GOTTAGARDEN
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:58 am
Location: canberra

COMPOSTS - I don't get it

Hi,
I am keen to start a compost. I've read about the layers and the 50:50 brown -green ratio, the water and the oxygen. This all makes sense.

:?

What I don't understand is: I don't have all of these items available at one time, simultaneously. I would like to add my kitchen wastes, and garden matter, browns etc as I can....over time....daily. For instance, do I have to collect the kitchen wastes in a place on its own until I have enough for a layer?

Please help
Thanking you in advance

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Aha! You have hit the perverbial nail right on the head. They aren't available year round. So, the ever smarter and (for lack of a better word) sneaky gardener collects piles of leaves in the fall.

Greens are usually available all year, from the kitchen, the lawn, when weeding, from the beach, from the local coffee joint, in the form of blood meal, or cotton seed meal (you have to pay for the last two).

But, you can also use Black and white newspaper for browns, or Cocoa Bean Chaff.... A little wood now and then works. Though, you want to limit the amount of wood that you add unless you plan on doing a Hugelcartar (I'm pretty sure that I got the spelling wrong there).

Anyway, you can make do without the great collecting from the fall but, I've always been able to scrounge up fallen leaves that people missed in the spring as well so, don't despair.


Oh yeah, kitchen wastes: Just collect them in a bucket and add to a pile that you have out back.

What I usually do with my kitchen wastes is add them to a worm bin that I keep outside my front door.

No big problems: just build a layer up; as it goes. Add some browns on top of the kitchen wastes (no meat) as it goes.

(With worm bins, you just have leaves that are mixed with cocoa bean hulls and you just dig out a hole and add the wastes there. No layering needed.)

robyn514
Full Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta,Georgia

It must be much cooler where you live to have worm bins outside your door. In Georgia the summer temps can reach the nineties in late summer. I may try worms when fall comes and the temp will be compatable with worms.

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Our summer temperatures can be as high as 30 degrees celsius which is about 90 F. The trick is to have lots of browns (I use leaves) and probably a shady area would work best.

Worm bins are actually designed to have inside but, I keep mine outside.

User avatar
Roger
Senior Member
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:52 am
Location: North Georgia

Hi there Robyn !

I've got several worm bins outside and doing well, and I am not too far north of Atlanta. They are, as Opibinia says, in the shade for most of the day. It also helps to water the bin a half-cup or so every three or four days, when the top of the bins start to look really dry.

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

I am so glad you posted, Roger.

I'm also in N. GA, and I have a worm bin built, but haven't added the worms because, even though I have the bin in the shade, I'm worried about the heat! So, now I won't worry, I'll go ahead and get my worms. :)

lillgardnr
Senior Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:12 pm
Location: El Dorado, CA.

what the difference between a worm bin and a compost pile, besides the worms....

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Well, for a worm bin, it's mostly shredded newspaper and your kitchen compost. Some leaves, not a lot (at least from what I have read, I have yet to put this to the test).

Worm compost is really yummy stuff for your plants. Better than the compost, best used in combination.

Compost is really from the yard, though kitchen waste is great in there too. It's that 50/50 mix of leaves and grass clippings (not your weeds).

You can also just keep a leaf mold bin, if you have the space. Leaf mold takes about 2 years to be ready, but a nice thick layer of that around your plants is both nutritious and works as a weed blocker. :)

I have the leaf mold bin, and a compost bin. And just getting up the guts to have the worm bin full of worms (I don't want to be responsible for wormicide if I have the balance wrong!).

lillgardnr
Senior Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:12 pm
Location: El Dorado, CA.

OK,...i have a huge leaf pile on the side of a small hill in my yard. i have been adding to it ever since we moved in here two almost three years ago. it isn't ever covered and i don't ever turn it. will the dirt/leaves in this pile work as mulch?

User avatar
Jess
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1023
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:50 pm
Location: England

Grey wrote: I have the leaf mold bin, and a compost bin. And just getting up the guts to have the worm bin full of worms (I don't want to be responsible for wormicide if I have the balance wrong!).
You are so funny Grey. Wormicide.... :lol:
Anyway. When you Americans are discussing worm bins are you talking Brandling worms like we have in UK or some other worm?
I have a wormery which I also keep outside in a shaded location but bring it in in the Winter to make sure my worms keep actively chewing but I never put leaves in it as the instructions that came with it said that you may end up introducing pests to the bin that would multiply really fast and become a nuisance. (I forget what they are called but those little flies that like damp compost for instance.) You also need to add crushed eggshell very frequently to stop the soil becoming too acidic. Little white worms are a dead giveaway that it has. Now you know everything there is to know about wormeries you can't possibly be responsible for "wormicide" :lol: get yours started!

User avatar
Jess
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1023
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:50 pm
Location: England

lillgardnr wrote:OK,...I have a huge leaf pile on the side of a small hill in my yard. I have been adding to it ever since we moved in here two almost three years ago. it isn't ever covered and I don't ever turn it. will the dirt/leaves in this pile work as mulch?
Probably at the bottom of the heap they will have broken down enough to use. Do not use if the leaves are still quite intact as they tend to dry out and clump together in a thick sheet (like a soggy newspaper dried out). You have to chop them up with a spade when they are like that and it takes forever!...Trust me I have had to do it :D

lillgardnr
Senior Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:12 pm
Location: El Dorado, CA.

great...the pile seems to be pretty dry...i guess i know the next project ill be working on...thanks so much for the advice :wink:

robyn514
Full Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta,Georgia

Maybe I am using the wrong kind of worms. I bought "Red Wrigglers" and the container said to keep below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (I know we-Americans are the only ones who use F:wink: ) Is there a certain kind of worm that is better to use?

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

No, you've purchased the correct worms, though I'm thinking that below 50 F is pretty cold. The soil should be nice and cool but, that is easy enough to maintain in your compost pile, just add more browns than greens.

Red Wrigglers are the choice composters for sure!!! But, just let nature take it's course. Red Wrigglers would have eventually shown up anyway and allow the insects and other flora and fauna (bacteria and fungi will show up as well) to do their thing.

lillgardnr
Senior Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:12 pm
Location: El Dorado, CA.

robyn514 wrote:(I know we-Americans are the only ones who use F:wink: )

:? what? ohhhh,...temp F :lol:
Last edited by lillgardnr on Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pixelphoto
Senior Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:13 am
Location: Middle Georgia USA

Theres a worm farmer in Macon Georgia area that is outside so must not be a problem with the heat so much.
There is also another one in South Ga and I figure it gets alot hotter down there than here.
Im near Macon myself.
i have one organic farm near me that also has outdoor worm bins.

robyn514
Full Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta,Georgia

I'll add more browns and give it another try.

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

lillgardnr wrote:
robyn514 wrote:(I know we-Americans are the only ones who use F:wink: )

:? what?
Fareinheit rather than Celcius. ;)

GreenGirl85
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:29 pm
Location: WA

opabinia51 wrote:Our summer temperatures can be as high as 30 degrees celsius which is about 90 F. The trick is to have lots of browns (I use leaves) and probably a shady area would work best.

Worm bins are actually designed to have inside but, I keep mine outside.
I live in Washington and it's beginning to get cold outside. I purchased the Worm Factory because it seemed like a great size for an apartment dweller. I kept it on my balcony in the summer and early fall, but I recently decided to bring it in because of the cold weather. I did encounter a gnat problem at first, but I collected a ton of leaves from outside and covered the top tray with them. That fixed the problem.

Now that it's inside, I haven't had to worry about my bin becoming too moist or too dry.

I love that I can produce organic fertilizer for my plants all year long! :D

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Worm castings are great fertilizer and what's more they are essentially free!

cwestcot
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:49 pm
Location: Georgia

I am interested in starting a worm bin, I already have a small compost pile. I am in GA just around the augusta area and I would like to know how to get started? My husband perked his ears up when I mentioned the subjuect (big fisher). But I quickly told him they were for my garden not to catch fish with. So any suggestions?
Minds are like parchutes, they work best when open.

Return to “Composting Forum”