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Question on composting

Hi all!  We just moved to a new house and the previous owners left their compost bin and I am very anxious to start using it!  Unfortunately, I know nothing about it.  In fact, it almost looks like there are 2 bins...one open and one closed.  Does that make sense? 

I found a couple of sites to read up on, but I'm wondering if anyone has some favorites?  Or any tips in general would be great.

Thanks so much!

Re: Question on composting

  • Where do you live? Composting is harder to do in the winter. I used to have two bins that nested in each other. The top one had tiny holes drilled in the sides and in the bottom, and a lid. The bottom one caught all of the liquid from the compost. I had worms in mine to help the process along - it attracted black flies which turned into a compost of maggots (REALLY gross, but highly effective)

    Unless it is warm where you live you will probably have to wait until the spring to start composting.

    On a small note- I save all vegetable scraps (peels, skins, etc) and make a vegetable broth at the end of the week, and then after the scraps have been boiled down, I put them in the neighbor's yard (nobody lives there, and we have dogs that eat ours) - the squirrels seem to munch on most of it

     

  • We bought a $25 composting bin from Craiglist.  If you look at the backyard photo in my bio (really outdated, sorry), it's the doghouse-looking green thing.  We scraped the grass off a segment of our yard, and placed the composter there.  The rhyme is "equal parts green and brown help to break the compost down."  So we add all our kitchen scraps (those are greens), and shredded leaves or newspaper (brown).  You can Google for other kinds of greens and browns.  We stir after every addition using our garden shovel, and add water about once a week or so.  I have a tub sitting under our patio furniture to catch rainwater, I normally empty that in the compost.  It should be moist, like a damp sponge .  We got finished compost after about 6 months, and now that it's really going (we're in year 3) I regularly take a tub of compost out of it to add to our raised beds or front decorative plants.  Everything is growing like gangbusters, and we've reduced our landfill impact by a significant amount. 

     We bought this compost crock for holding scraps, I wanted something pretty.  But any sealed container will work.  Composting is easier than you think!

    image

    I wouldn't worry at all about "screwing up" your compost pile, that's not really possible unless you put something that reaallly shouldn't be in there, like meat scraps.  They smell when they decompose, and attract animals.  Really, you're just making a place for organic material to rot.  You can't really mess up letting something rot.

    We add kitchen scraps pretty much every day, and a big pile of browns every once and awhile when we rake or have brown paper.  We have awesome compost.  Try not to think about it too much, it's just rotting organic matter Smile

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  • Thanks so much ladies!  I am in Chicago, so our winters are pretty rough. : (

    Not sure if I'll wait to start in the spring or not, but this is helpful!

  • If they already have it started then I would keep adding to it all winter long. I am in Canada (just outside of Toronto) and we compost all winter. Good luck!
  • image Sept05Bride_IL:

    Thanks so much ladies!  I am in Chicago, so our winters are pretty rough. : (

    Not sure if I'll wait to start in the spring or not, but this is helpful!

    I am as well, and we composted through last winter. We have two bins now and when one fills up this winter (we share with our apartment building, so it will fill up faster), we will keep mixing it and let it work its way down and use the other bin in the mean time. 

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