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Thread: Alaska compost

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Default Alaska compost

    If I can compost in Alaska, anywhere in the lower 48 should be allot faster & easier.
    Big Garden compost bin last Fall (Sept):


    I'll be adding 3 - 3" air pipes on the bottom for the next batch. I know now, the bottom air pipes really help. A much better 1/2 done batch with the small pipes, more air will help. Lots of shrinkage.
    Just pilled the front doors off:

    You can see it needs more time, stringy, leafy, moldy, , I'll mix in fresh grass clippings & let it work (cook) until August, then store the done compost in the "done bin". Then I have compost for next spring ready to go.


    .

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Small pallet bin, leaves grass, kitchen scraps, top 6" will be "seed for the next batch. I'll pull off the top layer that needs some more of Mother Nature's work, & mix in leaves & grass as I get it. When it's almost full, I'll empty & mix in fresh grass clippings, moisten & then add/mix to the top thru the summer with my kitchen/garden scraps, cover this fall. Do it again next spring.
    It compacted pretty good thru the winter. (all today's pics)
    You can see the shrinkage, it was full. I added kitchen scraps to it thru all last summer, mixing in just the top layer.
    Bottom 2/3 rds is "done" good compost.




    Hope this helps. Composting is fun & rewarding. Some work but "FUN WORK" & great outdoor exercise

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    MB I really appreciate your sharing with us, especially on the composting... I've had a "compost" pile for years, but I never really figured out how to make it work (for the garden) until now, thanks to you... After seeing your operation, I'm going to invest a little more time and effort (and money) and better utilize the compost that we have started...

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    I had the same as you. Then I tripped over a pile of leaves & grass one fall, it was hot & steaming inside.
    Now I even mow my neighbors yard under his trees in the fall to get the leaves & grass mixed in the mower bags for my compost.
    Secret for me is more leaves than green grass. Mist as I add it to the bin. Gets hot enough to cook into Nov.
    Pallet bin can be made to good pretty with some lattice on the outside. Pallets are free.
    I am going to use 3" perf-pipe (will add some more 1/2" holes) on the bottom for air, more air than the 1-1/2" I use now.
    A trick I use to get air to the middle of the bins/piles. "air spears". Can shove them into any pile & leave them there to get air to the middle, while it is still loose, saves mixing. (I use 2" grey elect conduit to make them now)
    Couple more tips since I'm giving them all out; alway mix in some left over compost, almost done compost, or damp moldy leaves raked from the woods. That way your pile don't have to make new compost microbes & bacteria slowly, you give it a boost with millions of working microbes.
    Just damp is key, not wet enough it will still work, to wet it gets ugly & stinky. Easy to add water with a 3' pipe on the garden hose poking the pile. To wet: very hard to dry it out & smelly when you have to empty it.)

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    Member garnede's Avatar
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    For mine I have a pallet on bottom to let the air in from the bottom. Another key that most people don't get is bigger is better. Most commercial "composters" are too small. It needs to be 3'x3'x3', but bigger is better. I had 6 yards of finished compost in mine and it was still 150 degrees inside on 20 degree days.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

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    Any issues with bears spring or fall with the kitchen scraps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Riddle View Post
    Any issues with bears spring or fall with the kitchen scraps?
    **
    By kitchen scraps, I mean, veggie trimmings, banana, apple peelings etc. Nothing cooked. Plant fruit & veggie scraps.

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    Default Emptied the small bin, 6 wheel barrow loads of good "done" compost

    I emptied the small pallet bin today. Got more than I thought. 6 wheel barrow loads. Well 5 so far the bottom is still frozen but 1 more load in there to get in a few days.
    I am convinced that the air pipes on the bottom & 2 every 12" as the bin is filled, help tremendously. All but the top & sides (where it was dry) were "done" compost.
    Got enough to fill a new 16' raised bed I'm getting ready to plant with peas in a week or so (I hope )
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    Made a new bin out of pallets & air pipes on the bottom
    Filled 1 foot with HM compost, 15 or so fish heads gut & carcasses
    more HM compost, more fish
    air pipes at about 1/2 full
    more HM compost & fish.
    Will be interesting to see how it works, may need to cover it if it gets to smelling bad.
    I did put it way out back but don't want to PO the neighbors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Made a new bin out of pallets & air pipes on the bottom
    Filled 1 foot with HM compost, 15 or so fish heads gut & carcasses
    more HM compost, more fish
    air pipes at about 1/2 full
    more HM compost & fish.
    Will be interesting to see how it works, may need to cover it if it gets to smelling bad.
    I did put it way out back but don't want to PO the neighbors.
    That oughta stink to high heaven in about a week. The smell might turn you off of salmon for a while. One time I put too many alfalfa pellets in my pile and it smelled just like a pig pen. I had to add leaves like crazy.

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    I may cover the whole bin real good with plastic if it gets to bad.
    Hoping I put enough HM compost with it to help with the smell.
    I have about 8" on the top layer, we'll see.
    If salmon smelled as bad as the trash can full of fish parts, I'd already be turned off to salmon, but
    right after i did the compost, I ate some smoked salmon so I think I'm OK there
    After processing for 2 days, salmon don't really appeal to me as a diner right now, but come Nov, I'm usually
    in the mood for some. I have some frozen fillets, a few king roasts, & few cases of smoked (for 1 hour) & canned 1/2 pints for snacks, & some smoked (dry brined & kippered for 10 hours) fillets.

    Hoping the compost, if it works out, to be supercharged fish fertilizer compost. May be able to turn it next spring & mix in some grass clippings to get it cooking. By the end of next summer, it should be good stuff.
    It's like good dry firewood, it needs to age 18 months to be good stuff.

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    I put some hooligan I didn't eat in my compost pile and they stunk it up for about a month. They did dissolve pretty quick.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    I may cover the whole bin real good with plastic if it gets to bad.
    Hoping I put enough HM compost with it to help with the smell.
    I have about 8" on the top layer, we'll see.
    If salmon smelled as bad as the trash can full of fish parts, I'd already be turned off to salmon, but
    right after i did the compost, I ate some smoked salmon so I think I'm OK there
    After processing for 2 days, salmon don't really appeal to me as a diner right now, but come Nov, I'm usually
    in the mood for some. I have some frozen fillets, a few king roasts, & few cases of smoked (for 1 hour) & canned 1/2 pints for snacks, & some smoked (dry brined & kippered for 10 hours) fillets.

    Hoping the compost, if it works out, to be supercharged fish fertilizer compost. May be able to turn it next spring & mix in some grass clippings to get it cooking. By the end of next summer, it should be good stuff.
    It's like good dry firewood, it needs to age 18 months to be good stuff.

    MudBuddy
    How's the fish compost doing...????

    John

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    It is not stinking real bad. I did cover it to keep the birds out.
    It shrunk quite a bit.
    I'm not tempted to mix it yet, maybe in the spring.
    Hoping to have some real good compost to mix in next growing season.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    It is not stinking real bad. I did cover it to keep the birds out.
    It shrunk quite a bit.
    I'm not tempted to mix it yet, maybe in the spring.
    Hoping to have some real good compost to mix in next growing season.
    Mudbuddy
    you may have started a new gardening process...!!!!! (goin silver fishin with my oldest son)

    John

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    Halibut skins, salmon skins, shrimp bodies, all good material for the bin. We make sure there is at least 12" of material on top of the stinky components and the odor is minimal.
    BK

  17. #17
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    Default Done compost

    Compost is done & ready to start a new batch.
    Emptied the bin into the "done" bin for next spring's garden compost.
    Started filling the compost bin with spinach, beet tops, broccoli leaves, old lettuce & some of the done compost for the microbes & bacteria.
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    Pulled the fronts off the compost bins today. Shrunk allot. The working one on the right is thawed, just needs mixed with some fresh green grass clipping to get it cooking for the summer. Usually done by Aug & I fill the "done bin" on the left.
    The "done bin" is frozen in the middle. I've used quit a bit of it already for the Green house & potting up garden plants. Maybe with the front off now it will thaw faster ,
    Maybe replace the plywood with GH plastic on the bottom to warm it up sooner .
    It'll be time to plant the garden soon. Just not today, cold out there in the wind, Brrrr.
    I do have some lettuce, spinach & onions in the garden, but will hold off planting more for a while.
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    DONE compost bin almost empty.
    Have been using it in the GH & started planting the garden yesterday.
    Down to a frozen clump & a few more 5 gallon buckets full.
    Never have too much compost
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    Mixed the big garden bin today with fresh grass clippings some high nitrogen fertilizer 22-4-4.
    Emptied it & got some done compost of the bottom.
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