Questions tagged [compost]

Compost is organic material which has undergone decomposition by microorganisms and is used as a soil amendment.

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40
votes
5answers
11k views

How often do you need to turn the compost heap?

If you have a compost heap, how often should you turn it? Does it make a difference if it's a simple heap (a mound on the ground) or in a tumbler? Alternately, is it even necessary to turn the heap?
16
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1answer
11k views

Does a pine needle mulch make your soil acidic?

This article from Colorado State University states that alkaline soils resist change but several years of heavy pine needle applications would create a somewhat more acid soil. This article ...
38
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9answers
4k views

How should I speed up the decomposition of sickly sweet smelling giant compost heap?

I have created a monster of a compost heap on my property (3 meters, by 2 meters, by almost 2 meters tall) next to an old granite rock wall. Anyway, I mostly put all my grass clippings (primary ...
24
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1answer
846 views

How can I keep my compost wet?

During summer my compost bin dries out considerably and slows down. We have hot dry summers. What should I do to keep the compost moist? Should I add water or will this rinse nutrients away?
30
votes
1answer
48k views

How long does it take for the compost to ripen?

I’ve got a compost bin (a big plastic box with air holes) that’s used by two or three families. We have been putting kitchen scraps and stuff into the composter for about a year now (mostly vegetables)...
10
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2answers
363 views

How do I make compost?

I have dried leaves, tons of dirt (seriously), and dead grass. How do I make compost? I have tried to decompose the dry grass clippings and the leaves, but that did not work. I also researched this ...
17
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3answers
6k views

What's the best way to increase the carbon content of compost heap in a grassy garden?

I've a small compost heap (1.2m x 1.2m x 0.8m), which is mostly formed of grass clippings. Thanks to this answer to another composting question, I now understand the C:N ratio. Unfortunately, there ...
42
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3answers
6k views

How hot can my compost get?

I went to stir my compost pile the other day, and to my surprise, when I dug into the center of the pile, I found that it was hot. As in, really hot. Once I removed the top layer steam was literally ...
19
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4answers
894 views

Composting Bins - DIY vs Bought

I want to start composting. I live in a house of 2, and a fairly large garden, in Australia, and I am renting (therefore do not want to spend a lot of money on something that I can't take with me). ...
17
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3answers
1k views

Can kitchen waste be used as manure?

Can kitchen wastes (like potato peels, onion skins, orange rinds, egg shells, tea inside tea bags etc) be used as manure? If so, how to use them?  Right now, I'm just dumping them in soil, which I ...
15
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between compost tea, manure tea, compost leachate and herbal tea?

We have seen several questions recently about compost tea. We have also seen questions about manure tea and at least one question that referred to compost leachate as "compost tea." What are the ...
12
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2answers
710 views

Compost has larva or maggots?

Inside of my compost which is only like five gallons I see hundreds of maggots or larvae. Is there a way I can dissect them and tell which species they are? I see some reports online that Black ...
8
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2answers
2k views

What time of year to mulch/feed trees?

This answer recommends putting down a layer of compost mulch in the fall in order to slowly feed the tree. (In addition to the unmentioned weed control and moisture regulation.) It makes sense to me -...
7
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2answers
673 views

Square meter gardening Soil Mix

The Square meter garden soil mix is a third each of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. I have assumed that in the UK since most of our composts are around 50% peat moss I could just do: 2/3 compost ...
26
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5answers
841 views

What is “Compost Tea” good for?

I have read that you can get a tumbler type of composter and collect the "juices" from the composter. This is referred to as "compost tea". Does anyone know what the real usage of this is? Some ...
19
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5answers
38k views

Should I add water to my compost heap?

I have a 1m x 1m x 0.6m compost heap. I was turning the heap yesterday and was surprised to find that most of the heap hadn't really decomposed, and was in fact quite dry. Should I be regularly ...
15
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5answers
13k views

What procedure should I follow to compost bones, fat, and rotten cooked food?

I have read that composting things like bones and fat should be avoided as it can get smelly and attract pests. However, I expect that there are a lot of nutrients that I am wasting if I threw these ...
14
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8answers
13k views

Is spent cat litter an appropriate source of nitrogen for compost?

Is spent cat litter an appropriate source of nitrogen for compost? The cat litter used is made of recycled paper pellets so is rich in carbon. It doesn't contain the cat faeces because that is fished ...
14
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1answer
3k views

My composter has developed a sour smell and a lot of bugs. What am I doing wrong?

I set up a 7 cu ft rolling composter in my garden about 3 weeks ago and filled it about halfway with 1/3 food scraps and 2/3 cardboard/leaves/finished compost. My kids added more food scraps, so it's ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Is this mushroom going to make my black radish taste weird or be poisonous?

It is still cold nowadays (mid-April) in east-France, so I started my vegetables inside a winter garden. I planted some tomatoes seeds in a large pot of mine, which I had previously filled with ...
13
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3answers
4k views

How can I tell if my compost is ready

I just started composting a month back and have some basic questions. I have been putting garden and kitchen waste in my compost bin every week. I have been turning the pile every week to mix up the ...
9
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7answers
3k views

Why is dumping kitchen waste (like peels of a potato) in a potted plant a bad idea?

I've heard that dumping kitchen waste, like rinds of potatoes, cucumbers, gourds, onions, etc. is a bad idea. Why it is a bad idea? And if I dig that type of kitchen waste an inch or so in the soil ...
7
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6answers
3k views

Is it safe to add compostable plastics to my compost pile?

A couple stores I frequent now use, or are starting to use, plastic bags and cups that say they're compostable. Are these safe to add to my compost pile or are they just more environmentally friendly ...
2
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1answer
651 views

What to do (immediately) with a waterlogged pot plant?

See here for question about what I should do now: What to do (after two weeks) with a waterlogged pot plant? TL;DR What should I have do, immediately, if I suspect that a repotted plant pot is ...
2
votes
1answer
219 views

What to do (after two weeks) with a waterlogged pot plant?

See here for question about what I should have done at the time: What to do (immediately) with a waterlogged pot plant? TL;DR What should I do now, given that I suspect that I've created a plant pot ...
92
votes
4answers
10k views

Can weeds be put into compost, or will they grow again when the compost is used?

I usually discard weeds but it occurred to me that they would probably be good for compost. Are there any steps I can take to use them in compost without having them grow again when I use the compost?...
39
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2answers
1k views

Does unused compost keep on getting better and better?

We have a compost bin to which I've been adding kitchen scraps (and some garden waste) over several years. I have never used the resulting compost (mainly because I have a ready supply of horse manure ...
17
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5answers
3k views

How do I keep red wiggler worms alive overwinter in the Northeastern USA?

I'm going to be moving into my first house soon in Westchester County, NY. I've done a lot of container and patio/balcony gardening and am looking forward to having a real backyard garden. I want to ...
23
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2answers
6k views

What actually occurs for manure to become considered “well-rotted”?

I know that you shouldn't use raw manure on plants because it's bad for them, but I don't understand why. I know you should stack manure before using it (i.e. literally stack it into a big cone), and ...
21
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3answers
477 views

Should I insulate my compost heap?

I understand that compost heaps have an ideal temperature for the bacteria to decompose the material into compost. Living in the changeable Great Britain, the weather can be windy, rainy, sunny and ...
21
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10answers
39k views

Can I put coffee filters into my compost?

I've heard that coffee grounds are a good "green"(nitrogen rich) to put in your compost, but I was wondering if I could throw the filter in there as well? They are the standard "accordion side" white ...
18
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10answers
6k views

Is there an easier way to aerate my compost besides turning it?

I want to be a good composter, but turning my pile is backbreaking work. I was looking through a gardening magazine today and I saw a contraption that was basically a three foot long pole that had ...
15
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1answer
348 views

What is the risk of soil contamination via leaf mulch/compost?

Soil in the city I live in is quite often contaminated with nasty things like arsenic and lead. Levels are sometimes twice or more what's considered acceptable. For this reason, people usually ...
12
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1answer
718 views

How do I compost lots of grass clippings?

I find that grass clippings tend not to compost well on their own, however we have lots of grass clippings to compost – so what do we do?
12
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3answers
823 views

What are good sources for large quantities of “greens” for my compost?

I have a compost pile that has a lot of "browns" in it, dead leaves and wood shavings mostly. Can anyone recommend sources for large quantities of "greens"? I've been putting in my kitchen scraps but ...
9
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the best way to compost a large pile of leaves with minimal effort?

Where we live you have to bag your leaves. We have about ¼ acre and lots of trees, so it's really impractical to bag all of those leaves. I was thinking of simply making a big pile and trying ...
9
votes
3answers
256 views

Is it possible to do my own extensive soil/organic matter testing?

I've read the posts on soil testing, and I realize it's cheap and widely available through local universities, etc. Question: Is it possible to do my own soil testing? Are there some compounds that ...
8
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6answers
4k views

What can be done with hazelnut shells?

I've found a lot of empty and broken hazelnut shells lying under huge hazelnut shrub. (Most of them were eaten by squirrels but some have worm holes). Is it safe to use them for composting (maybe ...
4
votes
1answer
212 views

How do I turn a plastic stock tank into a vermicomposter?

We have a Rubbermaid, plastic stock-tank. It has an unfixable crack in it and we've been saving it incase we could find a future use for it. I've just started getting into composting and I plan to do ...
18
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10answers
26k views

What can you do with oak leaves within a garden? Are they compostable?

We have a lot of oak trees on our property. Is there anything we can do with the oak leaves? They never really seem to break down, and because of that, I am afraid to try and add them to a compost. ...
10
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1answer
2k views

How much coffee grounds should I add to my compost (and how frequently)?

I have been reading that spent coffee grounds can be used for fertilizer and/or composting and also came across this question on this site. I have a compost pile in the yard that holds roughly two 33 ...
9
votes
1answer
174 views

How do I know vermi-compost is done?

So a friend of mine gifted me with a bucket of worms mixed with dirt and food. It was a living colony and I maintained it so, even growing properly. I've followed quite a few proper rules, also taking ...
9
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2answers
691 views

Safe to use Chicken Manure in my compost?

I was talking to someone about adding chicken manure to my compost and they said that I shouldn't do it because it's dangerous. I had assumed that as long as I let is compost for 6 months to a year ...
9
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2answers
599 views

Putting fruit tree branches in compost

I just started composting. In addition to putting lawn clippings, kitchen waste and dry leaves what else can I put in? Is it okay to put branches of trees (fruit, olive, etc) in the compost?
9
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1answer
1k views

Why can't I compost dog & cat faeces?

Looking at this answer made we wonder again about why we don't compost dog and cat faeces. Any guide to composting will always caution against including dog (and cat) excrement (examples here and here)...
7
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3answers
1k views

Is there anything I should avoid putting in compost that I am going to use for blueberries?

Is there anything I should avoid (or encourage) adding to compost that I am going to make to grow blueberries?
7
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2answers
175 views

What is the easiest way to get started with Bokashi (japanese “fermenting” composting)?

Someone suggested Bokash composting of non meat kitchen scraps b/c it doesn't attract insects nor does it smell. What's the easiest way to get started? Do I need to buy more bokashi "microbes" ...
5
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1answer
3k views

How do I deal with 'compostable' bags? [duplicate]

I let my neighbors dump their vegetable trimmings in my compost pile, and it's worked well for many years. I don't tend to actively maintain my compost pile and only turn it once a year. (screen the ...
4
votes
3answers
234 views

Balcony composting - suggestions for trapped rainwater

I have an apartment with a balcony - the flooring of the balcony is a lot of wood boards. My compost bin is a big plastic recycling bin which I have perforated with an awl and rubber hammer on the ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

Barnyard odor problem in compost pile

I'm attempting to learn how to compost. Most of the material available to me is grass clippings (not many leaves on my property). I had success last year, but this year my pile is exuding a strong ...