Green Living
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How do you get usable compost out -

What I mean is - I have some really great compost - it has turned to a nice, rich soil.  The thing is, it is always intermingled with stuff that I have just added to the pile and mixed in.  So there are chunks of fruits or veggies, etc. that are scrambled up in the beautiful dirt.

Any suggestions, or do I just wait until the bin gets more full?  There is proabbly about 1' of compost in the bin.

Re: How do you get usable compost out -

  • It would probably just be easiest to let it get full and stop contributing to it for a little while untill the whole things turns to compost. Or you could screen it.  Make a screen, put it over a wheelbarrow, pour the compost on top, whatever falls through the screen put in the garden, whatever stays in the screen put back in the bin.  We made our screen from 2x4s and 0.5 inch wire screen from the hardware store.
  • image another KT:
    Make a screen, put it over a wheelbarrow, pour the compost on top, whatever falls through the screen put in the garden, whatever stays in the screen put back in the bin.  We made our screen from 2x4s and 0.5 inch wire screen from the hardware store.

    You could go this route.  Lots of websites also sell screens specifically for compost, but I don't think they're worth the extra expense.  I usually shovel the compost into our tub-trug and just pick out the big pieces.  But we have small vegetable beds and a small front ornamental bed, so that probably wouldn't work for bigger sites.

    Make sure you don't take out all the finished compost though.  Leaving in some finished compost helps those microorganisms break down new organic matter.

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  • This is why it's beneficial to have more than one compost area/section.  We have an outdoor pile type compost bin made out of wood and chicken wire.  There are 3 divided sections with each section at a different stage.  Maybe in the future you could add a second bin.
  • We do both the ideas suggested -- we have two bins, and we also screen before applying it.
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  • We have 2 bins and only one is active at a time. So one is finishing and we add scraps to the other one. Our are in old garbage cans so having 2 isn't a big deal. I've never screened it, but when we use it there are usually some big pieces that I pick out... then again, I'm not known for my patience so maybe I should just wait longer.
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