Compost Questions


Old 03-30-08, 07:49 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 87
Compost Questions

So I've been wanting to start composting, but have a few questions before I get started. My reasons for composting are to keep excess organic material out of the traditional waste stream, but I really don't garden or have many plants that I'm interested in keeping fertilized. In other words, I don't have a use for (or know what to do with) the compost that is produced. Is the best thing to do just spread it out over the lawn or put around plants? Or am I imagining considerably more compost that I'll actually make?

I'm also a little confused about what I'll put into it...I guess I anticipate the following things to be composted. I get a large amount of leaves in the fall to deal with, but those only come in the fall. I'll be producing small amounts of kitchen waste through out the year. I have grass trimmings, but my mower just spreads them now, so I don't see a point in starting to collect grass just to spread it out again later. And I have a small amount of other plant trimmings, usually only a few times a year (trim some plants in the spring and fall). So, with the above additions, am I better off using some sort of high-nitrogen compost system (ie worms???) and leaving out as much of the brown stuff as I can, or should I plan for a mixed system. If a mixed system, can I only add the brown material occasionally, while constantly adding small amounts of green?

Anyway, and thoughts could help...and if you know of any REALLY good resources I should be reading, send them my way.
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Old 03-30-08, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 1,210
Since you're going to be carting off the final product to friends and so forth, I suggest anaerobic composting. That means without oxygen, and no half measures about that. This is what we get in bogs, and it's most rapid.

The waste goes into opaque plastic (garbage) bags, preferably heavy ones to resist puncture. The more moisture the better. Bags must be closed to prevent a supply of fresh air. The pile of bags looks horrible and should be stowed somewhere out of sight. A bit of leakage in enclosed space will smell sour.

Contents will eventually turn to excellent black paste free of living weeds or parasites. Nothing that requires air can survive that environment. Lay tarp in the back of your car, tote the bags of dense fertilizer away, no shoveling, no mess.
Old 03-31-08, 06:05 PM
AnalogDog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mountlake Terrace, WA
Posts: 13
Anaerobic composting is just like was said, yecch. I recommend aerobic composting. You can get a good product in 4-6 weeks when the air temperatures are in the 60's F.

Doing a search on google should give many, many sources of information. The Seattle Tilth instructions were where I started.

I have also used both 3' plastic fencing and pallets to build compost bins. They both help concentrate the pile for higher speed.

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