erins327
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Fellow composter here, been at it for years doing the traditional backyard corner composter. But then you have to sift it and wait til its ready....blah blah blah.

Would composting like this really work? Or am I just asking for trouble by inviting unwanted bugs or critters into the garden directly? I have tried this method for about a month now, and it seems to be working....everything at the bottom is unrecognizable now, basically dirt, and I shoveled some of it away at the bottom and found 1 or 2 earthworms in there.
Attachments
ingarden composter.jpg
#foodisfreeyall

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

The idea being that you are composting in place, in the garden spot. Should be OK. The kinds of bugs in a compost pile are detritovores, that break down dead stuff. They are not the same kind of bugs that would attack your garden, in general.

There are other ways of doing this. Keyhole garden builds a raised bed around a ground level central compost pile:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... rden#63042

lasagna gardening or sheet composting spreads the compostables over the garden bed and layers them with cardboard, grass clippings, fall leaves, etc.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

It works very well as a matter of fact. You can move that bin around to a different spot when you empty it. A lot goes on in the soil beneath a compost pile, and it ends up enriched. So move that soil enriching machine around now and then. :-]
If you have a bed that really needs intense therapy, let it be fallow for a season and build a big compost pile over the whole area (or just part of it, a square yard if you want). By the following spring it will be much improved.
Tox

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11342
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Years ago, I used to rotate my garden beds at the community garden. I have 6 beds in my plot and I would put the compost pile in the fallow plot. It worked, but then I did a lot of things wrong when I first tried to make compost. Composting in the tropics can be tricky. You cannot put persistent weeds in the compost pile, they don't die. I had so much greens that I did not have enough browns so my first piles were slimy, stinky and really wet. They sank fast so they did not hot compost even with compost starter. I made my pile pretty much out of one type of green instead of a mix of greens and browns. The weeds grew on the compost pile.

I got better results when I did bag composting first. It was still mostly greens and slimy, but I had a lot fewer weeds surviving.

Later I learned to chop my greens better, bag and trash the persistent weeds, add more browns. I also did not need to buy anymore compost starter. Soil, bagged manure, and fertilizer provided enough nitrogen and organisms to seed the pile.
The pile got a lot hotter and cooked better when I built it in a day instead of over a few weeks. It still did not get hot enough, long enough but it did "steam" better. It took me a while to learn to balance the greens and browns.

Even with all the mistakes I made I still got a few inches of good compost at the bottom of the pile whichI turned into the bed when it was time to plant.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

erins327
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Yeeeaaahhhh! This is what I wanted to hear folks.

I was toying with the idea with the steel mesh I found because our compost pile is usually open and exposed, and because we live on a creek, started to have too many critter problems. I was just feeding the wildlife. But I think I finally found a solution!
#foodisfreeyall

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Wire mesh is great for compost bins, makes for a smaller footprint if you're tight on space, and the appearance blends in with the surroundings better than a big hunk of plastic.
Tox

User avatar
MockY
Full Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed May 06, 2015 9:30 pm
Location: Sacramento, Zone 9b

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

This is an integral part of keyhole gardening and will only serve you well.

https://www.inspirationgreen.com/keyhole-gardens.html

meandtk
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:14 pm
Location: South Mississippi

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

FYI,
I'm not big on posting, but thought I'd reply to at least let y'all know that even lurkers get good out of the posts.
Thankfully I have no critter problems except the occasional possum or coon that comes and gets some fruit.

User avatar
JC's Garden
Senior Member
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue May 13, 2014 2:43 am
Location: Moultrie, GA Planting Zone 8, Sunset Zone 31

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

I've been using wire for years and moving it every time I toss it. I keep a 4 foot diameter (to keep the heat right) and toss when full. I don't cover the top because it draws birds to my garden. No problems with other critters here in town. Good luck.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

The keyhole garden is great! Thanks for posting that MockY. It is often overlooked that the composting process itself creates a lot of fertility in the soil, so composting IN the garden is very beneficial to productivity if it's at all possible to do so. Of course we can't always compost everything right in the garden or during the growing season, but if you can fit it in, either this way or by using compostables as garden mulches, you can harvest some of that goodness.
Tox

erins327
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

An update about my keyhole gardening that I have started. Boy it sure does work well!!! And so much more convenient!! Wow!

We had a cold front come in last week where winds got to be about 25-30 mph gusts. I have one that is kinda tall, and fell over, thankfully not on anything. But when I went to go prop it back up it was TEAMING with earthworms. Some were in there that were as big as snakes, holy cow. And we cannot compost enough, all three of them that are placed in the garden drop about 6" a day.

I have the plan of rotating them, and then switching places with it within the garden so everyone has a turn of getting some delicious compost!
#foodisfreeyall

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Terrific ! Show us a picture !
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

erins327
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Well, I moved it a little today just so I could see if something was there. And it wasnt. However evidence that they have been chomping because its basically finished compost at the bottom. In one picture, its had to see the definitive line where it is unfinished vs essentially finished compost. I have potato leafings coming out of it, but eh, just leaving them for now.

And then the other picture is the top. It is about 3/4 full now, and it was 100% full last week. And yes, it is normally covered, so critters are not eating out of it!
Attachments
keyhole top feb 2016.jpg
keyhole compost feb 2016.jpg
#foodisfreeyall

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27902
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

I think it's looking good! :D
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27902
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Your post inspired me to go out and start building a new compost pile in the bed in which I intend to plant peas and corn this year. It's nice day -- currently 57°F with forecast high of 60°F :-()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

It was 73 here in MO on Saturday and I'm thinking of composting and garden building too. I have a whole bin full of delicious compost that was done last fall but I didn't get to empty it before it got cold and dark. It's almost like spring here already. It's been so mild that the baby greens in my cold frame never froze off. I'm eating spicy turnip and mustard greens in my salads.
Tox

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11342
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

I wish I had your energy and budget. I can only wish for those things. There is no room in my yard for a compost pile, that is why I do worms instead and I have everything piled up in my garage, on the side of my yard and in my patio. If I had a place for a lawn building, that would probably be full too.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

You could just let those potatoes grow in there!
Tox

erins327
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

Here is my 'after' picture! I'm cleaning out my beds, getting ready for the summer stuff. Decided to flip it over and actually make a bigger one. The one posted here is just a little too tall and kept dumping over.

Pretty much compost and pieces of leaves at the bottom!
Attachments
finished compost.jpg
#foodisfreeyall

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Hmmm...will this work or am I asking for trouble?

If I was that dog I would totally roll around in that! Nicely done.
Tox

Return to “Composting Forum”