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COMPOST 101

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 2/16/2011, 6:28 am

@model a man wrote:can I add avocado skins to my compost?
yes

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Odd Duck on 2/16/2011, 12:30 pm

Another yes to the avocado skins (and pits). They take a little longer than some of the other stuff, but neither takes anywhere near as long as peach pits.

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Cardboard question

Post  madnicmom on 2/16/2011, 1:09 pm

I've been saving the pop (or soda) cartons, pizza boxes, kleenex boxes, paper towel, toilet paper rolls, etc but noticed that the "pretty" packaging on the food products "peels off" like it is made out of thin plastic but it still rips/tears easily. Do ya'll just break down the boxes or do you "peel" the packaging off before composting the boxes?

TIA
Kim

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 2/16/2011, 1:58 pm


The best thing you can do is to make the pieces of cardboard as small as possible before you put them into the pile, as it will accelerate decomposition.

For what it's worth, I do not compost cardboard, I take that to the recycling center. I do compost shredded/chopped office paper, but not a lot of it.

Generally, I do not compost anything with bright glossy inks as I suspect metals and other substances in the inks that I do not want to introduce into my garden or my food.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Odd Duck on 2/16/2011, 3:58 pm

I do not compost any shiny/slick paper or cardboard. I compost most of my plain paper in either the worm bin or regular heap. Any newspaper we get almost all gets used as bird cage lining, so I save it up for the big shredder outside (close enough to chicken manure, I say Smile ). I also save up a little of my brown cardboard (I don't have room to save it all), then shred it next time I get my branch/leaf shredder out. I cut it into strips by hand, then run it through the branch opening (not the leaf opening, it comes out too coarse). It just doesn't shred down fine enough unless I cut strips first. I'm using it as bedding for my worm bins. It's also just too much work and too hard on my hands to cut all my cardboard into strips to prep it for shredding. If I could get it to shred better without first cutting it into strips, I would definitely be composting large amounts of it in the regular compost heaps.

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learning as I go

Post  model a man on 2/19/2011, 3:26 pm

so being my first time ever composting I am learning as I go. to get started I filled my compost tumbler with some compost I had left over when I made my mels mix. to this I add all my vegtable and fruit left overs and turning every other day. I know this my sound silly but I love the smell of compost. Shocked With all the boxes filled with mels mix and all the mulch I have in the back yard, it just smells so earthly and I catch myself just walking around the beds looking to see if anything new is comming up. Didn't know composting could be so fun Very Happy

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Megan on 2/19/2011, 3:39 pm

It does smell fantastic, doesn't it? Very Happy Don't forget your eggshells and coffee grounds!

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  FarmerValerie on 2/20/2011, 8:29 am

I wonder model a man (I know this is from another thread, but if I go looking by the time I find it, I'll forget what I found it for) did you perhaps file your gardening notes in your new composter?

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  boog1 on 2/20/2011, 12:06 pm

stoped at the tractor supply store yesterday they hadda composter in there sat low to the ground hada screw on lid rolled on wheel's jussssssssssssssssss 119.95 Shocked Shocked an they wonder why we did any thing we can ta make our own :scratch:

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  model a man on 2/25/2011, 2:54 pm

last night I went to a compost class. according to the teacher she stated that if I didnt have my compost bin setting directly on dirt that I would not get the benefit of what she called FBI (fungal, bacteria and insects) that what ever I put into my compost tumbler (the one I made) it will take a very long time to decompose and wont be as good. anyone have any sucess with the tumbler type compost bins. I am going to take another class (there free) with another instructer to see what answers I get. another thing she stated is that I should not have mulch up against the plants and trees I have in my yard as it can cause fungis and disease. that I should leave about a foot around my plants clear ( am talking about my rose bushes, flowering plants and fruit trees etc.) another thing she stated is that you should never put in any plant matter that has disease, (the example she gave was rose bushes) and if you use horse manure to make sure that the horses have not been recently dewormed. anyone have input on any of this. was I given good info or?
thanks

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 2/25/2011, 3:11 pm

Yes, you were given good info. The only thing I would take issue with is about the mulching; I am not in your area, so It may be perfectly sound advice for your garden.
I'm glad you liked the class and will be attending another! HOORAY FOR COMPOST! cheers

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/25/2011, 5:55 pm

@model a man wrote:last night I went to a compost class. according to the teacher she stated that if I didnt have my compost bin setting directly on dirt that I would not get the benefit of what she called FBI (fungal, bacteria and insects) that what ever I put into my compost tumbler (the one I made) it will take a very long time to decompose and wont be as good. anyone have any sucess with the tumbler type compost bins. I am going to take another class (there free) with another instructer to see what answers I get. another thing she stated is that I should not have mulch up against the plants and trees I have in my yard as it can cause fungis and disease. that I should leave about a foot around my plants clear ( am talking about my rose bushes, flowering plants and fruit trees etc.) another thing she stated is that you should never put in any plant matter that has disease, (the example she gave was rose bushes) and if you use horse manure to make sure that the horses have not been recently dewormed. anyone have input on any of this. was I given good info or?
thanks

Model A Man, I got basically the same composting information from the class I took this past Saturday, given by Oregon State University Master Gardeners. She did state if you were using a compost tumbler, you would need to add compost activator which usually includes some of those beneficial microorganisms (no insects, but bacteria,fungi, and actinomycetes) She also provided the same information regarding the horse manure.

We did not discuss mulching at this class.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Odd Duck on 2/25/2011, 8:04 pm

I have 2 compost tumblers of different styles (1 is a horizontal and 1 an end for end tumbler) and run 3 wire bins (but 1 is brand new, scored a freebie from the county for going to a composting class - WOOT). The tumblers haven't impressed me at all. They will make compost, but it's far slower than the hype plus the feel and look of the compost is not nearly as nice as the regular heaps. I end up with balls of sticky stuff, twigs are not as soft and rotted as the heaps, and it just doesn't have that nice, crumbly, earthy feel (or smell for that matter) no matter how long I leave it.

Now, I haven't had any tests run on the different batches, haven't done any grow comparisons, etc, so they may be equivalent for growing, but I suspect not. I usually use the tumbler compost on my flower beds and the heap compost in the veggie beds, seedlings, potted plants, etc.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 4/20/2011, 8:22 am

Cornell Composting <~~Click here
A great site!

Requirements to make compost:
Moisture
Carbon
Nitrogen
oxygen
microbes

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  cabinfever on 4/20/2011, 11:25 am

I just don't get why they tell you to layer stuff in your compost bin and then mix it up by turning it! Doesn't that defeat the purpose?!!!

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 4/20/2011, 11:56 am

Intuitively one would think so, but I believe that main purpose for turning is to oxygenate the pile. Remember, O2 is one of the requirements for the process. Wink

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Barkie on 4/20/2011, 12:18 pm

@cabinfever wrote:I just don't get why they tell you to layer stuff in your compost bin and then mix it up by turning it! Doesn't that defeat the purpose?!!!

You need air in for it to heat up. The layers are so that there isn't too much of one thing which might settle down and squash the air out. After a bit the middle heats up but the outer edges stay cooler, so the turning is to move the outer edge into the middle and let fresh air in so that the new middle heats up. Ok?

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/20/2011, 2:48 pm

@cabinfever wrote:I just don't get why they tell you to layer stuff in your compost bin and then mix it up by turning it! Doesn't that defeat the purpose?!!!

I like how you think. I understand why, but I don't layer anything. It goes into the pile in the order it comes out of my house/garden/etc. I turn my pile often enough it gets mixed.

I wonder if the "layers" aren't just in case people don't turn their piles often enough.......sort of mixing by default. My grandfather never turned his pile.....layers worked well for him.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Squat_Johnson on 4/20/2011, 4:53 pm

If you are using a tumbler, you should add some _finished_ compost also. This will have some beneficial microbes from the last batch, and will help to break it down.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Goosegirl on 4/20/2011, 5:38 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
@cabinfever wrote:I just don't get why they tell you to layer stuff in your compost bin and then mix it up by turning it! Doesn't that defeat the purpose?!!!

I like how you think. I understand why, but I don't layer anything. It goes into the pile in the order it comes out of my house/garden/etc. I turn my pile often enough it gets mixed.

I wonder if the "layers" aren't just in case people don't turn their piles often enough.......sort of mixing by default. My grandfather never turned his pile.....layers worked well for him.

You can just leave the layers alone - called sheet composting. Remember, stuff composts just fine in nature without any turning - it just takes longer. Turning aerates the pile and will make it work faster, but it is not necessary.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  buttaflie143 on 5/2/2011, 6:21 pm

I opened my compost bin to add to it and tons of tiny little flying bugs came flying out. Is this normal?

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Old Hippie on 5/2/2011, 6:29 pm

Yes. Probably fruit flies from the decaying kitchen scraps. I find I have less trouble with that when I dig a hole in the pile and bury the fresh scraps.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 6/28/2011, 8:50 am

Bump sunny

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County Compost

Post  Bud Alexis on 7/25/2011, 2:05 pm

I purchased a pick-up load of compost at the county composting site. $10 for a load. It is mixed blended, processed for months before it is sold. What are some opinions?:?:

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  boffer on 7/25/2011, 2:09 pm

Welcome to the forum. $10 is a good price for a yard of anything these days.

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Re: COMPOST 101

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