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  • Compost?

    I'm a fairly avid backyard gardener. I enjoy making things grow, with that comes a reasonably sized compost bin. I use a steel trash can with holes drilled all over, and it's worked pretty well for me.

    That said, I drink 2-3 pots of decaf, and my wife drinks of pot of coffee every day. So I compost a LOT of coffee grinds. So much so that my compost bin is probably 90% coffee grinds, with their filters. I went out to stir the bin today "haven't stirred it in several months" and I noticed that the filters aren't breaking down. Is this a result of my not stirring it? or do I need to add something else. like a bag of manure to the bin? the manure came to mind because I thought it might hold moisture into the bin better, where the coffee grinds are dry within a day or two of being dumped in. Of course, right now, the fresh grinds are frozen shortly after being dumped in.
    Originally posted by NHMaster3015
    No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

  • #2
    Re: Compost?

    Last year was our first real garden. we started our compost pile a year and 1/2 ago on a big ol' pile of horse and cow dung thats been sitting for (from what we can tell) 13yrs or so.

    We have never turned it, nor do we add nearly as much as we could.
    Now you have me wondering if our pile is frozen or not.

    The way I understand it, it should not freeze beyond a few inches if it's working right?
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    • #3
      Re: Compost?

      yeah, I don't think it'se supposed to freeze either, which is what leads me to believe I need to add something other than coffee, eggshells, and the occasional peel.

      during the summer, all of the leavings from the fresh vegetables get added, but during the winter, it's pretty limited.
      Originally posted by NHMaster3015
      No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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      • #4
        Re: Compost?

        I add my coffee grounds to the compost pile, but I don't add the unbleached filters that I use. We only get a hard freeze in my neck of the woods once in a blue moon, but I don't add anything that I don't think will break down quickly.

        I save egg shells specifically for plants that can use the calcium.
        Baton Rouge Spray Foam Insulation

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        • #5
          Re: Compost?

          Try putting some fertilizer in it to fire it up

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          • #6
            Re: Compost?

            composting is a a process of breaking down organic materials,
            (in one since, your trying to make manure, with out it passing through a body),
            and a lot has to do with the carbon to nitrogen ratio of the item to be composted,

            If I remember correctly the Idea carbon nitrogen ratio is 24 to 1,

            the higher the carbon ration the slower it breaks down and the lower the ratio the faster,

            wood has a ratio of about 400 to 1, and news paper 175 to 1, and most green plant materials are in the 20 to 1 ratio, coffee grounds in the 20 to 1, ratio,

            so you paper filters may take literaly years to break down and the coffee grounds and vegetable trimmings maybe weeks,

            this site has a good info it looks like, http://www.composting101.com/c-n-ratio.html

            http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fu...n_nitrogen.htm

            http://www.rockymtnbioproducts.com/p...en%20Ratio.pdf

            many farmers will use this to keep residues on there fields by using plants that are high in carbon and other that are low to keep an area free of residues, in using cover crops,

            the moisture needs to be proper as well, to keep the soil microbes healthy,

            if the compost is of proper moisture and a large enough pile it may generate enough heat not to freeze, but it take a lot of heat to keep zero and sub zero temps from freezing it, so compost can freeze, and if it does it set dormant until the temps get back up to the working temperatures,
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            • #7
              Re: Compost?

              BHD gives good advise.

              In aerobic composting proper temperature is important. Heat is released in the process. Since composting material has relatively good insulation properties, a composting mass large enough (3’ x 3’) will retain the heat of the exthermo-biological reaction and high temperatures will develop.
              High temperatures are essential for destruction of pathogenic organisms and undesirable weed seeds. Also, decomposition is more rapid in the thermophilic temperature range. The optimum temperature range is 135° -160° Fahrenheit. Since few thermophilic organisms actively carry on decomposition above 160° F, it is undesirable to have temperatures above this for extended periods.

              A hot pile (or rather the thermophilic microorganisms inside a hot pile) needs oxygen. That is why in municipal composting programs they form their piles in windrows shaped so they can be machine turned. Turning (by mechanical means or manually) not only aerates, it also exposes under composted material from the edges of the pile to the heat loving microorganisms at the center.



              Another trick to facilitate decomposition is to chop material into small pieces. The smaller the piece the larger the relative area of exposure to microbial attack. That's one of the reasons coffee grounds break down quickly(another is coffee's high nitrogen content). It's also why when I was young and full of beans I bought a shredder.

              I used to be an avid composter. I had a 5 HP shredder and I was a good scavenger of compostable material. And, unless you have a farm or stable, you have to be a scavenger or you'll never be able to make more than a yard or so of finished compost annually. And to make good compost turning the pile to add oxygen comes into play. Turning a pile that starts out at say 4'x4'x6 every three days is hard work even when you consider that within two weeks a properly made, steaming hot pile will shrink by 50%. The method I used made usable compost in less than three weeks.
              http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/compost_rapidcompost.pdf
              http://www.compost-info-guide.com/fastcompost.htm

              I don't make compost like that anymore, I buy ready made from a guy who makes his using manure and bedding from local horse stables. The $275.00 I spend on a year's supply (6 yards) for my vegetable garden saves me at least 40 hours of manual labor, plus another 20 hours scavenging for material, which works out to about $4/hr if you figure in gas for scavenging.

              I do still have a pile on which I throw kitchen scraps, garden waste, clippings from a herbicide/insectide free lawn and fall leaves. I turn it once every 6 months and start another pile. 6months later I turn the second pile and start using the first one.
              Last edited by Plumbus; 01-11-2011, 08:40 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: Compost?

                sounds like my garbage can is a bit small, as is my usage. I'll try pitching the filters and just composting the grinds. and start adding my leaves/grass to it as well.
                Originally posted by NHMaster3015
                No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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                • #9
                  Re: Compost?

                  Originally posted by BHD View Post
                  so you paper filters may take literaly years to break down and the coffee grounds and vegetable trimmings maybe weeks
                  Pretty much why I wouldn't put any paper products in a compost heap. If anything, I'd end up using it for mulch to keep the weeds from coming up.
                  Baton Rouge Spray Foam Insulation

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