/r/composting

Photograph via snooOG

A place to talk about decomposing materials into compost.

Compost - organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment.

Do you have a garden and want an easy way to make fertilizer?

Wondering what to do with all those table scraps, leaves, and grass clippings?

Make compost! It is easy to start and easy to maintain.

Share your tips, stories, ideas, pictures, or questions!

Post requirements:

Setting some minimums to maintain spam:

  1. Account must be at least 30 days old.
  2. Accounts must have a combined 100 karma points.

Posting Rules

  1. Be respectful to others - this includes no hostility, racism, sexism, bigotry, etc.

  2. Submissions and comments must be composting focused.

  3. For people posting their own content, make sure to follow Reddit's rules for self promotion and spam. If you do not, your post will be removed.


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/r/composting

154,317 Subscribers

7

Clothing

Has anyone tried, have any experience in composting old natural fiber clothing?

8 Comments
2024/02/12
02:39 UTC

2

Is this good?

At the bottom of my old compost pile was this kind of white stuf. Idk if this is a disease or just wood breaking down.

1 Comment
2024/02/11
23:22 UTC

4

Is Gatorade powder safe?

I have a tub a Gatorade powder that’s expired. Some moisture also got into it and turned it into a block. Anything we eat can be composted but would this be bad for my pile?

10 Comments
2024/02/11
23:10 UTC

2

VITAMIX ECO5

Just wonder opinions. On the Vitamix recyclers.

0 Comments
2024/02/11
22:59 UTC

2

Help?

I'm not sure if this is the right sub for this question, but I thought you guys might have some insight. Recently my city started requiring all organic waste to be separated from the regular trash and put into the yard waste bins. So, I got a little countertop waste bin with a lid and a charcoal filter, and some biodegradable bags to put in it.

The first time I used it, it took me at least 10 days to fill it up with my food scraps (eggshells, fruit/vegetable peels, shrimp tails, etc.) and during that time there was no discernible smell. But when I took the bag out, it was dripping (gross).

The second time there was a noticeable smell much sooner, within 5 days maybe. And when I took the lid off to get the bag out, there were fruit flies and larvae. And again, the bag was dripping.

So I guess my question is, how often do I need to take the bags out? And how long do these "green" bags hold up before they start dissolving? And how do I avoid fruit flies and the like?

I live by myself so it takes me a bit to fill up the bag, and I hate to take them out when there's barely anything in them, but at the same time I don't want to let them sit around in my kitchen, getting more and more disgusting before I finally take them out.

Any advice?

6 Comments
2024/02/11
22:59 UTC

1

Help please! 🙏🏻

Inherited what I believe to be a compost tumbler? I would love to use it but have no idea where to start! Suggestions or resources would be great!

2 Comments
2024/02/11
21:44 UTC

3

HELP!

So I got some pallets from a family friend to make a compost bin and they are spray painted blue! I can try to sand them but it may be kinda hard to get into the crevices and what not so I would like to paint over them do you have any reccomendations for non toxic paints ? Thanks !

5 Comments
2024/02/11
21:34 UTC

2

Will it Survive?

Found this worm in the middle of the sidewalk while walking out. Looked injured, but I added it to my compost. Will it survive?

5 Comments
2024/02/11
21:11 UTC

30

Aerobin help

Hi. First time trying to compost. This is my aerobin after about 4 months old. As you can see there’s mold near the bottom and the layer below is not decomposing. When I started I put torn cardboard pieces instead of shredding them. Don’t know if that caused the layer issue and mold?

34 Comments
2024/02/11
19:26 UTC

10

What animal would do this?

I have multiple geobins, including one active one with lots of food scraps. What animal would go through so much effort to chew its way into a bin when it could have just climbed in? (I’ve had these for several years and never saw evidence of any disturbance before. Usually the raccoons, skunks, chipmunks walk right past.)

12 Comments
2024/02/11
13:49 UTC

53

I know this is one of you.

15 Comments
2024/02/11
13:21 UTC

67

By gods, the pee WORKED!

I have several cats and we use the Purina Breeze litter box system; typically you have a pad in the bottom tray to collect urine that passes through the pellets in the top of the box. About two weeks ago I quit using the pads so I could take the trays and dump the kitty pee onto my three bin compost set up. I’ve been shredding basically every scrap of paper and cardboard that would typically be hitting my recycle bin in my paper shredder to balance out our kitchen scraps.

Earlier this week I stirred the bins up with my lil pitch fork and added a colander of fresh kitchen scraps to one bin before burying it under a foot of paper shreds that had been composting for at least a week already. Today I went out to give it a weekend stir and thought that I was seeing dust or mold (some very moldy bread made it’s way in a few weeks ago) drifting off the top, but no, it was STEAMIN. Cooking right along, all three tubs! And after giving it a lil stir stir, I could attest that I already couldn’t discern the kitchen scraps from less than a week ago. This is the fastest composting success I’ve had all winter, ever since the black fly larvae from the summer that were lil chompy composting machines all died off in the freezing temps.

I salute you, sub, for relentlessly recommending pee. 90% trolling but 100% effective. 🫡

37 Comments
2024/02/11
06:03 UTC

8

Nematodes in Compost Bin?

Hi, first time composter, had this bin about four weeks now, overnight all these little "dust flecks" appeared, I watched them closely, they move. I can post a video if needed. Is this healthy? How did it happen? Thanks!

3 Comments
2024/02/10
23:44 UTC

8

mold question

the city where i live has designated dumping spots for compost so i collect my scraps in a small bin before dumping, it usually takes me about 3-4 weeks to fill my bucket. this past time when i dumped it into the container there was a bunch of what looked like dust come out with it in a big cloud. it almost looked like the bin was hot and there was steam coming off of it. i’ve always had a lil bit of mold in there which i read was okay but this concerned me a little bit cus i’ve never had something like that happen. i’m super new at this so i’m figuring it out as i go but i have no idea what that could’ve been or if it was normal

10 Comments
2024/02/10
21:02 UTC

8

Natural rodent deterrent?

Hey! Does anyone have any tips for deterring rodents from getting into my compost bin?

25 Comments
2024/02/10
16:53 UTC

9

Can I buy soldier flies?

I keep hearing about how great black soldier flies are, but all I get are fruit flies. Does it make sense to buy them somehow, to compete in my pile? I'm in Colorado, and using an aerobin. Either there aren't any BSFL in my area or they can't find their way into the bin.

20 Comments
2024/02/10
16:08 UTC

5

First time compost person

Hey guys, me and the wife are thinking about starting a compost bin for our little garden we have here. We need a bit of help. We live in an urban area so we can’t have it be smelling super bad.

We were thinking about getting a big tote and trying to make one just to experiment and see if we can actually get one going before we go head first and I build a bigger one when we move.

What all will I need for this? Besides the dirt, leaves, and food to be composted? I’ve seen some places on the internet that I don’t need worms or I need some form of bug, i need to keep it in a dry cool area so it doesn’t combust, so many different things. And who best to ask other than Reddit.

Give me your beginners guide to a DIY compost bin and tips for getting it working. Thank you in advance

18 Comments
2024/02/10
14:58 UTC

22

My worst composting experience

Story time.

I was in my early 20's and super interested in growing edible mushrooms. I bought a copy of The Mushroom Cultivator by Paul Stamets and J.S. Chilton. In it, they have a chapter on creating compost to grow button mushrooms on. They provided a recipe to follow for making the compost.

But...I couldn't find all the ingredients they listed, so had to substitute. Specifically, I didn't have access to the chicken manure they called for. So I went to my local garden shop and bought something I thought was comparable in nitrogen content.

I can't remember for sure what it was but I think it was probably urea. Urea is something like 46% nitrogen.

I made up the pile with the urea and other ingredients. It was about 5 feet high and 4 feet wide and it was in my backyard in a dense residential area. I was a renter.

A few days later it was HOT. I didn't have a compost thermometer but it was so hot it was way too hot to touch, even the outside. And it stunk. Bad.

What happens if you have too much nitrogen relative to the carbon in a compost pile?

Microbes can't use all the nitrogen and the nitrogen converts to ammonia gas and goes into the air.

The bigger the inbalance between nitrogen and carbon in this way, the more ammonia. My backyard turned into an ammonia chemical plant.

I decided to turn the pile. You're supposed to turn compost piles right?! I thought that would fix it.

It was absolutely noxious and I really couldn't turn it well, between the crazy heat and horrible ammonia. I sort of broke it apart a bit and left it.

And turning didn't fix it. It made it worse. What happened is that opening up the pile released a huge amount of ammonia that had been trapped inside before.

You could smell it badly, offensively, 2 blocks away. I remember walking to work and kept sniffing the air to see how far away you could smell it.

I was seriously freaking out. I had no idea what to do, it stunk like ammonia everywhere and I was sure the city or landlord was going to come down on me.

Amazingly, they didn't. No one talked to me about it. Maybe no one figured out where it was coming from.

I didn't turn the pile again. I just left it to slow down on its own. And thanked my lucky stars when the smell finally subsided. It burnt out pretty quickly.

There's lessons from this.

I'm very, very lucky that it didn't catch on fire. In rare circumstances it is absolutely possible for compost piles to spontaneously combust. This sometimes happens at commercial compost operations. The main triggers of spontaneous fire, other than high heat, is overly dry and, large piles. Mine was not dry enough probably to combust. Phew.

Be careful with ammonia fumes. Don't compost in enclosed spaces. Make sure you have lots of fresh air when turning. Consider wearing a mask to filter out particulates. I do.

Ammonia (chemical formula NH3) coming off a compost pile means you are losing nitrogen (N), a nutrient that would be much better to keep in the pile for your plants. A little bit of ammonia is no big worry. But if your pile is seriously reeking of ammonia, you don't have enough carbon in your pile or the carbon you do have is not very biodegradable (high lignin, large particle size).

Composting is fun and pretty safe but it's good to be aware of potential dangers. Mine is an extreme example for sure.

The "compost" I made from that pile didn't grow mushrooms lol.

4 Comments
2024/02/10
04:44 UTC

1

Biodegradable Lotion?

Odd question so bear with me but I have figured out how to make my own wet wipes from just TP + body lotion. However, I started to doubt that body lotion would be biodegradable for septic systems, and researched that it is not.

Tl;dr Are there any body lotion products that are biodegradable for this purpose?

0 Comments
2024/02/09
20:19 UTC

16

Composting without worms because I'm scared I'll kill them

Hi, all! I'd really like to get into composting on a small scale 'cause I eat a lot of eggs and potatoes and I'd love to compost the shells/skins instead of trashing them. I saw online that's possible to refresh old potting soil to use for your houseplants, so I collected a gallon of old soil the last time I repotted my plants, but I'm not sure where to go from here. Everything I've researched has been really confusing.

Some notes:

- I'd rather not use worms if at all possible. I have a chronic illness and I'm terrified that I'd go a week or two without adding snacks for them and they'd all die :') and then I'd have a bucket of dead worms :')))

- I have a small, shaded patio area off the basement that I could set up in, but I have to keep it small so that I can shake it up/stir it since I'm not very strong + this is a rental house. I could set up in the basement as well, theoretically, but I've heard that smell can be an issue.

- Would prefer to not attract animals to the backyard. I don't want my dogs tangling with a skunk or raccoon when I let them out at night.

I've read about the bokashi method, which seems to make fermented scraps rather than compost or soil that I could use for my houseplants, and as I mentioned, vermiculture scares me. I don't make a lot of kitchen scraps on my own - it's really just the eggs and potatoes plus the occasional coffee grounds or apple core. I would be able to put in cardboard packaging, old papers, grass clippings, old soil from my plants, and cotton scraps (I sew a lot) as brown materials.

Is it possible for me to just... get a bucket with a lid and start throwing things in there? Shake it really hard once a day? What's the best way to go about this, if there's a way at all?

Thank you to anyone who responds!

35 Comments
2024/02/09
20:39 UTC

8

3 months compost

Is it possible to make good compost in 3 months while turning the compost 2 times a week? Compost consists of manure, hay, leaves and some wood chips. The temperature of the compost is around 70°C.

11 Comments
2024/02/09
19:17 UTC

6

What is the best tool to turn a large pile by hand?

I have a 4 foot tall by 6 foot diameter pile, primarily made of mostly mulched leaves. I have a transfer shovel but it's still hard work. Is there another tool better suited for this?

16 Comments
2024/02/09
15:22 UTC

39

My tree is shedding tons of dead branches. No money for a chipper. Any ideas?

66 Comments
2024/02/09
14:29 UTC

5

Weeds in tumblers?

Hi. I manage the compost at a local community garden. Besides my own experience and research I've also taken the master composter certificate course at the botanical garden in Queens NY. We have a three bin system as well as three pickle barrel tumblers.
I've discussed this with other master composters and we agree that while it's generally good practice to avoid weedy material in the bins that it's ok to put it in the tumblers which are enclosed, not touching the ground and are in full sun all day and get very hot in the summer months. I don't have an actual temperature range I'll measure that later this year. I was curious to get other people's opinions on the matter. Maybe I'm a compost absolutist, but it kills me when any kind of green material winds up in garbage bags on the curb because some people insist that every weed must be kept out of the compost. Not withstanding things like poison ivy or black spot mold etc. tia for your input

8 Comments
2024/02/09
13:47 UTC

6

How long does it stay hot?

My compost pile is made with about 5 meters x 90 cms hardware cloth. I got some free saw dust and coffee grounds from market place. I added fresh grass clippings, saw dust and coffee grounds in few thin layers on top of already half composted stuff. It started heating up and after a week it was close to 160.

it’s been more than three weeks now, it is still around 140 and volume has halved. I wanted to ask how long it usually stays hot for?

I don’t have any space to turn it. Would a corkscrew aerator be ok to keep it active?

1 Comment
2024/02/09
12:19 UTC

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