Where do you keep your compost piles? Do you try to hide it in a corner of the garden? behind a building? Or do you have a neat compost tumbler?
Although I live in the country I've decided my kitchen scrap pile is rather ugly and I should move it. It has been right by the garden, but very handy when I need to dispose of my peelings and coffee grounds. I like to take people around my garden and think it needs to look a little more presentable. any thoughts?
KathyJo, hard question. I move my compost pile every time I empty it, usually in the spring. Sometimes I move it only 2-3 feet, and sometimes several yards.
Right now, it is pretty much out of sight yet accessible enough for kitchen scraps. I think I like it best more out of sight from the main (nicer) parts of my garden and yet still easy to get clippings to it.
I move mine when I really want to get it turned good. Right now its next to my shed. Coffee grouds I will put straight into my garden when its warmer out and I dont have to put on a coat or shoes to go outside.
I moved my pile from another corner of the yard in the early fall and had to work out a bunch of tree roots that decided it liked it alot there. DH tried to put them in the bin, but Ive seen these roots grow suckers after I cut them off from the main root.
KathyJo, we actually have about 3 or 4 places that we dump various kitchen and outdoors stuff thruout the year. One is not too far from the house(do you remember seeing the old hay ring behind the walnut tree close to the garage and bird house?), the other one is an old water tank without a bottom, one is under the rabbit cages, and the last one is out in the yard a ways. The last one is mostly leaves, bird house cleanings from last spring, and mulch from the fair grounds in Sedalia. Lately I have been throwing the potato & cucumber peelings that the rabbits and guinea pigs don't eat on it as well as other veggies and fruits no longer fit for human consumption. The ducks, chickens and other poultry find it and go thru the pile and what they don't eat, which is very little, gets rotted into the compost.
Juglans are suppossed to be a toxin to other plants. Pecan trees are not suppossed to be as defensive as walnuts, but I wonder if that many pecan shells that close to the roots could have an effect. Just my 2-cents, Mike
We keep a compost tumbler (the Mantis one) behind one outbuilding (the office for our business) and a pile behind my tractor shed. The tumbler has a southern exposure and breaks down kitchen scraps very quickly 10 months out of the year. The weeds, garden prunings, deadheaded flowers, grass clippings and some wood chips go into the pile, along with any leftover topsoil from excavations around the place. Lately I've been turning the pile with my tractor every couple of days. The extra oxygen seems to be speeding up the whole process dramatically. Nancy keeps the kitchen scraps in a Tupperware container in the freezer until its full. The freezing keeps kitchen smells down and seems to speed up the breakdown when they get added to the tumbler.
We just moved our compost pile this morning. It is overcast and there was a little rain and temps were around 72, so it was just a good day for it. The pile was too close to the deck in my efforts to build a lasagne bed, and it had a faint garbage odor to it from kitchen scraps. Last week we put a sizable pile of garden and veggie scraps out a little farther away from the house and they had dwindled down to about 10% the size of what they were, so that's where the compost pile now resides. That area was disturbed during construction, and backfilled with poor soil, so it really needs whatever organic material we can put down. The bluebirds came to investigate almost as soon as we moved the pile and I can hear the crows out there now. I guess they approve of the move.
The compost pile and the receiving location for "stuff" that goes in the piles should be close to the garden. If it is not in a handy location with water near by you will simply ignor it. It does not matter how you build it to give it a bit of order and possibly hidden from a line of sight to the neighbors picnic table. As of right now I have rotting straw bales creating my bit of order.
mine is a 1-2' tall, 4 x 4 space contained on three sides with concrete block, one block high. I know it needs to be taller, but I'm afraid that if I make it taller, code enforcement will say it's a wall and require me to permit it and then turn around and fine me. I have a chainlink fence, so it's hard to 'hide' stuff in my back yard.
I have it right next to my corn patch.
I did surround it with sevin dust to keep ants from entering, but I suppose that ants can come up from the middle, but I turn it at least once a week down here in south florida. From what I can tell, it's breaking down quickly.
I keep mine in a corner of my yard behind the greenhouse where it is primarily out of site from most viewing angles of the yard. It's in full sun also. But it's easy enough to get to it to dump clippings and food stuff, given I live on a 1/4 acre.
Mine is in a raised bed on the side of the house. I move it from one end to the other. My best friends, worms, take it down in no time. But I only put in small, chopped pieces or slurry. I find so much pleasure in chopping vegetables scraps into small pieces. See, it takes all kinds. LOL. Sharon.
PS: The Las Vegas heat does not hurt. And today we had rain.
My composter, for several years, has been this aging "Earth Machine"...
It sits to the side of my shed...Convenient--but not too functional, as I cannot turn
the contents over--nor can I ,easily, remove the compost from below.
Frankly--I hate it! Don't buy it if you are tempted!
Here is where I would like to have my next compost pile...at the end of my new,
raised bed I had built this spring.
It is a space about 3'x3'. The problem will be that the roots from my Silver Maple
will invade it in no time flat! They are all over my small back yard.
Here is a picture of where I hope my next compost bin will go.
When? I do not know...maybe when my E.M. finishes cracking and falling apart...
It is well on it's way.
Here is the raised bed...see that open spot all the way to the right?
digging a hole would be most difficult. The Maple roots--you know...
Right now--all that stuff on top of this spot id small, fibrous roots that I
had to pull up digging in my corner beds to plant some annuals.
The small fibrous roots are the water sucking roots put off by the large roots. When I run into them, I immediately know I have a very large root somewhere below and near. Those fibrous roots will rob any moisture around. My husband calls me the root Queen because I am always discovering roots.
If you have a problem in the garden, just dig, that will be where the end of the roots are.
Our city at one time were selling huge composters for $50.00 but the critters somehow got into them because I compost everything. When i clean my refrigerator or freezer all goes inside. This practice goes a long way. In fact i get more worms!!! It does smell for few days but with some baking soda it is not bad.
the composter that we bought is now a planter for ferns.
i now have 3 composter-- 2 of which are trash barrels and 1 large rubber made canister. I cut big holes at the bottom and bury it 6 inches and this had worked well for me.
I made 1 for my daughter because she does not like her pricey composter which gets spin.
grass clipping and fall leaves are in separate pile and does not time to turn. No time!!! It get aged till April and gets added to the beds.I do not have weeds in the garden !!!
Composting is an obsession for me!!! LOL!!! also a part of my daily activity!! In fact I got a neighbor composting now. All stale breads as well as produce that does not look good from our food pantry get to come home to be composted!!!
I am sure you know that only plant/vegetative material can go into a composter.
You say you empty out your fridge and freezer.
No meats or other non-vegetative material should go into compost piles.
You get "critters"--like what kind?
The worst 'critters" that you mat be attracting are rats. Then it is a whole different problem.
Like diseases carried by rodents, droppings all over your garden etc.
Any plant material, grass, twigs, fruit, veggies, soil, coffee grinds, etc. is fine.
Like I said it is a practice that I had done for years, if you see my yard in other post you would not think that I do things that are not supposed to be done.
I also know what is supposed to be composted. I will continue to do this and my home made composters are with tight lid and with plastic covers. If you tread my post again it was my new composter that was not efficient. I know how diseases are transferred and carried being in thee medical field. Happy composting,
We've got composting down to a science. So many people believe you throw anything and everything into a pile and it will magically turn into compost and that's just not true.
Our first three bins were built by my husband in '92 and then he added three more a few years later. I cherish it. They are all located in the work area of the garden, by the shed and near the vegetable garden and separate asparagus field.
--How is your composter walls held together? Especially in the corners.
--What materials did you use?
--How do you open it to till it over--just remove the whole wall? Does it have sections that can be removed?
In the picture it looks like a solid wall.
I need to build a compost bin soon. Only have a 3'x4' area. Cannot do the multiple bins.
Let us see your plans. Thanks. Gita
This is where mine will go...at the end of my new raised bed...NMot the biggest place--but it will be au Naturele at least.
Right now I have one of those stupid, black, plastic drum-like composter. called "The earth machine"...Barf!!!
It is old ans cracking and I cannot turn anything over i it...It takes 3 years fro anything to compost...
your compost mostly leaves? It is a very nice set up!!!
Mine are barrels but i compost everything and the after product is black rich soil.
I have a huge barrels that ewas given by next door neighbor and it is huge!! I will be able to compost all the moldy breads from the food pantry where I volunteer every WEdnesday
Thanks, ljl. We have more close-up photos if you want them. The pipe is the ideal size to hold a knife for chopping broccoli bottoms or cauliflower, etc.
Belle - There are methods of doing leaf composting but we do the real thing with a mix of leaves, grass, vegetative matter and kitchen scraps. The piles are topped with a layer of chopped leaves: that's what you see in the photo of the newer bins.
My neighbor has a very fancy tree. He has three. They have very, tiny leaves. I cannot wait until they fall because they are perfect for the compost bed. I also have a dicondra lawn in the back and clover in the front. I have the gardeners leave the cuttings behind and I add them. But they do not need to be mowed every week. One time I forgot it in a black bag and by the time I added it to the pile it was liquid.
I have a raised holding garden for plants that are not ready to go into the main landscape. I have the compost pile in there. When I get a large amount going, I just move it to another open area. Unfortunately, right now I do not have another open area. I back on the green belt and the back of the property has a wrought iron fence. So Pirl's set up would be a no no. I also spot compost where I just dig a hole next to a plant, throw in some scraps and cover. I also add alfalfa pellets to the pile, after soaking but right now I am out.
Later, I need to go start dinner. Pirl, I cannot remember where I saw your photo of lobster, but it looked delicious.
The photo is the pile about a month ago. It is now much higher and the plant on the bottom right is a volunteer cantaloupe. It is now everywhere on the fence.
I have about 15 feet of hardware cloth that is cabletied together to make a ring. I put leaves, clippings, kitchen scraps, and chicken poo in it. I occasionally put cereals and other stuff from the fridge. The critters don't get past my beagles. I put a layer of leaves on top when I put really icky stuff in it.
I didn't turn it at all the last time. I just fluffed it with a rake. The poo really helps I think. I also add ammoniam nitrate if I add a bunch of carbons like leaves. My yard has limits, I put the pile in the only good place out of the way which is in between the garden and chicken coop.
I got a lot of good compost this year. It takes awhile though. I would guess I empty it twice a year. I gather leaves during leaf season and store them in the bags and along the back fence for adding to the compost as needed. Since I've gotten chickens they've been helping by breaking up the leaves along the fence. It's like mowing over them without mowing.
Every gardener should have some chickens. You don't need a farm, I live in town and I have 4 chickens. Their pen is a 10x10 kennell that has some added wire and a tarp. And a small coop. I let them run around the yard when I'm there. I used to let them out every morning but I don't trust my beagle pup around them. They go into their mating squat when she runs by them making her think they are toys. You wouldn't believe how helpful they are with their majic poop and appetite for bugs! Good compost mixers too!