pickupguy07
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what to expect / Winter

OK.. ALL year I've been lacking leaves to put in my compost pile.
Now Fall is here, and I have LOTS of everything to throw in my pile.
Neighbors bringing me grass / leaves they have picked up with their lawn mower and shredded and bagger / coffee grounds / peelings, etc from many jelly making projects, etc.

Today I made a whole pile of 4x4x4 compost inside pallets. Also topped off one that I've been working on all year.
I still have more greens (garden vines, tomato plants, beans plants, etc) to add when the pile settles.

So here's my question... is all this OK. I was curious with cold weather and Winter coming on, will the pile be ready to use in the Spring. I kinda doubt I'll be outside messing with it over the Winter...?
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

john gault
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Yes it's probably best to not turn the pile in the winter time. It is a very good idea to throw things in there that create air pockets, much more brown stuff than normal. The bigger the pile the better.

Although since my last few winters have been seriously cold here, not like they use to be, I'm thinking about using some black plastic (with holes for air) to cover up the pile, but I'm still mulling over this....

pickupguy07
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yeah I meant to ask about covering it to keep heat in.... (or if it might mold)
and if I should add water as we go along.?? I'm sure it shouldn't be real wet.
I think I had a problem keeping it wet enough over the summer due to the drought. Nev3er got the temp over 100* but for a few days. Before I put in the extra stuff it was about 65*

Today when I added in everything, I added about 15 gallons of water to each pile to get it moist. I added about 12 39-gallon sized bags of leaves/grass to the two piles (combined) Needless to say it was somewhat dry when I dumped it all out.

I expect to get some more bags from my neighbors (plus what I bag up). Gotta have some leaves saved up to have when they aren't around next year.

I bought a neat little cardboard contraption to bag up leaves. I'll try to post a pic of it in the next few days (oh, it costs me 43 cents)... LOL
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

tomc
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If you lived in say Montana, instead of hotlanta, worrying about your compost freezing up would be more germain.

A recent poster here is Bogy Dave, if his compost works in Alaska, yours will in Georgia. he also has lovely photos of his compost piles. Here in this forum, really. ;)
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rainbowgardener
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Here in cold winter country, I don't do anything to my pile all winter, except keep adding kitchen scraps and fall leaves to it (I save bags of fall leaves to feed in to it all through the winter and spring). It freezes solid most of the winter, but starts working again as soon as the thaw comes. Since it's frozen, I don't add water through the winter. Even so by spring planting, I have finished compost at the bottom of the pile (throw the rest back to keep working).

In GA your pile probably will keep working all through the winter, so you may want to add a little water and stir every once in awhile (like once a month-ish).

I don't cover my pile, but we've had lots of discussion about that around here. It probably depends on your climate. In hot,dry areas a cover with air holes probably helps keep your pile from drying out too much, otherwise you need to water it frequently. For me, my pile is in the shade and through the growing season, I just water it any time I water plants.
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john gault
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pickupguy07 wrote: I think I had a problem keeping it wet enough over the summer due to the drought. Nev3er got the temp over 100* but for a few days. Before I put in the extra stuff it was about 65*
What kind of activity do you have in your pile, in the way of macroorganisms, i.e. worms, mites, beetles, ants, roaches...To me that's more important than the temp.

pickupguy07
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rainbowgardener wrote: For me, my pile is in the shade and through the growing season, I just water it any time I water plants.
Yeah, I have mine in the shade also (mostly to keep it from being in the direct sunlight and drying it out.)
(( didn't seem to work)) LOL
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

john gault
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My primary pile is also in the shade, under a group of live oaks and one sweetgum tree. However, this year I plan to experiment with making a compost pile in my garden (full sun area) covered with black platic (I get the black plastic from my neighborhood leaf roundup -- black plastic bags). I just laid some down a couple weeks ago and is very active, I'm hoping it stays very warm and active over the cold months.

pickupguy07
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john gault wrote:My primary pile is also in the shade, under a group of live oaks and one sweetgum tree. However, this year I plan to experiment with making a compost pile in my garden (full sun area) covered with black platic (I get the black plastic from my neighborhood leaf roundup -- black plastic bags). I just laid some down a couple weeks ago and is very active, I'm hoping it stays very warm and active over the cold months.
Yeah all the bags I just got were very warm (and in black plastic bags.)
I could feel the heat come off of it as I poured it out.
Never been able to feel heat when I turn my pile..
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

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Runningtrails
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All this makes me think I should make an actual "pile". I usually lay all the yard waste directly on the garden as mulch and fill garden holes and low spots with the kitchen waste covered with old manure, my grass clipping, coffee grounds, leaf mould and other more developed waste and use these things as mulch directly around the plants. I have never had enough, after all this, to start a "pile". All I seem to have left is a pile of big branches and we burn those for fuel when they get dry.

pickupguy07
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Location: GA

john gault wrote:
pickupguy07 wrote:
What kind of activity do you have in your pile, in the way of macroorganisms, i.e. worms, mites, beetles, ants, roaches...To me that's more important than the temp.
Sorry I missed this question before.
I have beetles, and ants, (and some gnats on top). Not sure what else really. Hadn't saw any worms...??
Maybe I should go to the local bait shop and buy a large container of night crawlers for each bin.??

OH. I been meaning to ask...
Have any idea how many bags I should have to get me through next summer.
I guess what I am asking is how many do you folks have to keep two 4x4x4 bins working all summer. Don't want to run out again next year. I could even start a third bin if I can get enough greens in the summer..??
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

toxcrusadr
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No need to buy worms. If the conditions are right they will come into the pile. If you put worms in from somewhere else, they will likely leave, or die of shock.

Worms come in when the conditions are right - moisture, temperature, materials and decomposition stage. Don't expect to see them all the time. They are only one member of the composting crew.

Just because you don't have worms in your pile doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your pile.
Tox

pickupguy07
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:06 pm
Location: GA

thanks for then info on the worms
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

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gixxerific
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rainbowgardener wrote:Here in cold winter country, I don't do anything to my pile all winter, except keep adding kitchen scraps and fall leaves to it (I save bags of fall leaves to feed in to it all through the winter and spring). It freezes solid most of the winter, but starts working again as soon as the thaw comes. Since it's frozen, I don't add water through the winter. Even so by spring planting, I have finished compost at the bottom of the pile (throw the rest back to keep working).

In GA your pile probably will keep working all through the winter, so you may want to add a little water and stir every once in awhile (like once a month-ish).

I don't cover my pile, but we've had lots of discussion about that around here. It probably depends on your climate. In hot,dry areas a cover with air holes probably helps keep your pile from drying out too much, otherwise you need to water it frequently. For me, my pile is in the shade and through the growing season, I just water it any time I water plants.
X2

Don't cover it unless it can still get air. I wouldn't cover it either way really. If it dry's out water it. Don't buy worms, you will have plenty.

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