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OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

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OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  daryl.weaver on 12/3/2012, 4:22 pm

I was at a local garden nursery this weekend and they had a huge pile of compost (actually they called it "organic topsoil"). They tell me is is from a variety of sources. Question: can i use that as a sole source, as if I had made it myself, instead of the 5-compost rule?

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  bnoles on 12/3/2012, 4:27 pm

I am not sure I would want to trust something this important to someone else. Can they list what all is in it. Does it come from an organic source or is it full of pesticides? Too many unknowns to suit me.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  daryl.weaver on 12/3/2012, 4:38 pm

@bnoles wrote:I am not sure I would want to trust something this important to someone else. Can they list what all is in it. Does it come from an organic source or is it full of pesticides? Too many unknowns to suit me.

I really trust these folks...anybody with a 3' parsley plant thriving in December can't be all bad! They tell me it is all organic and NOT from a single source, but I agree that I hate to have my beds fail over something so basic. I got so excited that they had vermiculite and a giant parsley plant that bought 6 bags grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Mad

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  CapeCoddess on 12/3/2012, 4:40 pm

If you really trust them, then why not. What did they say it was made of?

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  bnoles on 12/3/2012, 5:05 pm

Daryl,

Do not be discouraged as you may be just fine. Give them a call and find out more about what it is made from to be sure that it has at least 5 different sources of materials and certified not to have pesticides. You will also need to know if it already contains peat moss and vermiculite and what percentages to keep your portions in balance. If you get satisfactory answers, then you will most likely be just fine.

This is the reason so many of us like to make our own compost, this way we have full control of what is going on. Is this something you have space to do?

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Rolling my own

Post  daryl.weaver on 12/3/2012, 5:47 pm

Bought a tumbler last year. Haven't created a batch yet. My beds do great. Compost...not so much.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  littlejo on 12/3/2012, 9:20 pm

Just be sure it is 'compost' and not topsoil that has compost added. It defeats the purpose of a soil less mix to add 'topsoil'.

Daryl, I'd work on making some compost, to add to what you have to buy. I loaded my tumbler yesterday and it was very hot this am, steam coming out the door. I must get a compost thermometer, maybe Santa will read this!
Jo

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  daryl.weaver on 12/3/2012, 9:55 pm

@littlejo wrote:Just be sure it is 'compost' and not topsoil that has compost added. It defeats the purpose of a soil less mix to add 'topsoil'.

Daryl, I'd work on making some compost, to add to what you have to buy. I loaded my tumbler yesterday and it was very hot this am, steam coming out the door. I must get a compost thermometer, maybe Santa will read this!
Jo

Do you leave the lid on? I've never seen steam coming from mine.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  camprn on 12/3/2012, 10:08 pm

@daryl.weaver wrote:
@littlejo wrote:Just be sure it is 'compost' and not topsoil that has compost added. It defeats the purpose of a soil less mix to add 'topsoil'.

Daryl, I'd work on making some compost, to add to what you have to buy. I loaded my tumbler yesterday and it was very hot this am, steam coming out the door. I must get a compost thermometer, maybe Santa will read this!
Jo

Do you leave the lid on? I've never seen steam coming from mine.
I have steam coming out the top of my compost pile but it is clearly visible when the ambient temp is below 40*F.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  littlejo on 12/3/2012, 11:57 pm

Yes, I leave the lid on. I don't want mice or raccons in my tumbler.
It was 60deg. this AM! 79deg by noon. That is why I live in the south!

Daryl, what are you adding to your tumbler?

I added about a 5 gal bucket of chicken manure and all the veggie scraps that were not going to my worms. Wet that down good. Then I added mulched leaves, turned a couple times, added more leaves,turned some more. I went back in a couple hrs. and added some more water, for it was pretty dry. I tend to get it all too wet, and end up having to open during the day to let it dry out some.

With a tumbler, it is sort of play it by ear. Add browns (leaves) add some greens(blood meal or alfalfa pellets work in a pinch) Water and turn to mix. Within 24 hrs. it should be heating up! When ya open the door, you can feel the heat with your hand. If not heating, see if damp, add water if dry. If damp, then add some more greens.
Continue checking every day for heat, try not to get it too wet, I did this and you can still make compost, but it gets hard to turn, heavy!
Jo



Last edited by camprn on 12/4/2012, 7:23 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : removed additional space)

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  daryl.weaver on 12/4/2012, 9:30 am

@littlejo wrote:Yes, I leave the lid on. I don't want mice or raccons in my tumbler.
It was 60deg. this AM! 79deg by noon. That is why I live in the south!

Daryl, what are you adding to your tumbler?

I added about a 5 gal bucket of chicken manure and all the veggie scraps that were not going to my worms. Wet that down good. Then I added mulched leaves, turned a couple times, added more leaves,turned some more. I went back in a couple hrs. and added some more water, for it was pretty dry. I tend to get it all too wet, and end up having to open during the day to let it dry out some.

With a tumbler, it is sort of play it by ear. Add browns (leaves) add some greens(blood meal or alfalfa pellets work in a pinch) Water and turn to mix. Within 24 hrs. it should be heating up! When ya open the door, you can feel the heat with your hand. If not heating, see if damp, add water if dry. If damp, then add some more greens.
Continue checking every day for heat, try not to get it too wet, I did this and you can still make compost, but it gets hard to turn, heavy!
Jo


Mostly loaded it with dry leaves, pine straw and grass clippings...all mulched with the mower. Add kitchen scraps every couple of days...veggies, egg shells, etc...all puréed. I don't really have a sourc for fresh manure. Tried compost starter from Lowes. Couldn't tell any impact.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  bnoles on 12/4/2012, 1:22 pm

Hey Daryl, try dumping some corn meal in the tumbler. I have heard it is a great way to speed things up.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  walshevak on 12/4/2012, 8:38 pm

My trash can composter heated up when I added some coffee grounds.

Kay

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  camprn on 12/4/2012, 8:57 pm

A bit of dried blood and moisture is sure to get my pile of compost heating up. But I make great efforts to have a balance of carbons and nitrogen. If I could get fresh horse or cow or chicken manure, I would prefer that.

In regards to the original question... I would shy away from anything with 'soil' in it. If the makers have not actually put dirt in it, I may take a closer look.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  daryl.weaver on 12/5/2012, 8:58 am

Thanks for all the suggestions. My assistant actually raises horses, so I asked if she would mind bringing m some. For my 60 gal tumbler, I'm guessing a half gallon or so?

I already add my coffee grounds. Will also try the corn meal.

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  daryl.weaver on 12/10/2012, 3:01 pm

@bnoles wrote:Daryl,

Do not be discouraged as you may be just fine. Give them a call and find out more about what it is made from to be sure that it has at least 5 different sources of materials and certified not to have pesticides. You will also need to know if it already contains peat moss and vermiculite and what percentages to keep your portions in balance. If you get satisfactory answers, then you will most likely be just fine.

This is the reason so many of us like to make our own compost, this way we have full control of what is going on. Is this something you have space to do?

bnoles, thanks for prodding me to make the call to my local garden center. Interesting follow up. I called the garden center where I obtained my previously mentioned compost. Turns out, it is primarily made up of composted "gin trash" (i.e. the stems, stalks, burs etc) left over from the cotton ginning process. Gin trash is sort of famous in this neck of the woods as the "Cadillac" of soil amendments with many folks taking it directly from the gin. Problem is they often don't compost it adequately and end up with all sorts of weeds in their plantings. This appears to be well composted and ready to use. It will make the perfect 5th element of my compost cocktail for Mel's Mix. I have my own composted yard clippings/kitchen refuse plus easy access to mushroom, cow and hen composts from the local big box stores. Together that makes 5! Come on spring!

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

Post  bnoles on 12/10/2012, 3:22 pm

Hi Daryl,

Looks like you now have a complete answer and have made proper plans accordingly. Adding your own compost can certainly count as more than one from what you described was going into it so you should be in in great shape for spring!

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Re: OK...Let's not bite DW's head off here...

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