How to Hot Compost. (Hot Composting the Fastest Way)

There are two ways to compost. Cold composting and hot.  Both are way easier than a lot of people make them out to be. Don’t be scared or intimidated. I believe you have all the skills needed to allow a bunch of stuff to rot and turn to soil.

A woman's hand holds a fistful of dark brown homemade compost.

 

So you’re looking to make some of your own compost are you? It’s totally understandable that you think rotting a bunch of leaves and kitchen scraps is too hard for you. I mean letting stuff sit in a pile until it rots??!!  That’s must take some Olympic level of training to acquire that level of skill. 

No it doesn’t.

You are letting a bunch of stuff fall apart. That’s it.

But it IS understandable that you think it’s out of your realm of skills because according to most blogs and books composting is HARD. It’s not hard. Please refer to the earlier sentence about how you just  have to let stuff rot.

I’ve been seriously composting since I got chickens because they poop and they poop a lot. Plus they go through a lot of straw which is basically their cat litter but for chickens.

Chickens run through a backyard chicken run laid with straw.

With all this straw and poop I quickly learned to compost and also quickly learned you do not need to have a huge brain to achieve this skill.

You need, like, part of a frontal lobe and basically no back lobe. That’s it. If you have just a corner of a brain you can compost.

For this little step-by-step on how to make compost I’m going to talk about hot composting because it’s the fastest way to get compost.

The Difference Between Hot and Cold Composting

  • Hot composting (The Berkley method) is a method where a large pile of organic matter is created and brought to high temperature over and over again. Compost can be achieved in a month or so.
  • Cold composting has you adding bits and pieces over time.  This type of compost is good and it requires nothing more than dumping your scraps into the bin. But  it can take a year or two to completely break down and it doesn’t have the level of beneficial microorganisms in it that hot compost does.

I have a full step by step guide later on in this post, but these are always the most popular questions I get about composting so let’s address them now shall we?

Best Compost Bins

Which one should you get?  Well, you have quite a few options including not having one at all.

City provided

A standard black, square compost bin provided by many municipalities sits against a brick wall.

A lot of people think they’re going to try composting, fail, and then stick their composting bin on the road for someone else to take. That’s how I got  the square bin that’s in my chicken coop.

Most cities provide this same model for their community members either for free or at a much cheaper price than you would pay to buy the same one from Amazon or a home improvement store.

Tumbling compost bins.

Hand turned compost tumbler on bed of grass.

Tumbling compost bins are the easiest way to guarantee success.  Turning compost is a lot of work so most people just don’t do it. This means their compost takes a longggggg time to decompose and turn into soil. Using a tumbling bin means your’e much more likely to turn your compost since all you have to do is tumble the bin.

Tumblers with handles for turning them are the easiest to use and require less strength but larger tumblers that you spin by  hand (like the one you see above) hold more compost and will generally produce compost more quickly. I don’t have this tumbler, I’ve never used this tumbler, but I would very much like this tumbler. (or figure out a way to make one myself)

DIY out of pallets

Compost bins overflowing with green material made out of old pallets sit in a field seen behind a chain link fence.

Yet another thing that wood pallets can be used for. Prop them against each other and tie or screw them together to create a big compost bin. Just leave the front of it open for easy turning of the compost or prop the final pallet against it so you can easily pull it away for turning. 

My community garden used these compost bins made out of screwed together wood pallets for years to produce perfect, crumbly compost out of all our garden waste and vegetation. Rotted tomatoes, twigs, bolted lettuce and whatever else we had to pull out of our gardens went into them.

We’ve now moved to a system where each garden has their own compost bins within their plots.

A pile with a tarp draped over it

Steaming pile of compost under green tarp in backyard.

The truth is you don’t need to buy or build anything to have a productive compost pile. It’s ugly, but you can just cover your compost with a dark tarp. (dark attracts the sun and makes your compost heat up more easily)

 All of the nice clean straw you see here, will become the dark looking compost you see under the tarp within a couple of weeks.  IF you hot compost properly.

What you’ve learned so far.

  • Composting is easy, hot composting is using a BIG pile of stuff and you can use a bin or just a big pile.

That doesn’t seem like enough information for you to compost. You also need to know how to do it.

How to Compost

You need to follow a few rules in terms of what you put into your compost pile and how big it is.  Your compost pile needs to be big.   The bigger it is the easier time you’ll have getting it to heat up and become actual compost.

Composting is all based on the reactions between Nitrogen (greens), Carbon (browns), heat and moisture.

To make compost you just need 2 parts GREEN material and 1 part BROWN.

Add all your ingredients together in your pile or bin and stick a thermometer in it. Once it reaches 130F turn the pile to cool it down and start the process over again.  You’ll need to do this 2-4 times before it stops heating up.  

Once your pile stops heating up it should be genuine compost and you can let it rest for a few weeks to gather up more nutrients before using it.

There’s such a thing as a compost thermometer, but I just use a regular meat thermometer for testing the temperature of my soil.  A genuine compost thermometer has a really long probe (20″) that can fit down into the middle of your compost pile and has reminders of the temperatures you want to be at written on it.

 

Nitrogen Materials for Composting (Greens)

vegetable scraps

chicken poop

weeds

food waste

fruit peels

grass clippings

garden trimmings

seaweed

coffee grounds

soil

old plant material

 

Carbon Materials for Composting (Browns)

dry leaves

straw

sawdust

shredded paper

wood chips

wood ashes

dryer lint

pine needles

If you have the right ratio of greens to browns within a couple of days of making your large compost pile  (at least 1 cubic meter) you’ll notice it will get hot. You’re looking for a temperature of around 130°F. 

WARNING:  The first time your pile heats up it will smell like a decrepit old rock star who has incontinence issues.

If you have the right amount of heat your pile will be steaming hot, but keep an old thermometer around to check the temperature so you know exactly how hot it is.  130 F – 140 F is ideal for creating a perfect environment for microorganisms which will do all the work of breaking down your organic material.

Thermometer stuck into the centre of a compost pile showing a temperature of 129 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

How to Know If Your Compost is Done.

  • The pile will be around 50% of the size it was when you started.
  • You won’t be able to distinguish any exact materials.
  • It will be a uniformly dark brown colour.
  • The pile smells earthy, like soil.
  • It feels like soil in your hand.
  • A radish will germinate in it and the leaves will be nice and green (not yellow.)

General Composting Tips

  • Smaller items will compost faster than larger so pruning and clipping larger items will speed everything up.
  • Compost needs moisture! Don’t forget to add it when the pile looks dry. It should be damp. This helps soften the materials and provides a good environment for the microorganisms.
  • Do NOT let your compost pile heat up beyond 130-140. Any hotter and you risk killing the beneficial microbes that are created in hot composting.
  • Your pile should be 1 cu meter or 35 cu ft. To calculate cubic ft.:
  • width x height x length
  • The more diverse the ingredients in your pile, the more diverse the nutrients and microbes it will produce.

Problems

Pile stinks – If the smell lasts longer than a couple of days and smells putrid there is too much nitrogen or too much wateradd some brown material.

Pile won’t heat up – Needs more nitrogen. Add green material, make sure it has enough moisture and turn it to aerate it.

Pile gets too hot – Turn it before it gets over 130 F (55 C)

 

 

A large pile of compost made up of chicken manure and straw is seen steaming from the centre of it.This pile is made up entirely of straw and chicken poop and a tiny bit of shredded newspaper.  There’s actually far more “brown material” (the straw) than “green material”  (the chicken poop)  But, even without the ratios you’re supposed to have for composting, this material heats up within a day or two.

After achieving its initial heating up, your pile will quit.  It will stop getting as hot as it did the first time.  You will get angry and consider throwing it at people.  

Do NOT succumb to this temptation.  Your pile NOW needs to have more oxygen and possibly water added to it. These two things are needed to get the compost moving and shaking again.  

Like a decrepit old rock star after a stadium show, if you give him oxygen and water … he’ll bounce back and be ready for action in no time.

In my research on the Internet I’ve found that not nearly enough emphasis is given to keeping your pile damp.  

Not sopping wet, but definitely damp. So once your pile has cooled down, turn it and mix it.  This will move the compost from the outside of the pile to the inside (where it gets hotter).  It will also add much needed oxygen to the mixture. Then, if the pile seems dry, water it.

Straw, newspaper and chicken droppings turning into steaming compost in a square compost bin.

If you happen to have chickens and a loose pile of compost you can let them do the work of turning the pile.  Just let them loose on it for a day and it’ll be all mixed up and turned ready to start heating up again.

Otherwise, that tumbling compost bin I mentioned earlier makes turning your pile WAY easier.  You just turn the handle and the bin tumbles away.

A Rhode Island Red chicken scratches through a compost pile with green tarp to the side.

If you maintain this schedule of monitoring the temperature, aerating and keeping the pile damp you can have compost in as little as a month.

How to Hot Compost.

How to Hot Compost.

Active Time: 60 days 20 hours
Total Time: 60 days 20 hours
Difficulty: Easy(ish)
Estimated Cost: $0

How to turn food scraps and garden waste into compost in 1 month using hot composting, also known as "The Berkley Method".

Materials

  • Green materials
  • Brown materials
  • Water

Tools

  • Pitchfork
  • or
  • Compost turner

Instructions

  1. Fill your compost bin or pile all of the green and brown material you have. (some people layer but you don't have to)
  2. 2 parts green material to 1 part brown (But if you don't have that exact ratio don't worry about it! It'll still turn to compost, just not as quickly)
  3. Water the compost material if it's dry. You want the pile to be damp and it might need quite a lot of water.
  4. Put the compost bin lid on to help retain heat or cover your pile with a tarp.
  5. In 2 days check the temperature of your pile by pulling away some material from the centre and inserting a thermometer. Note the temperature.
  6. Continue to do this until the pile reaches 130 - 140 F (55-60 C) Once that heat level is achieved turn the pile. This will cool it down and get it ready to heat up once again.
  7. Continue doing this until the pile no longer heats up after turning it. Your pile will get less hot with each time you turn it. If it isn't achieving the 130 degree mark and only gets to 110 F for example, then turn the pile once starts to cool down on its own. Then let it rest for 2-6 weeks before using it.

Notes

How to Know If Your Compost is Done.

  • The pile will be around 50% of the size it was when you started.
  • You won't be able to distinguish any exact materials.
  • It will be a uniformly dark brown colour.
  • The pile smells earthy, like soil.
  • It feels like soil in your hand.
  • A radish will germinate in it and the leaves will be nice and green (not yellow.)

General Composting Tips

  • Smaller items will compost faster than larger so pruning and clipping larger items will speed everything up.
  • Compost needs moisture! Don't forget to add it when the pile looks dry. It should be damp. This helps soften the materials and provides a good environment for the microorganisms.
  • Do NOT let your compost pile heat up beyond 130-140. Any hotter and you risk killing the beneficial microbes that are created in hot composting.
  • Your pile should be 1 cu meter or 35 cu ft. To calculate cubic ft.:
  • width x height x length
  • The more diverse the ingredients in your pile, the more diverse the nutrients and microbes it will produce.


Problems

Pile stinks - If the smell lasts longer than a couple of days and smells putrid there is too much nitrogen or too much water, add some brown material.

Pile won't heat up - Needs more nitrogen. Add green material, make sure it has enough moisture and turn it to aerate it.

Pile gets too hot - Turn it before it gets over 130 F (55 C)

** Don't forget to add your weeds to your hot compost pile. It gets hot enough to destroy weed seeds, plus weeds have LOTS of diverse nutrients in them that will add a lot to your compost - dandelion leaves, comfrey and chickweed are great examples of this**

You’ll know you have finished compost ready for the garden bed when it looks like soil and SMELLS like soil. As opposed to smelling like Keith Richards.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

How to Hot Compost. (Hot Composting the Fastest Way)

96 Comments

  1. Claudette says:

    We have two city compost bins at our condo–works great except we get a lot of little flies on the top of our material. Is this normal? if not, what should we be doing? Thanks Claudette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claudette. Yes, that’s fairly normal for city compost bins since they’re normally filled with food. Shouldn’t be anything to worry about. ~ karen!

  2. Della says:

    Just to let you know, I’m just started reading your blog, my daughter told me , look at this mom! Loving all your writings and your info, cemented the idea of growing tomatoes and cukes up string!! Wish me luck. Now I’ve got a few hints to make better compost, need some organic chicken poop! Have a glorious day! Sunny and warm here in Winnipeg but ( not complaining) we can use more rain!

  3. Gary Boutin says:

    Hi Karen,
    I enjoyed this post and I have been doing mine composting all wrong. Will fix that now. I read all your post to my 88 year old mother and my wife and we all love your humor. I have already learned so much from you and I thank you for all of it. If it wasn’t for the HOA I would get chickens. It would be so much easier but then I have two Basenji who would chase them around the yard. Still I enjoyed the chicken post too. Keep up the good work. Gary

  4. Nicole says:

    I’m really interested in building a greenhouse and using the hot compost method to warm it during the winter – do you think that might be feasible? With both chickens and goats, there’s plenty of used straw and materials.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nicole. It is feasible, and a lot of people do it, but I’m not sure about the mechanics of it. If you Google though there are a lot of examples of how people make it work. :) ~ karen!

  5. Therese says:

    oh, you are definitely hilarious :).

    We have 10 horses, 8 sheep, 4 chickens, and 2 ducks on our farm. = lots of poop. The compost pile is about 10 x 40x 20 FEET from the winter/spring at this point. I turn it with a skidsteer, and even that takes much time. BUT, great compost.

    Thanks for a wonderful read and great instructions!

  6. Margaret Matherne says:

    I just dug out more than a wheelbarrow of rotted leaves and mud from a small water garden neglected for a few years? Any use for the rotted material of my labor or is it beyond being of beneficial use?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Margaret. If it’s old leaves that have decomposed over the years, it’s ready to go. It’s leaf mould which is VERY valuable as a compost all on its own. :) If you can still see that it’s leaves then it isn’t leaf mould but rather partially decomposed leaves which can still definitely be added to a compost pile. If you don’t have a compost pile you can mix them into any soil as they are. ~ karen!

  7. Alanna says:

    Can you continually add to your heap? I do a big clean out of our coop weekly and wonder if I should start a new pile with the poop/straw or just keep adding?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alanna. Hot composting, is a method of composting everything at once quickly, so generally, no, you don’t keep adding to it. It’s a one and done thing. You let the pile hot compost and if you have new material it goes into another pile. However, it depends on how big your coop is and how much you have to add every week. If you have loads of it, then you could technically be hot composting a new pile every week. If you want to add to your original pile continuously, then you’re just regular composting but you can accelerate it by paying attention to when it gets hot (again it depends on how much matter is in it) and turning it when you see it’s starting to heat up. Once it starts to heat up, you definitely don’t want to add new material. Does that make any sense? ~ karen!

      • Alanna Harris says:

        Makes sense! Thank you…I have 4 hens so having enough material for 35 cubic feet may be a challenge…I will try my best!

      • Dustin Finamore says:

        I love your blog and IG! I just recently found you — so brand new lol but this is my problem. I just started a compost bin and I have a small container under my sink where I add kitchen scraps every day. Every three days I empty that container into my compost bin outside. It never heats up. I turn it and add shredded each time I add the kitchen scraps. I see now that I need to just add everything at once then check the temp every couple of days. hmm… I’m guessing I’ll need to start a bigger pile for just my kitchen scraps and wait until I do a new compost pile to add them to?!? Thanks for what you do!!

        • Karen says:

          Hi Dustin! Yes, if you create a pile that you’re constantly adding to then it will take longer for it to decompose but it will work! If you’re not in a huge hurry and you’re working with a smaller amount of material for compost then the easiest way to do it is the way you’re doing it! Add kitchen scraps and brown elements like paper. Without huge amounts of compost material I’d probably just keep doing what you’re doing. :) ~ karen!

  8. Celeste says:

    Re Hot Composting: And then, there’s the dirty way – direct. It turns to soil even faster than the hot method.

    • mary collins says:

      Hi Celeste- can you explain what you mean by ‘direct’ or what this entails?
      Thanks

      • Celeste says:

        Yes. My kitchen waste goes directly into soil near plants already growing in the garden. Dig a trench and deposit it, then cover with soil and mix it in. That’s all there is to it. Within 10 to 12 days the organisms have turned that into soil and nutrients. There is no waiting for brown and green stuff to get hot and need turning. My bowl in the kitchen fills about every other day and keeps me direct depositing. Hope you try it.

    • mary collins says:

      Thanks for your reply Celeste- I had a feeling you were referring to digging it right into the garden! I follow a guy on YouTube who I like and he does the same thing. He’s channel is:
      We’d Sufficient Me. He’s out of Australia.
      Thanks and going to dig it right in:)

  9. Leslie Russell says:

    How did I know you were referencing Keith Richards? Spooky.
    Once upon a time I had a compost tumbler and once it had enough material in it to make compost it was very hard to turn the handle. When I got divorced I left it for the ex-husband bwahahahahaha
    And a question. I put diatomaceous earth in with pelleted horse bedding for the coop litter. A few years back I had a terrible infestation of mites and once I started doing that I haven’t had a single problem. So this is my question. When I clean out the coop I take the litter to a giant pile (my compost bin is completely separate) and there is not a single thing – not a weed, NOTHING growing out of it. I dig down, not a single bug. I haven’t used it in the gardens for fear it would kill worms and other beneficials. Do you have any thoughts on what I could use it for? Would I be able to use it as mulch on top next to the vegetables? Or would it wash down and kill anything good in the soil?
    Many thanks!

  10. Kristen Collins says:

    We have a compost pile we have been adding to for the past year. We haven’t been diligent about turning it and now several things have sprouted in it and are growing. (possibly a potato plant? Possibly some squash?) What should we do now?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristen. That’s a regular compost pile you have. Not a hot compost pile. So it’s normal for it to sprout the odd thing. Just turn your pile, add some new material and continue to let it do its thing. If you want you can pull out whatever is sprouting and try to plant it, or you can leave it in the pile to eventually decompose. ~ karen!

  11. Martha Blair Murphy says:

    Hi Karen, I desperately want to start composting, but none of the articles I read about it indicates when to STOP adding browns/greens to the pile. If I add my kitchen vegetable waste every day, along with some browns, how will I know when to stop? (And what should I do with the following day’s kitchen veg scraps after stopping?)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha. If you’re doing a hot compost pile like I’m describing here everything needs to be added at once to form a big pile. If you’re having a hard time doing that with the amount of material you have you can just keep adding and adding and turning every so often until you have enough that it will start heating up in the centre. Once you notice it getting hot in the centre stop adding new things to it. Does that make sense? ~ karen!

  12. Mary W says:

    My granddaughter asked me how to do this yesterday. I was trying to explain green and brown and she roller her eyes when I said brown included white paper and green included brown coffee grounds. So, you have written the exact words I needed – brown represents carbon and green represents nitrogen. Finally (74 years later) I understand my browns and greens. THANK YOU! We want to begin a fast pile but once it begins the rain (Florida) it becomes the slow pile.

  13. Garth Wunsch says:

    I do not compost pine needles. They contain a chemical that is a natural herbicide to everything, including baby pine trees. Check out the forest floor under a mature pine tree… nothing grows there. I learned this the hard way by using pine needles to mulch my raspberry patch. Nearly lost the whole thing. Took years to repair the damage.

    Heat comes from the activity of the bacteria, not the sun. Many people think they need a sunny spot to build a compost pile. Not so. I’ve had compost accidentally hit 170ºF in my tree shaded pallet bins.

    If you build two pallet structures side by side, it makes turning easier.

    • Karen says:

      HI Garth! Yes, the heat comes from the activity in the pile, but in the late fall or spring, it’s good to have the compost bin in a sunny location to help speed things up and just get the pile warm and more receptive to activity. This is only important when you have a smaller compost pile. Large compost piles can heat up and stay hot even in the middle of a blizzard. :) ~ karen!

  14. Peggy says:

    Great info, Karen! Thanks!
    The closest I have come to hot composting was straw bale gardening, where you sprinkle plain fertilizer (no herbicides) on straw bales, water it in, and maintain a regimen of that for about 5 weeks starting in mid- March (in Minnesota) to have it ready for planting in by mid-May. It composts from the inside out, and by the time you plant, the inside is ideal compost. By the end of the season the whole bale structure is composted. (There’s a good book on straw bale gardening by a fellow-Minnesotan.)
    So my question is do you add fertilizer to your pile to help the process along? (Maybe that is only if you just have “browns.” )
    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Peggy. There’s no need to add any fertilizer to a regular compost pile. It has all the nutrients it needs with the diverse ingredients in it. :) ~ karen!

  15. I don’t have any chickens, but have LOADS of dog poop I clean up every week. Can I use that?

    I even feel strange asking…like I should know not to…but, heck, I didn’t know you could use chicken poop.

    • Ramona says:

      “No” on the dog poop.

      • Rebekah says:

        Yeah, dog poop has a lot more pathogens than chicken poop, and to eliminate them, you’d have to have extremely hot compost – not hot enough for what we can get at home. That’s the same reason not to include meat scraps in home compost. Some industrial compost facilities do get hot enough to handle meat, so if you live in a place that operates that, they may allow you to add meat scraps. (I’ve never heard of a place that composts dog poop in the general compost – although I have seen separate dog poop bio-recyclers [I can’t remember what they are called]).

      • Susan says:

        👍
        Thank you, Ramona!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan. You can use dog poop but there are a few things to consider. If the dog has had any sort of medication that will come out in its poop (like flea or tick control). And you HAVE to hot compost it. It must be kept at 130F for a few days to kill any pathogens in it. This is good article that explains everything. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Composting-Dog-Waste ~ karen!

  16. LOIS M BARON says:

    No intention of ever composting, but I couldn’t resist the lure of pictures of chickens!!!! I’ll probably never raise chickens because . . . chicken poop, etc. But I love your chickens so much. I love your chickens as much as I love Bernese mountain dogs, which I will probably never get either because . . . possibly slobber factor. But I digress. It’s great to come to the end of the day and have a laugh. Thanks.

  17. Madelein says:

    My compost got animals actually in it, so I guess I was doing something wrong. Just a guess. I found one entrance to a tunnel going deep inside the compost pile and was tempted to dig in to find out who was living there, but discretion got the better part of valour. I guess I’ll be buying an enclosed tumbler type this year.

    • Karen says:

      Hi! It was probably mice or voles. They’ll burrow into compost piles during the winter and make a home of them. It doesn’t really matter if they do that. Once it starts to warm up outside and you start turning the compost they’ll move out. ~ karen!

  18. Scarlette says:

    NIGHT CREATURES?!?! RATS?!?!?! oh my lord! I didnt know i was suppose to guard it?!? all these instructions!I thought you just dug a hole in the ground and mixed greens and browns..your suppose to layer it?? What if i didn’t layer it..and just threw a bunch of green and brown and mixed together then watered it… Im from the city..been in the country about a week this is all very unfamiliar to me.. have never gardened or any of that stuff let alone made a worm orgy lounge..

    • Garth Wunsch says:

      If you dig a hole in the ground, you will create anaerobic compost – lack of oxygen – and it WILL STINK, and be a slimy mess and will be hard to turn and hard to get out because it’s in a hole. And the roots of everything will grow in it.

      If you don’t have enough green/brown to make layers, it doesn’t really matter. Just get it as big as you can as quick as you can.

      I’ve been using pallets for at least thirty years – they work wonders – and are free.

  19. Katina Moser says:

    Hi Karen, What is your take on using your compost for growing food that has the chicken poop in it? I have heard various concerns that it should sit for six months, if it has chicken poop in it and you are using it for growing vegetables.

  20. Mary W says:

    I was trying to explain compost to someone over the phone 1 day ago. I will now email him your link – thanks so much. Your blog really covers everything from poop to pucker.

  21. Rosemary says:

    Hi Karen, I love your blog!! So funny and creative. I too love century homes, you might want to protect your house bricks from the compost by sticking something in between the house and the compost material.

  22. TommyK says:

    Love!
    Brilliant. How do you get it to stay together in a heap?

    • Karen says:

      Well, it just does TommyK. It’s damp when I pile it up and I keep it moist with the garden hose to help it break down faster. (compost needs to have moisture to break down). So it just stays in a big heap and gradually deteriorates into a slightly smaller heap. :) ~ karen

  23. Bob says:

    Why are there only chicks weighing in here? First, I laughed my arse off on this post, secondly, my 3 chickens crap more than Keith Richards and Mick Jagger on stool softner.

    I’m building me a compost square outta 16″ concrete blocks i have on hand and tarping the top. I will let the girls, and the meaner than Satan Red Rock rooster in there once a week.

  24. jenny says:

    So. About the chickens. And it’s probably written somewhere in the blog, but I haven’t found it yet. Do you raise them to eat, or are they true pets?

  25. Whoa, Karen, if hubby sees this he’ll want to get chickens just to EXPAND our compost bins. Sick…

    Slightly off-topic (well, not completely, they have to eat to poop), what do you think of this inventor dude’s gadget?

    http://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-Chicken-Feeder/?ALLSTEPS

    • Ann says:

      I’m seeing your comment to Karen a year later. Re the chick feeder from PVC: My husband makes these out of 4″ PVC, and longer, and uses as deer feeders strapped to trees in the woods. Deer found them right away and brought all their friends. He makes them pretty tall so has to use a ladder to feed from the top, but they’re very successful. My only complaint is, they’re in the woods and I don’t get to see the deer feeding until they come to eat my flower beds into the ground in the fall and winter.

  26. Lynne says:

    Bad enough that I see pictures of Keith Richards occasionally on my travels through the internets. Now I have to contemplate what he smells like?

    Thanks Karen. Oh, and I love your blog.

  27. Cathy says:

    I think I want to paint one of your chickens you posted a few days ago…ok with you?

  28. Barbie says:

    OK, I have NO reason to NOT do this now….totally a waste for me NOT to compost with all the room I have here on my property! Instead of buying expensive organic fertilizer like we did this year! OH ME!

    PS: I look for Marti’s comments every time I read your posts! LOL she totally cracks me up!

  29. Holly Jakobs says:

    For the record, turning compost (properly) is an awesome core strengthener :)

  30. Chau says:

    Uh, this is excellent information, but probably not a good idea to read it while eating lunch at your desk :-)

  31. Elle Bee says:

    Just out of curiosity, are you using fresh seaweed? Or just leftover nori?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I’m not using any seaweed. That info is just for the benefit of people in other parts of the world. ~ karen!

  32. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I have a composter similar to yours..except I paid $100.00 for mine..I really really want one that tumbles..How easy would that be..sigh..

  33. Julia says:

    Have just read this with my 9 year old daughter…
    “Oh mummy, she is funny isn’t she?”

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I didn’t think this was a particularly funny one, I’ll have to go back and reread it! Tell your daughter she obviously has a very keen sense of humour. ~ karen!

  34. Jeannie B. says:

    We have one of those composters and used it for a while. But, it seemed to attract the night creatures, namely mice, rats and racoons. So we started getting compost from the Waste Management Centre , each Spring. Beautiful, black mountains of steaming rich compost that you could dig into and take as much of, as you could put into containers in your vehicle,all for a donation to the local food banks. No wonder you have such a wonderful garden Karen. Composting is the way to go. Especially when you raise chickens.

    • Catwoman says:

      Hilarious! I’ve read your stuff before and found you informed, even enlightening. This was chicken poop delightful. What are you drinking? I need that.
      But you are wrong about Keith. He smells like fresh baked ginger snaps.

  35. Audrey says:

    Hi Karen ~ Your compost looks amazing!We compost everything here and always have enough. We’re chickenless though! Back to your vinyl tile floor for a sec. This might be worth trying, say, in the bathroom.
    1 C. water
    1 C. vinegar
    1 C. rubbing alcohol
    2-3 drops of dish washing soap

    I’d heard the soap part before from a vinyl tile salesperson. Just a thought!

  36. Cindy says:

    Do you have any excess compost, if so, what do you do with it? We are trying to recycle as much as possible. We have coffee grounds and fruit and veggie peels daily and yard clippings weekly. How many composters do you recommend or can I add to the comppster during the process?

    Thanks!

  37. Ruth says:

    Is it odd that my first thought went along the line of: Hmmm… I wonder if there’s a way to harness all that heat for baking…

    Don’t give me that look. It’s ‘green’ energy, isn’t it? ^_^

  38. Feral Turtle says:

    Haha….you are hilarious! I like your first option of throwing it! But it sure does make great soil! Way to go Karen.

  39. Jasper says:

    You are one hot mess !! The bum ? I’m still laughing. lol

  40. Caitlin says:

    Ever tried worm composting?

  41. Diane says:

    NOTE: do not leave your pile near your house! I learned that many moons ago when I had a grass clipping pile next to a wood house. I was able to meet some really nice looking firemen and several insurance adjusters. Just a word of warning, that the pile really does get quite hot. Flaming hot. Fire hot. Bettern than Mexican food hot.

    • Susan Preston says:

      You hear of barn fires all the time in the summer. Well that’s cause farmers put fresh hay in the barn too soon! Poof! Compost can get really hot especially under a plastic tarp that doesn’t breath. The firemen in our town are cute and capable but I just like to chat with them on the street. I like compost but away from fences, houses, chicken coops or neighbors!

  42. Melissa says:

    Geesh, even your compost looks neat and organized! *~*

  43. mayr says:

    Geeze. What don’t you do? I love your good brain.
    Thanks as always for sharing.

  44. mimiindublin says:

    Interesting info re brown and green, I’m off now to break up some egg cartons (which of course you don’t have!) and add them. I think my compost bin has had too much green.
    I draw the line at a compost heap though…too much like farming!

  45. Cherier says:

    Lifting my lighter in your honor.

    You write like a rock star, woman.

  46. Diane says:

    Hmm. Would have thought the chicken poop would have been included under the “Browns” category.. ;)

  47. Pam'a says:

    Seriously, there are lots of crazy city people who pay good money for chicken manure, so why not?

  48. Marti says:

    Why have your neighbors not had you arrested… yet?

    Karen, you had such a well done back yard… but it appears to need relatively little compost. The front yard is a veg garden, as we all know, but that’s going only going to need so much.

    At some point, is this going to become your side industry? “KFC Compost”? (KFC=Karen, Fella, Chickens) You could give it as prizes instead of the tea towels…

    Who knows who might love your crap-in-a-bag!

  49. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Well done Karen! We all need to return nutrients back to the earth, they don’t belong in the landfills. Your garden will be a jungle!

  50. Jenn says:

    Rock on!

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