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Compost pile never made compost

15 years ago

In March 2007 I set up a wire compost bin and started ladling stuff into it: fallen leaves, grass clippings, yard debris, kitchen waste (plant based). I watered it thoroughly about every time I watered my vegetables, and I turned it occasionally. It never smelled nasty. Smelled rather like earth, actually. I also sometimes put some soil or compost on it and some activator to jump start it. I took the temperature in the middle of the compost occasionally, but it was never "hot." It didn't seem to get any hotter than ambient temperature. If the air temperature was 62 degrees, the compost bin would be somewhere between 60 and 65 degrees. If the air temperature was 98, the compost would be somewhere between 95 and 100.

This March, 2008, I set up a compost bin extension and started to empty out and sift my original compost bin, expecting nice black loamy stuff to add to my beds.

Didn't get it. Oh, there was some compost/soil looking stuff, but then I put compost and soil in there. There was some breakdown, obviously. Watermelon rinds were devoid of any watermelon and peach pits no longer had peaches around them. But most of what I took out looked pretty similar to what I had put in.

I didn't layer it formally like a parfait. Things got tossed in pretty much as I got them. A bag of fallen leaves, some greens, a biobag of kitchen waste, more leaves. But obviously I did something wrong. Raking leaves into a pile, which is what I did the year before, seemed to do a better job of providing black, loamy stuff than my compost bin did.

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