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I use those black plastic thingies that a couple of concservation minded groups give away at local funtions. They snap together and are about four feet high and four to five feet in diameter. I have three of them and use all three to flip and transfer the compost. I start with fresh clippings in the first. I also layer in the stuff I clean out of the chicken houses and from their outdoor run area. That stuff is black gold!

That first bin gets flipped to the next bin after about 6 months where it cooks down for another 6 months and then to the third bin where it finishes in another 6 months. Meanwhile I am bringing in fresh stuff to the first bin and so on. That first bin is reduced in volume by around 80% by the time it is done.

After the third bin it goes to the usable pile and is ready to rock; the chickens like to go in there for bugs and worms but the good thing is that they are constantly stirring it up with their feet as they hunt for stuff to eat.

All food and table scraps go to the chickens, if I throw it in the compost bin I get rats, foxes, stray dogs and cats. Not good.

If you've ever thought of getting chickens give it a shot, they are awesome composters.
 

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Rob, is that pumpkin plants running all over your bins? :D

Good thread gents.

I started composting left over straw bales in another pile. I pick these square bales up on the cheap and use them for seating & displaying during our fall festivities :D They are usually too bad for animal consuption. It takes 2 seasons of constant turning for them to break down into usable compost.

Heres a vid of me turning my grass & leaf pile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G3FY1i1O0Y
It's from Oct of last yr and you can see it's really cook'n. I've already used this batch in my garden and this yrs pile is even bigger.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Heres a vid of me turning my grass & leaf pile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G3FY1i1O0Y
It's from Oct of last yr and you can see it's really cook'n.
Ja, nothing like a steaming pile to know the microbes are hard at work. When composting leaves, one can also smell the turpentine.

I sure do envy that FEL. Turning my pile with a manure fork and rototiller is not nearly as fun as that FEL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I was thinking more like chicken wire and fence post.
I watched an episode of Bob Villa where he made free standing cylinders out of wood lath snow fencing. If you are space limited, it looks like a good way to go. The fence gives lots of space for air flow and when it's time to turn it, you just lift it off and move it over out of the way.
http://www.hooverfence.com/wood/snow-fence.htm
 

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Not so big at the moment, but I have had it as big as 10-12 heavy yards at a time. If you have a pile that is too heavy in carbon (leaves, woodchips, straw, ect) and is not heating/breaking down, add a few pounds of 34-0-0 or something similar. The extra nitrogen will get it cooking! Grass clippings and manure are high in nitrogen and will get it going as well. If you get the carbon/nitrogen ratio right, most piles only need 1-2 turnings and will be ready to use in less than 6 months. Or if you are lazy like me, you can not turn them at all and just wait a year or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
My wife is paranoid about the nitrogen. She read somewhere that composted grass clippings should not be used on the garden and the only way I can get her to use the stuff is by convincing her that my compost is 90% leaves and only 10% grass. Even at that, given that I put nitrogen on the lawn leaves her somewhat hesitant to use it.

She has no problem to use store bought compost though despite not knowing where it came from or what it has in it. Oh well...
 

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LLigetfa,

That's funny about your wife and the nitrogen....

Rob, I thought of you right when I saw the title of this good thread:fing32:.

I have one black compost bin thingy, and since we got chickens the composting there is down a bit.

The pile of wood stuffs is about 4' x 4' by 3'. I never turn it, just add to it. That may sound silly, but we have 2' + of brown/ black soil here at the shack, so not much is needed.
 

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WE have a slat wood compost bin.. Its 3foot x 3 foot x 3 foot tall.. Works like a charm.. I could use a couple more for keeping the garden up to snuff with compost but we don't have enough "waste" to have any more bins. I guess i could rake up some grass.. BUT that takes away from wood cutting time. Then i have to spend more on NG to heat the house and I'm to cheap for that...

Nice pictures guys..
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
LLigetfa,

That's funny about your wife and the nitrogen....
It boggles the mind... Our neighbour raises cattle and we have access to all the natural all organic cow manure we can use. She took a few loads for her garden a few years ago but then complained about weeds purportedly coming in with it.

Then she bought bulk composted manure from a local greenhouse grower/garden centre and wouldn't you know it, her garden was overrun with Stinging Nettle. I never heard so much complaining...

Now she buys the bagged stuff from the big box stores. I think they nuke the stuff to sterilize it but I still worry about all the antibiotics and other chemicals the mega-farm operations that produce the manure use.

I use no herbicides on my lawn but I do use agricultural nitrogen that I buy at the feed store. I mulch mow so the grass clipping generally stay on the lawn. It's the Fall leaf cleanup where some grass clippings get mixed in with the compost. I still think it is betterthan what she buys.
 

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Rob, is that pumpkin plants running all over your bins? :D

Good thread gents.

I started composting left over straw bales in another pile. I pick these square bales up on the cheap and use them for seating & displaying during our fall festivities :D They are usually too bad for animal consuption. It takes 2 seasons of constant turning for them to break down into usable compost.

Heres a vid of me turning my grass & leaf pile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G3FY1i1O0Y
It's from Oct of last yr and you can see it's really cook'n. I've already used this batch in my garden and this yrs pile is even bigger.
Dave
Yes it is Dave, but its only one that came up as a volunteer, after we noticed it I started watering it and it really took off.

Rob
 

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It boggles the mind...
Yep, it sure does.

We have access to all the horse poo we could ever use in a lifetime. Yet, Mr's M buys manure ( at the store_ ) sometimes too. Buys potting soil as well.:confused: Then a couple weeks ago, I couldn't figure out why the trash stank so bad- she was bagging up the chicken bedding / droppings and throwing it away. :banghead3 I really just had to laugh when I figure that one out...:duh::ROF
 

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WE have a slat wood compost bin.. Its 3foot x 3 foot x 3 foot tall.. Works like a charm.. I could use a couple more for keeping the garden up to snuff with compost but we don't have enough "waste" to have any more bins. I guess i could rake up some grass.. BUT that takes away from wood cutting time. Then i have to spend more on NG to heat the house and I'm to cheap for that...

Nice pictures guys..
gOT PICTURES, I'M INTERESTED, SPACE IS AN ISSUE FOR ME.:fing32:
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
At my former home, I made a circular compost area using concrete blocks but I didn't close it in all the way around full height. Only the first course went all the way around. I stepped back subsequent courses from the entrance so that it would be easy to turn and I could dump the wheelbarrow straight in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
My GSD ***** just loves it when I turn the compost with a manure fork. I worry that I might stick her with the fork. She grabs clumps and shakes them like she was killing something. Mind you, now and then I turn up a mouse nest or two and then she really does kill (and eat) something.

She seems to like the taste of rotting wood. When I turn up an old stick or root, she prances off with it like it was some big ham bone and chews on it for days.
 
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