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Picture of vera ellen
posted
Since I live on a farm, y'all are probably going to think this is a stupid question. I have never "made" compost. Until last year, we always had a herd of compost makers.

This year, whether weather related or not, I've noticed that my flower gardens aren't doing very well.....they did not get their aged manure fix this spring. Sooooooooo

we have several of those large tubs that cattle salt came in. Can I bore some holes in them and start putting my kitchen waste, etc. in them? I have enough brown in the form of shredded leaves from last fall to add as well. If this would work, should I set the tubs on cinder blocks or directly onto the ground? Do the tubs need a cover or leave exposed?

Normally I just toss kitchen waste back into the veggie garden so it can do it's thing there. Other stuff, like flower garden waste, gets tossed over the fence into the pasture. What do you do with big things like corn cobs? Do you grind them up before putting into the compost?

Is this a good idea or not? Will it work?

Thanks

ve

This message has been edited. Last edited by: vera ellen,
 
Posts: 3177 | Location: southern middle Tennessee | Registered: May 05, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Barb in Mississippi
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hi vera! don't know if this is the correct way to make compost, but it's what i do it and it works for me!
my kitchen waste goes to my chickens, or my tomatoes. Before the chickens, i have a very large composting, well, i'm not sure what it is called, but it is rubber and there are two of them put together. it's just a circle of rubber with big holes in it around 'T' posts. i start my composting 'pile' on the ground. i don't go on any color first or second. i start with kitchen waste, then leaves from either this year or last, then grass clippings after i cut the grass. this year, i'm using some of the grass for the hens' nests, the rest goes into the compost pile. it isn't covered and all sorts of critters get into it. why keep them out, if they want in, they will find a way in!
before we moved out to Mississippi, we lived in a subdivision in Tennessee. here, i had a garbage can, with holes bored in the sides and i kept it covered, cause i could lock the top and roll it on the ground to "turn" the compost.
i don't turn the compost until i'm ready to use it, now.
what happened to the herd of compost makers?
i also use garden waste in the compost.
this is probably not the correct way to make compost, but i have no doubt that 'several' other posters will tell me how WRONG i am. THIS WORKS FOR ME AND I'M NOT CHANGING IT FOR ANYBODY!
 
Posts: 3140 | Location: Holly Springs, MS USA | Registered: Sep 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Waverider ;)
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by vera ellen:

Sooooooooo we have several of those large tubs that cattle salt came in. ve


I don't know what a tub that 'cattle salt comes in' looks like (what's cattle salt?!), but if it looks like a large plastic garbage can then I think you're good to go! You drill holes all around it on the top and bottom and a few underneath for the worms. I think the compost bin should be on the ground (over soil preferably if possible) so worms can enter. My compost bin (a regular one) has no bottom at all, it's completely open on the bottom with slits all around it. Mine comes with a cover and I always keep it covered to keep critters out (and I don't have most of the critters Barb has either!) You can put a screen on top of it if you have one, to let the rain get in. I don't put corn cobs in my compost bin because they take a very long time to decompose. Unless you want to grind them up (how do you do that?) then it would be fine to compost. I don't put lemon peels or onion skins in my compost (too acidic). Everything else I try to cut up into small pieces (sometimes I don't get to do it in time, usually banana peels)
Flower garden waste can be put into compost as long as it isn't diseased. I don't know what the tub looks like, but if it's a standard plastic tub, it should be perfect! Show us the finished product when done!!!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Waverider ;),
 
Posts: 2238 | Location: "The Garden State", NJ ~ Zone 7 | Registered: Nov 05, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
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Unless you're running a lemonade stand I can't imagine you'd have enough lemon peels to affect the acidity level of a compost bin. Same with onion skins. It all goes into my bin. I get coffee grounds from our church coffee shop as well, if you have a Starbucks nearby they usually have a bin in the front with free grounds for the taking.

I have my bin sitting on a paver base. The base helps keeps the nearby trees from sending roots into the compost as they will want to do. The base also allows excess moisture to exit the bin, though I normally just correct that with some browns in the form of shredded paper.

If your cattle salt bins are 36" in diameter and about the same in height they should work if you add some ventilation holes. If they are smaller the bin won't heat up properly, they could work for worm composting though.

In a traditional compost bin worms don't really play a large role in composting. I dumped a worm composter into my bin and now I have more worms than I know what to do with. The challenge with putting worms into a traditional bin it the heat generated can cook the worms. When it gets real hot in my bin the worms work their way up to the top of the compost to escape the heat. I don't have problems with corn cobs taking a long time to decompose. Mango pits and peach pits however have a half life of nuke waste. I don't put cantaloupe seeds into my bin. They tend to survive and become "weeds" in my flower beds when I use the compost. Tomato seeds tend to survive as well unless your bin gets really hot.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Sparky,


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6858 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of joyluck
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Barb in Mississippi:
this is probably not the correct way to make compost, but i have no doubt that 'several' other posters will tell me how WRONG i am. THIS WORKS FOR ME AND I'M NOT CHANGING IT FOR ANYBODY!


LOL I love your attitude but you sure don't want to go on any composting forums - those guys think there's a right way. Big Grin IMO tho all organic matter eventually decomposes as happens in nature. It's only if you want to speed up the process that you have to do anything.

Vera, here's a site that's often recommended for beginners which you might find helpful: http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/compost-info/

I've composted for many years and used *many* different systems. I now keep it simple and just use a pile as it's easier to turn and there is no downside for me. Except that the horses stepped all over it so I need to pile it up again.

I'm not sure that cattle salt tubs are large enough - it's often recommended that a pile be a minimum of 3'x3'x3' to start the heating process.

The easiest way for me to compost is what's called 'trench composting' and I use a version of that most of the summer by burying my kitchen scraps between plants. The earthworms take it from there. I call it 'feeding the worms' and their castings are my chief source of fertilizer. During our cold winters I collect kitchen scraps in a big black composter where they freeze in a solid mass until spring when I then layer them with fine wood shavings/sawdust in a pile. Since I don't eat corn I have no cobs but would use them. I eat avocado quite a bit and put the pits and peels in which take much longer than most things to compost. If they haven't decomposed when I'm ready to use the compost as mulch I just bury them in the garden and never see them again.


Lucky

"I have always had an aversion to the concepts of in style and out of style." ~Rose Tarlow

Inspirational pics: http://inspiration4u.shutterfly.com/
 
Posts: 12599 | Location: north of 50 in Canada | Registered: Feb 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Vera, THere's really no right/wrong way to compost....except adding fats, oil or bones...
Have had open pile composts years ago. Now have closed plastic ones that critters can't get into. And they do try-top of container all scratched where coons tried to pry open. Never bother to turn mine-that means it just takes longer..Corn cobs would take forever to break down whole....So open ones mean critters. Air vents help as does watering if closed container.
Think I've lost my worm bin down cellar-out of sight - out of mind.
 
Posts: 657 | Registered: Aug 27, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of vera ellen
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Ladies, thank you for the advice and the link. The salt tubs are bigger around than a standard garbage can, but only about 3/4 as tall. I guess I could take a pix of one for you to see. I'm going to give it a shot anyway, just as a fun experiment. I will drill holes in the bottom and sides and place directly on the ground. If I can find an old window screen, I might secure that on top, if not, then oh well.

Barb & Joy, I love the no fuss, no muss way of composting. Except for the burying, I guess tossing kitchen scraps back out into the garden was sort of composting, right?

The herd of compost makers got sold over a year ago. Cattle prices kept falling, prices on everything else kept going up, so we just retired from it all. We still cut hay and sell it but that's about the only farming done here anymore. I do miss the cattle, esp. the spring calves.

Wavy - salt tubs are big round tubs filled with salt. Cattle need salt - you just use a front end loader to haul the tub out into the pasture and set it down. It's available for the cattle anytime they want it......and lasts a lot longer than those square salt blocks you often see.

As for grinding the corn cobs.....use the food processor to coarse chop. I freeze a lot of cream style corn, so there's always lots of cobs. We used to toss shucks & cobs over the fence for the cattle who thought they were getting a real treat. Now I want to utilize that resource, vs, just tossing over the fence.

Thanks Bunches

ve
 
Posts: 3177 | Location: southern middle Tennessee | Registered: May 05, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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VE, my "composter is plastic barrel with 3 rows of holes drilled all the way around it and a "door" cut into it on one side...it lays in a frame with old rollers off something like an old office chair so I can "turn" it. The open end (top) is shut with the barrel ring and when it needs emptied we just release that to dump it.
I wouldn't set yours on the ground with all the rain you have had...it needs to be able to drain. Set it up on some kind of blocks or something.
You can put everything in there...except not recommend to put either meat scraps/bones (your doggy likely gets those anyway) or dairy. Those both will draw unwanted critters. And don't put any diseased plant materials in it...but all else can go in there.
If you can get any horse manure...add some to help get it heating or green grass clippings will do that too.

Something else that I use...is alfalfa pellets. And I know Lucky uses them or makes "tea" from them. I buy them by the 40lb. bag at TSC. I just throw some into all my beds and let nature break them down for me. They work out to being about equal to a 10-10-10 fertilizer.
I just watered all my porch pots with "tea" this afternoon. I put a bunch of pellets...about 1/2 C into a gallon milk jug and let them sit for a day or two. As I run out of water in the jug, I add more and let it settle some before I water the next plants.

Forgot...yes, corn cobs go in there, corn shucks go in there....anything that grew goes in it!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: ga.karen,


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4323 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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Something else I just thought of...you can make a composter out of just old fence wire too. Just make a circle out of it and put all your stuff in there....especially if you excess leaves in the fall. By spring the stuff on the bottom will be pretty much composted and you can just remove the wire and use what you need and put the rest in the wire in a new location right next to where it had been. There are several folks I know that have done that.
I've even put leaves in black garbage bags & let them sit over the winter. I poked holes in the bags with a stick at the top & bottom so water & air could get in & out and then in the spring just dumped the whole thing in my veggie garden & tilled it in...worked great!


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4323 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Cattle are not compost makers they are manure makers and manure is one component of compost. Allowing animal manure to sit around and age is largely a waste of nutrients since between 20 and 50 percent of the Nitrogen and between 5 and 20 percent of the P and K can be lost as the manure is sitting there.
As a rule of thumb, materials put into a compost pile do better when cut into small pieces. Perhaps this composting tutorial will be of some help.
http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/compost-info/


The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.
 
Posts: 8118 | Location: Twin Lake, MI USA | Registered: Aug 19, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of NYlady
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Glad this subject came up. Good old NYC is instituting a residential compost program. We will eventually get small buckets to keep in the kitchen to be emptied into larger pails for curbside pick up once a week. Not all of us have room to compost in the back yard/garden.. HOWEVER.. they are saying we should put all bones and meat waste in the buckets.. I've been taught that is wrong.. Your opinion?
 
Posts: 3352 | Location: Staten Island, NY , USA | Registered: Sep 24, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of joyluck
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quote:
Originally posted by NYlady:
HOWEVER.. they are saying we should put all bones and meat waste in the buckets.. I've been taught that is wrong.. Your opinion?


Commercial compost operations make hot compost so bones and meat will quickly decompose. In most home composting situations the compost does not get hot enough to cause fast decomposition so there is a danger of wild animals being attracted in home composting situations. There are several knowledgeable home composters on a forum I visit that compost animal carcasses but their compost gets hot.


Lucky

"I have always had an aversion to the concepts of in style and out of style." ~Rose Tarlow

Inspirational pics: http://inspiration4u.shutterfly.com/
 
Posts: 12599 | Location: north of 50 in Canada | Registered: Feb 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of NYlady
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Thanks..its not in my neighborhood yet, I was just curious
 
Posts: 3352 | Location: Staten Island, NY , USA | Registered: Sep 24, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
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I'd agree the a commercial compost operation can do things that you can't do at home. I tried composting those Sun Chip "compostable" bags in my bin and after a year it was still readable. The packaging said it was compostable in a commercial operation.

Mike Rowe on one of his Dirty Jobs cleaned a commercial compost grinder. It took kitchen waste from restaurants and turned it into useable compost, bones, meat, napkins you name it. If you could grind up bones before putting them into your bin they'd compost in a reasonable time. Without grinding them, you'll pull the bone out after a year and it will look pretty much like it went in without any marrow or meat on it. Even poultry bones will come up intact after a year.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6858 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Meat, fats, and bones can be composted, but common sense must be used if doing that. Small amounts cut into small pieces and buried deeply, to keep unwanted critters from finding them, are best. Never plan on composting a full grown steer in a 4 x 4 compost pile.


The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.
 
Posts: 8118 | Location: Twin Lake, MI USA | Registered: Aug 19, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by KimmSr:
Never plan on composting a full grown steer in a 4 x 4 compost pile.


That might take a bit bigger bin. ;-)


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6858 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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