Compost Bins

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Heloise
Posts: 838
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:11 pm

Re: Compost Bins

Post by Heloise » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:52 am

RecoveringDreamer wrote:Mine is gross. I'll admit that from the start, however it works well.

I have three large trash cans with holes drilled at the bottom. I will always be actively filling one. Usually one is filled with leaves from the yard. I actively fill one and when possible add leaves or cardboard (but I'm terrible about adding enough brown material). Once it is full, I start on the next. Usually by the time I have two full and start to add to the second, it is spring and I dump out the first two.

Con: not using enough browns to keep it dry leads to me having lots of soldier fly larvae in my bins. It is gross.

Pro: Black soldier fly larva break down material into compost super fast. It is a nice, dark black compost that works wonders in the garden. It is especially nice that the peak of preserving season is when the larvae are at their highest numbers.

It is gross and I don't want lots of flies. In late fall, the larvae burrow deep into the bin and go dormant. Generally, I wait until a nice cold freeze, then dump the compost out onto the garden beds. It is a huge buffet for the birds and they swoop in and eat almost all of the larvae. Any that aren't eaten freeze to death. I never never actively noticed a black soldier fly, so this system keeps the flies in control.

I know this sounds awful, but I have no plans to change it. I know farmers who buy black soldier fly larvae to put in their barns in winter to keep the manure under control. It isn't for the squeamish, but it works wonders.
It's great to hear from another compost user as to how well your system works. Too often I'm told by others, my compost doesn't work. Nevertheless, we have flies, too... lots of flies (summer months), but short of the fly situation, I love having a dedicated location to cast household waste, knowing it's going into the production of fertile growth medium, and it's amazing how much heat is generated when properly working.

gaylejackson2
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:13 pm
Location: Utah

Re: Compost Bins

Post by gaylejackson2 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:10 am

Heloise wrote:For those who practice composting, what sort of method/system do you rely on? Compost bin? A small corner of your garden? A small container in the home?

We've had an outdoor built-in wooden compost bin for decades and use it daily. So nice being able to have a special place to toss vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, even tea bags, knowing it all adds up to a fertile compost mix.
We have a pile, mound on the north side of the garden. :lol: I use it as a ramp to drive my rototiller into the garden.

I just pile stuff up, cover it with dirt or older compost, water it, then stir it around every week. We try to add in manure (from neighbor's mules) every spring or fall, stir it around some more.

gaylejackson2
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:13 pm
Location: Utah

Re: Compost Bins

Post by gaylejackson2 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:16 am

RecoveringDreamer wrote:
Heloise wrote:For those who practice composting, what sort of method/system do you rely on? Compost bin? A small corner of your garden? A small container in the home?

We've had an outdoor built-in wooden compost bin for decades and use it daily. So nice being able to have a special place to toss vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, even tea bags, knowing it all adds up to a fertile compost mix.
Mine is gross. I'll admit that from the start, however it works well.

I have three large trash cans with holes drilled at the bottom. I will always be actively filling one. Usually one is filled with leaves from the yard. I actively fill one and when possible add leaves or cardboard (but I'm terrible about adding enough brown material). Once it is full, I start on the next. Usually by the time I have two full and start to add to the second, it is spring and I dump out the first two.

Con: not using enough browns to keep it dry leads to me having lots of soldier fly larvae in my bins. It is gross.

Pro: Black soldier fly larva break down material into compost super fast. It is a nice, dark black compost that works wonders in the garden. It is especially nice that the peak of preserving season is when the larvae are at their highest numbers.

It is gross and I don't want lots of flies. In late fall, the larvae burrow deep into the bin and go dormant. Generally, I wait until a nice cold freeze, then dump the compost out onto the garden beds. It is a huge buffet for the birds and they swoop in and eat almost all of the larvae. Any that aren't eaten freeze to death. I never never actively noticed a black soldier fly, so this system keeps the flies in control.

I know this sounds awful, but I have no plans to change it. I know farmers who buy black soldier fly larvae to put in their barns in winter to keep the manure under control. It isn't for the squeamish, but it works wonders.
RD,
Your plan sound interesting, yes gross, but it works for you.

;) I can handle gross though, I used to sit on the fence watching my Dad slaughter cows & sheep for butchering. Dead sheep with maggots were common sights, as well as getting to slog through all that manure to feed & water our animals.

=) Gayle

RecoveringDreamer
Posts: 346
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:00 pm

Re: Compost Bins

Post by RecoveringDreamer » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:34 am

There is something about growing up on a farm that makes you more tolerant of gross but effective methods. I've always had an easier time with certain squeamish tasks than DH (raised in the city).
A Life Beyond Money
Self Sufficiency. Simple Living. Frugality.

www.alifebeyondmoney.blogspot.com

Heloise
Posts: 838
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:11 pm

Re: Compost Bins

Post by Heloise » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:48 am

gaylejackson2 wrote: We have a pile, mound on the north side of the garden. :lol: I use it as a ramp to drive my rototiller into the garden.

I just pile stuff up, cover it with dirt or older compost, water it, then stir it around every week. We try to add in manure (from neighbor's mules) every spring or fall, stir it around some more.
Turning, is key to the composting process. It turns into quite the science when you get into hot composting.

Heloise
Posts: 838
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:11 pm

Re: Compost Bins

Post by Heloise » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:03 am

RecoveringDreamer wrote:There is something about growing up on a farm that makes you more tolerant of gross but effective methods. I've always had an easier time with certain squeamish tasks than DH (raised in the city).
While I've always had a love for farming, I know deep in my heart that I would have never made for a good farm-girl.

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