eadunphy
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:27 pm
Location: Middletown, NJ

Just finished sifting an entire compost bin!

Ah, is there a better feeling than getting 3 wheelbarrow's full of beautiful compost for the garden? I think not :lol: Sifting the entire composter was a bit back breaking but it was well worth it. I am going to order a couple of more sifters as it quickly became my children's favorite activity today and progress was slowed down a bit :o

In the end though I have a fresh empty compost bin ready for winter - again ahhh! :)

I only discovered the sifter this past spring and I really love it. Do you all sift or do you just use your compost straight from the bin?

cynthia_h
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I use a "sifter"--made from 1x2's and 1/2-inch hardware cloth.

I made another one this year to sift oxalis bulbs out of the soil. I used 1/4-inch hardware cloth.

The frames are a little larger than the top of the wheelbarrow, so I set the frame on top of the wheelbarrow, fork over some compost, and then sift directly into the wheelbarrow. Whatever doesn't fall through is put into the new Biostack Bin location for the next time.

Since I do continuous (cold) composting, there would be no other way for me to do it other than sifting.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

David Taylor
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I've never heard of sifting compost before. Okay, maybe once. I can see some benefits, but could you explain why one would sift compost?

rot
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some like to sift

Some folks like to sift their compost because it makes a better planting medium and it works better in some applications like spreading on a lawn when it isn't all lumpy.

The other benefit to sifting is you can sift out the undigested sticks and clumps and throw them into the next bin to finish digesting.

Some folks just like the zen of sifting their compost into a beautiful pile of dark rich crumbly stuff.

cynthia_h
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Re: some like to sift

rot wrote:
The other benefit to sifting is you can sift out the undigested sticks and clumps and throw them into the next bin to finish digesting.
Exactly. With only one compost bin (and no room for additional ones, piles, heaps, or anything), continuous composting is the only way I can deal with it at all.

So...I add stuff in and aerate it with the wing-ding/aerator/whatever you want to call it. Then, every quarter or so, I sift/turn/move the pile, removing what's done and tossing in the rest for the next time, plus whatever I generate before "the next time."

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

eadunphy
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Location: Middletown, NJ

I started sifting after I realized that maybe I was putting the compost in my garden too soon - my plants weren't blooming and I had read that unfinished compost has too much nitrogen and can affect the blooming of plants (if I remember correctly :oops: ) After sifting, the final product is beautiful and there aren't any bits of egg shell and other stuff. The garden looks newly mulched when I am done.

I think I am going to try and make some sifters like you suggested Cynthia H. I am sure they would be more cost effective. My sifter I think was well over $20.00. Thanks for the tip :wink:

Charlie MV
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I don't sift. I'd have to start sifting Christmas day to be ready to put it out March first. :)

cynthia_h
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eadunphy, if you make your own sifters, give them an extra three or four inches, both across and lengthwise to the wheelbarrow, on those 1x2's. Bend the hardware cloth around the 1x2's and use a staple gun to attach it.

The first one I made like this was in the '80s, and only this year did we need to restaple it. That poor sifter has been out in the rain for over 20 winters...sifted many weird compost ingredients...and still keeps goin'!

I love "seeing" how things disappear in my compost.

Since I have only the Biostack Bin, I can sift it. If I could run three piles, I'd not have to sift it. But we all deal with our situation as given, so...I sift.

Cynthia

eadunphy
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:27 pm
Location: Middletown, NJ

Thank you very much for the directions for the sifters - I will definitely make these!! Ooh, and the hubby will be excited to buy a tool we don't have, a staple gun! :lol:

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smokensqueal
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eadunphy, Actually unfinished compost could rob your ground from Nitrogen. It need Nitrogen to decompose. But it will put it back when it's done. Usually, you can't see these effects unless your ground is low on Nitrogen already or used a lot and I mean a LOT of unfinished compost.

For me I also shift. I have two bins but run them a little different. One I only put in food scraps and some yard waste because it has a lid and last winter/spring we had a problem with rats. The other I put in only the garden waist and when the food scraps are on their way to decomposing I dump the other bin into my big bin and let it do it's work. Things have seemed to work out well doing this way but I've only been doing it since late spring.



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