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Leaf Mold Warning

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Leaf Mold Warning

Post  CapeCoddess on 12/3/2012, 12:31 pm

I hadn't planned on turning my compost pile again this year but the weather was so nice yesterday that I got out there and did it. I didn't get to water it as I've put the hoses away for the winter.

The pile is HUGE, and as I dug toward the center where the leaves were drier due to the heat, there were clouds of leaf mold spewing into the air to the likes that I've never experienced before, and I was in the midst of it. I'm guessing that the large quantities of the seaweed I added may have something to do with the increase in mold since the clouds seemed to have a bit of a blue-green tint. What a Face

Soooo, last night I noticed that my lungs felt a bit tender, but not today. Although today my allergy symptoms are in full force.

Anyway, I was wondering what the affects of breathing in leaf mold could be, if any. I found this article from 2008, but not much else:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1026153/Gardener-dies-breathes-deadly-fungus-rotted-leaves-compost-heap.html#ixzz2E0gJ8hSE

I've been composting for years and never even thought about this. Hence forth, I'll be wearing one of those little white face masks when turning the pile.

CC

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Re: Leaf Mold Warning

Post  Kelejan on 12/3/2012, 1:10 pm

You never know, CC, you may have saved one of us from death or a serious illness.
I know that when I pulverise eggshells in my kitchen, I make sure that I avoid the little white cloud that arises from it when I take the lid off the container. Also careful when handling vermiculite.

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Re: Leaf Mold Warning

Post  bnoles on 12/3/2012, 2:12 pm

Thanks CC, it is always good to know when something may be hazardous to our health and well being. I will add this one to my ever growing list.

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Re: Leaf Mold Warning

Post  llama momma on 12/3/2012, 4:12 pm

Thank you for that warning. I noticed I was coughing more since being around the compost so much recently. And I was staying upwind from a cloud of white when forking old straw/hay, still think it was in the air anyway. I will use the white mask around the compost from now on, instead of only using it when mulching leaves. THANK YOU So Much as this crazy extended warm weather is keeping me outside more than ever.

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Re: Leaf Mold Warning

Post  plantoid on 12/3/2012, 5:04 pm

I suspect that keeping your heap damp whilst it's undergoing composting and not going for the hi dry composting temps helps keep the spores down .

I'd be very wary of ever forking through any whitish mould parts in compost with out damp;ing it down well for it will be akin to getting the " Farmers Lung " mould spores off badly made hay .

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Re: Leaf Mold Warning

Post  llama momma on 12/3/2012, 6:56 pm

Here is more info on farmer's lung if anyone wants it , and Plantoid you are right, this article mentions moistening dusty hay, etc. just like you said. Holds down the nasty spores.

http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/442/442-602/442-602.html

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Re: Leaf Mold Warning

Post  plantoid on 12/4/2012, 10:30 am

From what I now understand ...The sooner you get the mould to decay & break down in a compost the better that's where the additional moisture input comes in and speeds things up.

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