how often do i turn???

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BigPaddy

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2008, 15:56 »
I am trying out builders bags for compost bins. The kind of bags that sand and gravel get delivered in. They used to have a deposit on them, but are now non-returnable.

I read somewhere that they are perfect as they are breathable and let water out.

Fill, leave 6 months, turn into second bag. Leave 6 months, use. If you need more 'bins' get more bags.

I got four to start from freecycle.
Patrick
Hull, East yorkshire

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summer-sun

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2008, 21:31 »
Wow....the pallet composters look really good!
How do you get your hands on the pallets?
I'm sure i could give it ago!! hammer and a few nails!!! and logical thinking..........right??

Now i know what the holes are for in my compost bin! i thought they needed to be kind of air tight and kept in dark!

thanks!

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KingEdward

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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2008, 10:54 »
i am now on the prowl for some pallets.my problem is they will have to be matching.i hate it when things dont match. :lol:

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wighty

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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2008, 16:55 »
Try your local hardware store.  If you came in mine and asked (very nicely of course) I might let you have one or two.  Apart from the blue ones the plain ones if we make the transport company take them back which they are reluctant to do, they take them to the dump to be burnt.

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Tinbasher

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2008, 21:22 »
Quote from: "summer-sun"
Wow....the pallet composters look really good!
How do you get your hands on the pallets?
I'm sure i could give it ago!! hammer and a few nails!!! and logical thinking..........right??

Now i know what the holes are for in my compost bin! i thought they needed to be kind of air tight and kept in dark!

thanks!


I'm of the view that bins should be solid and without side holes, or any holes at all.  The principal factor in getting material to rot down is heat.  Sure it needs to be damp (warm and damp and thus sweaty) and it needs to have regular oxygen to maintain the fermentation, but the former is easy enough to induce by sprinkling (and urinating on) and the latter is achieved by regular turning, which is part of the whole process anyway.  It's easier to add moisture and oxygen than it is to add heat in the event of a cold heap, and so the trick is to conserve the heat as much as possible.  It is the UK after all and apart from a really hot summers day, the ambient temperature isn't enough to get an open or exposed heap really heating up.

Another trick, especially in a really big heap that is rotting quickly and heating up, is to insert a couple of good lengths of plastic pipe (downspout) with decent holes drilled in it all along the length and around the circumference, enough so that they reach the middle of the heap and poke out the top and so are vented to open air.  They will act as effective ventilators as air can be drawn down the pipes into the middle of the heap.

You need a heap heating up to almost 60 degrees C (which is about what they'll go to, all conditions being ideal) for maximum efficiency. This is more or less the temperature of a hot bath.  Only after about 53 degrees (I think) do certain bacteria emerge that then begin to feed on the previous bacteria and partially rotted material and really accelerate the process.  Other than in extreme conditions of heat these bacteria never see the light of day and we may rarely encounter them.  Nonetheless they are aparently dormant everywhere.  Apparently (the last I read about it) scientists don't actually fully know where they come from, where they go, how they remain dormant and unseen, but they are there lurking as micro-micro-organisms with immense energy potential if you can build a hot enough heap.

Into the centre of a heap, insert a length of metal pipe (scaffold or what have you) and go for a potter about for 15 minutes.  Come back and remove the pipe and the business end should be hot enough to almost burn your hand - hot enough to be uncomfortable anyway.

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noshed

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2008, 22:44 »
Pallets are good for compost heaps partly because they are quite big and you end up with a big pile of stuff, which will heat up nicely if you mix the stuff up well and cover the top (I use packing material from work).
Personally I wouldn't worry too much - just pile the stuff in and leave it. Even if it ends up a bit smelly you can just stir it up and it will be OK. The main thing is to have a couple of heaps so you can shovel from one to the other.
Self-sufficient in rasberries and bindweed. Slug pellets can be handy.

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Snap Dragon

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2008, 23:38 »
Would it help to wrap some of that weed supressing stuff round the pallet composters to keep some moisture and heat in?  :idea:
Snappy 

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I could give up chocolate but I'm not a quitter.

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Eristic

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2008, 01:07 »
The simplest and most efficient compost bin is the builders sandbags mentioned above. Why would any sane person spend all that effort carting 4 massive pallets around when they could tuck a bag under their arm.? It makes no sense.

The Moriati composting method has stood the test of time and gets results difficult to beat in the minimum of time and with minimum effort. The cost of the system is appealing too.

LINK to Moriati's composting method.

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compostqueen

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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2008, 08:03 »
I use those builders rubble sacks as raised beds for growing pumpkins, squashes and courgettes in.  Might do me dwarf beans in em this year. They have a limited life though as they're made to break down in case they get dumped in hedgerows and the like, but mine have been going for a few years.  Got some new ones now as people know what I use them for so I get a  steady supply. I like the Jewson ones  :D   I fill them with anything compostable I can lay hands on and then make up the rest with manure and grow in that

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crowndale

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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2008, 08:34 »
I have three bins at home, two flat pack build your own type and one green dalek.  there is one full and rotting down, one being filled and one that has the old stuff in it waiting to be strewn around the garden!  At the plot I have two, one an old on its last legs cold frame that was inherited with the plot, thats got sawdust and horse pooh in it so will be out of action for a while!  The other was a 4 bin compost system (pallets) until I realised I'd never get a trailer load of manure in it so removed the internal walls to make one long manure holder, so I need to plan somewhere for another 3 bin compost system too, but digging is the priority right now!
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.
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Tinbasher

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2008, 10:12 »
Quote from: "Snap Dragon"
Would it help to wrap some of that weed supressing stuff round the pallet composters to keep some moisture and heat in?  :idea:


That would work better than nothing at all yes. Black plastic sheeting is also good stuff for insulating.  A few planks nailed over the gaps between the pallet boards (on the inside would be better to make it smooth sided) would work as well.

Plastic 'Dalek' compost bins.  They're ok as a quick and cheap and cheerful instrument and are convenient in that they take up little room.  But they aren't big enough, and whilst they have no air holes in them, the plastic is also not really thick enough to provide maximum heat insulation.  Insulation and just as importantly size, determines whether a heap will heat up enough for max efficiency.  The minimum size of heap is 3 foot cubed, the maximum (for ease of working as well as compression) is about 5 foot cubed.  A happy medium of 4' x 4' x 4' is best and is also convenient in that board sizes (plywood, etc) comes in 8' x 4' sheets, so a half sheet makes a nicely fitting lid.  Cover one side of the lid with roofing felt stuck on with a nice dollop of tar/bitumen stuff and it should last a fair while.

Heat -  a precious resource and one we spend a great deal of preparation and money to achieve in our homes, what with the cost of fuels and the trouble taken to insulate against loss.  Take the same view with compost piles.  The fuel is there for free as the thing will heat up on its own steam, but you need to insulate it (for at least 9 months of our year) to keep that heat in there.  Have a double, or even triple bay and turn it often from one bay into another, to aerate the stuff.  Stuff a couple of lengths of drilled pipe into a heap that's cooking, for a day or so, to provide air as it's going along if you can't turn too often.

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Tinbasher

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2008, 10:21 »
Quote from: "Eristic"
The simplest and most efficient compost bin is the builders sandbags mentioned above. Why would any sane person spend all that effort carting 4 massive pallets around when they could tuck a bag under their arm.? It makes no sense.

The Moriati composting method has stood the test of time and gets results difficult to beat in the minimum of time and with minimum effort. The cost of the system is appealing too.

LINK to Moriati's composting method.


They are good those bags yes and as you say, far easier to cart about and set up.  Surround them, for aesthetic purposes and as further insulation, with some nice wooden planks made up into a box-like structure.  Even make the wooden box a bit larger than the bag and stuff straw (or even rockwool in bin-liners) down all the sides between the two.  Still, they aren't quite deep enough for my liking, though I accept they will work to a great degree.

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matron

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2008, 10:27 »
I have just looked at Moriati's composting method. We currently have more than 20 of these bags with wood in for the log burners so guess what I will be doing with them when they are empty.  :lol:  In the gales we are experiencing at the  moment they will soon be empty.  :?

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Tinbasher

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2008, 10:34 »
Quote from: "matron"
I have just looked at Moriati's composting method. We currently have more than 20 of these bags with wood in for the log burners so guess what I will be doing with them when they are empty.  :lol:  In the gales we are experiencing at the  moment they will soon be empty.  :?


Yes, the Storm Gods are currently blowing like fury here as well. Nasty cold wind, cooling off all those uninsulated compost heaps.  I have to go out soon as I promised myself a full 4 day weekend in the garden and on the plot this Easter.  I've just insulated myself with several layers of clothing, though I haven't stuffed any straw down my jeans yet.   :shock: A manure mission is first on the list for today.  That should warm me up.

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BigPaddy

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how often do i turn???
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2008, 23:09 »
Quote from: "compostqueen"
I use those builders rubble sacks as raised beds


Thank you, another idea to play with.



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