Turning And Re-Pile'ing Compost - September 2022

Earlier this week I posted a couple of updates on our compost project.  First, I shared photos of the black gold compost that came out of our tumbler.  I spread that material on the front beds as an amendment and a way to try to improve the conditions up there.  Then, I posted some photos of what the pair of bins looked like pre-turning and walked through how I emptied them to get down to the 'most done' material (at the bottom of the mixed bin - under the passive aeration pipes) in an attempt to fill the tumbler and get the balance of the material ready for re-pilin'ing.  At that point, I had two full-to-the-top bins.  The one on the right, properly mixed.  The one on the left...not so much.  It was filled with Fall leaves and whatever I picked up this season including all the thatch from my backyard lawn renovation project.

My plan was to open up the front panel of the bins to allow me to empty the bins to allow for proper mixing, then put the front panel back in place, fill the right-side up with a proper mix along with using both the aeration pipes and a little bit of alfalfa to accelerate the process.

Here's what it looks like after a full cycle of emptying, filling the tumbler, turning, combining, layering, adding in alfalfa cubes and re-pile'ing. On the right is a full and heaping topped combined bin.  On the left is what wouldn't fit in the bin on the right.  This bin is, also, mixed well.  My thought with the 'over-filling' is that the pile normally shrinks, so by this time next year, that right-side should be 'under' the top of the frame with shrinkage.

Below is a photo of a close-up of the top of the pile that is mixed with greens and browns.

Of note, #13 on my 2022 to-do list was related to compost - and updating the bin system again this season.  Included in that item was using (again) alfalfa cubes to help speed things up.  Below is a photo of the pile that I emptied and shows the cubes that I hydrated on top of the pile.

What I'd like to do is to revisit the pile right before I start collecting leaves in a couple of weeks.  If the mixed pile on the right has compressed a little bit, I'll take some of the material from the left and add it to the right ahead of the leaves.  


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