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Couple of questions about composting... well actually 3 questions...

Posted by on Jul. 25, 2010 at 11:34 PM
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1.  I am debating on either a passive or active composting??  I live in Michigan and was reading that passive compost piles are successful.  Any comments or suggestions??? 

2.  Can straw be added as a brown agent like fall (brown) leaves?

3.  When using scraps from kitchen of vegetables or fruits, can you use the portions with seeds or like eyes or starts on potatoes or do you first need to remove the seeds and so forth??

by on Jul. 25, 2010 at 11:34 PM
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Replies (1-10):
SanDiegoMaxMom
by Member on Jul. 26, 2010 at 12:12 AM

I guess I passive compost....I throw EVERYTHING that will break down into the compost.  Paper napkins, all kitchen waste, table scraps, fast food wrappers.  No need to remove seeds.  You'll be amazed at the reduction of trash you have.

CanadianChelsea
by Member on Jul. 26, 2010 at 12:21 AM

 

Quoting marchar2002:

1.  I am debating on either a passive or active composting??  I live in Michigan and was reading that passive compost piles are successful.  Any comments or suggestions???

I have 4 passive compost bins which get filled to the brim by October and they are ready to use by early spring.

2.  Can straw be added as a brown agent like fall (brown) leaves?

Yes, you can use straw.

3.  When using scraps from kitchen of vegetables or fruits, can you use the portions with seeds or like eyes or starts on potatoes or do you first need to remove the seeds and so forth??

I toss every part of veggies and fruits into the composters, even the seeds.  When I use the compost, some seedlings do sprout but they are easy to pull out.  Coffee grounds and the paper filter make good compost material along with egg shells and the paper egg carton they come in.

 

 Here is a great website about composting:

http://www.earthsfriends.com/homemade-composting

 

marchar2002
by on Jul. 26, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Thank you for the insight.  I will check out the website.

reux
by Member on Mar. 9, 2011 at 12:15 PM

I pretty much passive compost.  I've long drooled over the cylindrical composters with the handles--god I want one.  I jsut saw one for $450 the other day!!! Too expensive. OY. I have a composter a friend gave me but it's stationary and I'm too lazy to try to turn any of it. It eventually becomes compost.   Just remember to water the compost pile if you live in a dry area (trying to work on taking my own advice here). :)

JTriches
by Member on Mar. 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM

I Live In N. Cali and compost everything  I can9no meats or grease)  I start with egg shells from breakfast. throw in coffee filter and grinds,add tea bagswithout the staples and string.   Ant  cast off from salad goes in. grapestems. broccoli stems, lettuce ends, onion skins anything fron the kitchen that is biodegradable.  You will have marvelous soil for your garden.  I add leaves and grass clippings too.  turn your compost about once a week a.d add water if its too dry.  MY hubby took the bottom off anold plastic trash can.  Mahe holes for some air and we throw everything into that.  I cover it with a metal lid and a brick to kkeep the critters out

Steph1973
by New Member on Mar. 23, 2011 at 12:42 AM

So am I really doing something wrong? I have a container that I turn and try to keep moist but maybe I just do a bad job.  I have had stuff in there for year and no luck! egg shells still look like egg shells :(

koosette
by Member on Apr. 18, 2011 at 10:55 AM

i've wanted to try one

ohmommi
by on Sep. 26, 2011 at 12:16 AM

 Bunny poop make the best compost.  :)

MLM247
by on Sep. 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM

There must be lots of variables. I live in the tropics and still had trouble with my compost bin even though I persevered for more than twenty years. I added garden bits, vacuuming dirt, food scraps, bits of paper, hair, all sorts of stuff. I tried keeping it dry. I tried adding a handful of fertiliser to kick start the process. I tried adding water. I added dirt after food scraps. I turned it over from time to time. Horrible job. But usually at the bottom would be something worthwhile. Roots from nearly trees kept growing upwards in the compost. In the end I combined the use of the bin with layering the mulch so that the mulch became a sort of compost directly on the garden. That was faster. I like the idea of composting things that would otherwise be wasted, but I failed to grasp the knowledge and skills.

doccat
by Member on Sep. 29, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Not a big fan of the cylindrical composters, have been doing composting for 30 years, everyone I've talked to is not happy about the results with theirs.  For one thing, unless you add worms to it, you aren't going to get as rapid a breakdown without these little helpers, and the resulting compost is not as "rich" without the worm castings.  Evidently, some of them make it difficult to get the compost out, because the door size is too small, another friend told me they become very hard to turn if you add very much new material.  The DH and I use recycled heavy duty wood pallets which he got for free from a local trucking company.  They're 3'x3'x3' with the front end open so we can easily turn the bed and shovel out the finished compost with little work.  We do both passive and active composting.  I prefer a "hot" pile as they break down faster.  I am an organic gardener and use my compost as fertilizer so I need plenty all the time.  Some tips:

Don't put your bin by trees, as MLM247 has noticed the trees like it a lot too. :)  

If you want a "hot" pile and can't seem to get it too work, you don't have enough "green" in the mix, if greens aren't readily avaliable, buy the cheapest high protein dog food you can find.  Mix it in and water it well.  There is an abundance of corn gluten in those types of dog food, it's a good "starter" for a pile.  Or you can alfalfa pellets wetted down and added to the pile, mix well.  Word of warning on that though, I happen to be highly allergic to alfalfa so DH has to do that.  Since we're working with squared bins, we dig a hole in the center of the pile, add the a materials and mix with a gardening fork. 

Straw works well as a "brown" to get faster breakdown, chop it up a bit.  If you have a 30 gal trash can and a weed whip, that's a no brainer.  Works great for leaves also.  

I'm not on here as often as I use to be, but I do have the site linked to my email, so please feel free to ask me questions.  I'm a VA certified Master Gardener with 30 years experience in using organic gardening methods.  I'm the go to gurl for vegetable gardening.  I'm learning about perennials from my counter parts and have discovered a whole new deal to play with!!  Gardening is my passion and I love sharing my knowledge with other gardeners, I like helping out beginners.   Paying it forward, in memory of the lovely neighbor who helped us get started.  We were so "clueless", LOL   He was an organic gardener and what he taught made good sense, so I did more research and became a big fan of Mother's tips.  plant a tree

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