altsciguy
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Posts: 11
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:06 pm
Location: Cincinnati, East

I must be the laziest composter

Hello, I have only been here a couple days and all I have read has led me to think I am a lazy gardener. I do not used raised beds. just till into the ground and plant in rows and I put very little thought or effort into my compost pile. Growing up it was just that, a pile in the corner of our garden. It was where we threw all the weeds from "weeding". We threw a few coffee gounds in, apple cores and other things my dad would tell us to "just throw it on the compost pile". We (four boys) would use it for an easy place to pee and well that was it.

Today I put four pallet up to make a square and I throw my weeds from the garden in there. A few coffee gounds, egg shells and kitchen scraps from trimming veggies. (ok and maybe I still pee on it now and then for convenience but..) I do not turn it, watch it, monitor it, check heat or anything. Just thow stuff in and forget it. It is a waste bin for weeds apple cores etc. Come spring I take one side off and start shoveling it out. The top layer is still plants and such so I shovel from the bottom, to the garden. the top layer stuff I push to the side. after I get most of the good black stuff out, I shove the top layer stuff back in and put the side back on. Start over for another year.

Yes just one load a year in the spring and I till that in before planting. No meat!!! no manure no going out to get anything for the pile. Maybe a few fish guts wrapped in newspaper. (those guts stink up the kitchen garbage and do not hurt the compost pile at all).


Now, what I understand: the lack of heat does not kill the weed seeds so next year those seeds will germinate and cause more weeds in my garden. well, ok if not those weeds some weeds, the wind blows and I have no illusions of ever having a weed free garden. And without weeds what would I put in my compost pile? The dirt clinging to the roots of my pulled weeds goes into the pile with the weeds taking micro organisims etc. needed to break the weeds down into compost. A little pee now and then add nitrogen.

My kitchen garbage does not smell as bad because I do not have rotting fruit (also no fruit flys in the house), fish guts and other veggies rotting in my garbage. Not bringing things/manure to my pile keeps new weeds from showing up in my garden. (true story, a guy I knew got some free horse manure for his compost pile. The next year he had a new weed in his garden. He did not like the new weed because the stem broke easily and so the roots were never pulled up with the weed. in a couple years it was THE weed in his garden. in fact it was the plant in his garden. he hated that plant whatever it was.) so better the devil I know.....

Finally, PIGS!! I love pigs. I used to have pigs, chickens and a couple calves. I threw old hay, stray, garden weeds, grass clippings, the manure and shaving from the chickens and calves into the pig pen. Pigs love composting!! (there was a lot of old hay percentage wise) The pigs turned, slept on and converted all my barn sweepings and manure into great compost. Come winter the pigs left, I cleaned out the pen right into my garden and it was ready for new pigs the next year.

If you have read this far you can see there is a lot happening but I am not doing much of it. Put up four pallets, throw weeds and scraps in for a year (I gotta put them somewhere) once a year take one side off, put the good stuff on the garden and put the side back on. Throw my barn cleaning stuff in with the pigs (gotta put it somewhere) and once a year clean the pen out, put it on the garden and ready for new pigs. Cycles, they work without me.

Most often people spend money and effort to disprupt cycles. I just stand back and stay out of the way. Oh I leave my grass clipping on my yard. They get chopped up with mowing and well break down into compost for the grass in my yard (I know kind of canibalistic feeding my grass grass but..lol) The natural cycles of our planet do wonderous things, even without our help. So... I am patient and lazy. KIS

altsciguy
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Posts: 11
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:06 pm
Location: Cincinnati, East

oh I forgot to mention that sometimes a tomato or melon plant starts growing in my compost pile. I weave the plant though the pallet on the side and just let it grow. Easy volunteer tomatos and mellons. I'll take that.

tomc
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

I do use raised beds. This years rain has made me glad I did.

I barely turn my pallet sided compost. When the 30 gallon slops can is mostly full I dig out a wheelbarrows worth of what ever is on top of the pile and add slops barrel, returning wheelbarrow load as camoflage for slops contents.

Yard waste goes on top of camoflage...

late in the fall the twiggy junque will go into hugelkultur beds. More finished compost on top of raised beds to be turned in.

Does my compost get hot? When ever I have bothered to check it did. One day I'll have to check that again.

Later in fall re-wire pallets and fill with autumnal leaves.
Last edited by tomc on Mon May 16, 2011 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Hi altsciguy! Welcome to the forum. I'm another cincinnati gardener (near XU). There are several of us Queen City folks around here. Look for wordwiz who is a local market gardener.

I do lazy composting too, with little turning or fussing. I do try to let people know it doesn't have to be hard and it isn't rocket science. And like you, I never buy anything to add to the compost pile.
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Joyfirst
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Location: Southern California

I do lazy composting too :D , bu8t now I want to be even lazier after rereading Ruth Stout's book and put veggie scraps directly on the beds under straw mulch - then not just I won't need to turn- I won't need to take it and spread it, and if you use 6-8 inches of mulch, you won't need to till in the spring either - so you get get even lazier.... :lol:

bogydave
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Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:11 am
Location: Alaska

Hey, it works for you. Compost will happen with or with out us.
Keeping it simple is a good thing.
Sounds like you have a great set up.
I like the pallet bin well to. With a little effort on my part with cooler temperatures here, I get good volumes of compost too.

Happy composting.
Keep it simple, let Mother nature do what she does.
Last edited by bogydave on Mon May 16, 2011 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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farmerlon
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Location: middle Tennessee

Nothing wrong with being a "lazy" composter. If that's what works for you, I say great!... the important thing, I think, is to just make compost, regardless of your style.

For me, I have to put a little more work into it. Otherwise, I don't have enough compost, quickly enough, to suit my needs for it. If I ever reach the point that I am making compost to a level of surplus, then I will probably become a little more lazy about it. :D

tomc
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

This post and a subsequent one about composting meats, made me recall to actually stick a probe in the compost bin when I added this months slops barrel.

Ayup, its hot. who'd a thunk it.
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rainbowgardener
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tomc wrote: this months slops barrel.
This month's slops barrel?! Your kitchen scraps sit around for a month? Wheuwee! And I thought my kitchen scraps bucket gets pretty ripe after a week in the summer! :)
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2cents
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altsciguy, also from the area, welcome.
Sounds like you are enjoying this garden/compost adventure.
It doesn't sound like you're lazy, just to busy to spend time cooking a pile of scrap. I bet you do your cooking on a grill. :wink:
To cut down on the weeds from the compostable pile, I let mine decompose 2-3 years. Any weeds grow n die off. Then...purge the entire pile onto the garden and start over. This method allows me to pile all of the sticks in the yard. Cut a 20 foot tree down (10" stump) last fall, to start a compost pile, it will be ready in another 1.5 years, The big logs are set on the outside edge of the compost pile, maybe let them go for total of 4-5 yrs. Next time I purge the pile those logs will go down first and begin the new pile.
Most of the garden gets heavy amounts of fall leaves.
Have fun and enjoy the results

Texas.girl
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 3:03 pm
Location: Western Edge of the Texas Hill Country

I am a lazy composter. Made a large circle of chicken wire and started dumping stuff in. Got 4 bags of leaves ( and rocks) from a friend recently who lives in town. I did have to create raised beds for gardening though, which I lined the sides with rocks. This is rocky land. Raised beds is the only way to have a garden here. To bad rocks don't compost. The less work I have to do the better.

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