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sjgray
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Location: Erie, Co

Is my batch composter working (in your opinion)??

I wanted to start composting recently but we live in one of these neighborhoods with the stiff HOA rules, and the best I could do was a batch compost tumbler. I got it in November, started filling it right away with kitchen scraps and shredded leaves. My plan was to stop adding to it in March, in order to give it the alleged 6-8 weeks that it needs to turn "stuff" into compost--just in time to get it into the garden. Even though it's discreet looking, my husband was still worried about HOA stuff, so we put it against the side of the house where it didn't get much sun. Of course it froze solid several times over the winter and didn't get much heat going. About two weeks ago I moved it into the sun, hoping something would happen, have been spinning it every day as per the instructions. SO: it's basically a mass of super-gooey orangish sludge, with lots of chunks still. I added about a quarter of a bag of soil the other day, thinking that might help...is this going to turn into compost or will I be pouring soup into my garden. And if it is soup, is that bad, or will it still work???
Many thanks,
SJ

GardenJester
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first of all, it's never 6-8 weeks, they lied. I think you need some more brown stuff, like saw dust, wood chips, more dry leafs might do it.

csibona
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Re: Is my batch composter working (in your opinion)??

sjgray wrote:And if it is soup, is that bad, or will it still work???
SJ
I would try to dry it out before use - I usually add newspaper scraps but I'm sure the above suggestions work well. I usually find that the "soup" smells unpleasant and would try to dry it out first. I try to avoid using chunks - animals like the chunks too.

Generally speaking, when I am getting ready to use the compost I stop adding new stuff and spin regularly (I have a tumbler). I put new compostable material in old plastic cat litter bins until the compost is ready.

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Halfway
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shred a bunch of cardboard/toilet tissue tubes etc. for browns. don't add anymore water. let the browns absord the gooey and let it cook.
Zone 4a.

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sjgray
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Location: Erie, Co

Thanks everyone, I will try your suggestions. Hopefully it will be ready by planting time!

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smokensqueal
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Like everyone else said you need browns and a lot of them. It should only feel damp no feel or look wet.

But one thing to keep in mind. The sun will help thaw it if it's frozen but it won't contribute to the heat needed to make it into compost. That heat is cause by the little microbes in there eating away and making the compost. The sun will also help dry it out. But once you get it right and the microbes are eating then you can put it anywhere you want and it will continue to work.

My one bin was still warm in Jan when I tuned it a little because there was a lot of food for the microbes, while my other bin that was about finished was frozen. Even though it did end up freezing for two months it was warming up before my other bin thawed.

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