Tag Archives: compost pile

City of Tempe, Arizona Gives FREE COMPOST to its Residents – Awesome

Here’s a pretty cool video showing the compost facility side of things in a series of phases.

I was surprised when the dude mentions the piles cooking at 165F- that’s well above any temperatures needed for thermophilic kill.

Stoked that Tempe has rolled out a proper composting program.

“Slash the trash!”

Skeletons in my Compost!

IMG_2333I stopped adding to my “cured” compost bin just over a year ago- it’s had plenty of time to cure, cool down and break down.

It’s strange how compost piles age- all the non-compost stuff seems to bubble up to the surface, like tires rise to the surface in a landfill.

Can you guess what this glob of green stuff is in my hand?

It’s the remains of a compostable garbage bag.

Where’s the rest of it?  Has it degraded safely and completely?  What’s up with the stuff in my hand?  What other stuff is in here?

I really don’t remember what I put in my compost pile… I’m making that pledge right now that when I empty this one and start it all over soon, I’m keeping a clipboard with any oddball entries logged!

I added so many paper products with plastic liners, various samples of supposedly compostable bags, plus leaves I swept off the street which inevitably contain bits and pieces of trash.

I knew this going into it- I could take the extra steps to make my pile as clean as possible, but I’d rather it be a process out of practicality.

I’ve had a few people email me saying I’m crazy adding leaves off the street to my compost pile because they’re “hazardous”.  If that’s the case, we’d better just stop composting all together!

The way things are now with plastic contamination and just the overall spread of various debris in all sizes, I prefer the perspective of acknowledging it’s there and simply minimizing it to the best of my ability.  That’s my goal for this next pile.

Over the last two years, I’ve learned that while bioplastic products may have decent intentions, they should also ultimately be avoided.

While it’s not easy to just write off plastic altogether and live a plastic free life (go Beth!), it’s easy to make solid decisions and directly control your compost pile environment.

This next pile I build is going to be so much better than this one.

Easy Low Cost Composting with Free Coffee Grounds and Wood Chips

Easy Low Cost Composting with Free Coffee Grounds and Wood Chips Alberta Urban Garden

Great video, but I have a few concerns: He mentions not adding meat to the compost pile… just add it.

Meat and dairy products are absolutely compostable, and although he mentions needing a hot pile to do so, interesting enough those very items heavily contribute to creating heat within a compost pile!

As long as you have at least double the amount of brown materials as you do food scraps/meat/dairy products, you’ll be fine.

This dude has plenty of energy and a large pile able to handle any meat he may have.

Also- I’ve never seen someone add so much dirt to a compost pile… while there’s nothing wrong with adding dirt, I don’t see quite enough brown materials here.

Instead of all the dirt, his pile would benefit even more from covering the entire pile with brown materials.

Compost for Spring: Leaves, Used Coffee Grounds, & Garden Waste (Leaf Compost)

Compost for Spring: Leaves, Used Coffee Grounds, & Garden Waste (Leaf Compost)

This time around, coffee grounds and sunchoke stalks are the main ingredients paired with leaves.

Since timing isn’t critical for obtaining finished compost, the leaves are unshredded.

Leaves are one of the few ingredients that compost on their own, so whether they’re shredded or not doesn’t matter…you’ll just get much quicker results by shredding them.

I like the hoop house idea for keeping the heat in and the worms warm…great video, Patrick!

Turning The Fall/Winter Compost & the Worms are Alright!

Turning The Fall/Winter Compost & the Worms are Alright!

In this later part of the video series, he gets the Geobin to start his next round of composting.

I really liked his homemade bin, so I was surprised he shelled out some cash to get a bin.

He mentioned wanting something portable, durable, mobile, and able to hold material easier.

I think it should live up to that quite well.

He also gets excited about red wigglers, which are always a nice surprise with large compost piles.

Although he had winter temperatures well below zero, he still had red wigglers survive… resilient creatures they are!


Huge compost bin sighting!

I was walking around the other day and found these massive 5′ x 5′ x 5′ compost bins.

I hope they don’t always look this inactive!  There’s a lot of potential here.

The “death” of a compost bin is when branches are tossed in… while they are organic and will break down, they will take forever to do so in that form and just take up space.

To the left of these bins is a nice pile of wood chips, and it was good to see that the wood chips were not present in the bins… sawdust yes, wood shavings not really, wood chips no way.

If the nature area wanted to (and maybe they do on a scheduled basis), there was plenty of material in the immediate vicinity of which to get both bins full of ready-to-compost material.

I’ll definitely be checking this out over time to see how it’s getting used.  I’m guessing the trickier component is finding the right green materials…definitely the opposite of my situation!


Ants in the Compost

I spent some time away from the compost pile to spend more time and attention on the Worm Inn Mega in the basement.  My weekly food scrap deposit went to the worms, and it hasn’t rained in week or two.

Here come the ants!

The presence of ants indicate a dry compost pile, or uncovered food deposits, or both.  In my situation, I simply haven’t had rain in a while and I haven’t added any fresh material.

Ants aren’t necessarily bad for the pile though- they help break it down along with all the other critters working in there.

Keep your pile moist, and you should be good to go here.  Although I recommend making the least effort, I’ve been told that turning the pile will make them leave as well… although that would require a lot of energy and end up relieving all the built up heat from inside the pile.

Either way, don’t freak out if you see ants this time of year, just thank them for telling you the compost pile needs more moisture!