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<  Composting, Mulch, and Soils  ~  Learned one more trick for composting

PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:12 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
I read an article about composting large piles that put PVC pipe every 2 ft. So I used 2" PVC with lots of 1/2" holes drilled. Made them 4ft long. As the compost pile got deeper, I added 2 pipes for air.
The pile I used them on was the active this year garden, lawn, kitchen scrap one. To my amazement it is some of the best compost I've made in a month period. It is pretty wet & I never mixed it I just added to it all summer. My plan was to mix it with the big bin in the garden as I built it up. I was adding some off the top in with the big bin & as I got deeper (about a foot down) it looked like good stuff. It was full of worms & broken down really good. Also wetter than you'd make a "hot" pile. Anyway the air pipes are the only different thing I did than I normally do & it is usable compost. I don't know if it ever got hot, but with all the worms I don't think it did.
Any way I wheeled it to the garden & topped most of the plant-less soil boxes from this years garden. It'll winter there & hopefully grow a good garden next year.
The only thin I may have is if it didn't get hot, I may have more weeds but puling weeds is therapy.
I added 2 pipes 16" from the sides every 18" or so of depth. (4 pipes total in this small bin). They worked wonders for sure. I've alway had to mix the pile in the fall (now) & again in the spring to have done compost next fall. This time it was done in 5 months.

A "Trick to remember", Air pipes greatly speed up the compost process even in smaller piles. My pile was 4 ft X 4 ft & sometimes thru the year almost 4 ft high but it kept shrinking as it broke down.
(camera lens a little dirty but I hope you get the idea)

Pipes in pile just sticking out the front to get air:
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Done compost full of worms:
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Topped of soil boxes with it:
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:22 am
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
That's interesting, thanks for sharing your results. I just happen to have some pipe laying around, so if life allows, I may give it a try since my scrap pile takes a long time to break down.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:22 pm
User avatarJoined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 amPosts: 106Location: Ontario
Not sure if it makes any difference, but I use 'vertical' pipes. I got some 3 inch pipe spare, drilled it full of holes, stood it in the middle as I turned the compost over. Completed the pile and covered the top with plastic to help keep in the heat. During the transfer I also sprinkled Corn meal over the various layers.
It was the fastest I have seen the pile drop down in size.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:39 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
The vertical method is the one I've always seen. I wonder if it makes a difference which way they go in. Air might flow through horizontal pipes more.

Check out Dan's message at the top of this forum.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:17 pm
User avatarJoined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 amPosts: 106Location: Ontario
luv2grdn wrote:
The vertical method is the one I've always seen. I wonder if it makes a difference which way they go in. Air might flow through horizontal pipes more..

Without going all spiffy about it. Physics laws say that hot air rises, so in a vertical position the heat would rise and the displacement would be replaced from the bottom up, sucking air right through the whole pile.
Bacteria need air to survive, so I would suggest the bacteria in a vertcally vented pile would be better off.
Comments?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:57 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
Hot air rises to the top of the pile which is not air tight even if covered.
As the air slowly works its way up, it draws air in the bottom sides & uses the oxygen before reaching the middle.
I believe both methods will work some.
All I know is the pile was done quicker than ever & I never mixed it (all but the top 12" or so, which I was almost daily adding to the top.
The horizontal air pipes allowed oxygenated air all through the whole pile, not just in from the sides. Most of the oxygen gets used up before it ever gets to the middle with just vertical pipes.
I think any air vent pipes help.

PS: I jut have 2 vertical pipes in a larger bin & am thinking of adding a few horizontal ones to get more oxygenated air to the middle.

just IMHO



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:38 am
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
Interesting topic. I'll have to see if there's a planned use of the pipes we have and if not, then I'll put some in my kitchen compost since it takes forever to break down. The only problem is that it's in plastic bins with vents on the sides and a lid, so maybe that would interfere with the pipes. All I can do is try it. I have big leaf bins made out of fencing wire, so I could easily put some in there since the leaves get so compacted.

Thanks for bringing up this topic Dave. My dh ended up in the hospital on his way to Texas, so I need a diversion and this would be an easy one.

Am I the only one who doesn't want to see these forums go away? I seem to be the main one rallying to keep some of them around when the C&S forum relocates. I just don't think many people outside the C&S forum realize what's happening since it was posted on there first. Dan wanted to give people a chance of sticking together when he leaves.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:32 pm
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:26 pmPosts: 4181
Quote:
Am I the only one who doesn't want to see these forums go away? I seem to be the main one rallying to keep some of them around when the C&S forum relocates. I just don't think many people outside the C&S forum realize what's happening since it was posted on there first. Dan wanted to give people a chance of sticking together when he leaves.


No you are not the only one. I just have been under the weather and overly busy on top of it to proccess my thoughts into comments and suggestions. I hope some folks outside of C&S have time to voice their thoughts.

Foxy.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:03 pm
User avatarJoined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 amPosts: 106Location: Ontario
luv2grdn wrote:
Am I the only one who doesn't want to see these forums go away? I seem to be the main one rallying to keep some of them around when the C&S forum relocates. I just don't think many people outside the C&S forum realize what's happening since it was posted on there first. Dan wanted to give people a chance of sticking together when he leaves.

I for one have absolutely no idea what you're refering to. Could you 'plain' speak for us, please?
What is the C&S forum? Where is it relocating to? Why is Dan leaving?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:26 pm
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:26 pmPosts: 4181
Oh dear, you don't know :( C&S is short for cactus and succulents. These two threads should fill you in on what is happening to TGF.

https://thegardenforums.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=20618

https://thegardenforums.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=20554&view=unread#unread

Foxy.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:42 am
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
Sorry, I thought there had been a message about it at the head of each forum, but if it was there it would be easy to overlook. Thanks for posting the link Foxy.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:12 pm
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:08 pmPosts: 187Location: Zone 5
Dave, did you have to perforate the pipe yourself? If so, how did you go about drilling it? I don't have any lying around so was thinking of buying some to save all the turning next year. Wonder if there's such a thing as perforated pipe for sale. I don't know what it would be used for... lol... but, just in case.

Thanks! :)



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:42 pm
User avatarJoined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 amPosts: 106Location: Ontario
love2garden wrote:
Dave, did you have to perforate the pipe yourself? If so, how did you go about drilling it? I don't have any lying around so was thinking of buying some to save all the turning next year. Wonder if there's such a thing as perforated pipe for sale. I don't know what it would be used for... lol... but, just in case.Thanks! :)

I took a speed drill with a 1/2 inch drill and set too banging holes along the length.
I believe the HD sells perforated pipe, but it's possibly a 8-10 foot length. Perforated pipe has lots of uses, mainly in drainage, land drains, weeping tiles.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:59 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
Yes I drilled it myself, 1/2" holes.
The next ones I make will be made from the gray 1-1/2 inch or 2" plastic conduit that HD or Lows have.
It is UV resistant, a little softer & easier to drill.
You can buy (I think 3 inch is the smallest) perf-pipe but I still think I'd put more holes in it.
2" is about the right size for most use in compost piles.
lonely cold (-10 deg F) , 3 pallet, compost bin
Image



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:38 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
What? You have an empty bin!!?? You're slipping. :wink:

I utilized some of my leaf mold today for planting a couple of bamboos and will do some more once the weather allows. I should still get some pipe and put them in this years leaves vertically and see if it makes a difference, just do it in one bin.

Looks like you're settling in for the winter. Enjoy.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:02 am
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
This one was "DONE" in 1 summer. so I topped the SFG beds with it just before the 1st snow.
The top 12 inches I mixed with the bigger one in the garden with all the garden, greenhouse plants mixed with leaves.
It was cooking fine till this week. The 15 below zero has slowed it done , no more steam coming out the pipes :(
I filled the empty one last fall with fresh HM, but it cooked for a while then froze to a 4' X 4' X4' block of frozen, partially cooked HM compost & took 6 weeks of pulling the frozen stuff off the top & sides till it was empty.
Hence: not filling small one for winter, more work than results.
It is now my garden, kitchen, yard scraps thru the summer, use what's done, & mix active (still working) microbes with the bigger bin.
HM supply may be gone also ( :( ), so with what I have screened & stored, the garden bin working every year, & 2 large piles of HM to be done next year, my supply of compost should be good for a while.



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:43 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
That's great that you had such a quick turnover in that bin. You have the system down pretty good now and know when to and not to start a new bin. Less work to do it is a good thing. :) It's too bad you're losing your source, though. Any other stables around?

Stay warm.


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