Compost – 8 weeks in

Ok folks, my apologies for not keeping you more upto date on the goings on of my compost, but here it is.

Firstly I was completely amazed that after 4 weeks of composting my garbage accumulation had dwindled so drastically.  From putting a garbage bin out for collection once a week, I had reduced this to just once every four weeks.  Yes, one bag between 2 people every 4 weeks.  This is great for so many reasons, but most notably the reduction of plastic bags needed for garbage.  I am very happy with this.

The compost itself is doing great and it certainly is reducing nicely and looks nothing like 8 bags worth of garbage.  There are a number of fruit-flies in the bin, but they are not unmanageable.  The bin does not smell bad and is maintaining the sweet smelling scent of potting compost, albeit a little stronger smelling.  We have, so far, had no issues with bears and I am told that if it is done correctly, we shouldn’t.  I am also told that if bears do begin to show an interest then one can just reduce the amount of fruit one puts in.

ripped up card for compostI have developed a system now for the card, as it was becoming a mess, piling up next to the kitchen door.  We now have a bucket (obtained from the local ice cream store) in which I place all the card and egg boxes.  First of all I rip these up into small pieces (as they break down easier this way) and then stock the bucket up so that it is easy to add to the compost each time I visit with the veggies.  This can be a little time consuming, but I feel it is definitely worth it.

The whole process seems to be working great so far. As I seemed to be lacking in the carbon area, I decided to chop down a few weeds around the yard and pile them next to the compost for additional brown material should I need it.  The leaves turn brown very quickly and although I am told that leaves are a little slow to decompose in the bin, they are working great to simply layer on top to reduce the fruit fly habitat!

Has anyone else been composting and would like to share a few tips – I’d love to hear from you.  Thanks



6 thoughts on “Compost – 8 weeks in

  1. Hi Alan,
    My tips are:
    – Loads of carbon – about 50/50 is a good ratio but you can go even higher in favour of the carbon. – Make sure you spray the carbon down a bit though so it’s no really dry, this will help speed things up.
    – Another tip is to make sure rats don’t get into the bin and eat all the food. You can do this by using chicken wire at the bottom of the bin – dug in. You can tell if Ratty’s been about because there will be a tunnel in around the base.
    – If you’re digging around the garden and spot any red wiggler worms, you’ll know them when you see them! (assuming they inhabit Canada) throw them in the bin. They soon breed and you’ll have a tonne in there to help do the work of braking it all down. They’re especially good on the carbon. Normally if I pick up a piece of cardboard near the production zone, there’ll be about 20 worms or so on it.
    – Make sure the bin is on open ground as well so as to allow the worms to travel up and into your heap from the earth.
    – Invest in a large sieve so that when the compost becomes ready (bottom first), you can grade it and then bag it up and keep it aside. I normally like a nice reasonably fine compost to use in pots and for seeds. I throw the bigger stuff back in to break down some more but do use this, more crude stuff, when preparing the main vegetable patch for the season.

    I actually wrote a post on composting a few months ago on my own blog which you can see here… The post shows how wooden pallets can make a great basis for a heap:

    1. Awesome man thanks. We have the chicken wire and I found a couple of worms. Great idea about dampening down the carbon. It’s taking a while to produce much dirt, but it’s definitely happening. I’ll check out your blog soon. Appreciate your feedback and involvement.

      1. Good news on the resources front!

        I turn my compost heap every month or so. You need to get the air into it whilst keeping it moist at the same time. No citrus remember..or autumn leaves or woody material either as they take much longer to break down and lengthen the process. Autumn leaves break down better with anaerobic composting in order to produce the soil conditioner leaf mould which is a low nitrogen humus and great for structure.

        At Highgrove in his organic gardens, Prince Charles turns his compost heap once a week apparently. It takes 12 – 16 weeks to make it then and – the speed relates to the turning. You can get it done in 4-6 weeks if you turn often enough. I have a book on the gardens – in fact it’s called Organic Gardening by HRH The Prince of Wales. It’s a really good book in my eyes. Lots of info and well written.

        They have about 4ft of what they call black gold there at Highgrove – which is a special blend of soil with 150 years of compost added!

        Feed the soil not the plant
        – Lots of manure, leaf mould and compost!

      2. Thats awesome man! Thanks. I’ve been turning mine once a week. Added some greens today and its looking and smelling really nice. I have been putting citrus in but will stop following your recommendation. Is there an alternative for limes, lemons and oranges?

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