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Progress in the compost mixer

You might remember I invested in a compost mixer in June and set it up with its first “load” of material to compost on 2nd June. It’s been three months so I thought it might be time to get my first load of compost. Not quite … but I don’t think its due to the compost mixer. I had bags of leaf materials and “garden debris” which a garden helper collected for me. I should have told him leaves only, no branches and sticks! The compost is looking good but for all the large sticks in it.

[one_half]The compost mixerThe compost mixer[/one_half]

[one_half_last]First load of almost compostFirst load of compost[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A closer lookA closer look[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots of black stuffLots of black stuff[/one_half_last]

So I guess I’ll be sifting twigs and sticks out of my first home-made compost.

I’m amazed actually at how well everything has broken down. About 70% of the material was garden debris, the rest was what we collect from the kitchen (scraps, egg shells, fruit skins, veggie scraps etc.). I haven’t been very good about turning the compost mixer regularly. I do it when I remember, but I’m wondering how long it should take to be usable?

Happy gardening

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

14 replies on “Progress in the compost mixer”

You might not have your carbon (twigs/leaves/mulch/paper) and nitrogen (greens/grass/weeds/household scraps/manure) ratio quite right – ideally 30:1. Bit more nitrogen stuff might help it break down more quickly. Our compost is slower in winter but does take a long time regardless – the garden still loves it if its not fully composted. for some more on this topic. I’ve actually just buried leaves to break down in the vegie patch with some chook poo pellets and the plants seem to like it.

I also don’t know how long compost takes naturally. My bin takes forever! I use a compost activator to get mine going, but I really think your compost is looking deliciously healthy!! I always know that as long as it smells sweet and earthly, it is healthy. It is when there is too much brown (nitrogen) ingredients that it starts to go smelly. I think our next investment is a garden shredder. This will turn those pesky twigs to dust 🙂

Hi Pam – I think if I’d been more concientious in turning it regularly it might have been quicker. But life got in the way … I’ll be better about the next batch.

i’m not sure how long it’s supposed to take. I keep worm bins in my basement and in the summer they create compost very quickly. I’m hoping to buy an outdoor composter next summer. I’ll make sure to keep the branches out!

Looks like it’s magicking into stuff you can use Christine! I don’t mind small, short coarser material, it is like the natural compost that is in the woods. It has an informality about it though. Nice your bin has a handle!

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