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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Screened my compost today and am in awe all over again!

I was finally able to do the spring screening of my entire compost pile -- it's been SO SOGGY I had to wait until now. This isn't the first time I turned a compost pile or screened compost -- far from it... I've been composting for a long time. But the screening process lets you get up close and personal, you know? And I was in AWE of how all the kitchen and yard waste turns into the black, fluffy, composted humus ALL OVER AGAIN. :()

Lots of big fat worms. 1/3 by volume of the pile turned into a nice pile of med-screened black gold. The other 2/3 have fluffed up to actually higher than the whole pile had been, and hopefully will get cooking again. I'll let the screened pile mellow a bit more and turn it several times and let it dry a bit to kill all the sprouted seeds (This turns out to be a good time to do this. I'm going to remember that all the peas are about 2~4" tall, fuchsias have been in full bloom, plums and Amelanchier are starting to flower, the weeping cherry is in full bloom and it's potato planting time!). When it's ready to use, I'll be able to prep the warm season planting beds and give the cool season plants a little extra, as well as make some AACT to spread the joy. I'll small-screen it for uppotting toms and peppers, plant some more seeds, and top dress the poor transplants that I had to plant in bagged compost mixed soil :-()

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rainbowgardener
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I don't screen mine, just dig up a trowel full of it and stuff it in each planting hole...

But I do agree, I love my compost pile and it does seem like a miracle each spring, when I turn my compost pile over and the bottom third or so of it, that used to be kitchen garbage, leaves, paper, etc is now dark, rich soil full of earthworms!

My raised beds are very full of earthworms too, from receiving this good stuff.

By the time I have everything planted including all the trees and shrubs (which get a shovel full instead of a trowel full), this batch of compost will be used up. Then in May or early June I will turn the pile over again (last done end of Feb or so) and there will be more finished compost at the bottom, which will be used as top dressing for tomatoes, peppers and maybe other stuff as well.
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Decado
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Location: Crystal, MN (Zone 4)

How do you go about screening? Do you have some contraption that you shovel everything onto and the humus just falls through or what?

cynthia_h
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

I'm very low-tech about my screening. I have 1/2-inch hardware cloth staple-gunned to 1x2s. I lay this frame on top of my wheelbarrow and use a square shovel to put compost & uncomposted ingredients onto the screen.

I shake the screen/frame, and whatever falls through is, by definition, finished compost! The rest goes into the new location of the BioStack for the next round.

I made a 1/4-inch screen last year for vermicompost but haven't used it yet for the BioStack. It might be too tedious for practicality....

Will report back soon.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Yep, basically exactly what cynthia said, except I never built a contraption. I just use a folded piece of wire fencing.

What I call Large-screen is 2" -- for semi-finished compost used for tree and shrub planting holes and bottom of sheet mulches. Med-screen is 1", and Small-screen is 1/2" (actually, this one used to be part of a cat litter box years and years ago; I also use a metal soil screening riddle for smaller quantities)

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soil
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i screen my compost i am going to use for plants in pots, and seedling soils. the garden gets unscreened compost and the stuff that does get screened out goes right back into the next pile. but usually theres not much left.

2x4 with various hardware cloth sreen sizes stapled on. then if you create a frame for the screen box to sit on, it makes the job VERY easy.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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smokensqueal
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Location: St. Louis, MO Metro area

WOW a 2 inch screen. That's not much of a screen. I use something much smaller. Not sure of the size but it's the mesh that's used to put up plaster which after using it for a few years have found out that it's too small. Going to build me one with 1/4 inch hardware cloth.

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