Bill Shores was our class instructor Saturday as we went outside for a hands on lesson. First we took a look at a couple of bin options. The black plastic bin is considered rodent resistant. It has a lid,a bottom with holes, many slits less than 1/4 inch wide on the sides and a door at the bottom where finished compost is to be removed .
The single Wooden Urban Bin has the bottom, sides and a fitted lid covered with wire mesh.
The third option was a three bin wooden system. It was here that we found the compost that we as a class would troubleshoot. Two of the bins were filled with plant debris that was very dry and not looking much different than when it had been added. The decision was to remove the material and start over. Since it is the end of the garden season there was plenty of green material to be cleaned out of the vegetable garden. So with hose and clippers in hand we got to work.
We clipped and chopped the dryed out brown plant debris and wet it good as it was returned to the bins in layers with the fresh green material.
Many hands clipped barrels full of the still green vines,stems and leaves.
It was important to fill the bins completely as the minimum size for an efficient pile is 3ft x 3ft x 3ft. The pile needed bulk as well as green to achieve maximum heat.
Here you can see we ended with two batches of what we hope to be hot piles. Next week when the temperature is recorded we will see how well the trouble shooting worked.
Homecomposting UIUC EXTENSION
I took a couple of close-ups so that you could see the quality.
If you click on the pictures to enlarge you can even see the worms and a few insects crawlings. I compressed a handfull to show the moist crumbly texture.
Next week worm bins and vermi-compost...