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8 years ago  ::  May 29, 2009 - 12:17PM #1
Beliefnetsabee
Posts: 600

Some communities require that every home with a yard have a compost bin. Do you think composting should be mandatory and have you been successful at making good compost? Share some tips with other Beliefnet members here.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 01, 2009 - 1:27PM #2
appy20
Posts: 10,165

It is funny that you posted this because I was thinking last night that I needed to get a composting bin going.  I have never done one so I will have to learn.


I do not like the idea of being forced to have one though because, I just am not comfortable with that kind of thing.  Even though it is a good idea.


I think I may work toward this....


Mine would have to be critter proof--horse, cat,dog and wildlife....


Any suggestions?


 


 

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 01, 2009 - 2:25PM #3
Beliefnetsabee
Posts: 600

I started one last fall and am looking for ideas too. I used fallen leaves from maple trees,  old potting soil which had the roots from spent plants, last years annuals and fruit and veggie trash from the kitchen. I don't know if it's "cooking" yet, my guess is that it hasn't warmed up enough outside as of yet. I bought a discounted bins from the city for 20 bucks but I've heard you don't need a bin if your yard can support a pile. Some people put yard trash and grass clippings in their piles.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 01, 2009 - 3:23PM #4
appy20
Posts: 10,165

I have never done one.  Don't you put left over food, spoiled food and coffee grounds, that type of thing in? 


I was thinking that I would have to keep it away from my dog and horse.  However, when my dog is not in the dog kennel, I could place it there.  The horse could not get to it. 


Never mind, I would just have to fence it off.  There is no way around it.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 01, 2009 - 5:50PM #5
appy20
Posts: 10,165

I really want to do this.  However, the very reason I would have problems is the reason why it should not be mandatory.  A compost pile can kill a horse.  So, I would have to have 100% protection from my horse.  My dog could knock it down and spread it to the horse in a horse only enclosure.   I have to fence it.   I would have to have a gate.  The fencing would have to be horse proof and dog proof.  This could get expensive pretty quick. 


 

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2009 - 10:14AM #6
Beliefnetsabee
Posts: 600

Most of what I know about composting came from the city of NY's website. www.nyccompost.org/how/index.html 


My concern with putting in a lot of stuff is not knowing what I'm doing I don't want to end up with the wrong mix and a smelly bin. And I don't have coffee grounds but I hear those are good. I use a closed in bin, the one on the cover of that website. Maybe something like that would work for you rather than having it all exposed?


Composting is not mandatory here but I read where San Francisco is considering it.


 

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2009 - 11:11AM #7
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,839

Since no meat products should go into a compost pile (except crushed eggshells now and then), I never had any problems with wildlife getting into mine in the decade or so that I had a sizable compost pile going at the house we recently sold. Granted, this was in a neighborhood where I only saw dogs running loose a couple of times in the twelve years we lived there. If you live in an area with lots of rabbits and other wildlife, you'll need to secure your pile more than I did. We did have a few cottontails running about, but I never had any problem with them getting into the pile.


All I did was take about twelve feet of 4' wire fencing and a couple of hinged clips to make a circle. When it would get about 3' deep, I'd lift off the fence circle, set it aside and fork the compost back into it to mix it up. It'd cook down beautifully in about a year and a half once it got going and probably would have done so quicker had I not been so casual about mixing the pile regularly.


You do need to be careful in warm weather to cover raw fruit and veggies with a layer of soil about two inches deep so that the pile doesn't attract flies. You don't have to layer it over the entire surface, just over the foodstuffs so that they won't get smelly as they rot. Or if the pile is cooking well, just push them down a few inches below the surface.


Quite a lot of printed material can be shredded and added to the pile. Our local newspaper was printed with soy-based inks, so I ran it in the paper shredder and added that. Do be sure to ask, though, what type of ink is used before doing this as plants can be killed if you've put toxic materials into the compost and later try to use it as mulch or fertilizer. Cardboard egg cartons can be composted as can brown paper bags.


You're supposed to mix the pile every so often, but I hardly ever did. We didn't use any fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides on the lawn, so I added the grass and weed clippings when the mulching mower left a trail due to the grass having gotten too high between mowings. Too much grass, though, can get a pile soggy quickly, and grass doesn't decompose speedily.


Gross though it is, one of the best compost starters is human urine. Collect some in a bucket until you have around a half gallon and pour that over the pile to get it cooking.


You'll learn as you go what is the right consistency. If it looks dry, flaky and loose, hose it down. If gummy, smelly and gooey, it's too wet and needs some soil or shredded paper. Good compost will look something like commercial potting soil, dark-colored and moist but not so wet that it sticks to your hand. It has a pleasant earthy smell.


Be careful about adding too many fallen leaves. They don't decompose quickly. We had about a two-foot-wide gap between the side of the garden shed and a wood privacy fence where I used to stash ours in black yardbags with the top of the bag open over the winter and then added them to the pile in the spring when they were soggy and starting to decompose.


There are lots of websites and books on composting. It's not nearly as difficult to do as you may think and really lots more convenient when you're weeding to walk over to the pile and toss the weeds onto it rather than having to find a trashbag, shovel the weeds into it and then set it out for collection.


 

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2009 - 1:06PM #8
appy20
Posts: 10,165

I always have bad hay that I can't use with the horse.  I have bags of alfalfa too. 


Too bad, you can't put spoiled meat in there.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2009 - 4:05PM #9
Globalnomad
Posts: 115

Hello, may this message find you in the best of health and spirits.


Considering the state of the environment (Creation, what we've done with it as it's guardian) it should be obligatory by yesterday. However, thinking sustainably (in sense of community uptake), working on awareness and creating an enabling system would work much better. In my community in the UK, they've started kerb collection of plastics and paper, but only from the houses (not the flats/ apartments where it should be much easier to implement, easier to have big impact as you're talking bigger numbers plus these people don't have option of home composting) and without sufficient awareness raising (potentially leaving people thinking it's just extra burden on them). Living in a flat/ apartment, I'd love to do more composting. From personal experience using faith-based approach works: don't do it just because Council tells you, do it to please God, follow example of minimising waste from Prophets. My 2p.


In peace, globalnomad

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2009 - 4:46PM #10
Beliefnetsabee
Posts: 600

Thanks. I didn't know that about the leaves. We don't have a tree and only get what the neighbor's trees dump on us. Hehehe

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