Compost - "I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours"

Now I know that there is a science behind compost and I have attended the workshops for producing fantastic compost, but the reality is that we have a fairly standard suburban compost system and I end up just tossing our food scraps in with out any real method.  Occasionally I add a layer of brown leaves, but for the most part it's just food scraps. 

Anyway, I learn more from conversation than workshops, so I figured, why not start a conversation about compost, starting with ours.


If you have any ideas to improve our compost, then please let us know in a comment below.


Have other people had success with this sort of method?  Does anyone have any comments about this style of bin?


Also, please add photos of your compost to the comments below so that we can all talk about each others composts.  I'm sure we'll all learn a lot.

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Comment by Kirsten on January 17, 2014 at 11:09pm

Hiya, I do the chooks/ worm farm thing, like many here. Given away my compost bins. I have a bit of bush with a generous crop of weeds. The one's the chooks can't eat get put in black bags & left in the bush to rot down. After a year or so the bush compost gets put in the chook run for them to pick around in. I plant one half of my run in the summer, the soil is great after the chooks have been playing in it.

Experimented this year with growing leafy green in the lawn clippings pile, they are going great guns.

Comment by Nat & Pete on February 10, 2011 at 6:14pm
We have mainly vege scraps and grass clippings to put in our compost bin; we collect sackfuls of fallen leaves in the reserve to add layers of dry brown stuff from time to time, and now we're throwing in used cat litter (poo removed) -- the newspaper pellet type.  Unsure how the litter will break down, it may need to be kept damp, or it may just turn to solid lumps of paper-mache... anyone have experience?
Comment by Pete Russell on February 10, 2011 at 12:40pm
Nothing wrong with workshops. ;-) The more knowledge the more likely that behaviour will follow suit. Thanks for everyones comments. Anyone else feel like jumping into the conversation?
Comment by Kaipatiki Project on February 10, 2011 at 10:01am

Hot Composting heaps made by Darren Millington from Urban Abundance (him with the hat) featuring Sweet Anne the chook.

Sorry to bring up the nasty workshop word Pete, but Darren will be teaching a new "Hands-On Hot Composting" course at Kaipatiki Project Environment Centre next Saturday morning 19 February - here's not the place - see Ooooby Events section for those interested in the details.

Comment by Earl Mardle on February 9, 2011 at 11:04pm
OK, here's the full set of compost pics with explanations.
Comment by david on February 9, 2011 at 10:47pm

i too find that it is good to have a variety of methods going on including the occasional bokashi lot for added mycelial activity in the bed...i always add lots of paper and wet stuff from the kitchen to my big house compost bucket which starts to ferment sometimes.

i like the dog poo pre-processing worm farm...good to get a use out of that source.(which was a large part of my first compost heap's failure 20 years ago...)

pretty near everything composts/ferments/rots !

tis always fun to improvise....

Comment by Pene Grant-Taylor on February 9, 2011 at 6:18pm
If you have a fireplace. Potbelly, Open fire or the super duper sort. You just put the ashes in the compost.This adds carbon. I also put the coffee grounds. The luceren also adds nitrogen to the mix. Crunch up the egg shells and help the phosphates along.
Comment by Earl Mardle on February 9, 2011 at 6:04pm
Hmm. looks like the comment got chopped, I'll put up a blog instead.
Comment by Earl Mardle on February 9, 2011 at 6:02pm

I go with Nicole, my neighbour bought one of those bins but, apart from the extra work trying to manage the slides, pretty much nothing useful. She offered it to me for free and I turned it down.

We do a lot of composting around our place.The chooks have their own heap to fool about in and add their contributions, I need to rebuild it every couple of months but its worth it. They also get all the garden weeds that I don't want in the heaps. If they don't eat them they make sure they get kicked around till they break down.The worm farm processes the dog poop for later addition to the compost.This commercial double bin gets mostly brown stuff or really fibrous stuff like corn cobs and leaves, even trying to make it 100% brown includes so much green that the output is great, slow but great. Then there is the leaf mould.

Comment by Wayne Erb on February 9, 2011 at 4:45pm
Here's the compost pile in my front yard (yes we don't hide our compost-making from passers-by, we do it with pride :-).
This consists of a few sacks of grass clippings donated by the local lawn contractor and several buckets of wood chip we also sourced for free.
We water and toss this every several days. It heats up so much you burn your hand touching the inside. The handful shows the results already - this is only about three weeks old. A good fast pile.
My experience of feeding food scraps into a big plastic bin comes from my Wellington days with the Kai O Te Aro community gardens.
We had a couple of those bins, and also added water, coffee from a cafe, and wet shredded newspaper for added carbon.
Problems: food scraps can be chunky and slow to break down, you need to be bothered to chop them finer. Can be hard to get the right carbon ratio and it is hard to put enough in quickly enough to get a high temperature. Rats started living in ours.
Benefits: The plastic bins were certainly slow compost, taking many months to break down. We were lucky in that compost worms found their way into the bin (so place them directly on earth, not concrete) and these ate through everything. Eventually we got excellent very rich compost that is great for growing veges.
But I am a fan of the quick system described above. Fun way to recycle neighbourhood waste and you don't even need any sort of bin

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