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Author Topic: Berkely 18 day composting  (Read 3835 times)

ArosP

  • Joined Jul 2012
Berkely 18 day composting
« on: June 21, 2013, 09:35:17 am »
Just seen this mentioned in another post and have done a bit of googling. Who uses it? Is it as easy as it looks (and if so why dont we all do it) How do you work out the ratios. I have lots of horse poo which they say is 25.1 (good odds that!) do i just need to add a bit more nitrogen or carbon to get it to 30.1 :thinking:
Any info will be gratefully recieved

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
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Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 09:38:10 am »
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Dan

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Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 09:42:56 am »
I was reading about this earlier in the week. It looks like it needs more discipline than I could dedicate to it.  :D

From what I saw you need two boxes ideally, each a cubic metre. Fill one with the right combination of materials then leave for 4 days. Then you turn out the full into the empty every other day for 14 days.

This was the best resource I found:

http://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/hot-compost-composting-in-18-days/

For now we'll stick to our pallet boxes and just lumping our compostable material on when we have it, leaving for a few months until the worms have done their work. But would be very interested if anyone tries/uses the hotbox method.


Q

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 10:48:11 am »
I use this method and it works really well.  I turned over 10-12 volumes of compost this way last year & stored it for use at the end of the season.
You dont have to be really precious about the quantities because it just takes a little longer if they are not exactly right.
I have been taking neighbours weeds to get enough volume - he didnt believe it would work till i showed him the end result of his weeds after about 5 weeks.

My experience is this
the cubic metre volume is important - it doesnt get hot enough if you dont
if its not hot enough after 4 days leave it for a few more days
if its working your heap will be about 2/3rds the size after 4 days
dont worry about weed seeds - some get through but not too many  - I put loads of docks on one and only 4 or 5 survived the heat.
Make sure you put 2-3 watering cans of water on your new heap as you are building it.
Chicken poo is the best accelerater - i mix this in with the layers
Too many grass cuttings will give you a slimey mess - just dry it out and add it back in again
Doesnt work well in the colder months - heat not maintained
I put plastic sheet on top then an old carpet to keep the moisture in
After 4-6 weeks it will still be rough so I store it up for another 4-8 weeks before I use it.
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit. :innocent:

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 09:21:13 pm »
Sounds good but I think I'll stick to my usual method which is very much like Dan's.

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2013, 11:41:13 pm »
I use this method and it works really well.  I turned over 10-12 volumes of compost this way last year & stored it for use at the end of the season.
You dont have to be really precious about the quantities because it just takes a little longer if they are not exactly right.
I have been taking neighbours weeds to get enough volume - he didnt believe it would work till i showed him the end result of his weeds after about 5 weeks.

My experience is this
the cubic metre volume is important - it doesnt get hot enough if you dont
if its not hot enough after 4 days leave it for a few more days
if its working your heap will be about 2/3rds the size after 4 days
dont worry about weed seeds - some get through but not too many  - I put loads of docks on one and only 4 or 5 survived the heat.
Make sure you put 2-3 watering cans of water on your new heap as you are building it.
Chicken poo is the best accelerater - i mix this in with the layers
Too many grass cuttings will give you a slimey mess - just dry it out and add it back in again
Doesnt work well in the colder months - heat not maintained
I put plastic sheet on top then an old carpet to keep the moisture in
After 4-6 weeks it will still be rough so I store it up for another 4-8 weeks before I use it.

 I use the Berkley method  as well ..
Instead of being a big butch hero I have to use a kiddies sand spade araldited  onto the butt end of an old damaged up tide sea fishing rod ( I'm 75 % disabled ), to move the piles around .

 I have seven of the local authority 310 litre Dalek style black poly prop conical lidded composter bins ( purchased some for a tenner each delivered )  others came off " The free cycle "

I've been using lots of animal based manures plus all the greenery out the gardens all kitchen waste including cooked  food/ bits of bread  but not fat)

To over come the probs of having to keep several heaps of materials so I can eventually blend a Dalek using the BM  I bunged all the greenery and non stable pigsty, chicken pen etc. stuff in one bin ..it rots down fairly quick .
 I cross shred paper and tear up all cardboard boxes into palm sized bits & sprinkle it over the top of the contents don't let it lie in big wodges  ..it won't rot quickly and often goes slimy  .

 I then go and get a trailer of straw'd stable muck or shavings or wood pulp or hemp or even neat cobbles .
 Remove the Dalek case off what's all ready rotting and then add a 4 inch thick base of straw to the new site where I've place the bin to soak up any liquids ( why let it all run away )? ) drop in a 3 -4 inch thick  layer of stable muck ,give it a spray with the hose spray head , add 3-4 inches  of the already rotting veg matter etc. and give it a spray and carry on till the bin is filled .
Do the same with another empty bin to use up everything or to store it away from wind sun and rain
 During the next week I'll get a trailer of chicken muck neat or with beddings and  lift off one of the Daleks  break the heap apart  and rebuild like before including some straw in the base layer then layer the contents with the chicken muck
 Then the next week I'll do the same again using pig muck & bedding . this gets repeated till I have at least five different animal manures as well as lots more home produced rotting veg matter & bit of paper.

 Because the bins lose volume of contents due to decay and evaporation  it's not often I've run out of space .

 Once I have all five manures integrated I'll try and turn each bin  at least once a week for four weeks not adding anything else . I have a temp probe that I can slip down a copper water pipe  I'ts good to see the pile head to 140 o F as that real composting  .
 Once the pile starts to stay below 100 oF  then I leave the compost alone till needed , you'll notice that it will become infested with muck worms which is a bonus as they eat the decaying materials and produce a very valuable worm cast manure for free. 
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 11:48:29 pm »
In the past I've also use the hot bed method building a big pile pig muck from the indoor pig farm so loads of straw as well as different types of pig muck inside loads of bales of straw  to a depth of two bales deep , putting a foot of soil over it and letting it rot down then the next year put the marrows , pumpkins , runner beans and some potatoes  in it .
after  the crops were  harvested the whole lot was turned with the front loader and heaped up, well wetted ,covered in black plastic sheeting and left to stew a few months then it was  trailered around the small holding & mixed in with spent mushroom compost for use in the mother earth beds .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

Whistlin

  • Joined May 2009
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2013, 10:01:45 pm »
We're running two hot composting heaps. Each about 1.5m2 and comprising grass, shredded leaves/woody stems, layer of sheep manure, grass, and a few layers of cardboard. We left each for 4 days and then turned them every two days. I'm impressed with the accelerated breakdown of the material over just three weeks - temperatures have kept at around 50-55 degrees centigrade.

We're also running a hotbin - basically a well insulated bin the size of a wheelie bin. This was mainly to try to hot compost all food waste. It took two days to get the temperature up to a consistent 40 degrees centigrade, but since then, with feeding it every couple of days the temperature has increased to between 55 and 65 degrees centigrade. It doesn't seem to need any mixing or turning.I expect there's a lot of work that could be done with the design of the hotbin to make it more durable but there is no doubting that it works well.

Q

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2013, 11:53:24 pm »
Sounds like you are doing well with the compost whistlin - Its fascinating isnt it, seeing all that green vege waste turned into usable compost in a small amount of time.
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit. :innocent:

Whistlin

  • Joined May 2009
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2013, 08:31:18 am »
Quite agree Q. It's all so obvious once you see it working that you wonder why it isn't more popular.

One change we've noticed is in the number of council bins we take to the end of the drive each month: it used to be a total of 6 every month (two blue paper bins, two brown garden waste bins and two general waste bins). We now just take the two general waste bins down and those are noticeably lighter than they used to be.

Q

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2013, 10:13:28 pm »
I set a new one off last night & even the following morning it  was so hot under the carpet it is hard to believe - this hot weather helps I am sure but within one evening the new heap had dropped to 3 quarters of its overnight size.  It just fascinates me the speed of decomposition with this berkeley method
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit. :innocent:

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
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Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2020, 12:07:26 pm »
My Mini Hotbin has at last arrived.  I can't get into the box to look at it just now as I have gardeners laying gravel in my back garden - an unfir 76 so not able to do it myself, before anyone asks.  :innocent:

Will set up a new thread when I've started setting it up
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Q

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2020, 08:21:15 pm »
Look forward to the new thread Doganjo..   :excited: :excited:

I cant believe i posted about this in 2013 and i am still composting everything I can get my hands on.  I even started up a communal compost for the allotments this year but struggling to get the volume I need to show the others how quick it can be.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 08:23:45 pm by Q »
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit. :innocent:

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
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Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2020, 11:22:24 am »
Because I live alone and have hens and dogs I find it difficult to get enough household waste and therefore a balance to feed the hotbin, so it hasn't come up to temperature yet  However, I hadn't thought about putting in the chicken muck so it's filling up better - had a few fruit flies flying when I opened the lid, but Hotbin sent me an excellent email saying what to do and when.  Can't fault their after sales service

It's aerobic rather than anaerobic like normal compost heaps.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Q

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Berkely 18 day composting
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2020, 01:58:26 pm »
Hi doganjo - seen your other thread for the hotbin now.

The Berkeley method is also aerobic which makes it work quickly - involves regular turning which most wont have the energy or willpower for.
I have palllets, energy, enthusiasm and wouldn't  get approval for a hotbin even if it worked for me.
I will pick up on your other thread because i am interested in your progress.
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit. :innocent:

 

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