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cass2828
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New compost bin started.. Help

I have just started a compost bin.. Should I keep in shade or sun or... I don't know.. Because it gets dry quickly....

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Gary350
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

The hotter your compost gets the faster it will compost, put it in full sun. In the past 45 years I have tried many different methods of compost. A 55 gallon metal drum painted flat black with a black lid setting in full sun will compost in 1 month. Plastic trash bags full kept in the house will compost during the winter. Wooden compost bends with lots of air vents do not get very hot. A compost pile covered with black plastic in full sun gets very hot. Compost bends on the ground fill up with 1000 of worms this helps too. Black plastic 5 gallon buckets with lid in full sun works great too. Wood ash is full of lye and lime, lime is excellent for tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, melons, and other things in the garden. Lye speeds up the compost action too. Urine is full of lime too, urine turns to ammonia then nitrogen which is very good for plants. Don't flush your best fertilizer down the toilet. After 45 years of experiments i have decided it is much easier to till all the organic material into the garden and let mother nature do the rest. Pee in the garden often.

Look at the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRAaAkfirRU

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rainbowgardener
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

Depends partly on your climate. In a hot dry climate, shade is best, because as you noted, the compost pile will dry out fast. If your compost pile dries out, it stops working. That's not a disaster; as soon as it is moistened, it starts up again, but it does slow everything down. Whenever it is dry enough to water your garden, water your compost pile as well.

Wood ash is very alkaline. If your soil is very acidic and needs "liming," that's a good thing. Otherwise I would use ash in very small quantities. Most veggies and many ornamentals prefer their soil slightly acidic.

Seems like Gary is recommending mostly anaerobic composting, which most of us try to avoid, partly for the stench it creates. He is trying to do very fast composting. Most of us just wait a little longer to get compost, just let the compost pile heat itself up naturally. You will never get compost in a month that way, but especially in a warm climate, you will be getting some finished compost in three months.
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AnnaIkona
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

I once kept my compost bin in full sun and it stinks so much!!! I now keep it under some tall pines in a cool, dry and dark space, and it works well...no smell :)
Zone 8b, Canada

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cass2828
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

Thnx for the advice guys...
Grow big or go home..

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rainbowgardener
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

AnnaIkona wrote:I once kept my compost bin in full sun and it stinks so much!!! I now keep it under some tall pines in a cool, dry and dark space, and it works well...no smell :)
Sun or shade, if your compost pile stinks you are probably not adding enough "browns" for the amount of greens you have. "Browns" are carbon rich things like fall leaves, straw, shredded paper, etc. By volume there should be as much brown as green. And it needs to have plenty of air circulation.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

Concur with what Rainbow said above. Smell is all about green/brown ratio, moisture and air in the pile. It has little to do with sun or shade.

Not only will it dry out in hot sun faster, but when placed in the shade, it takes longer to get thawed out in the spring, so take your choice.

This is a very common question when I do compost workshops, and I always tell people it's at the bottom of the list after convenience, appearance, and 'not too close to the house'. After those are satisfied, if you have a choice of sun vs. shade, you can decide based on your conditions. It's not critical to making compost.
Tox

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cass2828
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

I turned my bin...but noticed that it was not hot??? But cold
...
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rainbowgardener
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

Was it full of earthworms? Was all the material composted down to a uniform soil-like substance without recognizable ingredients (except maybe a few eggshells if you put those in)?

My compost piles never heat up much. Most of the time they get a little warm in the center, but not hot. I do add-as-it-comes-along composting. To get a compost pile that really heats up, it helps to build a big pile (i.e. about 4x4x4 ft) all at once, with the browns and greens well mixed. Then you need to keep it at an appropriate moisture level (just damp) all the time. It helps to have some concentrated Nitrogen ingredients, like manure. The times I did get a really hot pile was when I added a bunch of duckweed from our pond. It is apparently quite high in N.

In cooler composting, the earthworms do more of the work. If you have a lot of earthworms and your materials are all composting down, it doesn't particularly matter if it got really hot. That's assuming no manure in the pile. Putting manure in makes it easier to get a hot pile, but also more necessary, because of the pathogens issue.
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cass2828
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

I have no earthworms and i have no compost:(
Grow big or go home..

toxcrusadr
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

We're going to need more information to help you. Rainbow already asked you some questions. What does it look like, what were the ingredients that went in, how big is the pile/bin, is the material dry or wet, what can you see that has not decomposed??

Usually the heat happens near the beginning, particularly when you have a large batch of mixed greens and browns at the right ratio. If you're adding in bits and pieces it may never heat up. That's OK because heat is not required for compost. It just takes longer to do it cold. Mother Nature does not make hot compost anyway.
Tox

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cass2828
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

I have a small bin... I have lots f dead plants and sticks and some leaves and weeds and vegetables I also have cocopeat...
Grow big or go home..

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applestar
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Re: New compost bin started.. Help

Hmmm... I think it might be better if you start by reading the red bookmarked "sticky" threads at the top of the Composting Forum. Composting Basics and Compost 101. Compare with what you are currently doing, THEN ask specific questions if you have any.
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