I have been eagerly adding to my compost bin for the 3rd year now, yet I still have no compost!?
All additives have been carefully monitored, I have even gone well out of my way to source some of the best ingredients, including seaweed etc.
I dug a hole under the bin & covered with mesh, as recommended with the instructions & have been careful not to clog up the air flow with grass.
Can anyone possibly shed any light as to when I might finally produce some usable compost? When I open the door there is mainly rotting material visible, even some items which have not even properly decomposed. Any help or advice would be very much appreciated!
Do you stir it often and keep it hot? You should have useable material by now. I don't even do additives and usually 6 months to a year is all that is needed if that. We keep a lid on ours. We have also found adding worms seems to speed the process up. I also find cutting up or using a shovel to break down items speeds the process up even more. There are a couple of homesteading people on here, maybe they will come by with better suggestions. Check out some of billybuc's hubs, there might be something useful in his. I believe he either has an article all about composting or that has a large amount of info in it.
I second what peeples says said: stir the material with a pitchfork at least once a week and, rather than throwing items in whole, chop them roughly. You don't want to blend them-- the material needs air in order to rot. Also, be sure you have a 50-50 mix of green and brown. Hope you have compost soon!
My compost is not quite a year old, and it is what is called "cold composting," for I don't take any particular care with the mix; I just toss in the grass clippings, the dried leaves, fruit and vegetable peelings, and spoiled vegetables or fruits.
I don't bother to chop, but I do turn with the pitchfork now and then, and water it when I think about it.
Yes, it's slow, but I learned from some people more "into" the process that the addition of either horse or chicken manure will heat up the pile and speed the process. I have not added either.
I remember from a landscaping class I took years back, the instructor saying, "Compost happens. Just look around on the forest floor. No one is out there messing with additions or stirring that."
So, no, I don't have compost yet, either. Yes, my way takes a long time, but it will get there. And for me, given that I am pushing 70 (exercise enough--LOL), and lack the physical stamina for doing it the faster way, that's good enough for me.
Thanks, I had wondered about digging up a bag of natural compost from in the woods in the meantime!
Be careful about where you might be doing that; in most state and national parks (here in the USA, anyway), it is illegal. You can take things from a national forest, but not from the parks!
I don't even bother using a compost bin, I just pile stuff into a rectangular pile and leave it for about a year or more before using. I don't even turn it. However whenever I'm planting any flowers or shrubs or edging flower beds, waste soil gets added to the pile. I also add weeds with their root balls. All this contributes microbes plus earthworms to the mix, which aids decomposition.
Is the dry stuff on top? What's it like near the bottom? Use a spade to cut down into it and take a look. The material on top is likely to be drier anyway so won't be thoroughly decomposed. Also make sure you keep the compost moist in dry weather, otherwise it will end up "mummified".
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