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Compost ~ Answer Book Question

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Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 11:04 am

I'm truly puzzled! Shocked

On page 112 of the new Answer Book, Mel states:

"I was once asked if a gardener could count sheep, chicken, barnyard pigs, steer, and cow manure as the five ingredients [of Mel's Mix], because that was five different animals. Noooo, that's five different manures and one of the five ingredients.... [A] bag labeled rose food could be a mixed-blend compost with worm castings."

He then suggests looking for bags listing multiple materials.

Although I agree that plant composts are valuable elements of MM, they are sometimes difficult to find (other than leaf compost, etc).

Comments?


Last edited by camprn on 2/4/2013, 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : expanded title)

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/4/2013, 11:49 am

This dilemma (and the pollution from feed-lots) is why I grow my own. No matter how careful I am with my blend of 5, nothing ever does as well for me as the simplest of home grown compost. Any year that has me feeling aggressive enough to put in more than one new box (I can harvest about enough finished compost for one 4x4 box each year) has reinforced this for me.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 11:57 am

Lavender Debs,

What ingredients do you typically use to make your own compost? Do you use more than one type of manure?

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  camprn on 2/4/2013, 12:08 pm

Donna, have you looked at the ANSFG Book for answers? Here Mel addresses the issue in a different way. (see the comment section) http://www.melbartholomew.com/sfg-basics-quiz/#comments


I must say that all manure is not created equally and most of them are still classifiable as different 'Composts'

See this link, page four has differing manure comparisons.
http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/manure/documents/nm1478.pdf

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/4/2013, 12:18 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Lavender Debs,

What ingredients do you typically use to make your own compost? Do you use more than one type of manure?
I am very willy nilly about what goes into the heap. I try to bag up enough fallen leaves from wild parks (less likely to have been sprayed) to add chopped leaves through the year. Due to work, I missed that this year. Otherwise the only poo that goes into the pile is what clings to the bedding in the chicken house and run. The rest is garden waste (kitchen waste goes into the chicken run. Pre-digested potato skins are far less likely to sprout), lawn clippings and about anything that is cleaned up from anywhere in the yard. EXCEPT thorny berry canes, those never seem to lose their ability to cut into my hand. The worms and all their party pals do the rest.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 12:46 pm

camprn,

It's been a while since I've re-read ANSFG, but I've been under the impression from doing so that each manure counted as a different compost. Thus, my confusion over Mel's comment in his Answer Book.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  camprn on 2/4/2013, 12:54 pm

Well, I would encourage you to drop Mel a line on his blog and ask him.... Maybe he means something different that what it sounds like.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 1:17 pm

Camprn,

Good idea.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 2:12 pm

Here is how I understand the book --
For three years I've been using one type of manure, llama. It is about 20% of my compost as Mel advises about manure in his Detailed List Of Ingredients, page 96. Going by his directions, if I were to add poultry or something else, I'd be over the 20%. I think the confusion is within the 20% guideline it could consist of say, llama, poultry, rabbit, etc. The other 80% is all your other stuff like leaves, peelings, grass, etc.

Yes, most of us have heard in third world countries they use 100% manure or some high amount like that. That's fine but we're not limited in our resources over here.

My first year I used nearly 50% old manure in Mels' Mix and did just fine.

The golden word for us in this country is variety in order to ensure all those macro and micro nutrients are available for our plants.
..sure hope i did not add to any confusion!

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  GWN on 2/4/2013, 2:33 pm

This dilemma (and the pollution from feed-lots) is why I grow my own. No matter how careful I am with my blend of 5, nothing ever does as well for me as the simplest of home grown compost. Any year that has me feeling aggressive enough to put in more than one new box (I can harvest about enough finished compost for one 4x4 box each year) has reinforced this for me.

+1

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  camprn on 2/4/2013, 2:43 pm

@llama momma wrote:Here is how I understand the book --
For three years I've been using one type of manure, llama. It is about 20% of my compost as Mel advises about manure in his Detailed List Of Ingredients, page 96. Going by his directions, if I were to add poultry or something else, I'd be over the 20%. I think the confusion is within the 20% guideline it could consist of say, llama, poultry, rabbit, etc. The other 80% is all your other stuff like leaves, peelings, grass, etc.

Yes, most of us have heard in third world countries they use 100% manure or some high amount like that. That's fine but we're not limited in our resources over here.


The golden word for us in this country is variety in order to ensure all those macro and micro nutrients are available for our plants.
..sure hope i did not add to any confusion!

LM, just to be clear, are you talking about building a compost pile or making Mel's mix?


*Some folks are quite painfully limited in their resources.*

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 2:46 pm

Making the compost pile by using the list in the ANSF book pg 96

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 3:00 pm

In a perfect world Mels Mix is 1/3 peat, 1/3 vermiculite,
1/3 compost that is made different ways but could consist of up to 20% manure and 80% other stuff as listed in the book.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 3:04 pm


Camp
*Some folks are quite painfully limited in their resources.*

LM
I specified it to say In This Country, and not speaking to individual folks having trouble locating stuff.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  Triciasgarden on 2/4/2013, 4:01 pm

I have the Second Edition which just came out and Mel has a chart on p. 94 which may be of help. It is set up as a table in the book and I retyped it in a Word document, but I can't figure out how to transfer the table I typed into a table here so it will be set up different than in the book. I can e-mail the version I have set up as a table to anyone who would like it. It may be the same chart is on p. 96 of the ANSFG book.

Each item should be under 20 percent of total by volume

Straw
Hay (including salt hay)
Leaves
Grass clippings (dried)
Old sod
Reject or spoiled garden produce
Vegetable and fruit peels
Newspaper (shredded)
Eggshells (crushed)
Stable or poultry manure
Tea Bags

Each item should be under 10 percent of total by volume

Corn cobs
Shredded twigs
Shredded bark
Pine needles
Hedge Trimmings
Wood shavings
Sawdust
Coffee grounds
Peanut shells

These items should not be added to a compost bin

Diseased or pest-laden materials
Meat or bones
Grease
Whole eggs
Cheese
Seeds and fruit pits
Cat or dog manure
Bakery products
Dairy products
Kitchen scraps

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 4:12 pm

I think the difference is between compost ingredients and Mel's Mix ingredients. My original question was based upon the five+ composts that must go into Mel's Mix.

I have a good handle on compost ingredients.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 4:23 pm

Tricia its the same chart I was referring to but on pg 96 in my book.

donnainzone10 - Holy cow there must be an entire chapter missing in my book cause I haven't a clue what you are talking about, can you explain please?? I don't see the difference.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 4:39 pm

Sorry to have caused so much confusion!

I was referring to p. 112 of the Answer Book, not to either edition of ANSFG.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 4:58 pm

No You are Fine, if I am wrong then I want to learn. But after what I learned in class, revisiting my class notes, looking at what you have written, looking at the answer book page 112, and my ANSF book, I must stand by what I was taught in class. Despite others on this forum that insist five different animal manures can be a "complete" 1/3 part of Mel's Mix -- I disagree because that is not what is taught. And if one becomes a certified teacher than you sign a form that you will teach the method as taught by Mel. Not to be a stickler - is the situation where manure is the majority of whats available, then far more manure will be used in Mel's mix. It's not about being military its about getting the word out as Mel wants it. The whole biology of microbes works really well when there is a variety of ingredients.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 5:18 pm

LM,

Perhaps I've been mislead by other posts on this forum.

As far as individual bagged composts are concerned (or those that can be bagged easily), I can get my hands on mint and mushroom--which I know contains manure. I can't get cotton burr, lobster, etc. around here. Grape pomace, perhaps.

That gives me perhaps three of the five I'd need to make Mel's Mix from scratch. Four, if you count llama manure from the local farm. If I had no other resources (which I now do), what would I use for the fifth or additional composts?

I know that sounds like a stupid question, but I've had quite a bit of difficulty in the past coming up with those basic five. Perhaps Mel makes a good point when he speaks of blended composts. A very few are organic and formulated without peat moss. Still, according to my label-reading, most contain quite similar ingredients.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 5:32 pm

Hey I know this!! Very Happy
I would double up on the llama manure as your 4th and 5th source. It will not burn, great stuff, even though the book says manure not more than 20%. I would stockpile it too, get a garbage pail and see if they will let you take some extra. For the future I would stockpile leaves. How about wet then torn cardboard? You can use shredded paper. Grass clippings. Even spoiled Hay(stockpile it) from that llama farm. Coffee grounds, its all on pg 96ansf book or 94 in the newest sfg book. I have 2 garbage pails of extra grape pomace after I put it on all 5 compost heaps. When you get a source think ofhow you can save for later. I have over 100 pounds of newspapers originally for my worms but its way too much and can be part of the compost.
Hope this helps.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  donnainzone5 on 2/4/2013, 5:41 pm

LM,

Thanks for the info. However, I'm pretty much up on sources of compost fixings going forward. Cardboard, yes. Ditto small amounts of sawdust left over from my remodeling. Dried grass. Leaves. Shredded paper. Coffee grounds. Egg shells.
The (free) llama manure. The mint compost, etc. Again, I'm speaking primarily of beginners, or those who simply cannot find at least five bagged non-manure composts--or do not have time before planting season to make some of their own compost.

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  Lindacol on 2/4/2013, 5:53 pm

This is the first I've heard that each different type of manure can't be counted as a separate one of the five. You might also consider what is mixed with the manure for bedding (or waste feed). In my case it is alfalfa hay. But could be shredded paper, shavings, straw, etc. Since I do have a lot of waste alfalfa hay (& some alfalfa pellets) it is large part of the fibrous materials in my compost. I have free, endless supply of both and this makes up the majority of my homemade compost. I add way smaller amounts of veggie/fruit wastes (as these get processed thru the goats), leaves, shredded paper, coffee grounds and another manure (horse, cow or yak) plus sometimes extra milk. It works for me though technically not the right proportions. When first building my beds and once in a while now I add in bagged compost such as chicken or something like Ecoscraps to sort of balance things out.

Think I will order the new books to see what is now being recommended.
I do think it is important when first filling your beds to get at least the 5 types of compost. But mine was very heavy on the manure - goat, horse, yak, chicken, alfalfa, and worm castings and worked very well. The only time I had a problem was when I used only compost for a new bed and no peat or vermiculite(as I was out of those and short on $$).

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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  FamilyGardening on 2/4/2013, 6:27 pm

would it matter if its composted manure compared to plain maunure?

to me they are different

composted manure is finished compost

fresh manure is well....fresh....

store bought bags of composted manure has other composting material in them.....

is Mel saying only 20% of YOUR OWN home compost should have fresh manure?

happy gardening
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Re: Compost ~ Answer Book Question

Post  llama momma on 2/4/2013, 7:07 pm

@Lindacol wrote:This is the first I've heard that each different type of manure can't be counted as a separate one of the five.
The total volume of manure could be a mixture of manures, (or another way to say it) 20% of your five composts. This is recommended, not the law!

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