March 30, 2010 at 11:10 pm #251780VanessaMember
Ok, got the compost bins in place (2 of the square black plastic ones), and a mow of the lawn, has generated enough lawn clippings to fill at least one of them full to the brim.
I know that to get good compost there has to be a ballance of Carbon to Nitrogen and some sort of activator to provide all the little micro organisms, to get munching away to turn the “stuff” into compost.
Now I have 4 chooks which are in a tractor, and I live in an area where there are various bagged “poo’s” (chook, horse, etc) for sale on the sides of the road or a few “free manure” places, so I can easily and fairly cheaply get my hands on a fair amount of manure.
From past experience I know that things like grass clippings donâ€™t like to compost when just left in a pile, so what I was thinking of was to get some manure and layer this with the grass clippings, leave for a few days, week etc them start to “stir” it (with my pronged compost stirer thing) every now and then.
The chooks are moved every couple of days to a week and get weeds chucked in their pen, so I was thinking of raking this up and putting it into the compost bin, should be a good mix of manure, left over bits of weeds (mainly the harder stems), and a little bit of soil. Horse poo is easy to come by, so was thinking a bit of this as well.
I have some dynamic lifter which DP hates the smell of, so I was wondering if that would help if I sprinkled a bit in at a time?
What is good manures for compost?
And what is good ratios for good (hopefully quick- a few months) compost?March 31, 2010 at 12:07 am #458911WozMember
I would put the grass clippings into the chook pen and pewt them turn it into manure and lovely golden eggs. You can then harvest the floor scraping and use that on your garden.
Compost needs to be 30:1 Carbon;Nitrogen, about the same ratio as a normal tree branch with leaves. You can use paper/cardboard/dried leaves/sawdust and so on for the carbon. Nitrogen sources include green leaves/manures/coffee grounds etc. Mixing it in equal quantities should get you close to the correct ratio.
You don’t need to add any activators as the bacteria will find their way to the food. If the ratios are correct the pile should get hot and then cool down. You can kickstart it again by adding more nitrogen, but eventually it will not get hot and the worms will move in. You could use it as compost-mulch at this stage or leave it longer for the worms to do their work.
Adding leaves from deep rooted plants such as dock/comfrey and the likes will increase mineral content.
Adding the Dynamic Lifter to the compost would be a waste, just dissolve it in water to “weak tea” strength and pour it on the garden.
Variety in your compost is best, so different sources of carbon/nitrogen, especially different manures, will help a lot. Dog and Cat Poo are a no-no however, dispose of this in deep holes around the drip lines of trees.March 31, 2010 at 10:49 am #458912dianneParticipant
dont forget to water it. I have one of the black bins and it heats up heeps. I just put all my scrapes into it and once I have a layer I put on some old lawn clippings and then scrapes again. every now and then it gets some weeds and old plants( dont have alot of these yet) and the odd handful of manure(dont have much access to any). no pattern or ratio and goes ok.
I would also put cuttings in with the chooks and then rake up after a while and then add to the bins. have fun experimenting:tup:March 31, 2010 at 7:02 pm #458913MagpieMember
Vanessa, one of the best things I have is a compost ‘screw’, (about $20 at Bunnings).
You just twist it down into the bin and as you pull it up it brings up a plug of the compost, so you can mix the contents and get air into the heap really easily – and that makes it break down much faster.
It also lets you check how much moisture is in the heap – it has to be moist for the microbes to work, and it means you don’t have to empty out the whole bin to turn the compost – which alone is worth every cent of the 20 bucks!!March 31, 2010 at 11:18 pm #458914VanessaMember
I have something similar but it has two hinged pieces on the botton, goes in like a steak then comes out like a T, does a similar job to the compost screws.April 1, 2010 at 4:31 am #458915KarmaMember
I bought one of those compost screws from Bunnings last week and I can with one use see that it will speed things up from just allowing you to mix the contents of the bin and aerate it. I think mine was only $11, well worth it.:D
Cheers KarmaApril 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm #458916MagpieMember
I used to HATE turning the compost, but the screw makes it so quick and easy.
I know the type of tool you have Vanessa, never used one, but if it works, just keep running it through the bins and the stuff will break down in no time – it really does speed things upApril 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm #458917GrethMember
The chook stuff will enrich the compost pretty well I think, I sift my chook stuff, put the nice bits on the garden, and the unsiftable goes to compost for a while.April 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm #458918LeeMember
sweet stuff. Have been doing this as part of orgainc farning course. the manure you really want is cow. Because they processes the grasses though seven stomachs. Makes it a better product. any maure will be fine but that is the best.April 2, 2010 at 1:06 am #458919SonyaMember
We use a star picket in our black bins to create holes (we put nine holes in it going in through the top and that works a treat – a lot cheaper too.
I’ve just finished running a series of workshops in council libraries on both composting and worm farming and we do lots of composting here too – our garden runs on it.
I teach the nitrogen, carbon, activator no-turn method.
I have a lot of compost posts on my blog but this one takes you through how I teach people to use those black bins.
Recommended ratios – Peter Jenkins in Humanure talks about 1.5 carbon to 1 nitrogen (being mindful that all nitrogen ‘green’ matter contains a percentage of carbon too)
Good luck with it! and be careful with lawn clippings they can act as a barrier to both air and water, so make sure you use lots and lots of ‘chunky’ stuff too – eg stalks of canna lillies for example.
SonyaMay 27, 2010 at 7:21 am #458920ZandyMember
Ratios as recommended by Dr Elaine Ingham (soil microbiologist):
45% woody/brown/dry material
35% green material
20% nitrogen material (OLD manures)
35% woody/brown/dry material
45% green material
20% nitrogen material
Needs to have good air and be damp. I use a round wire surround. Not enough air will make it anerobic and it will be stinky and actually bad for the soil!!!
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