Tag Archives: compost pile

Anaerobic Composting Update

Ahhhh, the weather broke… kind of.  I went out on the balcony for the first time since the Fall and checked out the garbage bag, it was stuck to the deck a little bit.

Back in November, I opened this bag the first time around and the material was definitely breaking down in there, but it wasn’t finished.  I wanted to give it another six months and take a peek, so when May comes around we’ll see how it went through the winter months, and if the cold had a serious effect on the process.

An aside: I was collecting the last of the leaves off my street yesterday to use for my next compost pile, and I decided to try a biodegradable garbage bag since I had some different ones lying around.  What a disaster!  I was only able to fill it halfway before the bottom fell out.  While I would love to support using bioplastics in some applications, they don’t make sense if you’re performing a heavy duty task…like filling a bag halfway with dry leaves.  Maybe the bag was really old.

Anyway, garbage bag opening ceremony in another 6 weeks…

Anaerobic Composting – How Does It Work?

Anaerobic Composting – How Does It Work?

Anaerobic composting is a simple and fun alternative to the usual composting methods, such as using a compost bin, a tumbler, or worms.  While it may be the easiest way to do it, it takes a really long time to finish.

All you need is two thick black garbage bags, a bucket to measure out the contents and some water.  Add equal parts shredded food scraps (no meat/dairy/seafood), soil+some finished compost, and “brown” materials (shredded leaves, shredded paper).  Add some water to get the material damp, but not completely soaked.  Tie off the bag, then put it inside the other garbage bag and tie that off, too.  All done!

This process is often said to finish within 6-8 weeks, but based on my findings here, I’m willing to bet that’s unusually fast.  Perhaps if the process is done during the warmer months it would be quicker, but it’s gotten to near freezing here for the last week or two and my batch isn’t finished.

However, the end results thus far are impressive: almost everything is unrecognizable, and the finished compost inside smells just like the earthy stuff you buy from the garden center.

While this experiment was mostly a success, I’m going to bag it up and give it another six months…I’ve read that some crazy composters will give it at least a year to be completely finished.  To be continued!

Top Ten Secrets – #1 Compost, How and Why

Top Ten Secrets – #1 Compost, How and Why

This guy rules.  He goes over a number of different methods to get started composting, but what I like is his first method discussed is simply digging a hole.  This is how I got started, and I still like to bury food scraps from time to time in a pit just for fun.

He has great energy… I really like how he blasts store bought compost activators as a waste of time- they are.  They might work but they’re definitely not worth it.

Whether it’s a hole in the ground, a bin or a tumbler, you can get started composting quite easily and start turning your waste into a valuable resource.

 

How to Build a Compost Pile for Dummies

How to Build a Compost Pile For Dummies

Here’s a short, simple video on the basics for setting up a compost bin in the backyard.  Ignore the comments section, keep it simple and get started!

Pile it On: 20 (questionable) Trash Types You Can Actually Compost (article)

Link: Pile it On: 20 Trash Types You Can Actually Compost

Looking for more stuff to compost?  This article is definitely worth checking out.  Some of the items may raise an eyebrow, and I’m currently in the middle of testing a good portion of them.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some hardcore composters were annoyed by some of the stuff on this list.

In the next week or so, I’ll be posting a more thorough examination of the article.  I’m currently on a road trip and “taking a break“.  Don’t think I’m not taking pictures of waste receptacles and looking for businesses with composting options…so far, not so much worth writing about, unfortunately.

Debunking the Myth About Composting Citrus Peels

All right, I’m going to keep this short and sweet for you.  I’ve been composting for a long time, and in general I’m not really into the whole scientific side of it.  I’d rather have a general idea and help spread that to the masses…too many details leads to analysis paralysis.

The composting process can be kept to a few simple rules:  3:1 carbon to nitrogen, no meat/dairy/oils, have fun.  Recently, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about whether or not citrus fruit belongs in your compost pile…yes!

I’m not sure how this urban legend really came to fruition, but it’s simply not something to worry about.  It seems the common belief is that it takes longer to decompose, which is technically true, but barely.  A chemical by the name of limonene needs to be chewed by particular bacteria, but as soon as that happens it’s like anything else.  In fact, citrus fruits will heat up your pile quite nicely.

A week ago, I received a gift in the form of a 5 gallon bucket of waste from a juicer.  As you can guess, my pile nearly doubled its temperature as a result of this fruity gift.  What it comes down to is that if you make any reasonable attempt at composting, you’re not going to have any issues with this.

My hunch is that the myth evolved from vermicomposting first, as citrus peels are not a worm’s favorite snack.  Nonetheless, even with worms you can feed them a limited amount of it.  Moral of the story, when it comes to citrus fruit waste, let it rip!

Looking to make composting a snap?  Check out my new e-book “Tyler’s Dirty Little Composting Secrets” by clicking here.