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starting a new compost pile

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  camprn on 4/9/2014, 10:17 pm

@jimmy cee wrote: I love the smell of cow manure
 silly me 

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  sanderson on 4/10/2014, 1:42 am

Jimmy, but only in the morning.

My horse manure/straw bedding/ starbucks/ and dried leaves compost is +48 hours old. Horse manure has never bothered me  neener and straw is wonderful. But, at 150* I have to admit it is starting to stink! At least it's not as bad as the septic grass I add to the last pile. That was pure methane.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/10/2014, 2:12 am

@sanderson wrote:Thanks, Marc. But, my husband does the wood work and really heavy lifting for me. I design, he builds. I do all the little tedious stuff and building, and the gardening.

Handier than me. Your being able to design is still something. I'm kinda itchy, borderline embarrassed, that I never knew until you said so that 2x4's aren't actually 2x4.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  jimmy cee on 4/10/2014, 8:02 am

Horse, cow manure and others bring back wonderful memories of my childhood.
Growing up in N.Y.C. was and I imagine still is quite an experience, however very drastically opposite of growing up on a farm.
I was fortunate to have them both, I could probably write a story, but I won't.
I'd sit in chicken coups for hours, listening to all the cackling, 10,000 of them. In the cow barn, watching cows swish their tails to remove flys...and much more.
All of these is most likely what makes manures smell nice to me...

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  Turan on 4/10/2014, 12:15 pm

I agree with you, Jimmy cee, I like the smells of really any herbivore manure and poultry as well. Especially animals spending lots of time on pasture and not stressed out. I suspect it is partly because the animals themselves give me so much pleasure and have for all my life. One of my earliest memories is holding a new born lamb in my gramma's barn while my big cousin (she must of been 10yo   Smile  ) tended to the ewe. But I love dogs and cats as well and am not fond of that smell, maybe because it is too close to human and it is hardwired into our brain avoid that?

Ehhhh, too much thinking for my uncoffeed brain.

Congrats on the hot pile, sanderson!

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/10/2014, 1:18 pm

Boy, if you want to heat up your pile, just add bad dry dog food, LOL!  Our protective trash can we put the dog's food in had a leak in the lid and got wet in our last storm.  It started to mold so I added it into my pile and we're suddenly up to 140 degrees and climbing  cheers 

Need to remember that one!

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/10/2014, 1:28 pm

Great for tomatoes too!  Had the same thing happen and our plants went NUTS!  Great harvest that year...

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  sanderson on 4/10/2014, 1:56 pm

I sprinkled blood meal every few layers as I built it. Dog food, cat food, alfalfa pellets sound good.

160* at 10 AM this morning. I either do the Berkeley dis-assemble and re-assemble tomorrow Friday) morning or Sunday eve. We are going to Sac for 2 BD parties, 1 yr DGS and 1 yr DGGD!.

Audrey, are you doing a quick Berkeley?

Jimmy, I was lucky to have a Morgan horse and I love every smell associated with horses. Just good memories.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  camprn on 4/10/2014, 2:04 pm

Let the pile cool down on it's own before turning.

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re:starting new compost pile

Post  ImmahGardener on 4/10/2014, 3:01 pm

All very interesting and can't wait to give it a try myself!

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/10/2014, 3:05 pm

From what I have read and experienced, 160 degrees is too high of a temperature - it starts literally "burning" up your compost at that point.  I would let it go through today at that temp (so it's killing pathogens and weed seeds) and if it isn't dropping then turn it and water it slightly (unless it's too wet already) to slow things down a bit.

I have done both the slow composting method and Berkeley 18 day.  Most often I do Berkeley as it produces almost twice as much compost out of the same size pile.  My shrinkage is usually maybe 20% when it's completed.  I stretch out the time a bit rather than turning the pile every other day after the 4 day start.  I'm not so much in a hurry as I am wanting top quality compost fairly quickly.

I'm letting this pile get a little higher in temps as I have some fresh horse manure in it that I want to make sure is fully composted and safe and free of weed seeds as the horse was in our weedy pasture.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  camprn on 4/10/2014, 3:06 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:From what I have read and experienced, 160 degrees is too high of a temperature - it starts literally "burning" up your compost at that point.  I would let it go through today at that temp (so it's killing pathogens and weed seeds) and if it isn't dropping then turn it and water it slightly (unless it's too wet already) to slow things down a bit.

I have done both the slow composting method and Berkeley 18 day.  Most often I do Berkeley as it produces almost twice as much compost out of the same size pile.  My shrinkage is usually maybe 20% when it's completed.  I stretch out the time a bit rather than turning the pile every other day after the 4 day start.  I'm not so much in a hurry as I am wanting top quality compost fairly quickly.

I'm letting this pile get a little higher in temps as I have some fresh horse manure in it that I want to make sure is fully composted and safe and free of weed seeds as the horse was in our weedy pasture.
Please list your sources with links to the web pages.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/10/2014, 3:36 pm

Here's an article from UC Davis professor, Robert D. Raabe on the Berkeley Hot Composting Method:

http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/compost_rapidcompost.pdf


"The compost pile needs to be turned to prevent
above 160 F, the microorganisms will be killed, the pile will cool, and the whole process will have to start from the beginning. By turning the pile it will not overheat, and it will be aerated also, both of which are necessary to keep the most active decomposers functioning." 


http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fundamentals/needs_temperature.htm


"High temperatures are essential for destruction of pathogenic organisms and undesirable weed seeds. Also, decomposition is more rapid in the thermophilic temperature range. The optimum temperature range is 135° -160° Fahrenheit. Since few thermophilic organisms actively carry on decomposition above 160° F, it is undesirable to have temperatures above this for extended periods."

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/12/2014, 10:57 am

So I thought I would check in and see how is your pile doing this fine morning?

 Very Happy 

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  jimmy cee on 4/12/2014, 2:53 pm

Dug down through mine this morning, middle was steaming like a runaway locomotive....

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  southern gardener on 4/12/2014, 2:56 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:So I thought I would check in and see how is your pile doing this fine morning?

 Very Happy   
Are you speaking to me?  lol. I started the thread, but it has a life of it's own,which is awesome! Mine is doing well. The one started in the pic has been screened and used on the garden, and now both sides are just about full and my "girls", aka chickens love scratching through and finding goodies!! God bless everyone!!

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/12/2014, 4:37 pm

Sorry!  I was posting in response to Sanderson's question about her pile hitting 160 degrees this week  Very Happy   I almost addressed it to her but I think my hubby distracted me while posting (he's a convenient excuse any way!)

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  plantoid on 4/12/2014, 5:55 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Boy, if you want to heat up your pile, just add bad dry dog food, LOL!  Our protective trash can we put the dog's food in had a leak in the lid and got wet in our last storm.  It started to mold so I added it into my pile and we're suddenly up to 140 degrees and climbing  cheers 

Need to remember that one!

The odd slice or crust of bread has the same effect.
 
When I came out of Hospital earlier this week  I found that there were five slightly mouldy cinnamon & raisin bagels that had hidden away in a cupboard in a poly bag  .

 I crumbled them up over the contents of one of my under construction Dalek composts . Yesterday there was a nice greeny blue hue of mould right across the bin .
So I used the garden claw to work it in the composting material & then  added an inch or so of fresh lawn cuttings.
When I looked today  they have dropped & started rotting with the generated heat & humidity . I'll incorporate them into the compost tomorrow before I add some more fresh cuttings.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/12/2014, 6:02 pm

Plantoid - I'm sorry you were in the hospital this week, is everything okay?  So glad you're home and hope that means all is well  Very Happy 

I just did my first turn of my Berkeley 18 day (or 28 or 38 days) compost pile.  It had hovered just below 150 for 4 or 5 days.  When I turned the pile, the dog food sections had gotten so hot they were anaerobic and had a horrible stench so I broke them up well and mixed them into the entire pile.  

So now I'll start turning it every 2nd or 3rd day.  Because there are a lot of wood chip pieces and pine needles in there I will let the pile go longer to be certain I get as much break down as possible.  I'm not in a hurry for this one, it's my mid-season replenishment batch.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  plantoid on 4/13/2014, 1:57 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Plantoid - I'm sorry you were in the hospital this week, is everything okay?  So glad you're home and hope that means all is well  Very Happy 

I just did my first turn of my Berkeley 18 day (or 28 or 38 days) compost pile.  It had hovered just below 150 for 4 or 5 days.  When I turned the pile, the dog food sections had gotten so hot they were anaerobic and had a horrible stench so I broke them up well and mixed them into the entire pile.  

So now I'll start turning it every 2nd or 3rd day.  Because there are a lot of wood chip pieces and pine needles in there I will let the pile go longer to be certain I get as much break down as possible.  I'm not in a hurry for this one, it's my mid-season replenishment batch.



 Thanks Audrey , I'm Ok as I can be .

 I've moved four bags of well made compost that have been under cover for 26months ..  the in bag worms have changed it beyond all recognition. It's like dark almost dry coarse coffee grounds . Super plant food booster indeed.

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/13/2014, 4:54 pm

oooooooohhh!  That sounds wonderful.  I'm still so new to building my gardens that I haven't had the privilege of letting compost sit that long.  Boy, would I love to run my hands through your compost, LOL!

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  southern gardener on 4/13/2014, 8:37 pm

Welp, here is some of the finished product about 7 months later. You can see the original start of this on the very first post in this thread with my grand babies :)We haven't turned the pile or really paid any attention to it. We have our chickens that go in and have a field day tho!  This is gorgeous stuff!! It looks like coffee grounds, smells like the forest and is FULL of worms!!  Can't wait to use it on our garden! We have used up all of our compost we made last year, so it worked out perfectly!!  We will end up with about 5 barrels from this one bin alone!!  wahooo!!


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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  llama momma on 4/13/2014, 9:22 pm

Congratulations!  It looks GGrrreat!!

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  sanderson on 4/13/2014, 10:19 pm

SG,   Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven cheers

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Re: starting a new compost pile

Post  southern gardener on 4/14/2014, 12:09 am

thanks guys! My grandson came over a little while after we screened and was SO upset he didn't get to help. So, back out we went and got another barrel full!  He calls it "shifting" instead of sifting and I think it's so cute! He LOVES to shift! The worms are amazing! He kept yelling out "goldmine" when we'd get a shovel full!  lol...here are a couple of pics Smile



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