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when is it done?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Braca on June 05, 2006 12:29 PM
I have been adding to and turning my compost pile almost every week. Nothing is green and it tends to smell awful. I am pretty sure it's working, but how do I tell when it's done and ready to use?
by Longy on June 05, 2006 06:26 PM
If it's ready, It shouldn't smell awful, it should smell like a forest floor. Sounds like it may have gone sour from too much moisture/green stuff and not enough air although if you've been turning it every week air shouldn't be a problem..
It might be worth getting it going again with more goodies. Got any dried leaves about the place?
What does it look like? When ready it should be just moist, a dark rich brown colour and crumbly.

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The secret is the soil.
by weezie13 on June 06, 2006 12:47 AM
Braca,
What all have you been throwing on it weekly??

Throw a beer or a cola on it too,
with all the other things that Longy mentioned....

Is your compost pile in the shade?
Or a wetter or lower area in your yard???

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by johnCT on June 07, 2006 12:37 AM
It will never be completely done if you keep adding to it. Maybe your best option would be to stop adding to it and create a second pile. Keep turning your original pile however.

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John - Zone 6
by Braca on June 09, 2006 11:01 AM
Sorry for not replying sooner. The pile looks like a bunch of mowed over leaves and grass clippings that turned brown with something looking like dirt mixed in. It's on the west side of my shed. This provides shade till about 11:00 to noon and then sun till late evening. We have been in a drought for years but the pile isn't in a low spot. I think it has been hit by the sprinkler a couple times. It seemed like all I had to do at the start was add some stuff and turn it. Guess not.
by Longy on June 09, 2006 05:51 PM
Is it moist Braca?

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The secret is the soil.
by Braca on June 10, 2006 03:39 AM
I would say moistish. When I put the grass clippings in I turn the rest on top of it. I usually end up watering the lawn and subsequently the pile shortly there after. However, when I turn it it is fairly dry. Also the smell has gone away.
by weezie13 on June 10, 2006 04:00 AM
Braca,

For me, the 3 bin system is ideal...

The first one is to throw stuff in..*called a working compost*
The second one is to let it rest... *called resting compost*
The Third one is to the one you're using... *called, I don't know, the one you're workin' out of, or using..* (not being funny, honestly, wasn't sure what it's name was.)

But if you have the area or space..
You really should stop using the one you're workin' on and let it rest..
Start a new one.. and get that one going..

Probably about the time the same thing is happening here, will be the time to let that one rest and use the one that you're letting rest now..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Braca on June 10, 2006 11:19 AM
What if I don't have the space? I have about half a yard of material and not enough room to keep this one and do the same thing with another.
by weezie13 on June 10, 2006 11:42 AM
Meaning, you don't have the space to start a
new one???

What I would do is.. hold on to that stuff that you have to put in...

Wait about another 2 weeks and then fill a black or dark garbage bag and let it sit..maybe even put it in a big garbage plastic can also to hold..
*do you have food in that compost pile??*

That way, the one that needs to rest.. can rest...
And a new one can be started and filled with the stuff you were holding....

Could that be a plan????

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Braca on June 10, 2006 05:54 PM
What about simply mulching my lawn clippings instead of composting and then starting over when my current one looks done? My yard is full of weeds and doesn't look so good. I am hoping to have something usable in a couple weeks when I plan to plant some trees. Also what do you mean by food in the compost pile? We did just have a thunderstorm roll through and rained pretty hard for a bit. Do I need to do something to the pile since it got pretty wet?
by Longy on June 11, 2006 08:01 AM
You'll find a thunderstorm probably didn't wet the stuff thru Braca. \
I'd suggest you turn the lot, (again) with some filely chopped up green additives like grass clippings. Water the whole lot and get it good and moist then leave it to cook again.
I think your original; problem was that it was too dry. it should always be as moist as a wrung out sponge.

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The secret is the soil.
by Braca on June 12, 2006 09:30 AM
Thanks for the info guys. I'll give it a try and see what happens.

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