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RogueRose
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New to composting....am I doing this right?

Hi all! I have been gardening for a bit right now but finally decided to compost. I rent so I am limited as to how I can compost in my yard. I got a big "muck bucket" type tote and put holes all along the bottom and sides.

The REASON I decided to finally attempt composting is that I got a juicer and I have so much "by product" from this juicer. I don't want to just waste all this pulp and stuff. What I've been doing is throwing the by product in the bin. Once there's a layer of this I then put soil on top of it. So essentially I'm "pancaking" this.

I do plan to turn it (by hand) once I get a bit more. There's only 2 layers of each right now. I would also like to add worms. There is no top to this though which I imagine is not good....and worms....can I add worms to this?

And can I just buy worms and add them tot he garden?

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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

Rogue your "bin" size is too small to completely compost kitchen waste. That said, because you have little or no oils or animal by product, you can simply bury the tankage you are making. Bury it in beds that are presently fallow, and what ever will be the 'new' bed. You want a full ninety days between setting compost to field and harvest of the next crop planted in that spot.

Once the first pail is full, start on a second.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

Also, for composting kitchen waste, which is higher in nitrogen ('green' in compost parlance), you need a low nitrogen, high carbon ('brown') material rather than soil to mix with it. Soil doesn't do much for composting, it just sits there taking up space and any heat that might be generated (if your pile was big enough). Leaves, shredded paper, cardboard, straw, sawdust, wood chips will work.

tomc has a good idea about direct burial.

If you do want to compost, though: Not sure how big that tote is, but if you have enough room for a circle of chicken wire or hardware cloth (wire mesh), maybe 3 ft. tall, you could put a lot more in before it got full. Or a small enclosed bin designed for composting that would look nice and neat.
Tox

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RogueRose
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

Thanks - I do have leaves I can add to it, so that's not an issue. I don't really have any beds or anywhere I can bury it, as this is not my property and I can't just put in beds and things. But will I be able to do this once I'm done with the beds for the year? Or will fall into spring be too cold for the compost to "act" ?

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applestar
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

Have you considered vermicompost ing? The tote would make a handy worm bin. The worms will love your juicer by-products and you can use the leaves or add shredded paper. I haven't actually purchased from them but I've located a worm farm in Bordentown that I thought I would try if I ever decide to get a pound of worms.

...but you know what? I just now realized -- if you are talking about the mash that the juicer spits out, then those are more easily disposed of rinsed out into a bucket of water, then used to water the garden.
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ElizabethB
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

After seeing your great pictures I am confused. From what I see a compost bin - wire ring, lumber and chicken wire bin or bin made from pallets - should not be a problem. All are temporary and easily removed if you decide to move. Love your use of limited space - between the concrete and fence - fantastic!

Your kitchen waste is good but do add shredded leaves, shredded newspaper and cardboard tubes. Mix it up. You do not need the soil. If you can get your hands on cured horse or cow manure that is good. Fresh rabbit manure is easy to find and can be added to your pile fresh. Query rabbit breeders in your city and state.

Having composted for a while I really don't see the point unless you are working with a 4'x4'x4' pile or bin. Less than that just does not give enough product to justify the effort. Actually I would recommend 2 4'x4'x4' bins adjacent to teach other for ease of turning.

Good luck

Love your pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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RogueRose
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

applestar wrote:Have you considered vermicompost ing? The tote would make a handy worm bin. The worms will love your juicer by-products and you can use the leaves or add shredded paper. I haven't actually purchased from them but I've located a worm farm in Bordentown that I thought I would try if I ever decide to get a pound of worms.

...but you know what? I just now realized -- if you are talking about the mash that the juicer spits out, then those are more easily disposed of rinsed out into a bucket of water, then used to water the garden.
I haven't considered that...it's a 17gal bin. Circular. With handles. I juice almost every day so I have a ton of the pulp left over...it depends what I'm juicing whether it is "juicy" pulp or not. If it's something like watermelon or oranges - then yeah, it's a bit more watery. But I like to juice some veggies which isn't necessarily that watery.

I just would like to do something with this stuff and not waste it. Plus I eat so much fruit and veggies to begin with and have so much "waste" from these that I would like to do something with.

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RogueRose
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

ElizabethB wrote:After seeing your great pictures I am confused. From what I see a compost bin - wire ring, lumber and chicken wire bin or bin made from pallets - should not be a problem. All are temporary and easily removed if you decide to move. Love your use of limited space - between the concrete and fence - fantastic!

Your kitchen waste is good but do add shredded leaves, shredded newspaper and cardboard tubes. Mix it up. You do not need the soil. If you can get your hands on cured horse or cow manure that is good. Fresh rabbit manure is easy to find and can be added to your pile fresh. Query rabbit breeders in your city and state.

Having composted for a while I really don't see the point unless you are working with a 4'x4'x4' pile or bin. Less than that just does not give enough product to justify the effort. Actually I would recommend 2 4'x4'x4' bins adjacent to teach other for ease of turning.

Good luck

Love your pictures. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! I try to make as much use of what I have as possible - I dug up all the beds that are in here already and so I kind of feel guilty digging up more of the garden or putting something on pallets or something. Maybe I could build something on the concrete slab behind the garage that used to be a greenhouse? (Sadly it was dismembered 30+yrs ago). That way I am not taking away valuable lawn space.

I own a horse so getting cured horse waste is no problem.

toxcrusadr
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

I applaud your efforts to not waste your food waste even though the volume is small. It's good for us to keep in mind that there are other goals (and benefits) to composting besides just making compost.

Re: worms, they need certain conditions of moisture and temperature in order to thrive. They will migrate if the conditions change. It's usually not recommended to add them to either garden or compost, since they are normally in the ground in temperate climates, and they will come if they want to. If your soil has sufficient organic matter they will be attracted anyway. The only time it's worthwhile to add them is to a worm bin, and a particular species (red wigglers) is required for vermicomposting. Concentrate on improving your soil and they will come.

I think you could make a composter on a concrete slab if you're not bothered by the certainty that the concrete will be stained by the leachate. If there's a slope to it at all, put the compost on the downhill edge to allow runoff to get into the ground asap.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

I agree, great that you are not wasting all those good organics. But if you just put all those pulps in a tote, you will end up with slimy nasty mess. As Elizabeth said, you REALLY need to mix your pulps with equal volume of "browns" (read the stickies at the top of this forum), like fall leaves, straw, shredded paper, etc.
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RogueRose
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Re: New to composting....am I doing this right?

Thanks for the tips everyone. I think I will try to figure out a way to set something up on the concrete slab. It's about 12x12 and it does slope downwards with a "drain" (really a chink in the 2" tall "wall") so I could probably do something there. At one end (near the drain end) there already is a lot of stuff gathering anyway over the years so that's been discoloring the concrete to begin with. I'll try to get a pic of the area I'm thinking of to get your thoughts.

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