Soil and Compost forum: making a compost bin

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Name: Richard
Joshua Tree (Zone 9a)
Birds Irises Ponds Orchids
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creativeclover
Sep 7, 2015 3:45 PM CST
I have been going thru the site for a while. I just saw the thread for a mobile compost bin (homemade). I was curios if anyone here has tried to make it? Here is a link to the thread. The thread "mobile compost barrel" in Soil and Compost forum. If you have, how has it worked. I have a rather large propane tank. Not sure if it would be good for it. What do you think?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 8, 2015 5:41 PM CST
creativeclover said: I have a rather large propane tank. Not sure if it would be good for it. What do you think?


You'll certainly need drainage holes! If the holes are large, and in good contact with soil, worms will be able to find your composting stuff and help out. You need to keep it moist, but if water accumulates in the bottom, your wonderful aerobic composting microbes will die and be replaced by nasty, stinking, toxic anaerobic fermenting bacteria. Those bums will pump out harmful alcohols, organic acids, ketones and aldehydes. The water HAS to drain out so air can get in.

Compost piles also need good aeration, perhaps many large holes along the side of the tank. Hopefully people who have used bins and barrels for a while will chime in about what is "sufficient" aeration. I only compost in an open, shallow heap, so I don't know how many holes you need when you seal a compost heap inside a metal shell and still have it stay 100% aerobic.

Another issue: consider how much work it will be to shovel plant matter in, shovel compost out, and turn the heap. You have to lift stuff up and over the lip to put it in. You have to reach a shovel down into it to scoop any out. (Hopefully you can dump the tank empty when it's finished.) How do you turn compost inside a tank?

If it were just a heap sitting on the soil, that effort is minimal. Dump a wheelbarrow, stir with a garden fork, hoe or rake the finished compost into a wheelbarrow with its nose tipped down and wiggled into the pile.


Really, though, what do I know about that way of composting? I haven't tried it yet.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 25, 2015 1:44 PM CST
What an interesting idea. Since a propane tank is round, I'm sure something could be rigged to make it rotatable, depending on just how large and heavy it is. I'm curious to know if it works.

For me, I stick to my easy Worm Factory bin, but I love hearing about others' success with different methods. This is one of the more interesting ideas I've heard.
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Dec 20, 2015 8:51 AM CST
I tried making a compost bin on the ground with old tin around it but critters were able to get into it (armadillos, etc.). A lady was selling an old compost tumbler for $50 so I bought it.
I think you could do something similar with an old propane tank.


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How the hinges are on the door. (I know, needs wd40 on the rust).





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Screens on sides & barrel. I think if you cut holes & then put screening over the holes, it would be the same.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Dec 29, 2015 12:11 PM CST
Wow, Kathy you got a raging deal there! Big compost tumblers like that cost hundreds of dollars to buy new.

I'm doing some research for my daughter who lives in Utah. They are dedicated composters, and in the growing season through late fall they have tons of leaves and grass clippings so they use two wire baskets. Her husband has become an expert composter and they get good stuff from all their efforts.

But, in winter it's cold and dry there. The wire compost bins sit at one end of their deck where it is very handy to empty the compostable food scraps and coffee grounds etc. into them without going down the stairs. Now, she says they are having rodent problems getting into the compost because it never gets turned in the winter.

Has anyone used a small portable composter for winter composting of just small amounts of food scraps etc. ? They want one they can keep on the deck handy to the kitchen door, and move easily in the spring once they start using the big wire bins again.

Would appreciate all your expert input here!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Dec 29, 2015 1:37 PM CST
How about a plastic kitchen garbage can with lid? Drill a few holes for air/drainage and line with hardware cloth?
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Jan 12, 2016 10:17 AM CST
Here's a link for a garbage can composter. Hope I do this right!!!

[url=www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/vegetables/]www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/vegetables/[/url]

Scroll down & click on Easy Compost - FSA 6029

Sorry, I don't know how to link directly for downliads.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 12, 2016 11:56 AM CST
Hi Kathy!

See if this link works for you, for the garbage-can-composter PDF:
http://www.uaex.edu/publications/PDF/FSA-6029.pdf

Actually, I think the top-level link you gave has lots of good info.

BTW, I just saw the wheels and little groove and the hand-crank on your composter. Nice features!
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Jan 12, 2016 12:02 PM CST
@RickCorey, thats it!!! Thank you!!!! And I love my composter. My husband said it was a waste of $50 plus the $20 I had to give my nephew to help me get it, but I'm satisfied.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 12, 2016 12:13 PM CST
Waste of $50!?! No vegetables for HIM!

I've been cruising that U of Arkansas cooperative extension service website, and it's the best one I've seen.


I ordered a few cubic yards of topsoil from a local dirt yard once. They dumped it and came to the door to be paid.

To tease me and give them a laugh, Becky my DSO began acting shocked:
"You paid $100 for DIRT!!!!!?!!!! How COULD you!!????!! What a WASTE!!!"

We figure they drove back to work chuckling about how much trouble I was in for buying their "dirt".

Bhogi
May 15, 2016 8:04 AM CST
I wood like to have the plan or know how to build the two (2) barrils , one over each other, for composting.

Thank you and i am french, so not very good english!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 15, 2016 8:53 AM CST
Here's a link to a Youtube video of how to do it, Bhogi:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKAZEx4-zUI
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 16, 2016 4:39 PM CST
Welcome to NGA/ATP, Bhogi!

Good luck making compost. My theory is that anything you can do in a barrel, you can do in a heap on the ground.

(Except for keeping animals out, and hiding the compost from the neighbors.)
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee
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plantcollector
May 16, 2016 8:01 PM CST
I would much rather make compost on the ground instead of a barrel. But I don't have a problem with neighbors or animals Whistling
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
May 24, 2016 6:20 PM CST
plantcollector said:I would much rather make compost on the ground instead of a barrel. But I don't have a problem with neighbors or animals Whistling


Vermicomposting is a lot of fun, though; I recommend trying it!
Name: Paul
Madison, IN (Zone 6a)
delab
May 24, 2016 6:33 PM CST
Many companies have plastic or metal 55 gallon drums that they have to pay to get rid of. Some of them contained food-grade chemicals, so easy to clean and use. Black is preferable, blue can work. A drill and less than an hour's work and you have exactly what you need (if its plastic, metal is a bit more work). Ask local factories and/or food processors for good barrels.
Coldspring, Texas (Zone 8b)
Plant, watch and learn. My orchard
Permaculture
ElRanchoNeglecto
May 25, 2016 9:02 PM CST
I made a keyhole bed in my home garden with a hardware wire tube in the center for scraps. The wire tube is topped with a plant saucer so no critters can get in except my decomposing little guys. Also safe from vermin are the worm bins.

Yard litter and trimmings get the pile treatment. No furry critters! (This year I topped the branch pile with soil as a pseudo-Hugelkultur bed which is now spiked with sweet potatoes. Franken-gardening experiment!) Green Grin!
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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crawgarden
Jul 15, 2016 7:01 PM CST
I made compost bins out of an old cedar deck, I cut the boards to 3' lengths, than clamped several of them together with pipe clamps. Set my circular saw for a 1" cut and notched the boards, knocked the plugs out with a hammer.
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You can stack them as high or low as you want, additionally when the interior sides get wet you just flip them around, they get plenty of air just because they are fairly loose; very easy to turn the compost. I call them adult Lincoln Logs. The system allows me to make all of the compost I need, and recycled the lumber.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 15, 2016 7:23 PM CST
Very COOL! Like a log cabin!

Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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crawgarden
Jul 16, 2016 9:39 PM CST
RickCorey said:Very COOL! Like a log cabin!



Exactly! You can make it as tall or short as you want, so it grows with you.

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