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How to Get Compost in a Tumbler Bin to Heat Up

January 22, 2016

I have a 80 gal compost tumbler which in Nov 2015 i put in at one time.
1) Filled it half way with of fine shredded non-fruit pear leaves.
2) 40 gal bag of fine shredded brown cardboard & white paper.
3) 1 cu ft bag of mushroom compost.
4) 2 cu ft bags of steer manure.
5) 3 lbs (1 bag) of bone & blood meal.
6) 1 lbs Ammonium Sulfate granules
7) 30 lbs of fine ground coffee grounds from Starbucks.
8) 1 bag (8 quart) of "Blackgold" earthworm castings blend.
9) 5 large square shovel's of fine grind kitchen scraps.
10) 1 container of "compost activator".
Mixed it very well with pitch fork and wet it down with garden hose to make it damp, not wet and tumbled it 10-12 times per day for the first 3 days.
I was able to achieve a temperature for 110 degree for 4 days after tops only. I back off on tumbling the compost bin to only once a week and still i still have a consistent temp of 60 degrees!!
What can i do to increase temp above 100 degrees?
What else to add?

Grubs in Compost

January 25, 2016

I've been finding big, pale gray grubs about two inches long and 3/8 thick in my compost pile.  What are they?  Are they harmful and if so how do I control them? What do they hatch out into?

What is the NPK of Finished Compost Made from Cattle Manure and Mushroom Waste?

January 29, 2016

I am currently using cattle dung plus mushroom waste to perform composting. Is there a calculator that estimates how much NPK should be in the compost?

Adding Nitrogen to Finished Compost

January 30, 2016

I have a question about adding Nitrogen to finished compost. If I wanted to have a 5:1:1 (50) to a 100 pound bag of compost.  Meaning the bag contains 50% of added fertilizer and 50 percent of compost.. how do I calculate? How many  pounds of Nitrogen, P and K to add to the bag? I am going to use Urea 46 as the nitrogen component.

Straw for Bedding in Worm Bin

April 27, 2016

I was reading that straw is OK to use for bedding in a worm bin, but that it needed to be chopped and soaked. Do you all agree that straw is OK and if so, just how chopped should it be? Thanks

New to New Mexico!

June 22, 2016

I have just relocated from Nashville, TN (where it was almost impossible not to grow a garden) Placitas, NM, where i am wondering how to even get started. I would like to grow a vegetable garden, even some trees (dates, or whatever will grow here). i realize i will need to compost, but i also live with people who are not going to go for it if it is not clean and easy. I'm happy to play in the dirt and get my hands dirty...but they will not allow an open ground pile or anything that is not completely enclosed, easy to turn, and feeds the wonderful black gold out the bottom for easy retrieval.

We can build some slightly raised beds if need be (if this is best for growing here)...Basically, to make this short and simple, i have no idea what to do here in the desert. All i know is that I will not stay here if i cannot grow a garden. Any assistance would be so very much appreciated.  Anything from what is the best compost bin to buy (in my current circumstance), to where to plant would be wonderful.

Also, if there are any groups, online or face to face, that meet up and help each other out, they would be nice to be connected with. Thank you so much.

Where to Obtain Bokashi Activator Mix?

July 6, 2016

I saw your name on the City of Abq website regarding seminars about Bokashi composting. Just moved to Abq from Hawaii where I started using the Bokashi system. Do you know of any place in Abq that sells the activator mix? I've been to Home Depot, Ace Garden Center, and a whole bunch of family owned nurseries - no one has it that I can find.

Soldier Fly Larvae: Should I Be Concerned?

July 20, 2016

I recently started composting using an Urban Compost Tumbler.  Recently I have found soldier fly larvae in the bowel I have under the tumbler.   I believe the are exiting from the air tube at the bottom of the tumbler.  I researched the web regarding the pro/con of this development but I would appreciate your advise.

Can I Compost Weeds? Chicken Manure? Sheep Manure? How Moist?

July 30, 2016

I am new to gardening and my question for a compost pile is: Can weeds be used in the compost bin?  If so, are there any specific ones that should be avoided?

I’ve been working on my bin for a couple of months now, just adding material as it is available and before I found your site with information specific to New Mexico.  I may not have kept it wet enough, I’m not sure.  I have added a small amount of chicken manure (free range).  Is that acceptable?  How about sheep manure?  I haven’t used it, but some of it is available to me.

I would appreciate any information you can provide. Thank you.

Can I Compost Tree of Heaven?

August 28, 2016

Is it safe to put the Tree of Heaven on my compost pile? Because of all of the rain, they are everywhere. I hate to burn them if I can use them. Thanks.

Can I Compost Locust Seed Pods?

October 22, 2016

I live in Corrales and am in the process of raking up a bunch of New Mexico locust seed pods (Robinia neomexicanus). Can I add them to my compost bin (cold composting) or will the seeds likely sprout (which I don't want)? Thanks for the good advice you provide.

Can I Compost Moldy Food?

November 22, 2016

I am still reeling from the wonderful workshop 10 days ago - it was so informative!

Mold has been on my mind for a long time as it pertains to compost ... Our Teacher JZ taught us mold is NOT good for Bokashi method because it stops the fermenting. Here’s my question …

What about mold on food for Slow Method or Hot Method? Should we just throw it away? Or is it okay to put in compost?

Thanks for being there!

Should I Insulate My Tumbler Bin?

December 24, 2016

My tumbler has gone cold.....I should have thought ahead about this inevitability, but I did not! So I am wondering what ideas you might have for what might be best to use.....water heater insulation blanket? Mylar sheets? I want it to be able to take advantage of the sun (I am in Placitas at about 6500') but am not home all day to take insulation off when there is sun, and put it back on when the air cools..... Thank you,

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