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COMPOST 101

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Kelejan on 11/16/2012, 12:44 pm

What I think is that worms do not like citrus peel until it has been composted. I believe it must be the acid in uncomposted peel that hurts them. Any thoughts?

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Yardslave on 11/16/2012, 2:29 pm

Citrus oil ingredients are the hot new rage for organically eradicating termites, bedbugs, and garden pests. They do a good job of getting rid of worms too Evil or Very Mad Citrus peels are to a worm bin as a can of Draino is to a toddler.
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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Kelejan on 11/16/2012, 3:41 pm

@Yardslave wrote:Citrus oil ingredients are the hot new rage for organically eradicating termites, bedbugs, and garden pests. They do a good job of getting rid of worms too Evil or Very Mad Citrus peels are to a worm bin as a can of Draino is to a toddler.
----

Thank you for that, Yardslave.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 11/16/2012, 5:34 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@Yardslave wrote:Citrus oil ingredients are the hot new rage for organically eradicating termites, bedbugs, and garden pests. They do a good job of getting rid of worms too Evil or Very Mad Citrus peels are to a worm bin as a can of Draino is to a toddler.
----

Thank you for that, Yardslave.
Yardslave, that is quite a dramatic statement. You first speak of citrus oil which is a concentrate and then remark in comparison that citrus peel is like Draino..... would you please provide a link to your information source. I am skeptical of the claims.

The original question was in regards to a compost pile not a worm farm bin.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Yardslave on 11/17/2012, 12:30 pm

Sounds pretty harsh, I know....well, OK, TOO harsh. I was paraphrasing my local Master Composter on this one. Look halfway through this abstract ( beginning with.."Bioaccumulation Summary:" ):

http://fabricart.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/how-toxic-is-orange-oil/

From personal observation when I have piled large amounts of citrus peels, the worms scoot away. It is only after the peelings have been broken down by molds that the worms will return. I have also noted an absence of egg casings where the citrus decomposed. Although these observations may be inferential, I leave citrus off the worm bin menu.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  plantoid on 11/20/2012, 6:45 am

Just a side note ... if you squeeze the peel off a fesh orange or grape fruit so the mist sprays onto some paper then put a match to the paper you'll see just how volatile the oil is it is almost a neat spirit ...I suspect that it is the oils that hurt the worms as they only have a thin mucus menbrane for their skin ... further proof if any is needed is toget sone of that oil off the peeel and rub it around your own lips ... feel the burn enjoy the pain Laughing

For commercial purchase sources of them there is also often a wax dip & insecticide used on citrus fruit to slow the evaporation of the juice down & keep flies away etc. so that they stay looking good over a long shelf life .

Having put over three pounds of peel at once into one of my Dalek bins ...

Once the oil & coating dissipates via decomposition & gets mixed in turning the heap , the worms seem to move through the area OK , or at least there were plenty of worms in the Dalek when everything was fully composted and ready for making MM

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  efirvin on 11/23/2012, 11:10 pm

Thanks all! I won't worry about adding orange and banana peels to my above ground compost bin. Sounds like they will break down just fine.
Evelyn

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Triciasgarden on 11/24/2012, 2:31 pm

For anyone living in Salt Lake or north of there, someone has 20 bags of leaves for free in Roy. The ad is on ksl.com and is Ad. No. 23093382. I wish I had a way to get them and was closer but hopefully someone can use them!

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Triciasgarden on 11/24/2012, 2:35 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
My sifter is that pink milk crate in the lower left.
CC

I like your sifter! I saw some in the back of the store that belonged to a milk company and it reminded me of your sifter and that I should get me one. I will have to see if I can find one for free somewhere or inexpensive.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  plantoid on 11/24/2012, 7:47 pm

Because of my back & shoulder injuries I cannot hold and shake a sifter , so I purchased an 18 inch dia 1/4 inch screen mesh siftr and sat it on a black plastic bucket with a flat top and used a trowel to put five heaped trowels in the sifter then gently shook around it whilst it was sat on the bucket , occasionally using the back of the trowel to move some of the larger lumps down into the mesh .
Five trailer loads & three months later I had some lovely sifted stone and weed free very old leaf mould to use on my MM inplace of the peat .

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Triciasgarden on 11/24/2012, 10:19 pm

Wow David, I am so impressed at your diligence in getting FIVE trailer loads sifted with all the other things you are so busy with! That type of work sure uses the shoulders and back region so to me even three months sifting in small bits like you had to, is quite fast! Your gardens are so going to love you!


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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 11/28/2012, 5:54 pm

Compost Cam What a Face LOL
http://www.coastofmaine.com/cam-video.shtml

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  greatgranny on 12/5/2012, 11:41 pm

What do I do when the compost in my bin contains ice. Yes, it's been cold here. Some days not so much but this is Minnesota, after all. How can it heat up when the outside temp is very low. Just asking because I have it filled all the way to the top with shredded leaves, kitchen waste, rabbit pellets, grass clippings, etc. One would think that it would still heat up but not in this case. The last time I checked the temp was only 45 degrees. Any suggestions?

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  plantoid on 12/6/2012, 5:27 am

Hi GG ... long time no posts ..... everything OK ?

This is what I've now decided to do .

Let it rest till the spring arrives .. no use busting your guts on trying to revive a dead horse so to speak . Then when it warms up give the pile a final turn over to see if there is anything left to decay enough to produce heat after a week or so of remaking the pile.
If no heat then the pile is completed start using it .
Start the new pile/s mean time .

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  greatgranny on 12/6/2012, 10:48 am

Thanks for your reply, plantoid.

I will still be adding portions of kitchen scraps and coffee grounds over the winter if I can get to the bin without falling down on ice and snow. I know that this will not add much bulk because I live alone.

If I didn't live in a woods with opossums, racoons and other varmints, I would add it to my "pile" next to the bin. I had a dog until a year ago that would go after these creatures but alas, she is dead and gone. Haven't had the will to start over with a new dog. I'm getting too old, I guess. Ah, old age. Well, we all have to go through it, whether we like it or not.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  CapeCoddess on 12/6/2012, 11:51 am

HI GG! Good to see you again.

Could you get a cat? My cat keeps the vermin out of my pile for the most part.


And I figure that if it gets stirred up during the night, that's less turning work for me. What a Face

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  greatgranny on 12/6/2012, 12:43 pm

I have cats but in the case of larger animals, I'm sure they would be chicken. Smile

Coyotes are in the area too and someday, I hope, they will pick somewhere else to go after the deer, etc.

Anyway, I digress. I think that I will try to add some to the "pile" and see what happens. Maybe that will get that pile going too. If not, I will add it to the bin in the spring after I sift.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/7/2012, 11:29 pm

Hi all!
I'm new here and fairly new to Square Foot Gardening, I started last summer and am expanding a bit at a time. To avoid posting information repeatedly, if you'd like to know more,here's the link to my first post here and my garden pictures etc.: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t14182-hi-i-m-new-to-the-forums-and-in-your-area#144786

We're just getting started with the three new, raised 4x4 table gardens. I have the new book and read through it - but didn't have it with me when I went shopping (yeah, dumb, LOL!). So, I have a couple of questions for those of you with experience.

1. I mistakenly got medium vermiculite and it's already mixed with the other elements. I have the proper proportions right now using it. Should I add more coarse vermiculite? If so, how much?

2. Here's the compost I bought: Kellogg N'Rich Compost

Ingredients: Forust Humus, Compost, Composted Chicken Manure, Worm Castings, Kelp Meal, Bat Guano and Gypsum, with Oyster and Dolomite Limes (PH adjusters). Is this adequate on its own or should I add anything additional? I live on 5 acres and 4 of it is leased out to a family that raises cattle, I have cow manure on hand and am composting it right now to add in.

3. Everything is super mixed and moistened. I transplanted the surviving plants from my fall garden earlier this week. If I need to make adjustments I'll need to do it quickly. Is there anything else I should do?

Thanks so much for your assistance,
Audrey

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 12/8/2012, 8:30 am

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I have a couple of questions for those of you with experience.

1. I mistakenly got medium vermiculite and it's already mixed with the other elements. I have the proper proportions right now using it. Should I add more coarse vermiculite? If so, how much?

2. Here's the compost I bought: Kellogg N'Rich Compost

Ingredients: Forust Humus, Compost, Composted Chicken Manure, Worm Castings, Kelp Meal, Bat Guano and Gypsum, with Oyster and Dolomite Limes (PH adjusters). Is this adequate on its own or should I add anything additional? I live on 5 acres and 4 of it is leased out to a family that raises cattle, I have cow manure on hand and am composting it right now to add in.

3. Everything is super mixed and moistened. I transplanted the surviving plants from my fall garden earlier this week. If I need to make adjustments I'll need to do it quickly. Is there anything else I should do?

Thanks so much for your assistance,
Audrey
I used medium vermiculite and it worked for me. If in the future you can get coarse vermiculite, get some for making your new boxes.

The Kellogg compost sounds great. I would encourage you to get 4 other types of compost when you go to make up a new batch of Mel's Mix. The reason I say that is because it is not clear how much of each ingredient is in that compost mix. It could have 95% forest humus and all the other ingredients make up the other 5%. In my opinion you still need at least 4 more kinds of compost that does not include peat or sphagnum moss on the ingredient list.

Since you have already transplanted into the new bed I would suggest collecting the 5 different types of compost and top dress the currently planted beds as the growing mix settles.


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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/8/2012, 11:11 am

Thank you, Camprn;
I just sent off a note to Kellogg asking for the composition of their ingredients so that I'll be more aware of what direction I need to add compost in as I use the beds. I specifically asked them if they use peat or sphagnum moss in it. On their bag, they show the exact "Mel's mix" recommendation of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 (without using that title).

We're already talking about raising the soil level a little deeper in them as we have the room, so if I do, I'll use the coarse Vermiculite and find additional sources, as well as the fact I have always created my own composts.

We have a mushroom grower near us, I was thinking of getting a truck load to use throughout the rest of my landscaping. I have a friend that raises chickens, I'm going to ask her if she has excess chicken poo she'd like to have off her hands. We have a neighbor down the street that raises llamas and as I said, we have cattle on our property.

Thank you for taking the time to help out,
Audrey

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  madpiano on 1/5/2013, 10:38 am

Hello

I have one of those Dalek composting bins. I only have room for one, so I generally use it for a year and then in spring I tip it out and pile the stuff into a corner of the garden for another year.

My main problem is, that I don't have grass clippings, as I don't have a lawn. The neighbours do, but they have 2 dogs and I'd rather give that a miss (although I do add cat litter occasionally).
I just throw all kitchen scraps and all shredded paper on there. It doesn't get very hot and when I turn it, I have zillions of worms in there. So am I essentially having a wormery, rather than a compost heap? And does that make a difference?
I don't add leafs until the spring either, I leave them in the garden over the winter, as they keep the soil warm and loads of worms thrive under them, which can only be good, right? I also don't have a shredder and most of my leafs are from the Bay tree and the Magnolia, so I don't like adding them, they take forever to rot (the leafs from the pear tree disappear over the winter).
Any tips, or should I just keep doing what I am doing?
Oh, I don't add egg shells either, as we are sitting on top of chalk here, and I have a feeling my garden has enough calcium already (hard tap water as well). My Azaleas never look very happy....

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Kelejan on 1/5/2013, 4:20 pm

Hi madpiano and welcome as I see you are a newbie here.
I am not an expert yet, but it seems to me you are doing very well with what you have. Zillions of worms are great.
I think Azaleas need a more acidic soil so perhaps pine needles or something like that will be good. Google "acidic soil" or something like that in the top left hand corner of this page, you might find some help there. In anyc ase, some one will be along to help you sort out your azaleas. happy hi

ETA: Google "Acid loving plants".

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  plantoid on 1/5/2013, 5:32 pm

Sabine ,
Tear up weathered damp carboard boxes to put some browns in your composter.

Don't put cat muck or cat litter in your composter for as meat eaters the cross infection of their diseases and worms risk to humans is far too high for safety of you and any one who eats your crops.
Same goes for dog muck, even if you worm them every week their parasites can still be transmitted to humans .

I run seven daleks as you may or may not be aware. You mention that you empty out your dalek in the corner of the garden and start again . Perhaps get a second dalek , site it where you empty the current one and use that when the first is full instead of tipping it out .
I currently have eight strong rubble bags full of 10 month old home made general composts in my gardens , one here , one there , some every where sort of storage that option may work for you as well . Just make sure the tops are tied up and rain cannot run down the tied neck ( perhaps put a weighted bag over the tops ) for really wet compost is very very heavy .. guess how I know Laughing

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  madpiano on 1/5/2013, 7:36 pm

Thanks for the replies. I don't really have room for another Dalek, unless I want it very visible - the mound of earth doesn't really bother me so much, as it is fairly low and stuff grows on it, so it looks like part of the garden.
Cat Litter - I don't put the actual droppings on there, but I use a fully biodegradable cat litter made from corn husks and I empty the left overs when refreshing on there. But that only happens every 4 months or so and there isn't much. I doubt there are any parasites in there, not sure which ones would be transmittable to humans apart from Toxoplasmosis? This kind of cat litter forms solid clumps around the liquid waste and the other droppings are solid anyway - both get flushed down the toilet. So it's only the remainder. I guess the odd worm could make it through, although it would get dried out very quickly (that stuff is super absorbent). But to be honest, 90% of the time my cat (and 4 others) use my garden instead.... free fertilizer and they are polite enough to cover it up, as cat p** must be the worst smelling thing on earth... (one of the reasons I will grow the veggies in containers).
Cardboard boxes???? ARGH!!! I never thought of that. I spent 1 hour last week ripping some down to put in the bin! I even left them out in the rain for a week, so I could rip them!! (Forgot that they make slug hotels, YUCK). I do add shredded paper though....junk mail has it's uses.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  llama momma on 1/6/2013, 9:00 am

@madpiano wrote:...Cardboard boxes???? ARGH!!! I never thought of that. I spent 1 hour last week ripping some down to put in the bin! I even left them out in the rain for a week, so I could rip them!! (Forgot that they make slug hotels, YUCK). I do add shredded paper though....junk mail has it's uses.

For quicker use and avoid slugs-- You can take fresh cardboard and soak in water in a wheelbarrow or 5 gal. bucket or something else. lt takes just minutes to soften it and easy to tear apart. I use lots of cardboard pieces either dry to soak up excess moisture in worm bins or wet it on purpose to add as worm bedding. Also throw pieces into the compost heap, worms love this stuff.

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Re: COMPOST 101

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