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Leaves, compost, leaves...

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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  llama momma on 10/24/2012, 5:27 pm

@walshevak wrote:I sifted and "harvested" 5 reused commercial compost bags and five 18 gal tote bins of good black compost when I rebuilt my piles last week. What is the best way to store this compost so it maintains its goodness while waiting for spring planting? Right now the bags are sitting open in the garage and the sealed tote bins are sitting in the yard.

Kay

The book, Complete Compost Gardening Guide, says to check on it and stir it up at first every couple days then every couple of weeks, you can keep it a little moist too so it will keep on curing till you get around to using it. Containers with lids -- especially stir the contents. The garage is a great place to store it so it doesn't freeze. I am so glad you brought this up! Mine are in those kitty litter containers and I need to go out there asap to stir and moisten.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  landarch on 10/24/2012, 9:11 pm

I went to a 2-hour composting class at the local extension office last night...not sure if I learned anything new or not. They said the biggest problem people have this time of year is to have enough "greens" on hand to balance the amount of "brown" going into compost piles. They recommended adding cheap lawn fertilizer to the compost layers.

They also said that compost is good for amending heavy clay soil but has almost no nutrient value...i don't think that is quite true. I asked if I could send a comost sample in to have soil tested and they said that pure compost does not work with their tests...very confusing.

Anyway, I double mulch-mowed my first round of leaves at lunch today...and by the time I finished, there was almost a new layer of leaves covering the yard again. I layered and watered the mulched leaves into my existing compost pile.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Kelejan on 10/25/2012, 2:46 am

I don't think it matters too much having too many browns. Just keep the browns in a pile and next spring start adding it to the greens that you collect.
I found that collecting grass and other greens during the spring/summer, I need browns, and where are they if you have used them all?
That is why this year I have been collecting grass and drying it, ready to add to the leaves this fall and it is working well. I have now run out of greens so I am storing the extra leaves in bags until needed.
I agree with you landarch, I am sure that compost has nutrititional value; one third of our MM is compost and one third peat, little nitritional value, and one-third vermiculite with no value at all.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Triciasgarden on 10/25/2012, 3:07 am

Landarch, I keep writing then deleting and rewriting, etc. I guess I want to say that maybe the way your teacher is suggesting you make compost does not have much nutritive value, but even I would not make it using lawn fertilizer and leaves.

Kelejan is there a way you can get some manure or have friends give you their kitchen scraps. I got some coffee grounds from Starbucks a bit ago. They give it away for free.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Kelejan on 10/25/2012, 8:14 am

@Triciasgarden wrote:Landarch, I keep writing then deleting and rewriting, etc. I guess I want to say that maybe the way your teacher is suggesting you make compost does not have much nutritive value, but even I would not make it using lawn fertilizer and leaves.

Kelejan is there a way you can get some manure or have friends give you their kitchen scraps. I got some coffee grounds from Starbucks a bit ago. They give it away for free.

Yes, I do add manure and kitchen scraps and my friends all know I am that odd person who collects rotting food. lol. In addition I have started vermiculture so this coming year the quality of my compost should rocket.

It is only this summer that I started to get even more seriously interested in composting when I discovered some composting worms that came with a bag of sheep manure. I had some of the best stuff I have ever produced so that has got me hooked on vermiculture. I am expecting a great improvement next year. That is why I am going all out to collect leaves and grass to boost the quantity to bulk out the piles. Only regret is that the Starbucks in our small town is located in Safeway, and Starbucks do not give out coffee grounds because of the policy of Safeway due to the local health laws. Also, I cannot get veggie stuff from my local supermarket any more because of that policy; I did for a couple of years then they stopped it. They said people were eating the stuff. I can well believe it as some of the stuff was packaged and the date was the actual expiry date and perfectly good enough to eat the day before. All the other coffee places have their used grounds already spoken for; I am late on the bandwagon.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  landarch on 10/25/2012, 10:52 am

I guess I was concerned mostly about what they were teaching others (probably about 50 or so people there, many look like they were retired).

I really don't have a problem in my compost pile...I my pile started with (2) pick-up loads of aged horse manure with bedding straw, multiple bags of coffee grounds from starbucks, egg shells, kitchen scraps, fall lawn clippings (no mowing with the summer drought), cow manure, and shredded fall leaves. My next source of "greens" will be after harvesting the fall garden (radish, carrot, and beet tops, brocolli and cauliflower leaves, etc).

My challenge is to get my temperature back up in my pile. The extension office is selling heavy duty wire compost bins with a free compost thermometer for around $40. Currently I compost in a pile directly on the ground...lots easier on the back and easier to turn (I turn about once a day).
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Goosegirl on 10/25/2012, 11:00 am

@Kelejan wrote:Only regret is that the Starbucks in our small town is located in Safeway, and Starbucks do not give out coffee grounds because of the policy of Safeway due to the local health laws. Also, I cannot get veggie stuff from my local supermarket any more because of that policy; I did for a couple of years then they stopped it. They said people were eating the stuff. I can well believe it as some of the stuff was packaged and the date was the actual expiry date and perfectly good enough to eat the day before. All the other coffee places have their used grounds already spoken for; I am late on the bandwagon.

I can definitely relate. We have only one grocery store in town and they do not allow pick-up for composting. They do not mark down aging bakery goods and such either. Full price, then dump. Hate to see the waste.

GG
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Triciasgarden on 10/25/2012, 11:24 am

All of you are so knowledgeable and such an inspiration to me! You are all doing so well on composting! We had rain on a few days and a bit of snow this morning that wont last long on the ground. I have fibromyalgia so when the weather wants to change or I over do it, I am hurting worse than usual. But I have always enjoyed getting out and doing yard work (mostly) so as soon as things dry enough, I am going out there and build me some compost piles, and take breaks! My daughter is a dog groomer and she brought me several bags of dog hair. I think one will last me years. From what I have been told, a little goes a long way. I have a good variety of greens and was just waiting for the leaves. I'm sure I will need lots more leaves before I am through and some to save for the rest of the year.



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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Goosegirl on 10/25/2012, 11:36 am

@Triciasgarden wrote:... My daughter is a dog groomer and she brought me several bags of dog hair. I think one will last me years. From what I have been told, a little goes a long way. ...



If you have some critter problems in your garden, you might try putting some of that hair in some little bags (maybe the toe of some old pantyhose or a thin sock) to hang or set around the outside edges of your garden next season. Concentrated dog scent may scare off some of the rabbits or deer.

GG
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Kelejan on 10/25/2012, 11:36 am

You are on the right track, Tricia. Look after yourself and give yourself permission to take a break before you overdo things.

I find that when I feel energetic, I keep going, especially when the forecast is for rain or snow. I realise that it will still be there whatever I can or cannot do and will try harder to practice what I preach.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  llama momma on 10/25/2012, 12:14 pm

Driving back from errands in town I saw a pair of nice looking wooden pallets heaped onto a pile of debris ready for a small bonfire in the country. I had to go back, rescue those pallets and knocked on the door. Sure enough they were free and I found out where to get more if I wanted. The owner even loaded them in the van for me. Once I attach these to the others it will become 4 wooden pallet bins. What a Face
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/25/2012, 1:22 pm

4 bins, LM? Wow, that rocks! Post a photo once you have them all together...I'd love to see that!

CC
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  llama momma on 10/25/2012, 4:27 pm

Yes - 4 bins Capecoddess. Sure I'll take pictures when I get it set up. I'm hoping next year there will be plenty of compost to spread in all the sfgardens and non sfg areas and under the trees. :drunken:
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  TN_GARDENER on 10/25/2012, 7:39 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
That is why this year I have been collecting grass and drying it, ready to add to the leaves this fall and it is working well. I have now run out of greens so I am storing the extra leaves in bags until needed.

Ditto
I also stockpile grass in the summer and leaves in the fall so I can compost all year long.


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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Kelejan on 10/25/2012, 10:21 pm

@TN_GARDENER wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:
That is why this year I have been collecting grass and drying it, ready to add to the leaves this fall and it is working well. I have now run out of greens so I am storing the extra leaves in bags until needed.

Ditto
I also stockpile grass in the summer and leaves in the fall so I can compost all year long.

We are on the same wavelength, TN. Wink
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  landarch on 10/26/2012, 2:13 am

Here's a shot of one of my compost piles...it's about 15' long, 3' high, and 3-4' wide. I use a section of chain link fence as one side, and cattle mineral tubs along the other side...I move the tubs out of the way to turn the pile then back again. I put finished compost in the tubs. You can see shredded leaves as well as whole leaves that fall and blanket the area.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  llama momma on 10/26/2012, 7:53 am

Landarch -
Cool Cool - compost heaven!
It's fun to visit each others compost. Laughing
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  TN_GARDENER on 10/26/2012, 9:03 am

@llama momma wrote:Landarch -
Cool Cool - compost heaven!
It's fun to visit each others compost. Laughing


My girls helping me turn the pile



A few weeks later, after sifting with my homemade screen (a simple wooden box with some welded wire stapled to the bottom)


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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  landarch on 10/26/2012, 9:41 am

nice compost...I think I need to screen mine next spring...bur oak leaves have a thick petiole (stem) that doesn't break down all the way so my compost looks like it's full of tiny little sticks.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  llama momma on 10/26/2012, 10:42 am

Chickens and compost = A1 !
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  TN_GARDENER on 10/26/2012, 11:17 am

@landarch wrote:nice compost...I think I need to screen mine next spring...bur oak leaves have a thick petiole (stem) that doesn't break down all the way so my compost looks like it's full of tiny little sticks.

The other benefit to screening the compost is that the larger pieces probably help jumpstart my next pile.

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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  Josh on 10/26/2012, 4:05 pm

We got a new "tool" for blowing, and mulching up leaves, it works pretty good, I like it.

It has a blower so you can blow the leaves up into a pile, then it has a bag that you attach and a vacuum and it mulches the leaves. The bag holds a lot of leaves that have been mulched, you get a lot more leaves that way in the compost pile, and worms really like them!







There is still a lot of fun and good times in raking up the leaves
Me when I was little in the leaves
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  llama momma on 10/26/2012, 7:10 pm

Nice gadget Josh!
Pretty cute pic of baby Josh beginning his budding nature journey. I think Mom's everywhere love those pictures of pure innocence.
sfg smile
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  fiddleman on 10/26/2012, 7:33 pm

I also go around right after Halloween and start picking up all the pumpkins in the neighborhood and throw 'em into the compost pile. They're so full of moisture and whatnot, I use them for the greens to balance all the browns the leaves are giving me. The leaves act as insulation and allow the greens to get going well. Pile will heat up and be steaming in January. Usually by February it'll shut off, but by then the center of the pile is done anyway.
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Re: Leaves, compost, leaves...

Post  TN_GARDENER on 10/26/2012, 7:38 pm

Yes, pumpkins make there way n my pile, too. A couple neighbors know I compost n give theirs as well. As nice as my pile is, I still ended up w some volunteer pumpkins n tomatoes plants, but I ain't complaining.

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