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Discussion Starter #1
This season's fallen leaves will be my 1st attempt at hot composting... only because... I now have lots and lots of coffee grounds from the gas station to work with. I got a coffee ground supply up the WAZOO!!!

I'm using 6 shipping pallets as the bin. I've got my supply of leaves from 4 Maple Trees. I have a 2 gallon bucket that fills everyday with coffee grounds, and add that.

Here's the question... I live in brutal winter land. We're getting our 1st blizzard tomorrow. :eek: I've read numerous articles that *claim* my pile can *cook*, even in the winter temps.

Have any of you had luck with this? I realize farmers with an endless supply of manure would be helpful, but that just isn't an option for me. I'm pretty much limited to leaves, coffee grounds, and food scraps.
 

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This season's fallen leaves will be my 1st attempt at hot composting... only because... I now have lots and lots of coffee grounds from the gas station to work with. I got a coffee ground supply up the WAZOO!!!

I'm using 6 shipping pallets as the bin. I've got my supply of leaves from 4 Maple Trees. I have a 2 gallon bucket that fills everyday with coffee grounds, and add that.

Here's the question... I live in brutal winter land. We're getting our 1st blizzard tomorrow. :eek: I've read numerous articles that *claim* my pile can *cook*, even in the winter temps.

Have any of you had luck with this? I realize farmers with an endless supply of manure would be helpful, but that just isn't an option for me. I'm pretty much limited to leaves, coffee grounds, and food scraps.
It will cook slower inthe winter months but it will cook. You can add horticultural dry molasas or even sugar to jumpstart the microbal action of the pile. The heat comes from microbes digesting the organic matter.

I would start with a 1/2 cup of dry molasas or sugar onece a week until the pile starts to heat up once it is hot feed it you organic matter it will cook all winter long.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm using 2 shipping pallets for the back, 2 for the front and 1 on each side... so that gives you an idea of the dimensions.

Now... figure about 2 gallons of coffee grounds DAILY... for the last 2 wks.

I added 50 gallons of harvested rainwater, for the moisture content.

I did my quarterly cleaning out the fridge... puree'd that stuff and mixed in well.

When's it gonna start cooking????????????? How much more coffee grounds is it gonna take????????
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Should I cover it with clear plastic? (like a greenhouse effect)

What about the pile *breathing*?

I've got wayyyy toooo many questions about this. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just had my young adult son go out to the compost bin, and give it a really good stirring with the pitchfork.

Guess what??? YAHOO!!! YIPPEE!!! It's currently 27F outside... and I got me tiny little puffs of steam!!!

Nothing major, but it's a start.

Who would of thunk I'd be soooooo darn excited over leaves and coffee grounds.

I just love experimenting with ideas. I just lack the patience waiting waiting waiting for the results!
 

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Should I cover it with clear plastic? (like a greenhouse effect)

What about the pile *breathing*?

I've got wayyyy toooo many questions about this. LOL
Yeah cover it with plastic to keep the rain out, you want to control moisture and a good rain will kill your pile and you'll have to turn it to get it cooking again. The sides of the bin should let air pass, that's why I use stock wire bins.
 

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I wouldn't think that having snow on top of the pile would hurt it too much, I think it may actually be better than having it exposed to the cold wind which will keep sucking any heat from the pile. Snow will act as an insulator.

I have a similar type of compost pile with 5 gal of coffee grounds daily. I wasn't getting very good temps until I did a complete stirring of the pile as I think it was too dry (even though the leaves and grass clippings were fresh and wet when I added them).

Here is what I did to get it really cooking.

Took 5gal bucket ~80% full of coffee grounds, added hot water to fill bucket. I let it "steep" overnight and then I poured it over the compost pile. I figured that this might get some of the nitrogen throughout the pile.

When I re-layered the pile I saved 6 5gal buckets of grounds, added hot water to each bucket and let them sit over night. Next morning I
-forked pile to new location at about 8" thick
-added 1 bucket grounds/water
-added a few shovels full of finished (or mostly finished) compost over the new layer (just enough to cover most of the area)
-added 10 gals more of water
-repeat by adding another 8" layer

I then decided to add a little extra something which is supposed to super or turbo charge the process. I saved my urine for 5 days and then poured it as evenly as possible over the entire top of the pile. A strange thing happened, the spots where I poured it on a little thicker had sunken much more in 3-4 days than the rest of the pile. This was probably a difference of 6-7" more "shrinkage" than other areas which is probably 200-300% more than the rest of the pile. So from what I have seen it sure looks like a little pee does wonders.

Just a note, urine is basically sterile when it leaves the body unless the person it comes from has a bladder infection, UTI or something similar. Urine also has all the good stuff plants need to grow like Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium and other trace elements. It is a VERY good fertilizer in deed!:thumb: Oh, it didn't smell at all 4 hours after I poured a full gallon that had been "fermenting" for 5 days straight:eek:.

Well, I hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It's 4am, and we are in the middle of our 1st Blizzard. So far... looks like a foot of snow outside, so that compost pile should be very very insulated. LOL

The blizzard winds haven't hit yet, and tomorrow we dip into below zero temps. This weather certainly adds to my experiment.
 

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Always add in all of your veg scraps and green matter(no tomatoes). I run apretty good pile by balancing my green w/ brown(leaves) about 50/50. Turn monthly.
 

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Welcome to the world of composting! Here's a hint. Keep an eye out in your travels for anybody with livestock (chickens,horses,cows etc.). When you find this gold mine go up and knock on the door ,tell them what your up to and ask if the have "extra
" poop around.....trust me they will love to give you some.
As far as the question will it cook in the winter time? My newest pile just put together a couple of days ago with nothing more than hay and horse waste is up to 142 degrees! And we had a low of 3 last nite. Yes the pile is pretty good size (4 car trailers as full as I could haul) and the bigger you have the stronger the pile is against temps. Also I do cover the pile with black plastic. But I will confess lookin out over a big ole steamy pile of compost in the morning kinda stirs things up in me...
 

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My compost pile has been "fertilized" by my wolfhound's industrial sized turds...haha...he's a good guy though. cant give him too much grief.
I've never bothered to research it because I don't have any pets and I keep my compost pile covered, but pet waste is one of the things many say should not be put in the compost pile.
 

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So from what I have seen it sure looks like a little pee does wonders.
This adds nitrogen to the mix. That being said, it is possible to overdo it, so be careful about how much you add. It is best diluted and added as part of the normal watering process.

Other sources of nitrogen are acceptable also.
 

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I usually bag and stack leaves over the winter and compost them in the spring it seems to work better that way.
 

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"FULMINATED" is totally correct...any waste from a meat eating animal should be avoided in the average back yard compost pile. Something about the parasites in their waste...
 

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Craig's list

Hi... if you check out craig's list for your local area under free or farm and garden... lots of horse farmers list horse manure. You do need to ask if they have wormed the horses. I have a lady that boards horses and feeds them really good(no seed) alphafa hay. She even loads it into the truck. It's easy to come by this time of year, but once people start thinking of gardening it is a little harder to come by.

Dyan
 

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I'm new at composting. You shouldn't water your compost pile everyday? I thought I read that some where.

If not, how often do you water it?
 
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