What makes this work? How do you get the temperature up? How hot is too hot? Should you turn the pile or not? Which 3 ingredients are your faves? How does this method of composting compare to others?

Views: 143

Replies to This Discussion

You really need to put most of the ingredients in at once which means you need to collect them all at once, although some stuff, browns in particular can be stored.  You need to have a structure at least 1.5m by 1.5m  Layer in the materials following a green - nitrogen rich and brown - carbon rich, approach. Mix the layers up as you go - this means the process will happen all at the same time throughout the compost.  Also sprinkle in lime.  Plenty of grass clippings in the green layer helps to get the temp up.  The high temp is important as it kills nasties and converts the material into compost.  If you have an old compost it is very useful to add a layer of this between the green and brown layers - this is an innoculation and helps to get the process going.  The green materials should provide enough moisture but if it seems to dry add some water. Also ensure air can enter - don't pack it down. This will now become an active, hot compost pile.  It can become very hot - too hot sometimes to put your hand in.  Would love to hear how your compost works out.

Having a nice high nitrogen starter is always a bonus. Chicken manure is the best although any manure will do, I shy away from horse doo though as it contains weed seeds and if you don't get your pile up to a high enough temperature they won't be killed. A great source that is nearly always overlooked, is human pee. Its sterile, is high in nitrogen, the first pee of the day contains growth hormones which is why grandads lemon tree gave such great fruit. I'll leave it up to you how you get it onto your compost heap !


Someone may correct me but I have found this to be true.

I live next to a park and when it is mown, about 3 times a year, I wait a day then collect as much of the clippings as I can. I don't always have lots of browns to add to the pile, but I've found that by waiting a day, the top layer of clippings dries out and turns brown (ish ), the lower layers remain green and hold moisture . I build a pile up, normally a meter cubed adding chicken manure and litter as I go, and a handful of soil every so often. It has never failed to get hot, too hot most times to put your hand in. I believe the secret is in the layering, I always fluff it up so that air is right through the pile, and I rarely add water, there seems to be enough released as the pile rots.

As I live next to the park I know that the grass isn't sprayed, if it was, I wouldn't use it.

HI, great advice here - cool. I would add one thing, if you add lime to your compost you will lose more nitrogen to the atmosphere, as a higher pH in your compost will create good conditions for ammonia production (NH3). I never add lime to the compost bin for this reason. Cheers, Ingrid

Good point Ingrid we were told the same thing at our Organic gardening class.

Although organic producers and gardeners swear by compost I havent seen much scientific research on the topic. Masanobu Fukuoka (The One Straw Revolution), who farmed organic rice without ploughing for 40 years, maintained that composting contributed no more than sheet mulching and may even be detrimental. Its an interesting point when you consider your work as an input, because compost has to be assembled, turned and then spread, whereas sheet mulch just has to be spread. I get lawn clippings dropped off by several contractors. It saves them paying tipping fees to the compost manufacturer and I just wheelbarrow it into the orchard.  I also sheet mulch seaweed I collect after a storm and add coffee grounds from a local cafe plus lime, dolomite, gypsum, urine, blood and bone and what manure I get from the chooks. I read recently that aged compost contains very little nitrogen, but no science was cited.



  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2020   Created by Pete Russell.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service