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Add soil to the pile

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Add soil to the pile

Post  gardencat on 11/2/2012, 12:12 pm

Someplace, years ago, I either read that some soil should be added to the compost pile. From what I read in the New S.F. it doesn't mention adding soil. Is it necessary to add a bit of soil?

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  cheyannarach on 11/2/2012, 12:46 pm

You can add it but I have never heard you are supposed to, but I have heard that you should add some finished compost?

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  yosoypanadero on 11/2/2012, 1:19 pm

I add soil to the pile from time to time and work it in. I do it because I dig up a lot of worms and such and I also notice that adding soil makes the other stuff break down faster. Make sure the soil you add is not contaminated though.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  plantoid on 11/2/2012, 2:39 pm

There is no need to add soil if you add animal dung & associated urine soaked beddings ( add your own pee at 20 parts water to one of the nectar as well if you like , it's all done in the best possible taste and cause. ).

The idea of using the soil was to bring live bacteria & bugs / worms into the compost thus making it help break things down .
What you have in the manure is a much quicker route and is beneficial for it does not add " a heaviness " to the material being composted

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  quiltbea on 11/2/2012, 2:44 pm

I also add a bit of soil to my pile for the added microrganisms that might be missing, that aren't found in plant life. Its a beneficial amendment IMHO.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  camprn on 11/2/2012, 4:39 pm

I always add a wee bit of soil to my compost pile.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  CapeCoddess on 11/2/2012, 5:19 pm

My compost is in a pile a the corner of the yard. I think soil gets in my pile naturally since when I turn it I can't tell where the pile ends and the earth begins.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  gardencat on 11/3/2012, 6:35 pm

Thanks for the replies. When I lived in rural Kansas it wasn't a problem finding manure. Farmers would even load it for you with their front end loaders. I've used horse, cow, and rabbit, all with good results.

This morning I was chatting with my neighbor and she told me her daughter is raising chickens and that would be a source or manure. I'm never used chicken before for compost but it should work as well as anything else don't you think?

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  quiltbea on 11/3/2012, 7:03 pm

gardencat.....Be sure you compost your chicken manure at least 6 months, a year is better.
It burns crops and seeds, that's how strong it is. Be careful.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  landarch on 11/4/2012, 11:12 am

I would recommend against adding soil to your compost, especially if you are doing SFG and Mels Mix. It throws of your percentages as well as makes the compost heavier.

Our local extension office recommends not adding soil to compost...although it is still printed on their publications to do so.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  landarch on 11/4/2012, 11:20 am

gardencat, I'm in kansas city as well. chicken manure is very "hot" (high in nitrogen) and takes a while to break down. If you compost it this fall it would probably be ready to go by spring in our area, especially if you hydrate and turn your pile frequently. Horse and cow manure are probably available in larger quantities (try a boarding facility...they often give manure away for free or a small tip to the tractor operator).

Chicken feathers are a good source of nitrogen if composted well.

In the fall, it is good to find a good source of "greens" (nitrogen) to balance the browns (shredded leaves) for composting over the winter. I use horse manure, kitchen scraps, and some plants harvested from the fall garden.

I have friends in another county who raise rabbts for 4H...I heard that rabbit manure is very good to use as well and can be added directly to the garden in the spring (unlike other manures) as it won't burn plants.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  plantoid on 11/4/2012, 11:35 am

@quiltbea wrote:gardencat.....Be sure you compost your chicken manure at least 6 months, a year is better.
It burns crops and seeds, that's how strong it is. Be careful.

QB it seems OK to have a few forks of it every few layers in the heap , for it gets well mixed in if you turn the pile three or four times .


I'm composting nearly 25 cubic feet of pure neat chicken muck ...no bedding or shavings in two of my Daleks .
To try and over come the " heat " probs I'm going to carry on adding a few forks of it spread out on the piles of new made MM and then mix in it with my Mantis lawn rakes tines . Then bag it up in heavy duty polly rubble sacks & store them for several months to let worms have a play & let the bacterial evenly distribute through each moist bag full.

I've made up around 30 cubic feet of extra MM like this to top up my beds ( end of my first complete year using this 2005 ANSFG recipe ) and so far it seems to be OK .

I've also " diluted " some of the neat composted stuff by following Mel's basic recipe , leaving out the vermiculite , adding the equivalent of extra composted coir instead and used some of it as bed replenishments after harvesting has taken place .

We won't find out how it fares till next year or on in a few months on a small of patch of collards that I've recently got growing .



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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  plantoid on 11/4/2012, 11:42 am

Land larch
Use pure rabbit poo pellets if you can , for the slightest trace of hay always seem to bring in zillions of weed seeds .

If the rabbits have been housed on wood chip , pulp or short shavings it will need a decent wetting through & composting to break up the wood fibres and take it from burning nitrogen ( initial stagrs of composting with wood products ) into the stage of producing nitrogen which can be several months down the line unles using the berkly 18 day method of composting ..

I'd also recommend putting some in a bucket and letting it soak in water for a couple of days ,stirring it at least once a day so the newly produced bacteria can really kick start the wet pile/ bin of it.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  landarch on 11/4/2012, 4:11 pm

I think they use wood shaving bedding material so it should be somewhat weed-free...the pile of poo is sitting right below the wire bottom cages.

I think I will also keep an eye out for rabbit poo next year at county fairs...hundreds of rabbits in one spot for a few day stretch...I've heard that fairgrounds give the stuff away or dump it "out back" somewhere.

I still have a bag of chickety-doo-doo to go through...I used the organic fertilizer because store bought compost this spring was of low quality.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  gardencat on 11/4/2012, 8:49 pm

@landarch wrote:gardencat, I'm in kansas city as well. chicken manure is very "hot" (high in nitrogen) and takes a while to break down. If you compost it this fall it would probably be ready to go by spring in our area, especially if you hydrate and turn your pile frequently. Horse and cow manure are probably available in larger quantities (try a boarding facility...they often give manure away for free or a small tip to the tractor operator).

Chicken feathers are a good source of nitrogen if composted well.

In the fall, it is good to find a good source of "greens" (nitrogen) to balance the browns (shredded leaves) for composting over the winter. I use horse manure, kitchen scraps, and some plants harvested from the fall garden.

I have friends in another county who raise rabbts for 4H...I heard that rabbit manure is very good to use as well and can be added directly to the garden in the spring (unlike other manures) as it won't burn plants.

Thanks to you and the others for the advice. I've used rabbit directly in the soil and the good thing is that it takes a long long time for them to disolve. The drawback is that they feed rabbits corn, milo, and just about everything else and the weeds are horrible to contend with. I'd never use it again without composting first.

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Re: Add soil to the pile

Post  plantoid on 11/5/2012, 7:37 pm

Commercial rabbit farms which house the animals on 1/8 inch thick 3/4 wire weldmesh feed pelleted food , the resultant droppings and decaying spilt food is one of the best ready to use neat manures I have ever experienced , it grows zillions of worms as well .

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Re: Add soil to the pile

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