Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Landscaping & Lawn Care

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-16-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
WFO
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 89
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Speeding up composting


This may be slightly off topic, but I have cows that are fed from round bales. As a result, there is a tremendous amount of waste. So I've been piling it up to use as fertilizer (since it's all grass and manure) and it works great. Trouble is, it takes so long to decompose (months). Is there anyway other than wetting it to speed up the process without the use of chemicals? Bear in mind I'm talking about a pile 12 feet across and 6 feet high.

WFO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2008, 10:04 AM   #2
Eibwen
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Virginia Beach, Va
Posts: 849
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Speeding up composting


Bloodmeal would accelarate the process but for the size your talking about would probably be cost prohibitive.

Mixing already composted material in would help supply microrganisms at a cheaper cost.

Coffee grounds and worms work well. [they eat faster when they have coffee]

Wetting it, turning it, and maybe partially cover with a tarp to retain some of the heat may hasten the process also.

Even if not completely composted, it will still add nutrients if tilled in the soil where it will further break down.

Sammy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 02:43 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,186
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Speeding up composting


Breaking down organic material needs 3 things. Water, oxygen and heat. If any of these are not there then it won't break down.

Too much water will make it worse. No oxygen and you end up with a peat bog. Not enough heat and the bugs can't survive.

Mulching it down as small as you can will help a lot.
__________________
My idea of a perfect day: No where to go and all day to get there.
Marvin Gardens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 08:46 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 153
Rewards Points: 152
Default

Speeding up composting


I've heard that Rid-X or other septic tank bacteria treatments work well. They're not chemicals, they're actually bacteria that are meant to eat waste in a septic tank and break it down. I would think it would work similarly for compost pile waste. I'm going to give it a shot over the winter by periodically wetting the pile, adding Rid-X, and covering it with a tarp to keep heat in.
Badfish740 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 09:15 AM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,186
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Speeding up composting


Quote:
Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
I've heard that Rid-X or other septic tank bacteria treatments work well. They're not chemicals, they're actually bacteria that are meant to eat waste in a septic tank and break it down. I would think it would work similarly for compost pile waste. I'm going to give it a shot over the winter by periodically wetting the pile, adding Rid-X, and covering it with a tarp to keep heat in.
Get one of those cheap screw drills that are used for drilling small holes in soil. Use that to drill holes in the compost for adding oxygen. They are worthless for drilling soil but do a great job of putting holes in compost heaps.

If the oxygen runs out then it will turn to anaerobic metabolism and will not compost.
__________________
My idea of a perfect day: No where to go and all day to get there.
Marvin Gardens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 09:49 AM   #6
First-time Home Owner
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 44
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Speeding up composting


Quote:
Get one of those cheap screw drills that are used for drilling small holes in soil. Use that to drill holes in the compost for adding oxygen. They are worthless for drilling soil but do a great job of putting holes in compost heaps.

If the oxygen runs out then it will turn to anaerobic metabolism and will not compost.
If you've got a LOT of compost, you should probably just put in some perforated tubes to get in the oxygen all the way down. Ideally, you want to get oxygen in without turning the pile at all (that way you keep in the hear and moisture).

You can order redworms online. They'll love your pile. Just order enough to get the pile started, and they'll multiply on their own.

Finally, here's a good reference for composting. They specially discuss faster methods and working with larger piles.

http://www.amazon.com/Let-Rot-Compos...6933123&sr=8-2

One thing I remember from that book is they suggest, if you have the space, having three piles going at once. One fully composted that you can pull good dirt from, one that's currently composting, and one pile that you're adding new material to. That way you aren't adding new material and turning over your good pile.
ciera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 02:53 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Upstate,NY
Posts: 141
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Speeding up composting


Similarily to what ciera said, build your compost pile on top of lengths of 4" perforated PVC pipe. Make sure the open ends are not covered so that they can supply oxygen to accelerate the decomposition.Works very well.
white29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 07:16 PM   #8
Don't know it all, yet!
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Metro Atlanta, GA
Posts: 910
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Speeding up composting


Are you wanting this material to break down quicker or do you want a compost pile? Compost needs an appropriate mixture of green/brown/soil. I would imagine that the manure will provide the bacteria the same as soil but you are not going to get "compost" without the other two ingredients. A little grass that the cows have eaten is not what you need for the green content.

The "heat" normally referred to in compost piles comes from the decomposition and is a little over 100*F. During cooler fall weather, you should see steam coming from the top of the pile. Covering with a tarp "to hold heat in" will prevent moisture from being added (as a rule, normal rainfall is sufficient) as well as smothering by preventing oxygen access. I suppose that is the reason for all the pipes, etc.

I turn my compost pile, which is about 10 ft high, 20 ft wide, 200 ft long with a tractor. I drive on top, stir it with the backhoe while going from one end to the other. I do add a few bags of nitrates to feed the bacteria. For those who are concerned about the nutritional value of compost for their gardens, the bacteria temporarily take nitrogen from the compost.

Good compost information can be found in many places, including your local extension service.
__________________
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. If you wouldn't put your name on it, it ain't done right!
downunder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2008, 11:46 PM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Alleghany County, Va.
Posts: 9
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Speeding up composting


I LOVE compost. I raise chickens, normally have around 25. Chicken manure is very "hot." I keep all my paper trash, card board, news papers, junk mail etc and put it in my heap. But green stuff is needed too. So grass clippings make a good addition. The key is oxygen. Keep it turned frequently.
Rebelyell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 09:42 AM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 28
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Speeding up composting


The more you turn/mix the pile the quicker it will break down. I turn mine by hand or go over it with a rototiller.
xv144 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2008, 05:26 PM   #11
Don't know it all, yet!
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Metro Atlanta, GA
Posts: 910
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Speeding up composting


Quote:
The more you turn/mix the pile the quicker it will break down. I turn mine by hand or go over it with a rototiller.
Not necessarily. I think I know what you probably mean as far as keeping a supply of oxygen and equal moisture, but if you turn it every day it will never have time for the process to work. Kind of like opening the oven every two minutes to see if the biscuits are done yet. Leave the door closed or the oven will not get hot enough to cook the biscuits.

If you can turn a pile with a rototiller, it's probably not really deep enough to be a compost pile. Either that, or you have one mean tiller.
__________________
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. If you wouldn't put your name on it, it ain't done right!
downunder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2008, 12:14 PM   #12
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 28
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Speeding up composting


Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
...if you turn it every day it will never have time for the process to work.

If you can turn a pile with a rototiller, it's probably not really deep enough to be a compost pile. Either that, or you have one mean tiller.
Agree, every day is too much. I trun mine once a month if I get around to it. I have three bins with an additional pile on the side, so it just keeps moving down the line.

I can get my roto tiller in the front of my 3' by 3' bin---often 3 feet deep. As I try to make it climb to the top it breaks up chunks and throws them out in front of the bin. Then I shovel it back in. I also rototill over a 10' round by 3' tall pile of leaves in the spring. This pile gets mixed in with grass, etc.. in the summer. Seems I always have too much brown stuff in the fall and too much green in the summer---so I save my leaves.

xv144 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.