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Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

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Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  sfg4uKim on 3/13/2012, 1:15 am

This photo is from my friends at Veteran Compost. This is why we stress how important it is to use FIVE different types of compost and NOT be stubborn and use your existing soil. This is ALSO why we get so excited about worm poop!



From left to right: vermicompost, their regular compost, topsoil


Last edited by UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/13/2012, 8:15 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fixed link :))

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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  TN_GARDENER on 3/13/2012, 7:16 am

I wish they would have also used aged manure in their test and/or Mel's mix.

Vermicompost is nice, but rather pricey. Aged manure is often free.

I know you can make vermicompost, but doing so really does require some effort (I had a bad experience with the worms).

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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  llama momma on 3/13/2012, 7:54 am

My old computer makes pictures darker than normal - I can't tell if the middle pot or the left pot had the better result. (?)
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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  sfg4uKim on 3/13/2012, 7:56 am

Veteran Compost no longer accepts manure as they feel the chemicals in the feed don't break down quickly enough. Because they use blowers, they produce finished compost in 90 days - not long enough to break down some of the chemicals they are trying to avoid. This is also why they stopped accepting lawn clippings.

They also don't make Mel's Mix - I'm negotiating with them, but they don't have a bagger yet as it's still a relatively "small" operation. Justen will be renting a bagger during the off season and he will bag my version of MM for me then.

If I had known about their experiment, I certainly would have offered them some to use. Maybe next year.

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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  sfg4uKim on 3/13/2012, 8:02 am

@llama momma wrote:My old computer makes pictures darker than normal - I can't tell if the middle pot or the left pot had the better result. (?)

When I blow up the photo and use a tape measure I get these approximate results:
Vermicompost = 2 7/8"
Compost = 1 7/8"
Top Soil = 1 3/8"

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I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  llama momma on 3/13/2012, 8:12 am

Wow, thank you for your detailed effort!
My compost book says plants "seldom grow well" in 50 - 100% vermicompost. "Tends to be somewhat high in salts." Supposedly the "ideal balance is 15-20% vermicompost to 80-85% potting soil." Even though the book makes a contradition to your picture results, I am guessing either that particular plant didn't mind, or the particular vermicompost was lower in salts than usual? thinking
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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  littlejo on 3/13/2012, 8:53 am

@sfg4uKim wrote:Veteran Compost no longer accepts manure as they feel the chemicals in the feed don't break down quickly enough. Because they use blowers, they produce finished compost in 90 days - not long enough to break down some of the chemicals they are trying to avoid. This is also why they stopped accepting lawn clippings.

They also don't make Mel's Mix - I'm negotiating with them, but they don't have a bagger yet as it's still a relatively "small" operation. Justen will be renting a bagger during the off season and he will bag my version of MM for me then.

If I had known about their experiment, I certainly would have offered them some to use. Maybe next year.

I couldn't get the link to work, takes me to the SFG home page, maybe not supposed to?

If they don't use manure and the don't use yard waste, what do they put in their compost?

I make compost using some manure and yard trimmings, and some veggie peelings(from my kitchen, if the worms don't eat them). I use a tumbler and it never takes 90 days.

I would agree, if you could have enough worms to make straight worm poo to plant in, it would probably beat out MM, but, it would take a heck of a lot of worms!

I planted 1 African Violet in straight worm poo, and it is the most beautiful, blooms constantly.

Jo
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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  sfg4uKim on 3/13/2012, 11:53 am

They use food waste, wood too small to be used as mulch, paper, leaves. The same stuff you'd use in your home compost pile which Mel says is the best way to go. They test it in-house and send out samples all the time to make sure it's balanced.

I'm on my phone so I can't correct the link but if you just plug in veterancompost.com you'll find them. I had the same problem with it taking me to the SFG web site too awhile back.

____________________________

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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  AvaDGardner on 3/21/2012, 1:25 pm

THAT is an AWESOME picture!

Nurserys tell me over and over to 'only add a bit' of castings to the soil, because 'they could cause N burn.'

Okay...so maybe the allium family wouldn't like it.

But WOW! Thanks!
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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  LeeAnne12 on 3/21/2012, 4:12 pm

[b] I use a tumbler and it never takes 90 days.[b]

Jo, I've been trying to make compost in a tumbler since October and it's still not done. What am I doing wrong? Grrrr!!! I just recently added rabbit food as per someone's suggestion and it heated up for a couple of days in one of the tumblers to about 120 and dropped back down.

Thanks,

Lee Anne
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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  littlejo on 3/21/2012, 5:05 pm

Lee Ann,

What are you putting in the tumbler?

I put whatever yard stuff I have, leaves, dried grass, pine straw, weeds(usually dry)

sawdust, wood chips(mulch), any of the above, plus I add chicken manure. I wet it down and turn daily. If it is not getting hot, I add some more manure, turn daily, if not hot, add more manure, til I get it right(and hot) The first time I tried composting, it got so hot that I thought it would melt the tumbler, it was hot to the touch on the outside of the tumbler. I must get a thermometer one of these days.

I think a tumbler should get hot in about 12 hrs.

I've heard that alfalfa pellets work real good to heat it up.

Jo
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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  LeeAnne12 on 3/21/2012, 5:11 pm

Jo, Thanks for the tips. I think that's what the rabbit food is, but I'll go out and add some more. I've got food scraps, leaves, grass clippings and it really smells like dirt., and it looks like it has broken down some, but not a lot. ...so should the leaves look really wet? I added a lot of water a couple of weeks ago, but maybe I need to add more.

Thanks,

Lee Anne
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Re: Vermicompost / Compost / Topsoil

Post  littlejo on 3/21/2012, 5:21 pm

They say if you squeeze a handful(yuk) it shoud barely drip. Add enough water to at least wet the rabbit food, it's high in nitrogen, so should get it working, but, it's better to not put too much water at once. If it's not hot add a little more water and rabbit food. You can aso add the cheapest dog food you can find, and it should do the same thing. Jo
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