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Banana Plant Soil, Additives, and Fertilizer This forum is an area where you may discuss the soil to grow banana plants in, as well as soil additives such as teas, composts, manures, fertilizers and related topics.


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Old 06-07-2009, 02:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Making Compost on the Cheap?

From everything I've read compost seems to be one of the best things you can do for your bananas... I don't have a compost bin and it may be a while before I convince my wife to let me spend even more money on a compost bin (they seem to be $80-$400 from what I've seen online). I've bought one bag of Farmers Compost from our local nursery that seems decent (especially for $3 for a large bag), but it's made from mostly wood products according to the bag.

Does anyone have any tips for either making their own compost bin (was thinking about drilling holes in a plastic garbage can) or simply creating and maintaining a compost heap?

I have plenty of grass clippings, orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees, coffee grounds (of course), a couple of unused flower beds that are dirt only (clay soil unfortunately), and of course lots of food stuffs that get thrown out every week.

Thanks in advance

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Old 06-07-2009, 07:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

Hey Andy,

I looked at all those bins too. I just make a pile/heap every year back under some of the large bushes. I started with a wire cage but don't even use that any more. If your limited on space or time the bins may be in order. I just add to the same pile all year and its ready for the next season and start a new pile.

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Old 06-07-2009, 07:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

I've always felt that an open pile is much easier to turn and maintain. I wouldn't even consider using one unless you're in an area where neighbors or someone may complain about the looks. Use your money for something better. If your worried about the food scraps attracting critters just open the top of the pile and bury them. I never had trouble with it.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

Just buy a new, or use an old, plastic garbage can with a lid. Much cheaper.

You can drill holes in it if you want. I haven't drilled mine and it is doing fine. I take a shovel or a stake and just mix it up every so often. Or, after making sure the lid is on tight, I'll tip it on its side and roll it around a couple of times.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

If you want a bin try Craigslist. I picked up a new one,never used,for $45. I have seen them for free on Craigslist freestuff ,but you have to be quick to get one for free.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

If you go here and search compost bins they have alots detailed steps on how to make on its a great site.
Make a Compost Bin From a Wheelie Bin
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

Well, you really don't need anything fancy. Simply creating a pile of organic matter works just fine. If you want to get crafty and make it look more contained, build a simple structure with some plywood. IMO the fancy bins people used are very over-rated and, though some of them assist in turning the material over periodically, they aren't typically exposed to the regular soil, so do not permit passive transfer of moisture/microbes. Compost really shouldn't cost you anything...maybe to buy a pitchfork if you don't have one to turn your pile with. Beyond that, it's just yard and kitchen waste thrown in a pile. Simple, cheap and effective.
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

I would honestly say I am a fan of the open piles as well, esp. compared to bins.
I think the major deciding factor is amount of material you plan to add (always estimate more than you think), the critter factor, and the fact that most barrels or bins get a major stink issue if not aerated greatly, or flipped very often. But the same is true of open piles not maintained properly(so get comfortable with flipping the pile!). Plus don't forget to add all banana materials back into your compost piles for all that wonderous K they contain. I suggest a biweekly spraying of some sugar water or molasses water for some sugars to stimulate the microbial activity to heat that pile up very quickly. And also agree with the burying of fresh scraps into the top/middle of the pile. Keeps my dogs out... and trust me, beats a compost breath greeting after bathroom breaks.
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

Call us primitive, but in 1500 years of professional agriculture in my region we have never used compost bins.
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

I have an extra plastic garbage cart on wheels that I drilled a bunch of holes into. I put scraps in a bucket & dump that in my bin. I tip the bin over (bungee the lid down), & then roll it around. I never had a bad smell from it.
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

If you want to make a bin on the cheap, go to some construction sites and ask for wood out of their trash pile. It is usually very acceptable wood. That is how I built my chicken house.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

I'm a fan of the open pile--I collect all my leaves and grass clippings, kitchen waste, and even my neighbors leaves and clippings--he is happy he doesn't have to bag it--I just park my wheelbarrow next to his driveway and he fills it up.
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:30 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

Yeah, compost supplies are considered waste by most people, so I would try to do what sbl does. You're helping them by getting rid of it for them and they're helping you by contributing to your compost heap! It's a symbiotic relationship!
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Making Compost on the Cheap?

Haha! Why does it get so complicated? We have a loose heap of (mostly) banana leaves and the stuff that attracts rats (fruit peels) goes into a bin with vents. Water the heap regularly and there you are with no problem - we used the same system in England so it is not a temperature related thing - the heap just works faster here in the tropics.
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