FLBonsai
Cool Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:15 pm
Location: Florida

Open Compost Pile

I currently have a totally open pile of mostly weeds, dead grass and tree trimmings. I was thinking about just burning it all and using the ash to amend the soil in some of my bonsais. Is there any cheap way I can start a compost heap with some more green and brown ingredients? How effective is ash when compared to compost?

I.e. Will a hole work? lol I'm really right on cash and I cannot even afford some cinder blocks or a plywood container.

Thank you for your help!

cynthia_h
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Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

My immediate and visceral response was, OMG! Do you need a burn permit?!

That kind of a fire will be smoky; you have a lot of green material there. Depending on the immediate surroundings, this could be a safety hazard for your yard and/or house and those of your neighbors. Much safer, although of course slower, would be to use these materials in a classic "slow, cold" compost heap or even a "hot" compost heap.

Browse our Compost Forum here for more info on these different approaches to compost-making and for links to sites with even more information!

Cynthia

Tater
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Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:48 am
Location: Ga

From what i misunderstand to be successful with composting you need heat and aeration. From what I have seen in my own case some water (rain) helps then I cover mine with black plastic to create/ trap the heat then once a week i flip(to aerarate) the pile to put the top layers below to "cook" that.!Please don't quote me I kinda reference what folks did before too much science got invloved. I may be wrong if so please correct me tater

rot
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Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Yeah, make it cheap

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For a cheap and easy bin you can get wood pallets and tie them together using bailing wire. Avoid painted pallets. The part facing inside the bin needs to be paint free. Nail down window screen if you want to avoid critters getting in and making a mess or a home.

After that you could just fill up the bin and add water regularly to keep it moist but not soggy like some kind of bog. That means you'll want to cover it from the rain for the most part. Build it on bare ground and the worms will find their way in and do a lot of the heavy lifting. Doing nothing else you should have compost somewhere between 6 months and year depending on a number of variables.

For a variety of approaches on composting try:
https://www.compostinfo.com/

For a good list of ingredients with indications on green vs brown:
https://compost.css.cornell.edu/OnFarmHandbook/apa.taba1.html

to sense

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FLBonsai
Cool Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:15 pm
Location: Florida

Thanks everyone :D

Great advice, I'll start making some plans according to what you suggested.

Looks like I need to save some money for a container :S

rot
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Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

pallet bins are free

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Pallets are free. Check craigslist or the penny saver or the classifieds if you don't want to scrounge behind the supermarket.

I never could scrounge up enough free window screen though. It almost killed me to spend money on compost. Maybe I'm stronger now.

You can just leave stuff in a pile. Some folks do that. Typically it's done on a large scale. I think it's covered in that compost info website I left previously. Very nice website that covers all the basics in an easy read. Well worth your time.

https://www.compostinfo.com/

to sense

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User avatar
rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Agree with above. If you want to close in your pile (it is helpful to keep critters out and keep stuff from blowing around your yard), you can find free materials from Freecycle, craigslist, construction site scrap, etc.

But what you are already doing will work, it will sit there and compost, slowly. It will compost better if you gather up some "browns" like fall leaves, shredded cardboard or grocery bags, etc and mix it in with all the green you have.

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