View Full Version : My compost pile....Is it a lost cause...

Jan. 17, 2010, 10:32 AM
Because of the weather we have not been able to turn our compost pile for two months. Even before that it was not consistant because of the weather. We had a very wet (excess of 19 inches rain since Aug) fall, and then immediate freezing temps for about a month.

Finally got it turned and it did steam, but not much, It's a medium size pile with all the good stuff in there... poop, shavings, leaves and hay. The only thing it might not have had is water - we finally had a dry spell and with the cold temps anything wet was frozen.

It's raining today so will get water. Won't be turned until probably next weekend.

Should I continue to turn and pile or should I give up and spread it in an unused area. I have someone who is interested in taking it for his garden, but won't take it the way it is now.

Jan. 17, 2010, 11:50 AM
Just leave it. They only get turned to speed up the process and evenly digest everything. Once Spring comes around you can add, turn and it'll start breaking down again.

Meredith Clark
Jan. 17, 2010, 11:53 AM
Just leave it and turn it as much as you can.

This spring I bet there will be some really warm days that you might even have to hose it and then it will catch up.

Jan. 17, 2010, 11:57 AM
in Winterpeg, we had huge compost piles that continued to steam even when it was minus 40 F. They were about 8 feet square and about 6 feet high when they started. Come spring, we'd take the top 2 feet off and the outsides and return that to compost, and inside would be stuff ready for the garden.

It only takes a couple of months to finish the process once the spring weather comes up- turn it once the snow starts melting, turn it again a month later and I'll bet you'll have some good black gold.

Jan. 17, 2010, 11:58 AM
It's still cooking, just more slowly than if it were aerated by turning more frequently. I wouldn't worry about it; just turn as you can.

Jan. 17, 2010, 12:03 PM
compost happens! :yes: might take longer but eventually it will be done.

Right now with rain and freezing and freezing rain, don't worry too much.

When it warms up airate it some, then you can pour some stale beer over it - if such an animal exists in your house - or a mix of sugar and yeast (in water) to give the pile a jump start.

Jan. 18, 2010, 10:26 AM
Thanks all - we are still in are first year having the horses home, and learning as we go on some of the farm stuff. I just wanted to make sure that when it stopped cooking it can be started again.

Jan. 18, 2010, 10:45 AM
My mother, a compost freak, puts in all kinds of stuff. She "makes" special compost for her gardens. She starts out with manure and then begins adding kitchen scraps. Coffee grounds (including the paper filter) fruit and veggie peels and scraps, egg shells, etc. are all fair game for mom's compost. She just makes sure to cover the food with already composting material so she don't get animals entering her compost pile. Honestly, I don't believe she turns it completely EVER and it always turns to nice, rich soil.

Mom's latest and greatest idea is attempting to compost 100% cotton clothing. She read about it in a magazine. We shall see how that works ;)

Jan. 18, 2010, 11:09 AM
i have an upper field on which i've been piling manure for close to ten years. i'm lucky to have a place to store it, and occasionally i'll take a few buckets of the stuff off of the bottom for the garden, but mostly it sits there and does it's thing all by itself. i have the vague idea of selling it or spreading it one of these days, if i ever get a spreader around here.

Jan. 18, 2010, 02:02 PM
Another vote for Just Let It Be.

In 6 years I have yet to turn my compost pile except in Spring when I move the top layer to get at the Good Stuff below.
The first Spring it steamed so much I was afraid of fire until I dug down and found Black GOLD!
Now I just let it be all Winter long, piling new on top of old.

I also spread stall cleanings fresh from the wheelbarrow onto the gardens - veggie & flower - each Fall after they are through blooming.
By Spring they compost down, I turn them under, and have lovely, loose, rich beds for planting.

Jan. 20, 2010, 02:37 PM
We have a massive pile. Be sure to add enough oxygen. Don't over do the leaves without much manure and vice versa. Add all compostables egg cartons, peels, coffee cups, Grass clippings - everything. Composts do not require water like you may think. It is outside and even if it is not raining it is gaining what it needs to strive.

Let it be. I don't turn or touch mine all winter long expect for adding things to it. It is blacker then black come late spring when I go to turn it.

Jan. 21, 2010, 04:35 AM
There's a LOT of information on the web, places like Organic Gardening magaxzine, that can tell you the exact proportions of each kind of ingredint you NEED for proper compost. I would contact the experts instead of posting here on a horse board.

Jan. 21, 2010, 07:40 AM
There's a LOT of information on the web, places like Organic Gardening magaxzine, that can tell you the exact proportions of each kind of ingredint you NEED for proper compost. I would contact the experts instead of posting here on a horse board.

Pft...nobody goes into the woods and mixes up the leaves...

You don't 'need' to mix stuff up in order to get it to compost.

I can't stand it when people make that simple process sound horribly difficult.

it is something that happens. It is happening right now in my drive way with last years leaves.

Once you get the basics t work you can tweak the formula and technique.