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Thread: Compost Pile

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Angry Compost Pile

    I have been trying to tell my husband for years now that the black plastic compost container we have should be in direct sun. He is absolutely convinced that it will stink if it is in full sun. I have shown him article after article which confirms that the compost container should be in full sun at least 4-6 hours a day to help the "bugs" do their job. He simply will not listen to me.

    We have had this compost container for at least 12 years now, and I have gotten nothing at all out of it, because he has it far in the back yard under a bunch of trees. This area gets absolutely no sun at all, which explains why it is not turning into the dark rich soil and compost I am yearning for.

    Help!

    Lisa-Marie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,387

    Default Re: Compost Pile

    Howdy ,the heat helps the bacteria break down the materials faster . Turning the material even faster.
    At least in our yard.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    7,242

    Default Re: Compost Pile

    If your husband won't let you near "his" compost bin, go buy or build your own and place it wherever you like. In actuality, you don't need any kind of bin what-so-ever, you can just build a pile.

    We've had the best luck and fastest results by turning the pile regularly and keeping it moist. Direct sun does help, but it's not necessary IF you've got lots of green waste and use fresh manure.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Compost Pile

    mine doesn't get much sunlight, but I get plenty of compost. It does need to be turned over regularly for best results.
    Question- If you haven't got any compost for 12 years, what happened to all the stuff you put into the bin in that time?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    2

    Default Re: Compost Pile

    I bet her neighbors are taking the compost!
    Lisa, you should get your own bin and show your husband the right way to produce.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    1

    Red face Re: Compost Pile

    I might have to disagree with you on this, but I am not an expert by any means. TOH just posted recently that compost piles should not be in direct sunlight. I live in Florida and my concern is that the pile might get too much heat if I put it in a sunny spot. So maybe geographical location has something to do with the location of the compost pile.

    I do have a few questions on compost though.
    1. What if you have a tumbler and the compost is too wet? Can it be fixed or should I just throw it out?
    2. I just got a huge load of compost from my county for free! The compost was very warm which was good, but it is now in small piles instead of the 3-story high pile it came from. Will the decomposition continue?
    3. Can/should I use some of the already decomposing material as a starter for a new pile? I assume it will have the necessary microbes in it since it is warm already.
    4. I have 4 ducks in my backyard. Can I use the duck sludge in the compost pile? I use their egg shells too.
    5. I get coffee grounds from StarBucks on a regular basis, but are there specific plants that shouldn't have coffe grounds? I have several citrus trees, some nut trees, avocado, guava, and fig trees. None of them are growing well (except the almond tree) so I am not sure what I should be adding to the soil.
    6. Should I put fresh compost around all my trees? If so, do I just lay it on top of the ground or do I have to dig it in?

    Thanks for whatever info you can provide. I would love to call myself a gardner, but so far things haven't produced much :0(

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    7,242

    Default Re: Compost Pile

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaCapracotta View Post
    I might have to disagree with you on this, but I am not an expert by any means. TOH just posted recently that compost piles should not be in direct sunlight. I live in Florida and my concern is that the pile might get too much heat if I put it in a sunny spot. So maybe geographical location has something to do with the location of the compost pile.
    There's only one way to find out, build your pile wherever it is convenient and monitor it. If it rots, it's too hot/cold and not doing what it is supposed to, which is decompose. Rotting is not decomposition and will cause odor If you need to, you can cover your pile with a piece of plywood to shield it from the sun/heat to a certain degree. I can tell you that my piles are in the direct California sun and they do just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaCapracotta View Post
    1. What if you have a tumbler and the compost is too wet? Can it be fixed or should I just throw it out?
    If the pile is too wet, it won't generate the heat it needs to properly decompose. Open the hatch and rotate the bin frequently to help remove some of the excess moisture. You can also add some dry materials such as leaves, straw, etc to help absorb/reduce the moisture content.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaCapracotta View Post
    2. I just got a huge load of compost from my county for free! The compost was very warm which was good, but it is now in small piles instead of the 3-story high pile it came from. Will the decomposition continue?
    Yes, albeit much more slowly, but that is ok. The point of using compost is to get rich organic matter back into the soil.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaCapracotta View Post
    3. Can/should I use some of the already decomposing material as a starter for a new pile? I assume it will have the necessary microbes in it since it is warm already.
    Adding active compost or fresh manure to a pile will get it started faster, but you don't need to use "starter" to get a pile going, it will do that on its own. It is best to have your pile in contact with the ground, as it will draw up the microbes and other things it needs to start breaking down. The small caveat to that is when using a tumbler you should toss in a little dirt in addition to the items you are composting.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaCapracotta View Post
    4. I have 4 ducks in my backyard. Can I use the duck sludge in the compost pile? I use their egg shells too.
    Manure of any kind will be beneficial to your pile. Pond sludge is ok, but I'd be careful with how much moisture you're adding to the pile. Pond sludge will have very little nutritive value for your compost as it is mostly dirt and water.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaCapracotta View Post
    5. I get coffee grounds from StarBucks on a regular basis, but are there specific plants that shouldn't have coffe grounds? I have several citrus trees, some nut trees, avocado, guava, and fig trees. None of them are growing well (except the almond tree) so I am not sure what I should be adding to the soil.
    You'll have to research what those trees need to thrive. Some plants and bushes thrive on acidity that coffee grounds provide, some do not. Coffee grounds are great for the compost, however, as they attract worms and add other good things to the pile.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaCapracotta View Post
    6. Should I put fresh compost around all my trees? If so, do I just lay it on top of the ground or do I have to dig it in?
    All plants will benefit from soil amendment, however with trees you have to be a bit more careful. Not only can you damage their roots with digging, if you amend their soil then they don't root out into the native soils which can result in a smaller and weaker root ball and overall less healthy tree. One thing you can do with trees is to add compost tea. Put several shovels of compost into a 5 gallon bucket and fill with water, leave it for 24 hours, then water your trees and plants with the tea. Return the solids back to the compost heap.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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