Compost bin location - help!


Old 03-25-07, 01:05 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Rocky Mountain Foothills
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Smile Compost bin location - help!

I am ready to start my first compost bin/pile, but am mired by where to put it. A little background:

Although we have a large plot (4.5 acres), it's very heavily wooded (nearly all lodgepole pine), and we live at the uphill end of the plot. It also has the worst soil on the planet, if you can even call it soil - it's decomposed granite with a tiny layer of the few nutrients that 30 years of pine needles provide. We thin trees annually for firewood, so we have a bunch of chipped material and pine needles just waiting to become the healthy compost it could be! We live at 8300 ft (10% humidity is a humid day) and have snow on the ground 4-6 months of the year.

I've scoped out three potential sites, and the best seems to be right next to the shed where we keep our recycling, trash, firewood, and gardening tools. It's terribly convenient, and we keep a path to the shed clear year-round, but it's fairly heavily shaded. I know the sunshine will make my pile warm, but I wonder if the shade will help in the ideal "wrung out sponge" dampness my pile requires since we live in such a dry climate.

Will the heavy shade cause problems, or should I worry more about the convenience factor?

Also I understand the compost may go dormant in winter. Can I keep adding my kitchen scraps (then throw in a layer of collected yard waste) anyway?

Any other tips? I've done a bunch of research on the Net but real-life advice is always appreciated!!!

Thanks so much for everyone's advice! I'd like to get started ASAP - I've already collected about a gallon of kitchen waste 8-)
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Old 03-26-07, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Here's a couple of good articles on compost bins:

It should be partially shaded and near a water source. Full sun dries it out. Don't place it too close to your garden because it might attract slugs. Food scraps should be stirred in and covered with soil. This helps them to break down quicker and helps with the odor. If odor gets to be a problem, hold off adding more until the odor dies down. A sprinkle of lime stirred in helps too. Adding a layer of soil to a layer of compost helps it break down faster. You want to keep the compost turned. You want to water each layer. Compost should not be soggy and should not dry out.

Another good article:

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