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saving scraps to start a compost

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saving scraps to start a compost

Post  wishfulgardener on 4/7/2012, 11:08 am

We are getting ready to start our own compost bin! While exciting it is frustrating to figure out where to begin. I see many are saving scraps from the kitchen in air tight bins in sheds/outside etc...Don't the fruit and veggie scraps start to get a bit smelly and slimey? We "toss" out salad scraps weekley and I know some of our fruit peels and cores can go in there too, but I am leary of the odor.

I feel lost and confused and we haven't even started! Any help would be appreciated. As for grass clippings, we don't have any, where are in Central Florida and have very little grass. We do have a lot of leaves from our live oak tree that have been sitting and are dried out. I plan on getting manures from our live feed store and maybe some straw? I heard hay may have too many seeds in it. Cardboard, papertowel and other paper products are easy to get also. I think I am missing the "greens".

Thank you for being patien with me!
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  nycquilter on 4/7/2012, 1:43 pm

I put all my kitchen waste into a gallon container waiting to add to the compost. I found it is a lot less stinky if I add paper in there too. DUH. Don't know why I didn't do this sooner. Now, I compost most junk mail, napkins after dinner, newspaper, etc. My DH has stopped complaining about the odor so it must be working!

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  Turan on 4/7/2012, 2:31 pm

Maybe layer your dried leaves with your kitchen stuff like nycquilter is using the paper. There is a balance between green and brown that is nice but need not be precise. Slimy salad greens are already composting, the brown stuff will help control odor and make a more balanced finished product.
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/7/2012, 3:45 pm

Here is a thread on how some of us store kitchen scraps waiting for the pile:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9800-show-us-your-kitchen-compost-container
I also keep trash bags of scraps in the freezer till I need them

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  plantoid on 4/7/2012, 6:45 pm

Our green kitchen waste plus other alowable materials goes out in to the dedicated lidded composter bin that's half way down the garden every evening . Done by yours truly most days .

It sits on bare smooth concrete & takes ages to even cover the base area 7 to my thinking never gets smelly but there are the odd small tuiny flies that conme out of it when the lid is lifted ( hence it being half way down the garden ) .

Once we get the base covered to about six inches deep we use a garden fork to twist in the layer and agitate it then add more for the next three or four months and again agitate it but this time sprinkle a compost accelerator over it before redoing the aireating . The last bin full took us over a year to get it full .

You are supposed to be able to take finished compost out the base of the bin once it gets to about half full but I found it too difficult ( because of a back injury ).

Taking finished compost from the bottom should in theory see you never have a full bin .
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/7/2012, 10:53 pm

I keep a plastic container in my sink for my scraps and when that's full, I'll dump it in some 5 gallon cans I keep in the shed. When it's time to compost again, I'll have a supply of veggie and fruit scraps to toss in. What a Face
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  givvmistamps on 4/8/2012, 6:56 am

@wishfulgardener wrote:... We do have a lot of leaves from our live oak tree that have been sitting and are dried out.

Hey, I was at a local hardware store yesterday...getting a pickle barrel someone told me they were selling cheap to convert into a rain barrel (long story)...and the clerk helping me get all the hardware I needed just so happens to have been doing organic gardening for many years...he told me, in no uncertain terms NOT to use Live Oak leaves in the compost. He said they're way too acidic, and you might as well use pine needles as use Live Oak leaves....it'll kill your plants if you try. I wanted to share that info since you mentioned using those leaves.
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  TN_GARDENER on 4/8/2012, 7:43 am

@wishfulgardener wrote:We "toss" out salad scraps weekley and I know some of our fruit peels and cores can go in there too, but I am leary of the odor.

Toss the salad scraps directly in to your compost pile. If it stinks, then you are out of balance with your greens n browns n moisture.

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  camprn on 4/8/2012, 7:58 am

@TN_GARDENER wrote:
@wishfulgardener wrote:We "toss" out salad scraps weekley and I know some of our fruit peels and cores can go in there too, but I am leary of the odor.

Toss the salad scraps directly in to your compost pile. If it stinks, then you are out of balance with your greens n browns n moisture.
When I am throwing stuff into the 'holding' bin and it starts getting a little stinky, I will put a thin layer of finished compost or dirt over the top to keep the odor in check.

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/8/2012, 9:01 am

@wishfulgardener wrote:... We do have a lot of leaves from our live oak tree that have been sitting and are dried out.


"Live" oak leaves would be considered a green so take that into account for your brown/green mix. Oak leaves do compost (as just about everything else does) quicker if chopped/shredded. There's nothing wrong with using them in your compost. Very Happy

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  yolos on 4/8/2012, 9:43 am

Quote from above poster "in no uncertain terms NOT to use Live Oak leaves in the compost. He said they're way too acidic, and you might as well use pine needles as use Live Oak leaves....it'll kill your plants if you try."

I think the above quote is untrue. I have two well respected books on composting and neither book mentioned any problems with using Live Oak leaves in compost. I frequently visit a composting forum and have asked many questions about composting Live Oak leaves. No one has ever mentioned a problem with composting Live Oak leaves (except they take a long time to decompose). Also, I have a flower garden under the drip line of a Live Oak tree that gets mulched every winter with the fallen leaves. There is never any problems with this garden. I do not have a finished batch of compost yet to add to my veggie garden so I do not have actual experience using the compost. But with all the research I have done to find quicker ways of composting the leaves, there has never been any mention of problems with Live Oak leaves.
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/8/2012, 10:21 am

+1 yolos. I use oak leaves and pine needles with no worries. Granted, they do take awhile to break down, but then again so does my straw if I don't chop or shred it. I like to add as many different items as possible to make a well rounded compost.

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/8/2012, 10:24 am

I added pine needles to my compost at the end of last year and I noticed that they didn't all compost thoroughly. No big deal because I am going to sift my compost before I use it.
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 4/8/2012, 11:31 am

I am wondering.....

Most sites say that oak has tannic acid which is toxic in large amounts to cattle, horses, sheep and goats. I can't find anything that says it's bad for compost or plants. Most sites say just the opposite but that they do decompose more slowly than other leaves. (Possible reason #1 why folks don't compost them...they don't get done when other leaves do.)

I also know that black walnut is toxic to horses AND plants because it contains a different chemical, juglone. Butternut also contains juglone. Maybe it just came about that any tree that was found to be toxic to livestock wasn't put in the compost....since there are some that contain chemicals that are toxic to plants as well? (Possible reason #2 they don't compost them.)

So it would seem that as long as you screen your compost, you should be fine. thinking
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Thank you!

Post  wishfulgardener on 4/8/2012, 11:45 am

All this information is so overwhelming! We went yesterday and priced out the materials we are going to use. We will be starting in the next weekend or two. I am sure I will have a ton more questions as I go along. These boards are great!



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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  camprn on 4/8/2012, 11:46 am

I just thought I would toss in a bit of info for folks that may misunderstand the original post about composting live oak leaves.
A Live Oak, is a type of oak tree native to the south eastern states of USA. I believe that was what was being mentioned vs. green fresh oak leaves.

Then again, I may have completely misunderstood. That would have been normal Rolling Eyes Wink

Just doing a little bit of research, the live oak leaves take a long, long time to compost or you have to have a really hot pile for an extended period to get them to decompose. Maybe that is what that fella from the hardware store was referring to when he said not to use. I have not seen anything about them being too acid?

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/8/2012, 1:42 pm

Going back and re-reading the OP, I think you're right camp. thinking

thanks

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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  wishfulgardener on 4/8/2012, 2:02 pm

Oh Sorry!

Our oak tree is a Live Oak by name, not that it is an oak tree that is alive. I did a little more research and they are really, really acidic. We just dumpstered them. Sorry about the confusion. Even our neighborhood is called Live Oak due to the Live Oak trees. I guess I am learning about being very specific!
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Re: saving scraps to start a compost

Post  plantoid on 4/8/2012, 4:49 pm

The leaves of our Welsh oak trees are fairly acidic due to the high tannin content.

They were put in a compost bin in mid November and layered in with kitchen green waste along with rabbit muck & the accompanying sawdust to fill the bin .

The bin looked as though it had composted by the end of Feb so I took the bin off and stirred the heap ...lo & behold the oak leaves were still there , everything els had composted nicely. Yesterday I went back through the now tarp covered pile ..... the leaves are just starting to break down .
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