the bins to a more convenient--but much more shady--spot. It's colder there. Will the increased cold/lack of sun slow down the composting process even more?

Thanks,
Shayna
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 18, 2012
8:10 PM

Post #9048044

To speed things up, turn more often. I dont think shade will make much difference. Ive had sun and shade piles. I could not tell the diff.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

March 19, 2012
5:38 AM

Post #9048295

With all due respect., I would think TX is warmer than MA. But I doubt it will get much slower than two years. Speed up the pile by paying more attention to the ratios, size of material going in, moisture and turning.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 19, 2012
10:01 AM

Post #9048750

I used to have two compost bins in full sun thinking the contents would break down more quickly.

Then we moved them into shade, and, to my surprise, the contents broke down much faster.

I think when they were in the sun, the contents kept drying out. Now they are in the shade that does not happen. Also I noticed earthworms moved into the bins once they were in the shade. That did not happen when they were in the sun.

Your experience may be different, Shayna.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 20, 2012
12:40 PM

Post #9050327

Bee,
What're your bins made of? I'm about to go with garbage cans.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
12:38 PM

Post #9051580

Gymgirl - They don't make the type I use anymore :(

It's a Biostack from Smith & Hawken. If I had known they were going to discontinue it, I would have purchased two more!

To answer your question, they are made of plastic.

If I remember correctly, a compost pile has to be roughly 4' x 4' to work properly.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 21, 2012
12:42 PM

Post #9051586

Thanks, Bee!

I remember your Biostack discussion.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
12:43 PM

Post #9051589

Look around, you may see it called Scotts composter.
The ''stacking section'' way it can be used looks awesome to me.

This message was edited Mar 21, 2012 2:46 PM

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
12:53 PM

Post #9051601

sallyg - Amazon says it's unavailable.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001RUMDCK?ie=UTF8&tag=composter-guidetumblers-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B001RUMDCK

If anyone finds a company still selling this bin, please post the link, cause I would really like two more.

Thanks.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
12:58 PM

Post #9051606

Nuts. I could swear I saw it for sale somewhere in the fall, not Amazon..if I find it I will post!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
1:01 PM

Post #9051609

Thanks, Sally.
mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 21, 2012
1:01 PM

Post #9051610

HoneybeeNC wrote:I used to have two compost bins in full sun thinking the contents would break down more quickly.

Then we moved them into shade, and, to my surprise, the contents broke down much faster.

I think when they were in the sun, the contents kept drying out. Now they are in the shade that does not happen. Also I noticed earthworms moved into the bins once they were in the shade. That did not happen when they were in the sun.

Your experience may be different, Shayna.


That is music to my ears!
BrrrAnn
Lunenburg, MA
(Zone 5b)

April 18, 2012
4:24 PM

Post #9088039

Shayna,

I live in Lunenburg MA. I think steadycam is right about turning the pile. I bought my house a year ago and had an old compost pile the previous owner started (house was vacant for a year) and then I started a second one on another side of the yard. I've let mine sit without turning for a year and it's clearly needing some help. Meanwhile, the one begun by the previous owner is just right. I'm now sold on the need for turning, at least until I get my bins established so I can rotate from year to year.

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

April 18, 2012
6:36 PM

Post #9088197

Did anyone try a astep further and try ebenshades gardens. What about the soil saver presently available,Does anyone know if that's any good? cccswa in ads .
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 19, 2012
5:07 AM

Post #9088536

juhur7 wrote: Did anyone try a astep further and try ebenshades gardens. What about the soil saver presently available,Does anyone know if that's any good? cccswa in ads .


What's ebenshades gardens? Also, soil saver? cccswa?

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 19, 2012
5:49 AM

Post #9088592

Thanks, juhur7 - I have emailed ebenshades gardens and asked if they have any left.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 19, 2012
12:37 PM

Post #9089082

Ok. About three weeks ago, I bought three 32 gallon Rubbermaid trash cans and spent half a day drilling holes over all three, AND the lid.

I filled two cans. One I filled with old veggie clippings (greens) and some leaves I had bagged up. The second was filled mostly with leaves and a small bit of veggie clippings. I added a couple handsful of dry molasses and watered them both in well.

The third can is for turning #2 into #3 can, and #1 into #2 can. Then in reverse to mix em up.

There are a ton of flies and knat-ty type insects buzzing inside the cans, and they seem to be shrinking down. Am I on the right track here? Next Thursday I'll have bags of fresh cut grass available. I know the Nitrogen helps heat things up, but I'm in no real hurry.

Feedback is being solicited.

Thanks!

Linda

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

April 19, 2012
1:14 PM

Post #9089147

Sounds fine. FLies and gnats mean there is moist rotting stuff in there. They like fresh rotting stuff but won't be so evident as it ages. I'd layer the clippings with the compost as you go from one bin to another.
PAMSPACE
Temperanceville, VA
(Zone 7a)

April 19, 2012
1:31 PM

Post #9089162

I have had my composter for 4 years, I bought it from Gardener's Supply. They call it a pyramid composter for $169 but it is shaped like a box, it is easy to turn, easy to get the finished compost out from the bottom. I am pretty careful about using the correct ratio of green to brown, and I always seem to have plenty of compost when I need it, for veggies or trees, bushes, etc. Would buy another in a heartbeat.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 19, 2012
2:14 PM

Post #9089210

Thanks, Sallyg!

Will do!

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

April 19, 2012
3:28 PM

Post #9089309

Tx gardener; That's a gardening product company, I don't have any direct link to them but if you type in your search bar you'll see . Same with 'soil saver' (a type of composter ) offered by cccswa. The type similar to what everyone on this thread had been discussing earlier.

HoneybeeNC; i'm a nose, let us in on how it goes, and as always, welcome.

I'm still using old soil bags(lol) However.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 19, 2012
11:24 PM

Post #9089737

Uh, what type of chain mail do ya'll wear when ur turning ur compost and/or bins??

And the fly and gnat helmets? Where do ya'll buy yours?
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

April 20, 2012
2:15 AM

Post #9089776

Linda,

I also have 1 rubbermaid and I put holes by using wood burning gun. I am not sure what to call it. It works fast and you can make big holes with them .I do not put holes on the lid. Use mask because of the fumes.

As far as the gnats and flies it is not bad when you add your grass clippings. I also add baking soda for the smell.

Belle

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

April 20, 2012
6:20 AM

Post #9089916

While not a compost pile the bags are full of frogs and tree toads, The one I opened yesterday had two prairie leopard frogs. while that won't do much for anyone here,It takes care of any fly or knat problem here.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 20, 2012
7:16 AM

Post #9089991

I been thinking I need to locate some frogs for my yard. When I tore down the storage shed, I was amazed there were a score of tiny frogs underneath the building in the soil! Haven't seen once since.

I need to create a welcome environment for some froggies...

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 20, 2012
12:32 PM

Post #9090438

juhur7 - I emailed ebenshades gardens, but they wrote back to say they are out of the Biostacks.

I wonder why a company would stop making something that is so popular?

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

April 20, 2012
2:24 PM

Post #9090632

Oil prices about making the plastics,and the supply stocks is probobly the only answer.

I've heard many southern U.S. plastics companies are real trouble.There being out bid by investors and foreign companies. Bummer huh!

Well maybe someone will have some for trade or sell at local swaps,sells. Hope you find them.

Was reading here people like the pyramid stack and that they aren't bad,That cccswa link ads them for about 70 dollars I might try that myself depending p&h, More than likely though, It will be from the local hardware stores as we have them all including WM.

Mostly I like to see what I'm buying, though a deal or two does occasionly turn out to be real.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 21, 2012
10:45 AM

Post #9091683

Gymgirl - frogs need water, shade and food.

We have several containers under the eaves of our house to catch rainwater and frogs lay egss in them. Our garden doesn't have a lot of shade, so the frogs hop over to our neighbors' yard and hang out under their porch.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 21, 2012
10:47 AM

Post #9091685

This morning, I emptied one compost bin into another and was happy to find hundreds of earthworms! The bins certainly do better in the shade.
ShaynaPearl
Maynard, MA

April 21, 2012
12:21 PM

Post #9091738

Thanks to everyone for this lively discussion. I turn my compost frequently, so I'm going with the theory that some of you posited that being in the sun, the compost dried out too much. I also think I put chunks of food in there that were just too big. So off it goes now...into the shade.

Thanks again!
Shayna

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 25, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9097561

Those flies and gnats almost sound good to me. I compost in an open pile, and the outer layers dry out. No flies, but only the inner 1/2 of the pile stays moist enough to "cook".

Too bad my only available spot was right under a pine tree: it keeps rain and drizzle awauy from the pile.

Maybe I'll partly cover the pile with plasrtic , to hold some mositure in the outer layers.

P.S. I just created 3-4 c ubic feet of green wood chips and sawdust by repeatedly spreading out and mowing a pile of of brush, and stirring the chips. I expect that compost rather slowly even after I find greens to mix with it..

Branches and roots thicker than my thumb, I moved to another pile and plan to treat them as "hugelculture": spread a layer of something over them and let them rot under the roots of a colver crop for a yhear or two.

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