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Thread: Insulated/solar heated "Ultimate Alaska Compost Bin"

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Default Insulated/solar heated "Ultimate Alaska Compost Bin"

    I had some damaged double walled GH plastic & used it for a compost bin.
    2X4 frame stuck in the ground 4". It is 4' X 6' & 4' high.
    I sheeted the outside of the East & South walls with the GH plastic.
    North side is plywood.
    Inside, I put old carpeting on the floor, cut some holes for the earth worms.
    I stapled some Geo fabric to the inside 3 side walls.
    I made a 2 section, insulated, solar heated, removable door for the front same
    as the E & S walls.
    At the end of garden season, everything thats not edible, from the garden & green house goes in it in layers. a layer of grass clipping & leaves, garden stuff, layer of leaves/grass etc. I add some air vent pipes vertical & horizontal.
    When all the garden & GH are cleaned out, I top it with grass clipping & leaves as high as I can stack it.
    It steams till about December. It thaws around mid April & is about 1/2 full.
    The first time I mow grass, I empty it, mix in fresh grass clippings to get it cooking.
    By August its "done" compost. I empty it into the "done" bin. & bag up what don't fit.
    I now have next years spring compost ready to go. Few yards of "Garden Gold"
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    I can add more in a week or so, so I keep adding grass clippings & leaves until it freezes up &
    no more mowing, or it's over full. Cover for the winter.
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    Cooks into December.
    all but the broccoli stumps break down. I think they might even compost in 4 or 5 years
    so back in the bin they go.
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    Questions about compost bins:

    1. do you put leftover table scraps in there, or should those be worm food or something else? Just wondering.

    I started my compost bin late - September I think - so I didn't get much cooking before it was too cold to do anything and we have been throwing our table scraps in there all winter, but I don't want to have a stinking mess if they aren't going to break down..

    2. I made vent pipes per your design, but what is the purpose? I took them out to put a cover in for winter, but maybe I should have just let the snow fall on it so it would be good and wet come spring.

    3.Should I have more leaved and grass than anything, or just anything organic/biological?

    Any help is appreciated.

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Leaves & grass just them selves make good compost.
    About a 50/50 mix. The fresh green grass clipping supply the heat (nitrogen)
    to get it cooking. 2 feet deep is minimum, 3 is better to have enough heat
    generated to start it cooking. Damp is key, not too wet.
    This pic is fresh grass clippings & leaves & chopped up garden plants, end of Sept..
    It gets steamy hot. No water added, this is mixing (for air) before I covered & let it go into winter. About 4' deep.
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    So is it okay to put table food scraps in there or should I do something else with them?

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Explorer View Post
    So is it okay to put table food scraps in there or should I do something else with them?
    I don't, it attracts to many critters, birds, flies etc. By kitchen scrapes, I mean peelings, trimmings from lettuce veggies etc. non cooked stuff, which I put in my small bin, not this big one. This one I fill in the fall & cook it until it's "don" compost. (don't continually add to it)
    ***
    But OK?, Yes. If I started doing that, I'd make a new bin or use a 55 gallon drum with several holes & have it away from the other bins. Table scraps have more than just plant parts & I haven't gone that far yet but probably should.
    Just messy. Have some bags of leaves ready to mix in with it. It will make good compost
    just gets soupy & slimy & tends to give off a rotten odor. Trick would be to mix dry stuff with it & mix it often.

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    cool. Thanks. It i far enough from the house that we won't smell it - I am trying to convince my wife to gt some worms and let thm work in the garage, but she has not agreed....yet. LOL

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    can you make a diagram of your layers and materials?
    Semper Fi!

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Explorer View Post
    cool. Thanks. It i far enough from the house that we won't smell it - I am trying to convince my wife to gt some worms and let thm work in the garage, but she has not agreed....yet. LOL
    Here is a Vermicomposting site:http://thegardenforums.org/viewforum...d95e8fe043b07e
    Some how I got worms in both compost bins. Seem to be getting more every year. I guess "If you build it, they will come" type thing.

    greyt3: Not good at drawing, picture are easier for me. Outside layer is GH plastic,; middle layer 2X4 wood frame;, inside layer is landscape fabric.
    Hope it helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Explorer View Post
    cool. Thanks. It i far enough from the house that we won't smell it - I am trying to convince my wife to gt some worms and let thm work in the garage, but she has not agreed....yet. LOL
    Just get a rabbit for the veg and fruit scrap. I always keep one around and they will turn a banana peel into great garden compost faster than a compost pile will. Your wife might like them much better than the idea of worms. for sure more fun to pet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by power drifter View Post
    Just get a rabbit for the veg and fruit scrap. I always keep one around and they will turn a banana peel into great garden compost faster than a compost pile will. Your wife might like them much better than the idea of worms. for sure more fun to pet.

    heck ya them rabbits are good! i usually never leave home with less then 2 of them
    Semper Fi!

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    Quote Originally Posted by power drifter View Post
    Just get a rabbit for the veg and fruit scrap. I always keep one around and they will turn a banana peel into great garden compost faster than a compost pile will. Your wife might like them much better than the idea of worms. for sure more fun to pet.
    Do you have to compost the rabbit manure?
    I'd need more than 1 rabbit in the fall when my compost bins fill up pretty fast (or a huge one)

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    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    No need to compost rabbit poo! I put it directly on the lawn and in the garden, its great.
    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,
    Teach a man to fish and he'll also learn to drink, lie, and avoid the honey do list.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak Bird Brain View Post
    No need to compost rabbit poo! I put it directly on the lawn and in the garden, its great.
    To my knowledge, Chicken manure is about the only animal manure that needs to be composted before applying to the garden. Although, some animal manure is better composted to reduce weed seed problems... Rabbit manure works great... but raising rabbits is a bit of a nuisance (IMHO)... and the cost of rabbit food far exceeds any benefits you might realize from the small amount of manure you'll get back from the rabbits...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Cooks into December.
    all but the broccoli stumps break down. I think they might even compost in 4 or 5 years
    so back in the bin they go.
    Mine stays over 100 inside into December with just a wire surround.

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    To be honest, I've never measured the temps in it after the snow falls. 1 year, I used vertical air pipes & notices steam coming out of the bin with it being snow covered late into winter. As good as it is broken down in the Spring, I think it cooks later into the year than Dec (& it may be warm in the center & not freeze all the way thru). But still not cooked enough to be "done" compost. But mixing in fresh grass in the spring gets it "cooking" pretty quick again & I have good "done" compost by Aug. In time to fill the ,now empty "done compost" bin & begin a new batch. I do know the addition of horizontal air pipes on the bottom & middle helped allot.

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    I started keeping track of mine with a 36inch temp probe, it really helps tell you whats going on inside the pile. Come march I put some black plastic on it for a couple days fork it over toss some blood meal in and repile, it gets it cooking again almost a month before I have new clippings.

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    Good idea, if it's thawed early enough I may try
    something with high in nitrogen like blood meal.

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    Rabbit manure can burn if your not careful enough to spread it out and not have heavy clumps and lots of urine in it. The urea in the urine will burn if to fresh, urine is a great for a boost to your compost pile, pee on it too. An alternative to composting some of your clippings is to let them dry a bit more and send them thru a pellet mill and use the pellets to feed the rabbit. This will and can help reduce your feed cost over time. A small mill will run around 800-1500 bucks new. You can also mill seed, grains, alfalfa, dried clover and tons of other stuff into feed pellets that can be store in bulk bags or buckets.

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