Gardener123
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So it takes months to make compost.... I am in trouble, LOL

OK, I did my research. I understand browns and greens..... I saw a youtube video with a guy who makes compost in a trash can... I decided to do it as well.

Well, I never thought that I would have so much in my home that could be composted. I started last week, and my 35 gallon can is about 1/3rd full already. I imagine that by April, my can will be full.

I am already looking at possibly buying two 45 gallon plastic drums to make more compost. Someone near me is selling them for $15 each.....

Anyway, before I do all that, my raised beds will cover about 250ish SF.... How much compost do I need, or should I want to create? Do I need those 2 extra drums?
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rainbowgardener
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You can use as much compost as you can create! I have about as much space as you for veggies and I never have enough compost. Remember that even if you start with a drum full of stuff, it will reduce down a LOT. Maybe you will get a bucket or two of finished compost from that ... black gold!

AND everything you compost stays out of the waste stream and so benefits the planet. I compost everything I possibly can.

I don't think drums are the best way to compost. If you get serious about composting, you should think about making a compost bin/pile. There are tons of plans on-line for homemade compost bins, many from wooden pallets that you can get for free.
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Gardener123
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Yep, I have wooden pallets that were left behind from the last homeowner. They were left in my basement. I currently use them to keep stuff off the floor in case there is ever a a flood event..... I don't expect one, but who knows?
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hendi_alex
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"How much compost do I need, or should I want to create?"

Yep, that is about like saying, [how much money do I need, or would I like to have.] Compost is the very best currency for gardening. Mine is mostly 'spent' in the vegetable garden, but if any is ever left over, it will go into the flower beds.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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Gardener123
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I guess I asked the question incorrectly... at a MINIMUM, who much will I need to adequately supply my 250 - 275 SF garden?
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applestar
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:lol: We have some compost enthusiasts here. You should read Charlie MV's thread from a while back. Hendi_alex did a great photo embellished thread on hs bins a while back, too. 8)

At minimum, a handful or a trowelful per hole for each tomato and rare hot pepper and other extra special plants, a shovelful per pumpkin hill. ...or else a 1-2" layer of compost spread on the surface of the bed to be worked into the soil.

Sorry math is not my forté -- someone else will have to do the calculations. :>

P.S. If you haven't yet, I recommend reading the threads in this forum:
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/v ... m.php?f=43

dogdayz21
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Same boat...

I am actually in the same boat. Just started my trash can bin a few weeks ago. Good to know that if I get serious about composting, there are better ways to do it though. I think I'll see how this goes and if I'm successful, upgrade.
Can you be unsuccessful at composting? I mean, what happens if you do it wrong? The scraps and stuff just sit there?

--dogdayz--

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hendi_alex
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IMO the only thing that can really go wrong is if you put too many greens (or household vegetable scraps) for the amount of browns, and the material just sits there and putrefies attracting lots of annoying insects and maggots.

If the pile doesn't get hot enough, to me that is o.k. It just takes longer to get ready. If the material gets too wet, like soggy wet, the pile will turn sour and perhaps will start to go anaerobic.

Keep the ratio of greens to brown reasonable, and make sure that the pile stays damp but not soggy.

Personally, if using a trash can or other 35 gallon to 55 gallon container, I would opt for vermiculture. The worms will break the material down much faster. The garden will just love the addition of the worms, castings, and compost that result.
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dogdayz21
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I hadn't heard of vermiculture until tonight and was reading a little on it. Would I just add some worms to my bin and let them do their thing?
I had read something about the garbage can idea and that at some point worms would make their way into the can but that may take a while. If I can just add some in to help things along that would be great! What kind?

Gardener123
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dogdayz21 wrote:I hadn't heard of vermiculture until tonight and was reading a little on it. Would I just add some worms to my bin and let them do their thing?
I had read something about the garbage can idea and that at some point worms would make their way into the can but that may take a while. If I can just add some in to help things along that would be great! What kind?
This was my advice:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/v ... hp?t=50946
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hendi_alex
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My first worm box was actually an old kettle grill. Yes, all I did was add a few worms, probably a couple of hand fulls. The only difference between the worm box versus composting, was that the worm box needed somewhat more attention. It tends to get very wet, so turn the material fairly regularly and add some kinds of dry browns every few weeks, so that the bed doesn't turn into a wet soup. The container needs drainage holes on the bottom.

When my box starts to get overly wet, I just remove some of the more composted material, and add browns. Kitchen scraps are added to the top and mixed in to the top few inches. One needs to be careful to not overload with the very wet kitchen scraps however.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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Gary350
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You can make compost in 30 days......watch the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRAaAkfirRU

Gardener123
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Gary350 wrote:You can make compost in 30 days......watch the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRAaAkfirRU
Interesting, but not for me.
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toxcrusadr
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Gary: Interesting technque. Not to rain on the parade, but that that ammonia smell is nitrogen being lost due to the high pH created by the wood ash. To each his own I suppose, but most people can use a larger pile, wait a bit longer, and still keep the N in the pile. I do like the idea of recycling pee though...it's a wasted resource for the most part.
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Gardener123
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So, I know newspaper is fine to compost, but I have a question.... is it a really good compost ingredient? I have about 50 pounds of it saved for weed blocking... I know not to over do the browns. Just curious about the quality. I also know not to use the shiny ads.
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tomc
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Gardener123 wrote:So, I know newspaper is fine to compost, but I have a question.... is it a really good compost ingredient? I have about 50 pounds of it saved for weed blocking... I know not to over do the browns. Just curious about the quality. I also know not to use the shiny ads.
If your minimum criteria for additions to your compost bin is an utter certainty of the purity and absence of any possible contaminant...

Then no paper products (they still could contain pollutants. No hay or straw, (they will contain some residue of herbicides). No food item that ever touched a plastic item (it will contain residues of hormonal inhibitors). No grain or bean product because it will be made of GMO and will have fractions of tetracycline in it.

I'm making this rather grim assessment to make the point that 1. it is decay and fermentation your compost causes that reduces this environmental hazard. 2. Absolute perfection is not the usual starting point of any endeavor, it might be a goal, but it aint the first step.
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ElizabethB
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Composting, like most gardening endeavors, is an exercise in patience. Have you ever heard the expression "Be careful what you ask for"? I have often asked for patience and have been given things to try my patience and teach me to be patient.. Sigh - I am not the best student.
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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

toxcrusadr
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Paper is not a particularly rich ingredient in my opinion. It's wood with a lot of its contents removed leaving only fiber. Given the choice I would prefer wood chips, sawdust, shredded bark, etc. over paper. But it will make compost.
Tox

Gardener123
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ElizabethB wrote:Composting, like most gardening endeavors, is an exercise in patience. Have you ever heard the expression "Be careful what you ask for"? I have often asked for patience and have been given things to try my patience and teach me to be patient.. Sigh - I am not the best student.
I hear you and everybody else. That is why I asked. So far I haven't used much of it. Yesterday I did come across, what I think should be a great addition to the compost pile ( can )...... Large amounts of brown pine needles. I also have looked at the treeline at the back of my property and there is still a reasonable amount of dead leaves and such.

I think I have too much newspaper for the amount of composting I plan to do this year, maybe even too much to use as a weed block. So, I guessit will just go in the recycle bin if that is the case.

TY all.
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rainbowgardener
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You can use up a lot of newspaper, using it as weed block/mulch...

Pine needles don't break down real well in compost pile; they are full of resins and such. They will compost eventually, but v e r y s l o w l y.
Don't put too much in. The fall leaves would be better. That's what I use for my main "brown" much of the year. If I run out of fall leaves in the summer, I buy a bale of straw, to use as mulch and to feed in to the compost pile. It doesn't break down as quickly as the fall leaves, but it does work.
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toxcrusadr
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>>Composting, like most gardening endeavors, is an exercise in patience.

A preacher I admired once said, "I don't pray for patience. I've realized that God has already given me far more patience than I am willing to use." 8) He was from South Carolina and had that drawl, so the last word came out "yeuwwse."
Tox

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