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Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Nov 2, 2015.
Yeah, I knew I'd have to as the pile got higher.
I have a privacy fence that I'll be putting up behind it once the snow is gone and the ground is reasonably dry. I bought it last fall but winter came before I got around to putting it up. No one can see it from the street because my house is in the way, I have a vacant house on one side of me, and a vacant taxi stand on the other, so the only people who can see it are those who are walking, bicycling, or snowmobiling along the railroad bed.
This is the yard on one side of me:
and this is the yard on the other side:
So I think my compost pile doesn't warrant any adverse attention.
I am harvesting my older compost pile. As I had to add some stuff to the top of it winter before last, it's not quite composted yet so I am adding some of the uncomposted stuff to the top of this pile, which should help things move along. Most of my old pile is going to be used for fill between my backyard and the railroad bed since there's a dip there that erodes when we have a lot of rain. I have already placed some old wood there that can be used as a sort of a terrace, and prevent the erosion.
I would like to have one of those large compost piles like you have , @Ken Anderson , but there is really no place here where we can have one, and I have mostly just saved the compostable material (like banana peels and vegetable scraps) and just dumped them into the garden areas and let them slowly compost.
However, I just cashed in a $100 Humana gift card for Amazon, and I am now thinking about getting one of those tumbling composters. It is like a two-sectioned barrel, and you keep adding the compost to one side and turning the barrel every day, and when that side is mostly full of compost, then you start filling up the other side. Once the first side has composted, then you can empty out your compost and then start using that as the filler side, while the second side finishes making compost. This way, you always have one side that you are filling, and the other side that is making the finished compost.
Here is a review of the kind that I am thinking about getting. it is usually around $270 on Amazon, now on sale for $175, and I can make payments. Has anyone else ever had one of these , or has an opinion about using them ?
I have a version of that composter that rotates end-to-end instead of rolling. It was given to me by a friend who bought a house and it was left behind. The friend was not a gardener, so I took it off her hands to save hauling it to the landfill. Composters work much faster in Alabama that Alaska due to the daily temperatures. It seems to work fine here, but mine is a little difficult to empty. Yours might be easier. Try to get the brown-to-green ratio to what you want and I would recommend some way to reduce the banana peels to a smaller size by chopping or running them through a food processor to accelerate breakdown, as they are fibrous and don't break down easily. I think you will be happy with your composter if you put enough "brown" stuff in it.
This is why I gave up my compost pile. I wanted it to amend the garden, but could not find enough green stuff to get the ratios right.
Usually the brown stuff is what gets neglected. Composting "green" stuff is grass clippings and such, but if not enough "brown" stuff (dead leaves and such) is added, there is nothing to capture the released nitrogen and if can become smelly.
I haven't used a tumbling composter but I am familiar with them because I have a couple of books on composting that cover them. It is more important to get the right ratios in a small composter than in a compost pile because you'll want the composting period to be shorter, to make room for more compost. It should work well enough for you, particularly in a warm climate. If I were to use one in Maine, it would probably freeze solid for the duration of the winter, whereas my large compost pile will continue to compost in the center, although at a slower rate.