Corrugated Iron Compost Bay - Update - Progress So Far!

by Carole
A few months back I posted on Hometalk that we built a 3 bay compost system out of scrap corrugated iron sheets and some timber. Well a couple of months on this is how it is looking. The bay on the right needs turning but has already been turned several times and breaking down nicely. It did reach 64 degrees Celsius which is higher than the 50 degrees needed to kill off any weed seeds. The thermometer is a cheap aquarium thermometer (cost a dollar or so) inside a glass jar with the sensor on a wire that is attached to a stick that you push into the centre of the heap to gauge how hot the pile is getting. Not much longer to wait I think before this one will be completely broken down into nice chocolate brown soil for use on the garden. The pile on the far left is one in progress which I turned this morning and added a little blood and bone and some garden lime to the pile. Our neighbour across the road contributed 2 full wheelie bins of garden prunings from his Photinias which my husband put on the lawn and mowed over to break them into smaller bits so they will break down faster. The middle pile is the weeds from this same neighbour. I put the weeds in the middle bay to wait till it all turns dry and brown before adding to the left hand pile as this pile is already too nitrogen rich. I believe the nitrogen / carbon ratio needs to be 25% nitrogen (green stuff and coffee grounds which I collect from the local café weekly) and carbon (brown stuff including dried lawn clippings and prunings and leaves and newspaper and cardboard).
Compost bay progress
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2 of 9 comments
  • P P on Mar 24, 2023

    From my own disturbing experience, don't be too surprised if you find mice/rats nesting in your nice warm piles especially in colder weather - turning our pile once, I had momma rat run away, leaving her little pink babies wriggling around, charming our 3 or 4 year old daughter, who wanted to adopt them. We carefully gathered them & took them to the local mom & pop run pet store where she was assured they could be adopted into loving homes! ( if those loving homes also included a boa constrictor, none of us needed to know that!) Bless the pet store lady for taking care of the issue!

  • Carole Carole on Mar 24, 2023

    Yeah, where we live the snakes will take care of any rats or mice. Just kidding. We don't put our food scraps directly into the bays but they go into the black compost bin with lid first. This is also to keep our dog from scavenging through the piles. Once it is almost broken down it goes into the bays and we mix it through the grass clippings, autumn leaves, cardboard boxes ripped up, ours and our neighbours garden prunings, spent flowers and spent and pulled out home grown vegie plants and so on. I also visit a cafe and take away their weeks worth of spent coffee grounds to add to it all.