What are different methods to composting? I heard there is a little more than just throwing stuff on a pile. So what is the differences between any methods. And also, what is safe to put in a compost bin? How long does it need to sit till its ready for use? This would all be very helpful to know, thanks!

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  • composting outdoors, in a bin or heap you mean? Need to narrow it down or the answer will be a short book... – Bamboo Jul 17 '17 at 21:11
  • @Bamboo Well, I was thinking of having a "3 stage" deal. Where you have a 4' by 4' (or bigger/smaller) and there basically a box. But I figured there was other methods and for there own reasons. – Ljk2000 Jul 18 '17 at 3:01
  • None should be smaller than 3x3 as a minimum, but that's a great idea, 3 different bins, if you've the room and the materials. I asked the question because I wasn't sure whether you wanted to know about direct composting and bokashi as well/ rather than outdoor composting... – Bamboo Jul 18 '17 at 10:07
  • @Bamboo I have more than enough space, and more than enough stuff to put in the bins, it just nice to know what strategy will turn me the best results. – Ljk2000 Jul 18 '17 at 18:18
  • Also, if you're interested for gardening purposes, Google "lasagna gardening" which is "sheet composting" directly into raised beds. I've had very good results with my vegetable gardens (new development, so almost zero topsoil in my yard to dig into). – PoloHoleSet Jul 18 '17 at 19:36

Well, now I'm going to have to do a slightly different answer to the one you've already got. Yes, there are two types of outdoor composting processes - hot and aerobic, or cold and anaerobic. Hot and aerobic is achieved by regular and frequent turning of the contents, cold and anaerobic is what most people do, you just build the heap and leave it to get on with it. If you have a lot of material regularly that needs composting, it's worth having two heaps, one you've built and another one you're building, adding materials all the time. Hot and aerobic is faster, but more work, obviously. Whichever method you decide on, it's quicker if you chop everything up as small as possible, especially woodier materials. Weeds should not be added to cold anaerobic heaps, although if you strip off the flowerheads or seed heads, you can add the stems and leaves, provided they're not pernicious weeds like bindweed. The heat generated in an aerobic heap kills off most weed seeds, so you can take the risk with that type of heap.

An anaerobic heap should not smell - it only smells if you haven't got the C:N ratio right. That means carbon to nitrogen, or, in common parlance, browns to greens, and there's good guidance on that subject here http://www.gardenmyths.com/how-to-compost-browns-greens/

I agree you never add meat, fish, cheese or whole eggs - but you can add eggshells if you like. Cooked kitchen scraps aren't a great addition to a heap, but vegetable peelings and fruit skins are fine.

  • Other answer refers to "poo" - definitely not from animals that have meat in their diets, definitely, but what about vegetarian animal sources (rabbits, guinea pigs, etc?) as a nitrogen supplement? – PoloHoleSet Jul 18 '17 at 19:24
  • @PoloHoleSet - herbivores only (cow, rabbit and so on), NOT including vegan or vegetarian human faeces, nor that from vegetarian dogs and cats compostinstructions.com/poop-or-no-poop – Bamboo Jul 18 '17 at 19:31
  • yes, when I talked about "vegetarian" I meant biological evolutionary genetic vegetarian animals, not humans or animals that are artificially vegetarian by human choice (have a friend whose late dog was a vegetarian because she was). Thanks for confirming, I didn't think there was anything wrong with composting my bunny's litter. – PoloHoleSet Jul 18 '17 at 19:34

There are two ways to compost; aerobically and anaerobically. Anaerobically is very stinky and needs lots of proper equipment and testing. You only need to be doing aerobic composting.

And it really is as simple as heaping non decomposed matter into a pile; feeding it some nitrogen and keeping slightly moist and turning it now and then. Air, nitrogen and water...the decomposers which hang our everywhere waiting for us to die do all the work.

I've told this story often; when we had Puget Power Company come to our road to trim trees off the lines, they asked me if I wanted the chipped debris and I told them absolutely! They dumped piles 6' high on top of blackberry shrubs and probably 300 feet long, 6'wide. I am serious. This mulch steamed all winter long. I threw alfalfa pellets on these piles, never turned them, they always had plenty of water (Pacific Northwest right in the corner near Canada). In the spring those piles had decomposed down to 6", no blackberries, and the soil which was this wonderful loam was even more spectacular!

You never put protein in your piles. No poo poo, no meat, no eggs. Layering 'brown' stuff (leaves, bark chips) with green stuff (lawn clippings, kitchen waste, weeds you've pulled up...use of perf pvc pipe helps with air so you don't have to manually turn the piles...if you can find kitty litter made from alfalfa into pellets is the best source of nitrogen for this job. Those big turnable barrels

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