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#111888 June 8th, 2005 at 05:56 AM
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I started a compost heap about 10 days ago. It was about 3' x 3' and as close to 75/25 as I could get. I watered as I layered, not too much, not too little (ie - I think I did it all 'right'), but when I turned it (twice now), I didn't see any worms. Ants, rolly polys (potato bugs, or whatever), but no worms. I was really surprised, because a good deal of my yard already has lots of worms...I was sure they'd make it to the heap! They're not there...what could be wrong? Shouldn't they be there by now?

What I added: grass clippings (fresh/green, dried/brown), leaves, white paper, cardboard, dog hair, kitchen scraps, coffee & filters, tea bags, flat soda, hmmm...yard waste (green)...that's all I can think of right now. I did put some branches/twigs on the bottom for aeration, and had some layered throughout for better circulation...

I was away for about 5 of the 10 days, so I don't know if it steamed at all while I was away - it's warm now in the center...not hot, but warm. Nothing is containing it (it's just mounded in one area of my yard). I stopped adding to it 2 days after I built it. It's definitely shrinking, and it's looking mostly brown-ish. Not quite black gold, but I think it's getting there. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
Mary

#111889 June 8th, 2005 at 07:10 AM
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I don't know much about this stuff but maybe it hasn't had enough time for the worms to get there yet? maybe you could help some of the worms into the pile? just get some and put them into it? sorry I'm not of much help but I'm sure somebody else will be able to help...WEEZIE!!!!!!!!! you are the composting queen!! come help this woman!! lol

#111890 June 8th, 2005 at 12:35 PM
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Hey Mary. Stop hasslin the worms. The reason they're not there is because they aren't suited to that type of compost system. It's a hot (aerobic) compost heap which is cooling down. It doesn't need insects or worms to break down. It's the bacteria doing the dirty work. Best thing now is to turn it over, check it's moist and maybe add some more nitrogen to get it hot again. That's the fastest way to get black gold. If worms are in your compost it means you're composting anaerobically. That's ok but much slower. If you do nothing except keep it moist then the worms will turn up. That could be a while away. Life's too short. Compost aerobically.
Here's a site to explain what's happening.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/compost/chapter1.html
Aint it great when one of your biggest problems is that your compost ain't doin what you expect?
Geez i love gardening:)

#111891 June 8th, 2005 at 01:17 PM
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Yep, what Longy said!!! kissies thumbup but I also have the space to do it in as well, and the resources to do more piles, I'm workin' off of two yards worth
of yard supplies...and two households worth of kitchen scrap's... muggs

and for what it's worth, I never see any worms in my piles either, any worm action I see in them is the ground below the pile it's self...

#111892 June 8th, 2005 at 03:00 PM
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Too hot? (Eyes widen, huge grin)

YESSS!!!

-- Doing a happy dance -- wavey

Geesh, think I'm getting a bit over excited about compost? At least this is the right place to do it. LOL!

Thanks for the link Longy - too scientific for this early hour but I've got it saved for later today. You and Weezie told me all I need to know for now wink I'll quit hasslin the worms laugh I guess I should give my partner kudos - she said it was too hot and that's why they weren't there!

Lets talk about my neighbors again...just for kicks....when I was making this first pile, I was cutting down some small weed-trees. Well, I sat on my back steps with my wheel barrow and pulled off each leaf, and then shredded them by hand LOL! Am I nuts or what? 'Least I'm sure they thought so. Sounds like I have too much time on my hands. I wanted to do it right for fear if my first real attempt failed I'd get discouraged and give up too easily. So, I did add all fairly small stuff to the pile (even shredded my paper and stuff by hand into small pieces). I'm glad I did! Hey, I think I'll take a picture of my compost heap and share it here LOL!

Yes, it's great that the compost heap is my concern of the day. Ain't life grand in the garden? wink

Yesterday we got a merchandise delivery, and I asked the driver for his left over pallets. I've got 4 now, and am going to start building my 3-container bin (need a few more pallets to finish). I'm way into this composting thing!!! Thanks, heroes!

Mary

#111893 June 8th, 2005 at 05:59 PM
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WHAT GOT DELIVERED?????

Not fair Mary!!!! <img border="0" alt="[tongue]" title="" src="graemlins/tongue.gif" />

You know I hang on your every word so I just have to know. And if it was a goodie I want pictures lol. I know I'm spoiled rotten smile

#111894 June 8th, 2005 at 07:26 PM
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LOL Actually, we run our own business, and it was that merchandise we got delivered. We buy overstock/closeouts/surplus/customer returns and resell below retail. Interestingly enough, this load was full of solar lights, etc. So, some of it might not make it back out of here LOL!

If you (or anyone) wants our store info, PM me for the web address so you can help fund my gardening addiction! LOL!

#111895 June 8th, 2005 at 08:08 PM
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Okay, I did it. I got some pics of my compost heap LOL!

The green stuff on the right side is the new pile I'm making. The one on the left is the old pile (the one I made about 2 wks ago)
[Linked Image]

Top pulled away (I don't actually 'turn' it, I move it over to the side, and re-pile it so the top becomes the bottom, more or less, and the bottom, the top.)
[Linked Image]

#111896 June 9th, 2005 at 04:22 PM
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I've been composting for many years now, and I've been chasing the 2 week hot composting pile for the first few years. In the past few years I haev perfected my hot composting techniques.

Mary's picture remind me of composting photo journal I did a few years ago, and I'll work on getting the photos posted. I made 3 piles and turned them every day. I took pictures of the piles and readings on my compost thermometer. I also made journal entries on the piles: smells, steam, visual notes, etc. It was really quite fascinating to watch the process occur. The fastest I've ever been able to "cook" a pile is 10 days. I still let it age a bit before using it. The norm is 14-21 days.

I just posted this in another thread, but I figured that it was worth repeating here.
Quote
I fogot that I had this link. It's a great source of information on composting. Don't let it overwhelm you.

How To\'s of Composting


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