Grass to Compost in 10 Days!

Go from green grass clippings, coffee grounds, egg shells,
& leaves to useable compost in as little as 10 days!

 

  =

(See videos below for step by step instructions)
  
 
Ingredients:
1 can of beer
1 can of (non-diet) Cola
8 ounces of ammonia
Pour it all into a 20 gallon hose end sprayer

http://www.amazon.com/Gilmour-Gallon-Sprayer-390-White/dp/B00002N67G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402490332&sr=8-1&keywords=20+gallon+hose+end+sprayer

Here's an Amazon link to 20 gallon hose end sprayers

Layer grass clippings, mulched leaves, & non meat/non greasy kitchen scraps like coffee grounds, tea bags, used egg shells (I nuke mine in the microwave for about a minute), etc., more grass clippings, more leaves, more kitchen scraps, etc. in a lasagna layering fashion, while spraying each layer with the mix.  You don't have to water log each layer either, just get it wet.

It works even better if you cover the grass layers with a thin layer of completed compost if you have extra off to the side.  The key is locking in the heat that the grass will generate as the bacteria breaks it down.  You DO NOT want the sun to bleach the grass out, because it will lose it's heat.  That heat will get up to 135-140 degrees, kill off any seeds in the grass and break the other items down as well.

The yeast in the beer and sugars in the cola will create a beneficial bioactive explosion in the compost pile and really speed up the process.  The ammonia is a mild supercharge of nitrogen for the pile as well.  After SEVEN days, turn your pile with a little mini tiller or pitchfork, then cover for another 3-4 days then go dig into the pile and marvel at what you have there.  If you've composted and never tried this, you'll never do it the old way again once you do this.

Organically rich and bioactive soil with all the nutrients your plants need in 10 days!  Give it a try and tell me how it worked for you.

One note:  "Hot" materials such as chicken manure will still take much longer to break down.  It's referred to as hot due to the high nitrogen content which would "burn" your plants were you to directly apply it.  That material should be composted down separately from grass & leaves you'd like to be able to turn around in 10 days or so.  Interestingly enough, cow manure is not considered hot and can be tilled right into your garden soil.  I recommend making sure it's dried first though ;-)

 
 
My latest video on the subject:
 



My older composting videos:
 
Part 2 in the video series:  The Results of the pile..
 
It's my hope that this method and process helps you to create more organically rich soil for YOUR garden and enables you to give your veggies the nutrition they crave.  They will reward you for your efforts!

45 comments:

  1. I have a question about substitution of the beer.Do you think if I drop some oatmeal in water and after it ferments use in place of the beer it could have the same effects? I am not trying to change the formula just looking for a cheaper way. thanks in advance,
    Pedro

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  2. It's the yeast in the beer. If you're going cheap, you could just get a package of that I suppose. I've never done that though.

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    1. Just wanted to let you know I decided to try the yeast. Its hard to buy just one can of beer, so I have been delaying.So I mixed everything with one package of instant yeast, so we shall see how it goes. If it dont work, I guess I gotta buy beer,lol
      Tammy

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    2. Oh the humanity! ;-) Good luck and let me know how the yeast alone does.

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    3. I know it's a couple of months later but, Tammy, I notice single cans of beer for sale at the convenience stores in my area. You might try there, instead of grocery store...or, find someone that drinks it, and trade them veggies for a beer!
      jaws

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    4. Active Dry Yeast works just as fine, and is far cheaper than beer. (Costco: $6 for a pound. keeps in the freezer for years...)
      As for the coke, you can replace by adding sugars.
      Choice #1 Molasses
      Choice #2 Brown Sugar
      Last choice being white sugar.
      For the OCD'ed composting people, add a pantyhose filled with few cups of good compost and aerate the bucket with a small air pump (best 18 to 24 hrs)
      The max temp of the water is 115F, yeast will die at 120+
      If using domestic water, aerate for an hour prior adding the yeast to remove the chlorine.

      As the first heat spike in the compost pile will kill the yeast, re-spray once your compost has set to help with the curing.

      The above was given to me by the manager of a compost facility. My compost piles reach 155F in 24hrs.
      You can also Google the science behind it at green.harvard.edu

      I also use vermicomposting. Once the compost has set and is not longer hot, I transfer the worms.

      I hope it helps
      Good luck to all

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  3. Question on the grass: I admit right now I likely have more weeds than grass. Will the weeds affect my compost in a negative way? I'm wondering if I should try to mow a few yards in the neighborhood....

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    1. If you have enough grass, the heat from the bio breakdown will render the seeds inert as it heats up. About 4 days after spraying the layers, you shouldn't be able to keep your hand in the middle of the pile it'll be so warm.

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  4. I saw your videos on Youtube last week and thought I'd try repairing my cold compost with this method. The compost was started last September and just won't break down, though it has no smell, it seems to have the right moisture, etc. Last Friday I used a pitchfork and spread out a 2 x 9 rectangle of it on the ground, then sprayed that using the formula in a Chameleon spray hose attachment maxed out at 8 oz (per gallon), which sounds like a heavier concentration than your fixed 20 gallon sprayer attachment. After spraying that layer I added a good layer of grass clippings, though we have manual mowers and the clippings aren't as finely chopped. Sprayed that, then added compost from our stock and sprayed that. Covered the entire sandwich with a black tarp and rocked down the sides. I did notice a little heat 20 minutes after I first assembled the sandwich. It's day 3 now and the heat has been off and on, helped a little by old windows I put on top of it, however our weather has turned colder and rainy again the last few days, so my timing wasn't the best.

    It occurred to me that my stock compost from the municipal landfill may have been sterilized so I may need to mix yard dirt with it. The weather is about to get warmer again (I'm in Salt Lake City), so if the compost doesn't reheat I will turn it with my pitchfork, add some dirt, respray, and cover it again.

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    1. Sounds good. The warmer it gets the better and faster it will work, of course.

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    2. Thought I'd update my progress on my compost sandwich. It is now Thursday and our weather is still a little cool here in SLC, in the 60's. We got a compost thermometer two days ago and the sandwich temperature hit 90. This morning Thursday) the sandwich temp was only 70 so I figured it was time to tear apart and redo. Estimate about 35% decomposition, not bad for 6 days, weather in the high 60's/low 70's, and long grass clippings. Definitely seeing dark crumbly dirt that isn't just our stock municipal compost. Since I had untreated cold compost still sitting in the bin it was easy to compare "before" with "after." Turned the old sandwich ingredients all over, resprayed, retarped, rocked down, and put on windows again to let it cook for another week.

      I'd been reading about a "critical mass" of roughly 1 cubic yard to generate heat in a bin so I rebuilt the bin contents, layering grass clippings with cold compost, spraying each layer with the formula, and topping with stock compost. (Lasagna instead of sandwich.) Putting tarps and windows on the lasagna too. It'll be interesting to see if the bigger volume helps.

      Lasagna, sandwich. Can you tell I like to cook?!? :)

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    3. sb that's an awesome report. I'm having better results this year with making the pile not as wide at the bottom, but rather building it up taller. When I get done, it looks like a little compost volcano. I too am keeping it tarped this year. It holds the heat in AND it keeps the robins from plucking up all my good worms ;-)

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  5. I'm worried that the ammonia is toxic... we have an organic community garden and I am sworn to purity..heheh. How can I find out? thanks.

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    1. You'd better have the community outlaw rain then. During a thunderstorm, the lightening charges the nitrogen in the air, converts it to liquid ammonia and then falls in the rain drops and reverts back to nitrogen as the roots take it up in the soil. The ammonia in this tonic is diluted over 20 gallons of water and turns to nitrogen in the pile.

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    2. I concur with Reaganite71.

      Not to scare you, but ammonia is also found in urine and produced naturally by your body.
      Ammonia (NH3) is toxic at high concentration, but we are not talking about drinking a glass of it here.

      I would be more worried about people dumping Weed 'n Feed fertilizer on their grass, then trying to compost the clippings.

      Me, myself and I, use more than a fair amount of Dihydrogen Monoxide on pretty much everything in the garden, and never had an issue with it.





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  6. Thought I followed video and never got warm and after two weeks nothing. I did cover as I saw a tarp over to side but then for second time left off. I followed closely and it has been three days and does not appear working. What am I doing wrong?

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    1. How much grass did you use? A 3-4 inch layer of freshly mowed green grass is critical to heating the pile up and layering it with browns (like leaves, kitchen scraps, even shredded newspaper).

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    2. Grass was just mowed and each layer was 3-4 inch and leaves shredded. Put leaves on ground, sprayed, grass, spray, old compost with egg shells, spray, scraps, spray, grass, spray, compost, spray, leaves, spray, grass, spray, compost, spray, kit scraps, spray, grass, spray, compost and spray. Had to dump last pile that I covered and did not put in compost. This pile started Friday and not covered. Today, Monday was not at all warm. Am I rushing? Thanks

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    3. Jerry I'm wondering if what was your green grass is ash white or is it just yellowing or is it still green?

      If it's ash white, it may have heated up really fast and fizzled. If it's yellowing, it's slowly breaking down and will still look like that after 7 days (at 10-14 days it will look more like completed compost). If it's still green you may have over soaked it or it rained (maybe?)

      If you check the pile every day, you're probably letting heat out. I leave it alone for seven days before I ever turn the pile so that no heat escapes. Just remember the grass is the key to the pile heating up and once it's used up it's energy the heat will subside and then it's up to the beneficial bacteria to do the rest.

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  7. A new participant here.
    I have three available items for a compost pile. One is the residue of two maple tree stumps. Another is the trimmings from an evergreen shrub and the last (actually a combination of the two items described above.) is from a hemlock tree.
    Questions;
    1) can any or all of these items be included in a compost pile?
    2) would you characterize them as green or brown layer components?
    Thanks
    jerry evans
    strongsville ohio

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  8. I have a plastic compost bin. I haven't done anything with it except add grass clippings, sometimes my husband will throw (wood/oak?) ashes from the fire pit. My question....if I had your drunken compost recipe will it work on this old stuff? Or should I just empty it and start all over. I used to add kitchen scraps and just let the rain water it . It's in the shade (Minnesota)

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    1. It will certainly help. It would be better to cover it so the rain water doesn't reduce the temps though and be sure and turn it occasionally.

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    2. Thanks....it's actually under the eaves of the house so it doesn't get totally rained on (like today's down pours). I have several (ok...hundreds of questions), but will grace you with them periodically. Thank you.

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  9. Reaganite71,
    I don't have any leaves to use. Can I substitute "straw" (not hay) for the brown contents? Also I covered the pile with a light coat of top soil...is that ok?
    One other thing.....our area does not have sprayers with a ratio setting. I bought an Ortho dial n spray sprayer. This sprayer has a 32oz capacity with settings from 1oz to 8oz per gallon. I selected the 2 1/2oz per gallon setting to get 20 gallons for 32oz sprayer capacity.
    Pat Murphy (murf56@hotmail.com)

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  10. Reaganite,
    This is the sprayer I purchased..... http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ortho-Dial-N-Spray-Hose-End-Sprayer-0841010/204758731

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  13. The sprayer on your blog is no longer only $4 and not the 20 gallon type any more. Could you update us on how to use the newer adjustable sprayers with your drunken compost recipe? In my case with a 32oz adjustable sprayer I figure I would need to use the 2oz/gallon setting to deplete the 32oz and use 20 gallons of water for the drunken compost. Unfortunately I already used the 2.5oz setting on my current pile :-(

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    1. Thanks for letting me know about the link. I put up a link to Gilmore 20 gallon sprayers on Amazon for under $10. I guess the 2oz to a gallon ought to work. I've never used a dial sprayer for this so thus the guess. ;)

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    2. Reaganite,
      It's the 8th day and my pile still doesn't look very warm or black. I think the rain might have diluted your tonic. I mixed it up again and sprayed a new batch of tonic on the pile. This time I covered it with plastic.What do you think about that????? Also what do you think about me using "straw" in place of leaves?

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  14. First off, I haven't had much luck composting at my new place over the past 5 year. I ran across your site and decided to try the Drunken Compost tonic. After seven days I turned the pile and was wondering if it would be complete by day ten. Yesterday I broke in my new toy: tiller for my weedeater. The compost looked about 80% complete. So after mowing, I rebuilt the layered cake with new grass, old compost and excess soil from cleaning the ditch. Went out this morning the pile was already cooking at 120 degree. Tonight it was smoking at up to 150.

    Question: Would be better to remix the pile after a few days to redistribute the heat load across the pile? I did have a pile 20 years ago burning on the inside. It was smoking so much when I went to turn it, it caught fire.

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  15. Hi Reaganite
    When you say household Ammonia do you mean bleach or Human Urine???

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    1. Neither. I mean Ammonia: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Ammonia-64-oz/13023511

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    2. Hi, A little background! My name is Lou and I'm a learning/teaching assistant in a primary school in Co Durham ,North East England. I run a thriving garden club in our school, with our kids maintaining a lovely 12m by 3m 'Flutterby Garden' and an allotment with numerous raised beds and a 25ft polytunnel, where we grow fruit & veg. I just checked out your drunken composting method. It sounds great as we always have a huge amount of grass clippings on our school field. I had a query about ammonia because as far as I know, liquid ammonia is not freely available for sale in UK so I would need an alturnative. I also have an abundance of sawdust and quite fine 6 month old wood chippings from some shredded cherry and alder tree branches. Could I use these as a 'brown material' substitute?

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  16. Hi. Great video. I don't have ground space for composting. Can this style of composting be done in a bin if I add worms to it?

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  17. How would your tonic work in a compost tumbler?

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  18. Hello, your compost recipe sounded exciting and for the first time I tried with the way you showed on your video. After four days, the grass clippings have darkened and was breaking up. Yesterday, I made a huge pile of grass clippings as big as 4ft wide, 15 feet long, 2.5 ft high. I used five beer cans + five coke cans and 32 ounces of house hold ammonia. All mixed and used with my 16 liter sprayer - five times with the mixture. The pile is covered with plastic blue tarp. I did this yesterday and this morning the pile is very hot - may be more than 140 degrees. Also the file is emitting crushed dried fish and shells. I do not know what is going on but can you please tell me if I am doing something wrong?

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  19. I want to ask, I is it okay to do this during the winter?

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  20. I was just wondering if I could add this mixture to my tumblers. I bought them before I say your post.

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  21. Hi, wonderful post, great explanations provided. Just one question, wouldn't the heat generated kill of the earthworms?
    I've been researching different compost methods, and the heat is a no-no.
    I live in the tropics and it gets really, really hot here, so was writing about the EW. Thanks in advance!

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