Composting Pile, Please Help

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by pasto_guy, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. pasto_guy

    pasto_guy LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 119

    I've read several articles on composting and it seems as if it is very complicated, or maybe my take is making it very complicated. I have a huge pile of leaves, pruning clippings, cut grass, etc. I'd say it is equivalent to three tractor trailer loads. My question is where do I start. I think i need to rent a chipper or shredder to make the size a little smaller. We don't have a skid steer to help turn the pile, but would rent one if needed. What about air tubes and all of that. Can someone please help me to get started, thanks.
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    Find a company that will come in with a tub grinder. Once it's ground up, it will me much easier to handle and begin composting quickly.

    This material will turn into black gold over time.

    Is this pile a one time thing or do you accumulate this material constantly?
  3. pasto_guy

    pasto_guy LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 119

    We accumulate this much per year from our maintenance contracts. I want to turn all of our debris into compost from here on. Not only does it help us to have the compost but it's better for the environment too. Do I have to have a tub grinder, or can I use a big chipper and shoot it into the dump truck. If I did this then we could maybe make smaller piles and push them around with a truck and a snow plow. Not trying to be redneck about it, but trying to keep costs down too. What ratios of browns and greens do you guys use. Like I said, I'm just starting and don't know a whole lot. Also some other people have said that you can add worms to you pile, anyone have experience with this. I'd like to start soon, but want the piles to be done by fall. This way everything we accumulate this year we can compost after this winter. Thanks for the response and keep em coming.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    The size of your starting material depends on how fast a turn around you want. You don't have to do anything to compost the stuff, just be prepared for the longer time required to a finished compost.
  5. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    Snow plow isn't going to mix the material from top to bottom. You're going to need something to load all this mulch and compost once it is done, aren't you? You need something with a bucket. Little tractor or skid steer either one. Heck, for that matter a Dingo would work (albeit, slowly).

    Tub grinder = fast. Big chipper = not quite as fast. If you have access to the big chipper, that might be the way to go. If you have to hire it out, I would lean toward the tub grinder to get it done and the project under way.

    Just attended a seminar this weekend where the green to brown ratio of 2 to 1 was suggested. The speaker is responsible for hundreds of thousands of yards of compost, so I think she may be onto something.

    If your pile is maintained on bare ground (not concrete), you'll have worms in your compost before you know it.

    I am discovering that moisture is a bigger key to this project than I previously thought. Moisture speeds the whole process along. "Leaving it to Mother Nature" isn't nearly as fast as keeping the pile watered regularly.
  6. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

  7. pasto_guy

    pasto_guy LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 119

    I wanted to thank everyone for their posts and for that link. Looks like I have a lot of work ahead. After we start I will post a reply on this thread and let everyone know how it's going.
  8. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    the green to brown or C:n ratio is a good thing that was mentioned

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