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Topic: How do you handle your compost materials?

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L. G. (L)
Subject: How do you handle your compost materials?
Date Posted: 12/28/2008 5:59 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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How often do you dump them on your compost pile?  What do you store them in before hand?  Sometimes I forget and it gets gross and stinky = not fun!

Our pile is just a pile now (well, multiple piles, actually...) - we need to set up a true "bin" situation so that the dog will stay out of it.  All I need is some fencing - it's just the matter of doing it.


Date Posted: 12/28/2008 6:51 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 9,371
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I use old yogurt containers, the large ones...they are not recyclable in my area.  I usually have 3 going in the winter...as I don't like to go out in the cold as often.  When the container gets too moldy to overlook or rinse with ease, my lazy butt deposits it into the garbage...usually about a month of use.  I'm sure I could do better, but I don't like to wash them with my dishes.

I use an old garbage can out back, a rusted metal one that the bottom fell off of long ago...I honestly don't even know where it came from (I've never bought a garbage can in my 40+ years of life!)...I move it around the garden each year, where I want to enrich the soil...it's a very lazy method...once in a while we leave the lid off on purpose, sometimes I add dry matter or a layer of soil...most of the time, I just let it sit until it's full - 6-9 months...I let it set (right now it's setting), yank the can off and at least half will be done composting when I turn it into the soil.  In the meantime, I am filling a hole the kids dug...

On my wishlist are several types of composters...but really all you need is labor to turn the pile every week...and it would compost fast.  In Guatemala, we also covered the piles in black plastic, so they warmed up faster.  They were built in layers of dry, moist, and soil...but I don't generally have a ready source of all these items in bulk at one time.

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 6,638
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 2:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/29/2008 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,372
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I drop most of my kitchen waste into a bokashi bucket.  I like it because it takes meat as well as veggie material and I can have one bucket sitting while another is filling. 

After it's done pickeling I put them in a compost tumbler in the back yard along with yard waste.  (Bokashi will hurry it up, but it doesn't finish the composting).  I'm still unclear about how well the tumbler works.  It came out with mostly done stuff, but stinky last time.  I tried putting more leaves in it this time, but last time I spun it it clunked.  I guess it wasn't up to negative temperatures--the pile isn't big enough. I'm hoping when it warms up a bit it will go back to composting.

I wanted a second compost tumbler but my source ran out and isn't sure he'll get more barrels.  Not sure what I'm going to do since it seems to take a month or so to compost and I need something to do with the yard waste during that time.

Date Posted: 1/5/2009 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2007
Posts: 117
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We have an old Tupperware container that didn't work for food anymore (stains, etc.) - but it has a nice, tight sealing lid. That sits on the counter and scraps go in it daily. We take it out to the compost every 2-3 days.

Date Posted: 1/5/2009 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 175
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I have a little two gallon bucket under the sink.  When it gets full it goes out on whichever pile I'm actively adding to.  I have three bins, because I'm a dork, and I love compost.

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 12:18 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 6,638
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 2:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
niffir - ,
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 495
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My dad has always used an old ice cream bucket-- the plastic kind (often with a handle) that holds like a gallon of ice cream.  They come with a lid, so that keeps it contained until it gets taken out to the compost pile.

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2007
Posts: 14
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I use an old bean crock with a lid.  It looks great sitting on the kitchen counter, the lid keeps most of the smell in if I wait too long to empty it, and it washes out with a shot of the garden hose.

Subject: food pro
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/21/2008
Posts: 1
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i keep my vegetable and fruit scraps separately (from dryer lint, coffee grounds, egg shells) and when my container is full i whirl 'em in the food pro. turn 'em into a compost milkshake--just to speed things up a bit.
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
Posts: 470
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Here in San Francisco, the city gave us small plastic bin and a starter supply of BioBags - compostible "plastic" bags that fit in the bins. Some people keep them under the sink, but I keep mine outside on the landing in my entryway. Whenever it gets full, it goes into the big green bin for the City to collect at the curb with the trash (brown bin) & recycling (blue bin).
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/8/2008
Posts: 22
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I put it in a container until the end of the day then dump it in the bin. We also shred all of our newspapers and card board to put in there too. We do that weekly.

Subject: Composting
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 214
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When I get something, I either set it aside on a plate or in a bowl, and then go dump it when I get a chance. When I pass by the compost bin, I turn it. I keep a pitchfork nearby, sometimes stuck in the pile, and it's always handy.

Date Posted: 1/11/2009 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/28/2007
Posts: 1,074
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We were putting ours in a bowl and dumping it when it got full.   I'm going to start putting it in a 40lb cat liter container that has a snapping lid. 


meowy -
Date Posted: 1/12/2009 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2007
Posts: 119
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I use a plastic bowl and just dump it every couple of days into the compost, wash and start again

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 11:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 6,638
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 2:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2009 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2005
Posts: 708
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I keep my scraps in the freezer until I can take them to the bin outside!  I just reuse plastic bags that have seen one too many packed-lunch uses.

Subject: going to try using tires to make compost
Date Posted: 4/27/2009 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
Posts: 925
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I am going to try a method using old tires.  I bought a booklet from a website I found and I am hoping it will work.  It seems like it will be easy once I get it started.  You fill up a tire with material and stack them 4 at time.  Then when it is time to turn the stuff, you pull the top tire off and the matter drops on the ground.  You put in back in the tire and start another stack,  You contine to do this until the other 3 tires have been emptied and re stacked.  That way the top one goes to the bottom each time and it gets areated.

I found a bunch of tires for free from a guy on our local bulletin board and I went and picked them up last fall.  I will keep everyone posted as to how it goes.  Here is the link to the site  http://www.tirecrafting.com/composting.html

wish me luck !

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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I use a half gallon ice cream container.  We've been eating more fruit and veggies lately so it gets filled up every day.  I empty it every day and then rinse the container out so it doesn't get stinky.

Date Posted: 8/16/2009 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/19/2006
Posts: 3,233
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We aren't permitted to compost here, so, instead, we burry our compost in the garden.  Last year, we dug up an area a week after we'd burried a bunch of corn cobs.  I couldn't believe there was no sign of them!  I never thought they'd compost so fast!

Date Posted: 10/26/2009 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2009
Posts: 3
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I use a one gallon crock with a rubber seal around the rim that I got at Goodwill for a couple of dollars.  It says "Flour" on it but looks nice on my counter.  I wanted something that fit in with the decor (like camoflage!).   It takes about a week or more to fill it (still working on DH getting into the habit). 

This summer I bought a plastic trash bin (sorry, had to buy, neighbors are very particular) and cut holes in the sides with a door handle hole drill bit.  Then I got (for free), some screen door mesh that wasn't salable due to kinks in the metal.  I cut it slightly larger than the holes and duct taped it to the trash bin on the inside.  I also cut a few holes in the bottom for drainage and the top for air circulation.  The lid is nice because it clamps on but I have a couple of old bungees on the top in case the critters take a liking to it.  I then put the whole thing onto some pieces of paving stone that broke during a project last year.  This raises it up a bit for additional air circulation.

Total cost was $13 for the bin and a few pennies of duct tape.

I will move my compost bin closer to the back door in the winter so there are no excuses!

Date Posted: 10/26/2009 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,372
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Sue, does your trash-bin compost smell?  How fast does it compost? 

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2009
Posts: 3
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Not really.  When it's very warm outside sometimes it has an earthy smell.  But I prefer that smell to some of the perfumes I've been exposed to! 

We turn it on it's side and roll it down the little hill and back up about every 2 weeks.  I always make sure to keep putting in the 'browns' when I put in the 'greens'.  When I'm short on browns, I'll shred clean scrap paper through the paper shredder and add that.


Date Posted: 11/2/2009 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/2/2008
Posts: 6
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I keep a paper bag (fast food or brown lunch bag from the store) under the sink in front of the bucket for cans & bottles.   When I'm doing fruit & veggie prep, I buncle all the scraps in the bag.  Every day or so I take it out to the compost tumbler, add the bag and its contents before tumbling.  I also shred all junk mail and put that in the composter as well.

Date Posted: 12/22/2009 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2009
Posts: 13
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I think most of you are over-analyzing the problem. I do the same as Veronika and it works fine. Dig holes in garden and dump in stuff that will actually break down quickly. This means primarily green matter. Once buried, the composting process generates its own heat (sometimes people use this as alternative energy). I don't understand why people buy/set up gadgets to compost.