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pine in compost

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pine in compost

Post  jab3359 on 5/24/2013, 5:31 pm

Am I wasting my time and resources? I started a compost pile in January. I had many back yard trees trimmed and I asked the tree trimmers to leave the waste after they ran it through the tree chipper. I used this material as the base "browns" in my compost pile. One of the trees was a cyprus pine, maybe 10% of the total debris mix. I have since read that pine needles are not recommended because of the acid they contain. The chipped remains were also a little too big, resulting in slow breakdown. I am wondering:
Can I use the compost once it is complete, or will it be too acidic?
If so, will the acid diminish over time? If it takes a year for the woody pieces the breakdown will the acid also breakdown?
Is there something that could be mixed in to neutralize the acid, like a compostable material high in alkaline?
How do I know if the resulting compost is too acidic?
thinking
Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: pine in compost

Post  plantoid on 5/24/2013, 6:07 pm

Perhaps check out the lists of compostable materials in " the Berkley 18day hot composting method "
May I also suggest you try and get the gist of the site under your belt as it is mainly to do with composting and the things your asking .
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Re: pine in compost

Post  littlejo on 5/24/2013, 6:10 pm

I use pine needles all the time with no problem. I don't know how much pine would affect the ph. You can get a ph test for a pool, or pay more to get 1 for gardens. If it turns out to acidic, you could add some lime to adjust the ph. Remember tho, lots of veggies like the acid. Sw. potatoes, wh. potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, to name a few.
Pine needles take a while to break down for they have a waxy coating, but, putting them thru a chipper is good.
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Pine Needles

Post  Windmere on 5/24/2013, 6:17 pm

Hi jab3359,

I live in the middle GA, and I have a great deal of pine trees on my land. I have tons of pine straw.

I really don't have a lot of experience with composting yet... but I wanted to tell you that the pine straw that I've composted with kitchen produce scraps has yielded a rich, dark, very earthy smelling (in a pleasant way), compost.

It's encouraging to know that several vegetables like acidic treatment. I appreciate littlejo's post about this. So... jab your situation may be a blessing in disguise.
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Re: pine in compost

Post  yolos on 5/24/2013, 6:59 pm

I was told (but I do not know if it was true cause you can't believe a lot of what you read on the web) that after the pine needles are composted, they are then neutral as to ph.
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Re: pine in compost

Post  jazzycat on 5/24/2013, 7:58 pm

I'm certainly no expert on any of this, but I heard recently that adding mycorrhiza or even mushrooms along with some rock dust will help speed up the composting process. They were doing it as permaculture though (wood chips on yard to break down for planting), and not in a "pile." So I don't know how it might work in your case. I can link to the video, if you'd like.

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Re: pine in compost

Post  camprn on 5/24/2013, 10:45 pm

yolos wrote:I was told (but I do not know if it was true cause you can't believe a lot of what you read on the web) that after the pine needles are composted, they are then neutral as to ph.
+1
Regarding the question about knowing if the compost is too acidic.... do a pH test.

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good replies

Post  jab3359 on 5/25/2013, 5:16 pm

Thanks, those are good suggestions. Sounds like its not a problem or maybe good for the right veggies. I might get a ph tester just out of curiousity.
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Re: pine in compost

Post  jab3359 on 5/25/2013, 5:20 pm

plantoid wrote:

May I also suggest you try and get the gist of the site under your belt as it is mainly to do with composting and the things your asking .

Not sure what that means, i thought this was the composting forum? thinking
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Re: pine in compost

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/25/2013, 5:55 pm

I think he means the Berkley 18day hot composting method website.

CC
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Re: pine in compost

Post  littlejo on 5/25/2013, 5:58 pm

jab3359 wrote:
plantoid wrote:

May I also suggest you try and get the gist of the site under your belt as it is mainly to do with composting and the things your asking .

Not sure what that means, i thought this was the composting forum? thinking

Help me. I re-read all the posts, and they do seem to be about composting.
Jo
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Re: pine in compost

Post  camprn on 5/25/2013, 6:03 pm

littlejo wrote:
jab3359 wrote:
plantoid wrote:

May I also suggest you try and get the gist of the site under your belt as it is mainly to do with composting and the things your asking .

Not sure what that means, i thought this was the composting forum? thinking

Help me. I re-read all the posts, and they do seem to be about composting.
Jo
I think he is saying have a look at the old threads in the composting sub forum.

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Re: pine in compost

Post  plantoid on 5/25/2013, 7:16 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:I think he means the Berkley 18day hot composting method website.

CC

+2 CC
Yes , I did mean that site as it is very inclusive in all that we need to know about the finer aspects of making compost .
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Re: pine in compost

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/25/2013, 8:03 pm

You may also want to read the topic "Are You a Hottie". There are 35 pages of discussion on how to get your compost "hot". That is the way the Berkley 18 day method uses. You will probably want to allot several hours at least to read all the comments. I learned a lot about composting from this topic. In case you didn't know, go to the left column and type in "Are You a Hottie". Happy reading!
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Composting in 18 Days

Post  mrwes40 on 5/26/2013, 6:47 am

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Re: pine in compost

Post  camprn on 5/26/2013, 8:04 am

The composting 101 thread is very good too.

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