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Homemade Compost

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Homemade Compost

Post  H_TX_2 on 3/13/2013, 4:31 pm

I almost have my compost tumbler finished. When talking about MM we constantly stress how important it is to get 5 different types of compost. Does your typical home compost contain enough different sources to provide the necessary nutrients? I'm assuming the majority of my carbons will come from leaves in my yard. The other sources will be food and plant scraps but will that be enough of a variety? When we talk about the 5 different composts there are mushroom, lobster, cotton burr, yard/leaves, manure and some others. My family doesn't eat a diet that ranges from cotton burr to seafood so that is my concern about getting a wide enough variety from my own compost. I also understand that seafood should not be placed in the compost tumbler. We do eat a variety of things but I'm not sure if it is the equivalent of 5 different types of compost. I can already see my self being somewhere and asking "can I have that" as somebody is about to throw leftover something in the garbage and I want it for my compost tumbler. Maybe I shouldn't be worried but this keeps popping up in my head.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/13/2013, 4:59 pm

There's a page in the ANSFG book in the section on composting that lists alot of ingredients that are good for the compost, as well as the maximum amounts, in percentages, that they should be added in.

Check it out. Smile

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  llama momma on 3/13/2013, 5:00 pm

Yes, the more you ask the more you will receive! I still feel both awkward yet bolder. Last time I listed ingredients my compost has 18 different things in it. I didn't measure out everything, mostly tossed things in layers, making sure nothing is more than 20%. Think lots of variety and as you know 5 different items is the minimum not necessarily the end. My guess is more you are in tune with your search, the more you'll find. Even if things like paper and cardboard don't seem quite nutrient dense, think of the composting microbes it stimulates which becomes food for larger organisms etc, each adding and leaving good things for your compost. Remember your eggshells too. If you refuse to chemically treat your grass, you can store all that dried grass in bags, I still have grass, coffee grounds, leaves, manure, and grape pomace stored up.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 3/13/2013, 5:05 pm

I consider my compost to be well rounded. this is what I put in it:
shredded leaves
grass clippings
all organic matter from the garden
all kitchen waste that isn't meat
egg shells
old milk
used coffee grounds
tea bags
toilet paper tubes
sometimes shredded office paper

and when I can get it:
coffee chaff
dairy parlor compost
llama poo
fish leavings
chicken poo

I don't get too hung up on the percentages as long as there is a nice variety of stuff.

It sits all winter and when spring rolls around I turn the pile and every 4-6 inches I sprinkle lightly dried blood as an activator. It heats for a few days then starts cooling, I turn it again and water it as needed. In about 4 weeks from the first spring turning I have usable compost.



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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  H_TX_2 on 3/13/2013, 5:23 pm

I thought dairy was not a good idea for home composting.

I guess what is troubling me is that Mel's original recipe of 5 different composts and humus comes out to 20% of each different type.
20% + 20% +20% +20% +20%

With homemade compost I guess it would be more along the lines of
40% leaves/lawn + 1% apple scraps + 3% green bean scraps + 0.5% other kitchen scrap +2% other material + 4% something else you find and ask if you can have for your compost pile + .........

Eventually you come out to 20 to 50 different sources but those sources are way less percentage of the total.

We usually go to the beach every summer and cook up a lot of shrimp so I guess I can count on adding the shells to my compost. I was already going to do composting because of the good advice I receive here but it is good to dispel any fears before starting.

Thanks y'all

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  llama momma on 3/13/2013, 5:32 pm

If you look at the wording I believe Mel means don't let any one single item go over 20%. This will then encourage you to find other items. Lots of items at 10% or 2% is no problem, the more the merrier, the idea is varied items will give you varied nutrients, equals great compost.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/13/2013, 6:58 pm

True dat!

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 3/13/2013, 7:03 pm

I need to amend my previous post by saying that any diseased plant matter in the garden goes into the burn pile, not the compost pile.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Andrea13 on 3/13/2013, 7:20 pm

@camprn wrote:I need to amend my previous post by saying that any diseased plant matter in the garden goes into the burn pile, not the compost pile.

Is it a total disaster if you accidentally use diseased plants in the compost pile? I may or may not have done that, I honestly don't know....is it so bad that you should scrap the whole (almost-cooked) pile and start over? affraid

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 3/13/2013, 7:21 pm

@Andrea13 wrote:
@camprn wrote:I need to amend my previous post by saying that any diseased plant matter in the garden goes into the burn pile, not the compost pile.

Is it a total disaster if you accidentally use diseased plants in the compost pile? I may or may not have done that, I honestly don't know....is it so bad that you should scrap the whole (almost-cooked) pile and start over? affraid
No, it should not be a total disaster. What do you think you put into the pile?

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Andrea13 on 3/14/2013, 1:05 pm

@camprn wrote:
@Andrea13 wrote:
@camprn wrote:I need to amend my previous post by saying that any diseased plant matter in the garden goes into the burn pile, not the compost pile.

Is it a total disaster if you accidentally use diseased plants in the compost pile? I may or may not have done that, I honestly don't know....is it so bad that you should scrap the whole (almost-cooked) pile and start over? affraid
No, it should not be a total disaster. What do you think you put into the pile?

Ok good Smile

I think I added pea plants that could have been infected with powerdy mildew, but I didn't realize what it was at the time. I'm talking a handfull of mature plants in a compost tumbler. Hopefully that's not too bad???

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 3/14/2013, 1:21 pm

Powdery mildew is everywhere anyway so I don't worry about that. I do however promptly burn anything with blight or anthracnose.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/14/2013, 1:32 pm

@camprn wrote:Powdery mildew is everywhere anyway so I don't worry about that. I do however promptly burn anything with blight or anthracnose.

Whew! I was awaiting the answer since I'd done the same with my squash, cuc & tom plants without even thinking about it.

Thanks, Camp.

Just because I'm bored here at work I decided to see how many compost ingredients I have. This is in the order of quantity, largest amount first:

Leaves
Seaweed
Urine
Gardening scraps
Kitchen scraps – fruits, veggies, egg shells
Pond plants
Grass
Shredded office & packing paper
Goose poo
Tea bags and coffee grounds
Pine needles
Shrimp & lobster shells
TP, paper towels and their empty rolls


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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Kelejan on 3/14/2013, 1:57 pm

CC, this is what I have so far:

Leaves – 70 + bags from last fall *
2-year horse manure – acquired yesterday – 12 bags, I can hardly lift one
Kitchen scraps – fruits, veggies - ongoing plus I have a lovely neighbour who is a vegetarian)
Dried grass – several bags
Shredded newspaper – several bags - ongoing
Tea bags and coffee grounds – so far about 100 pounds - 2 sources - ongoing
TP, paper towels and their empty rolls – ongoing
Last season’s unfinished compost that contains 2 large worm tubes

*The 70 bags of leaves are already mixed with some coffee grounds, grass and veggie scraps before the snow fell so I am hoping that some composting has been going on.
These also have two large worm tubes.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  H_TX_2 on 3/14/2013, 2:54 pm

Kelejan,
I like the idea of having a worm tube in the pile. I am thinking about having a bin for leaves and yard trimmings; waiting to go into the tumbler. Then possibly a bin for finished compost near my compost tumbler. Adding a worm tube to either of those would be easy.

What do y'all do with your finished compost? Does it need to be (or maybe it shouldn't be) kept in a container. I have a spare 55 gallon drum with a removable top but I'm not to sure if sealing it in there might cause some bad anaerobic activity. I could leave the top partially open but I don't know if it will dry out. I am thinking about making a bin out of hardware cloth and letting the finished compost sit on the ground. I will keep it covered so it doesn't get soaked in the rain. I have read that you want organisms from the ground to help with the compost so having the leaves sit on the ground and then the finished compost sit on the ground should at least help with that.

Can you leave compost in a tumbler for too long?

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  H_TX_2 on 3/14/2013, 2:56 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@camprn wrote:Powdery mildew is everywhere anyway so I don't worry about that. I do however promptly burn anything with blight or anthracnose.

Whew! I was awaiting the answer since I'd done the same with my squash, cuc & tom plants without even thinking about it.

Thanks, Camp.

Just because I'm bored here at work I decided to see how many compost ingredients I have. This is in the order of quantity, largest amount first:

Leaves
Seaweed
Urine
Gardening scraps
Kitchen scraps – fruits, veggies, egg shells
Pond plants
Grass
Shredded office & packing paper
Goose poo
Tea bags and coffee grounds
Pine needles
Shrimp & lobster shells
TP, paper towels and their empty rolls


CC

You have more urine than garden scraps or kitchen scraps? I'm not opposed to it. My boys have been given free range to use my leaf pile whenever they wish. That just sounds like a lot.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/14/2013, 3:02 pm

In the beginning leaves were about 10 times the amount of anything else. So I've been adding the urine almost daily to try to get the pile more balanced with greens. Is there a limit? Shocked

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  H_TX_2 on 3/14/2013, 3:09 pm

I have no idea. I just assumed kitchen scraps would be in greater quantity than urine. I think urine does have some salt in it so I don't know at what point it would become too salty.

If I had to bet I would sat it is okay to have that much urine in a compost pile as the microbes can take care of it. Adding it straight to the plants might be a different story.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 3/14/2013, 3:17 pm

With the pee, a dab'll do ya.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/14/2013, 3:21 pm

I think it will probably work out as the office paper portion (browns) gets added more often now. Also, it's just me adding to the pile so that's not so much, just constant.

Here's a recent photo - finished pile on left, new pile on right:

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/14/2013, 4:42 pm

Cape Coddess,

How do you crush your seafood shells? I could occasionally add some shrimp and dungeness crab shells to my heap.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/14/2013, 4:46 pm

I don't crush them. I put them in straight from the table all cracked up as they are. And eventually they disappear. What a Face

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 3/14/2013, 5:09 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:I don't crush them. I put them in straight from the table all cracked up as they are. And eventually they disappear. What a Face

CC
+1

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/14/2013, 5:10 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:I think it will probably work out as the office paper portion (browns) gets added more often now. Also, it's just me adding to the pile so that's not so much, just constant.

Here's a recent photo - finished pile on left, new pile on right:

CC

Nice pile

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/14/2013, 5:27 pm

What kind of crab do you feast on, CapeCoddess? Soft-shell?

Around here, it's hard-shelled Dungeness crab, and some of the pieces are fairly large.

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Re: Homemade Compost

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