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what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  ddemeo on 4/1/2013, 3:10 pm

Love this thread! I've been googling lots of "I wonder if I can compost..." questions lately since we just started composting.

My cat makes a mess eating her dry cat food. Her food dish is on a tray. There's always half-crumbled bits of kibble mixed with dust and cat hair collecting on the tray. I usually dump it in the trash, but I was excited to learn dry pet food is compostable.

Apparently almond milk is compostable too. I use it for my coffee, but the end of the container always gets a little yucky before I can go through it all. So in the compost bin it goes!

I'm reluctant to do the dryer lint/vacuum thing. If I was only planting flowers I'd risk it, but since I'm mostly growing vegetables I'm leery of the synthetics and dyes in dryer lint, and who knows what our vacuum sucks up! Our house was built in 1896, so I'm sure it picks up lots of lovely things like lead paint and asbestos when we vacuum up the random dust on our window sills. It's central vac, so there's no chance of separating what we vacuum by emptying the container in between.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/1/2013, 4:50 pm

It's funny that this has resurrected and I ran across this article today:

163 Things You Can Compost

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  Windsor.Parker on 4/1/2013, 6:59 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Ooohhh...that's beeeeautiful, Windsor.Parker! Are there sections?

CC
thanks CC. It's a 3-bin system.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  DirtFarmer on 4/3/2013, 11:05 am

This is perfect for me, as I need HELP! I started composting this year, but we have NO brown materials (well, we probably do, but I'm a newbie and don't know any better). Our yard was picked clean of almost all the plants by the previous owners. (Short sale - they pulled everything but the citrus trees and a calla lily that hid under the ground until spring!) So I'm not joking about being a dirt farmer!

Here's where I need help: we have only grass clippings and kitchen waste on a regular basis. I'm reading that we need lots of dead leaves, dead plants, etc. as most of the pile, with the "green" grass and kitchen scrap being a smaller portion.

I got nuthin'. No dead stuff around here. Can I just dry out the grass and then consider it a brown? Any other ideas where a girl in the city can get brown materials? Keep in mind it's spring, and there's not a lot of dead stuff in the neighbors yards either. Help a newbie out. Smile

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/3/2013, 11:34 am

Try shredded black-and-white newspaper. Soak cardboard in water to soften it, then tear into small pieces. If there's a Whole Foods or similar market nearby, it may have veggie and fruit scraps available. You can probably purchase a bale of wheat straw cheaply, just don't use the whole thing all at once!

Meanwhile, consider planting several deciduous trees for a future supply of leaves, making certain that they don't shade your SFG.

Best of luck with your garden! Please keep us up to date and post photos.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/3/2013, 12:04 pm

DirtFarmer what I did in the Fall was I posted on FB that I needed bagged leaves. I re-posted it several times. I also put up a poster board sign asking for leaves. I got over 50 bags. I know at least one family has two more bags for me right now that sat through the Winter in the bags. So that may be an option for you. You can post on Craigslist that you need leaves and volunteer to pick them up. I learned last Fall from someone on this forum that with the grass, if it is brown when it is cut then it is a brown. If it is a green when it is cut, then it is a green. I have used cardboard and straw. It does help a lot to wet it first before tearing, same with newspaper. Nowadays though, almost every page of the newspaper has colored ink. If you have the time you can tear/cut off only the black and white part of the newspaper.

With the straw, break hunks off the bale, break that apart and soak it in some water. That helps it absorb the water some before you make your piles. You will want your pieces quite small to get the compost done quicker.

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What about "sick" fruit

Post  Windmere on 4/3/2013, 12:06 pm

On Monday my wife and daughter went to our local farmers market and they got what they thought was a good deal for mangos (20 for 5.00). Well, today we began trying to eat them and found that most of them had very dark splotches inside. We think they are diseased.

My question is: If you know that you might be adding something to your compost that may be diseased, should you just throw it away instead? I certainly don't want to risk future plants.

:scratch:

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  plantoid on 4/3/2013, 7:20 pm

Looks like I've got two not already mentioned ingredients for the compost bins

As we are 117 mtrs above sea level and can see the sea on a clear day we get clean fresh moist air from the Irish sea , The Bristol channel or off the Atlantic .

This air is so clean it encourages moss to grow on the north side of our shed and garage roof. So much infact that I can fill a couple of wheel barrows with it each year & put it into bins to compost it.

The second thing I use is harvested/ thinned out plants & blanket weed from the garden pond plus any water snails newts eggs etc that are in it .
I get about a barrow full every two months from mid may till mid September .
It struck me that not only will the plants be taking nutrients out of the rain water that runs into the pond they will also take the nuitrients from the fish urine and excrement & any rotting uneaten fish food .

I know it mentioned aquarium plants in the 163 things to compost list but because the rain water is plentiful around here i suspect the pond plants and weed etc will have extra advantages over straightforward aquarium tank water weeds .


The moss and the pond weed gets put in a four inch thick layer in the two or three in active use bins on top of carboard and other high fibre stuff .

I don't yet know the end result of it all for I only started composting the moss and weed about the end of August last year .

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  plantoid on 4/3/2013, 7:28 pm

@Windmere wrote:On Monday my wife and daughter went to our local farmers market and they got what they thought was a good deal for mangos (20 for 5.00). Well, today we began trying to eat them and found that most of them had very dark splotches inside. We think they are diseased.

My question is: If you know that you might be adding something to your compost that may be diseased, should you just throw it away instead? I certainly don't want to risk future plants.

:scratch:

Pictures would help folk identify if it is diseased or just over ripe rotting ..if it is the latter compost them .

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I think the mangos were diseased

Post  Windmere on 4/3/2013, 9:59 pm

Thanks for your response plantoid. I know you said you are on holiday, so it means that much more to me you posted.

I really think the fruit was diseased. I don't have any photos to share because I decided not to risk it; I got rid of the fruit. What leads me to believe disease was a factor is that the outside color of the fruit looked healthy and ripe. The coloring on the outside was gorgeous. Nothing indicated rot. In looked no different from the fruit we've been getting from the market (for years now). Inside, the flesh was horribly black. It looked worse than old rotten fruit.

Thank you again, and I hope you have a fantastic holiday!

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Duck Mud

Post  Muckmuck on 4/4/2013, 12:55 am

For lack of a better term: Duck Mud
I have 9 ducks in my chicken run, to keep them happy I buried one of those vaguely kidney shaped poly garden ponds you get from the home store in the run for them. About once a month I get about 2 1/2 gallons of foul smelling black muck out of the bottom of the pond with my trenching shovel. What doesn't go on my comfrey plants goes into the compost pile.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  plantoid on 4/4/2013, 6:55 am

Nice one Max ..liquid fertilizer from the duck bath ...( well that's what I had to call it at school on pain of getting the cane across by butt despite knowing what it really was. Laughing )

You can grow brains & honesty on politicians with that stuff it's that good. Wink
.
The sludge does indeed need either adding to the compost or aging with other stuff when thoroughly mixed in as it will be rather high in nitrogen and potassium apparently .

Are you adding cut comfrey to your composting heaps to bring in more trace elements or are you using it as animal feed / herbal preparations ?


Last edited by plantoid on 4/4/2013, 6:59 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  plantoid on 4/4/2013, 6:57 am

@Windmere wrote:Thanks for your response plantoid. I know you said you are on holiday, so it means that much more to me you posted.

I really think the fruit was diseased. I don't have any photos to share because I decided not to risk it; I got rid of the fruit. What leads me to believe disease was a factor is that the outside color of the fruit looked healthy and ripe. The coloring on the outside was gorgeous. Nothing indicated rot. In looked no different from the fruit we've been getting from the market (for years now). Inside, the flesh was horribly black. It looked worse than old rotten fruit.

Thank you again, and I hope you have a fantastic holiday!

Thanks , it was only a short break to see family over Easter , I'm glad I'm back ..it was freezing cold in the caravan.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  Muckmuck on 4/4/2013, 8:17 am

@plantoid wrote:Are you adding cut comfrey to your composting heaps to bring in more trace elements or are you using it as animal feed / herbal preparations ?

This is only the second year for my Comfrey plants, last year I used the leaves to supplement my chickens feed. This year I plan on fermenting it for my Korean Natural Farming attempts, applying in the heavy mulch in my beds and continuing it's use as treats for my chickens.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/4/2013, 12:26 pm

I just added used unbleached parchment paper. Can't think of any reason not to, can you?

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/4/2013, 1:13 pm

@Muckmuck wrote:
@plantoid wrote:Are you adding cut comfrey to your composting heaps to bring in more trace elements or are you using it as animal feed / herbal preparations ?

This is only the second year for my Comfrey plants, last year I used the leaves to supplement my chickens feed. This year I plan on fermenting it for my Korean Natural Farming attempts, applying in the heavy mulch in my beds and continuing it's use as treats for my chickens.

I just happen to see some comfrey when I was picking up some plants last week so I picked up a small plant. Any growing tips? Is it fairly easy to grow?

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/4/2013, 1:20 pm

In my area comfrey is like a weed and grows wild everywhere so we have to contain it. You may want to ask your county extension office about it, unless someone in your region thread knows the answer.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  camprn on 4/4/2013, 1:26 pm

Put it far from everything else in your garden. Comfrey leaf, it's a fantastic compost starter.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  sfgteachers on 4/4/2013, 1:33 pm

I'm making a compost "tea" I learned about from an African video that I shared here. I gather my chicken manure and put it in a mesh then drape it over the top of a 5 gal bucket of water and let it sit for a week. I then dilute it and pour it right on the garden (hoping it works a little like miracle grow! ) I dont actually add the tea to my compost (but do add my manure) but use my "tea" right in the garden.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/4/2013, 1:45 pm

I'm not adding it to my garden. I can put it along the back fence where it might get knocked around a little by a soccer ball. I can also put it in a flower bed in the front or back yard. Is it sort of ornamental or will it look like a big weed if I put it in the front yard? I only purchased it so I can grow it and add it to my compost.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  plantoid on 4/4/2013, 6:22 pm

@sfgteachers wrote:I'm making a compost "tea" I learned about from an African video that I shared here. I gather my chicken manure and put it in a mesh then drape it over the top of a 5 gal bucket of water and let it sit for a week. I then dilute it and pour it right on the garden (hoping it works a little like miracle grow! ) I dont actually add the tea to my compost (but do add my manure) but use my "tea" right in the garden.


TIP for when you next make your liquid feeds
Put a pint of sugar syrup @ 50 /50 with water into the 5 gallon barrel and stir in well , then add the bag of manure if you nave comfrey add a couple of pounds of the leaves bruised up , to the sack contents , it will ferment with the manure and grow valuable garden friendly yeasts as well .
Just before you take the extract off gently squeeze the sack against the barrel side to get some of the deeper goodness out of the manure then lift the sack out so it can drain the liquids into the barrel .
When you've done only add 1/2 pint of th sugar syrup this time and brew as before .
Finally , after two brews /infusions simply compost the contents of the sack and start over again .

Comfrey

Lay a two inch long root cutting on its side . Best taken from near the greenery end of things & put it in a three inch deep two inch long trench cover and add some finished compost on top water it well and keep it watered and weed free .
You can take finger nail sized top end cuttings and propagate as for root cuttings in plant pots using spent MM as the growth medium . So if you have purchased a plant it's likely to be viable to make several new ones out of it.

With comfrey ideal new growth areas are just below the greenery , best to take cuttings from here as they all have the essential growth hormones and root node points to do it . As the root gets longer ( down several feet in some cases if the soil is deep and soft enough ) the hormones needed for making new plants are reduced.

Some comfreys grow to 4 feet or more tall like a traditional christmas tree triangle with a base four feet wide so don't plant them too closely , they have spiky leaves and some of the spikier varieties need handling with gloves as they scratch your hands.
If you cut the comfrey when it is two feet tall you can get up to six cuttings a year . come winter cut it back to the ground and cover in a deep compost layer
During the cutting season feeding the plants with a layer a couple of inches deep of neat chicken muck and/ or stable muck is ideal ,water it in to get it breaking down and hoe out any weeds that comeout .

Take new cuttings in the year your plants become three years old .. the old plant dies off outwards after several years , leaving a nice place to replant the new plants after removing the old plants and heavily manuring the hole ..

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Wine?

Post  DirtFarmer on 5/13/2013, 12:20 am

Thanks so much for the previous answers on finding some "brown" for my compost. I love the bagged leaves idea from Craigslist!!

Okay... so I have some wine that was used in a recipe, then sat on the counter for about two months (insert astonishment at wasted wine as well as questionable housekeeping practices here...) Laughing

What do you think about adding wine to a compost pile? Shocked

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  plantoid on 5/13/2013, 3:39 pm

Plop , Uggle buggle, uggle buggle ! ..... pour it in . There will be vinegar flies & fruit flies etc arriving to see what's for dinner , the more the merrier as they also help break the materials down into compost .

Perhaps have some compostable material ready to hand to cover up the insertion point .

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  jimmy cee on 10/8/2013, 1:06 pm

When I fished Lake Erie for steelhead's , I filleted all I caught, even had more than I caught due to  being given some by co-fishermen.
These were 10 to 18 lb fish, so their remains were quite size able.
Sometimes as many as 1 dozen were buried, (smoked fish then)
Buried in a soil based bed, (not MM)
Everything, heads, skin, tails, innards were buried in my raised beds, about a foot deep, then covered  with protection.
Usually done in Oct & Nov. then is the spring (about 5 months later) just about all was decompose, however an odor of decay lingered in the area..
If your going to place raw exposed fish items in a tumbler, be prepared to have strange odors around that will draw in skunks, and racoons, maybe even bears if their in your area.

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Re: what do you put in the compost that other may not of thought of?

Post  Kelejan on 10/9/2013, 12:41 am

@ddemeo wrote:Love this thread! I've been googling lots of "I wonder if I can compost..." questions lately since we just started composting.

. . .Apparently almond milk is compostable too. I use it for my coffee, but the end of the container always gets a little yucky before I can go through it all. So in the compost bin it goes!
. . .
I never thought of that, ddemo. I am just finishing up a carton and yes, the bottom is mucky, and it has gone off a bit. Tomorrow, into the compost it goes. Very Happy 

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