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Old 10-02-2011, 01:54 PM   #1
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I've been piling my grass clippings, leaves, etc, in a home made compost heap--it's a 4x3 rectangular pile with chicken wire fencing sides.

Anyway, long story short, a friend stopped by yesterday, saw it from 50' and said "you really ought to turn it, it looks matted".

This morning at about 9AM I went out, it was a 55*, damp and cold. I took my rake and started to pull up the top of the pile, and I was amazed to see the steam start rising up... I took off my gloves and held my hand near the pile, wow it was warm!

Sorry for getting excited, no question... just my "first time" with compost

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Old 10-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #2
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Hey bubbler.

It's really amazing how much heat a compost pile can create. The reason you want to turn it is to keep the aerobic rotting active and prevent anaerobic sludge formation. This will also speed up the process and better mix the "greens and browns".

I would use a garden spade, something that looks more like a pitchfork or at least a shovel to completely turn over the material. A rake sounds like too much work for accomplishing this.

By next spring you will have some great stuff to add to your garden!

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDNewf View Post
Hey bubbler.

It's really amazing how much heat a compost pile can create. The reason you want to turn it is to keep the aerobic rotting active and prevent anaerobic sludge formation. This will also speed up the process and better mix the "greens and browns".

I would use a garden spade, something that looks more like a pitchfork or at least a shovel to completely turn over the material. A rake sounds like too much work for accomplishing this.

By next spring you will have some great stuff to add to your garden!
Yeah, I don't have a pitchfork or anything at the moment. What I've taken to doing is using a thick branch to poke deeply into the pile... it's not ideal, but at least it gets some air going. When I was layering it earlier this year I tossed in some brush at different points which should add some air pockets as well.

Since I have a good amt of space I am planning to use a batch method and alternate adding material between years. One years new pile will be next year's finishing pile.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:54 PM   #4
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Good work on the composting!! Wait til you see the size of the fat earthworms you get. Its all wonderful
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:06 PM   #5
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just kep an eye out for the rat nest sites........
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:45 AM   #6
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Go buy a pitch fork and do it right.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:33 PM   #7
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If you have a garden hoe you can stir it with that.
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:42 AM   #8
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Turning it will keep the animals from living there and help to break it down faster. Even when the temp. is below freezing, the pile will still be generating heat. I've been wanting to put a thermometer in the center and see how hot my pile gets. It's almost too hot to touch. I'd say mine is over 90 degrees.

Now take 100 feet of black garden hose and drop the coil in the center of the pile towards to bottom, cover with more yard waste, run some water through it, and you have free hot water.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:07 PM   #9
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I have been having trouble getting mine to heat up like that. I think my problem is too much nitrogen. Mostly I just put things like coffee grounds, veggie clippings and paper in mine. Not enough brown stuff like yours. Hard to find in my yard.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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My friend just gave me a compost bin to use. It's black and two parts on the bottom come off to get the compost and the top comes off. Question, are these good for compost or should they be in open air???
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:10 PM   #11
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Best to keep it almost sealed up, the heat will help it break down the material faster.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:05 PM   #12
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Just don't make the mistake of building a compost heap bigger than you can manage. And poking it with a stick is not the same as turning it over. A pitch fork new is not going to cost you that much. Look for such things at moving and garage sales for a couple bucks.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:01 AM   #13
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I remember when I did my first compost and got excited over the same thing. It's fun to watch nature do it's thing isn't it?
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:15 AM   #14
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Thanks for the advice, I didn't know I needed to turn it over.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:22 AM   #15
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I found a composter that's like a big barrel and it sits on a frame that allows it to spin.

I keep it outside the back door so that it's close enough to throw scraps in every day - even in the winter.

I wouldn't say it's as good as other ways of composting, but the kids can't bother it and it requires very little time to turn it.

Tractorfarmer, I saw a video on YouTube about a farm where they hired a lot of teenage workers for the summer. They lived on site. The farmer had a huge compost pile and ran a hose through it like you suggested. It made enough hot water for all of the workers to take a hot outdoor shower every day.

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