First Compost Bin Materials

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: First Compost Bin Materials
Author: Rman (Rman)
Saturday, June 11, 2016 - 10:11 pm
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Canadacomposter where are you specifically? I am in central Ontario so I might be able to give better advice if I knew approximately where you are living.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Thursday, June 09, 2016 - 5:21 pm
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Interesting questions.
Here in Tasmania the past dry season has caused a scarcity of hay, therefore the cost has gone up. Also there is very little "spoiled" hay or straw around for use on my compost pile.
We do, however, have a copious amount of tree mulch around - piles of it in fact. This consists primarily of eucalyptus species. It contains bark, chipped woody main-stems, twigs and leaves. Left in a pile to weather for even a few months, it becomes partially broken down by fungi, bacteria, worms, etc. that are naturally present.
I am now incorporating this material as top cover for the compost bins, especially in the warmer summer months...and keeping some of the hay for use in the winter to improve heat retention.
The latter factor is probably not necessary. I have found the weathered mulch, together with its partial aeration and smothering qualities, very effective in maintaining thermophilic temperatures.
I also have two 1.8meter (6-foot) bins used for restaurant food waste. They work in just the same way as humanure, and the resulting compost after 6 months retention time is very impressive. The woody particles are fairly well decomposed, but if I was pedantic and not wanting to place them onto the garden it would be easy enough to sift them out and use them again for composting.
My suggestion is that you could try any such mulch material in you humanure system. Find out where you can get it, for example local council or contractors might be very happy to dump it at your door (figuratively speaking, of course, haha!). Whatever the main tree species are around your area, just try it, see how things work out.
Canadacomposter, you speak of pine shavings. I would want to mix in other organic materials such as you might rake up from the garden. Also add some moisture and don't waste urine by separating it out from the humanure. The Humanure System is the one method where urine is not excluded from the bucket...it's essential in the process of composting.
Good luck in your efforts.

Author: Rman (Rman)
Wednesday, June 01, 2016 - 8:15 pm
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I expect the accurate answer is maybe. If the shaving are fine enough and dry enough and deep enough I think they would work okay. How fine, dry and deep is the tricky part of the answer. I am more familiar with long grass and hay which is now in abundance here especially on fence lines etc. Are you buying the pine shavings?

Author: Canadacomposter (Canadacomposter)
Monday, May 30, 2016 - 5:43 pm
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We are setting up our first compost bin. We have access to pine shavings and wonder if we can use them as the sponge layer on the bottom of the bin, and subsequently as the cover material after a deposit. We will have limited access to other materials. We are using peat moss in the composting toilet.

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