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March 29, 2013

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plantman

Janice,

I used 32 gallon Rubbermaid "animal stopper" garbage cans. Any larger and they get too heavy. Wheels can be useful. You should place the can where you want it because you will not be able to move it once you put the material and water in. A sunny location is good, but actually I had great results with a partially-shaded location too.

I took a drill and put holes all over it about every 6 inches. Make sure you add some holes in the bottom and the lid.

Plop your stuff in. You should cut it up just like a regular pile. Layers can help, but I did two cans and with one I didn't bother layering at all and it didn't seem to make a difference. Add water from the rain barrel.

I use a compost aerating tool to stir it around so that everything gets wet (add water as needed).

Close lid. Stir every week, if needed. Add water as needed (you probably don't need much because it's mostly sealed). You will get compost in about 8 weeks or less once the weather is consistently warm (May here). The bottom will compost faster than the top.

Add "hot" items to speed up the process. Last season's planter soil, which is mostly peat moss, works fantastically. And paper of course.

Calgary Garden Coach

Excellent information, thanks for sharing!
Janice

Paula H.

@plantman- I might have to give your plan a try- sounds like a good way to have a moveable compost heap.
Janice- my bins were always in a bit of a sunny spot at this time of year, so I would lift them off the ground to expose the pile ( which I don't remember being frozen) then I could use my shovel to get out the good bits and break up what was left. I would add the spring clean up stuff then mix it with the partially broken down leftovers.. I would say that I could generally get about 2/3 of my bin emptied. I ran three bins-so lots of compost.

Calgary Garden Coach

Hmm. This is getting me thinking that it is high time I renovate my compost bins...! My compost is is in two boxes with walls that can't be removed so I have to actually climb in and dig down to stir and to get the compost out (not to mention lift it back up and over the walls into the wheelbarrow). It's a back-breaker - no wonder I don't stay on top of my compost-making. I've always meant to build something new but haven't got around to it yet. Maybe this is the year!
Janice

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