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COMPOST 101

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  LittleGardener on 7/25/2011, 10:13 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.
I am going to take another class (there free) with another instructer to see what answers I get. - was I given good info or?
thanks
Since being told here, that I's 'blinded', maybe ignore everything I say.
But, my grandpa (a man whose *garden* could rival the Original Eden's), taught me everything to know about compost:
Just pile up all the garden trimmings, kitchen scraps (no meat or fat),
some manure, & dig all that stuff... around whatever needy plants. - Then
put the rest over in the compost-corner, for use another day
.

(turning?, aeration?, micro-nutrients?: he'd laugh, tho not AT you). And
this precious human grew EVERYthing possible...in his 30x50 ft. paradise.
His harvests won prizes annually in our little 5000-people European town.
How he imprinted me, with the passion & skills for gardening, I'll always treasure!
sorry for digressing. Anyways, don't worry. Just pile up all the garden trimmings, kitchen scraps (no meat or fat), some manure, & dig all that stuff... around whatever needy plants. - And best of all HAVE FUN! Very Happy

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Cincinnati on 7/25/2011, 11:48 pm

@buttaflie143 wrote:I opened my compost bin to add to it and tons of tiny little flying bugs came flying out. Is this normal?
Probably. I have a pre-compost pile where I always cover kitchen scraps with browns. I alternate layers of green stuff, kitchen scraps, egg shells, etc. with browns.When the batch in my composter is done cooking, I refill it from the "pre-compost" pile.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  Bud Alexis on 7/26/2011, 12:11 am

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



It is called a class A compost, but I am not sure what is in it. Does anyone know the nutritional value.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  boffer on 7/26/2011, 12:51 am

@Bud Alexis wrote:
@boffer wrote:Welcome to the forum. $10 is a good price for a yard of anything these days.
It is called a class A compost, but I am not sure what is in it. Does anyone know the nutritional value.
I have never seen a classification system for compost, nor has it ever been discussed on the forum. That's not to say there isn't one, but if there is, their marketing is very weak.

Given that the content is unknown, I would consider it to be 1 of the 5 composts necessary to make a good quality Mel's Mix.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 7/26/2011, 12:58 am

As of a few months ago there were no national standards nor classifications for garden compost. I would be wary of something named 'Class A' with no ingredient list. BUT,
this could be a grading system of the compost maker with Class A being the most completely composted or finished compost. Maybe? :?:

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  westie42 on 7/26/2011, 1:03 am

Also have never seen any standards listed for compost. Generally it is difficult to figure out what is in a bag of the stuff. However there is a big organic compost producer close by that sells by the semi load mostly to Amish farmers for field fertilizer. They claim to have it tested for make up and market it accordingly to the farmers which makes sense in the agri-business world. I may go look into that closer and ask for a full explanation of their procedures. That would be the first time any detailed information on compost was seen by me otherwise compost making seems to be a very wide open renegade industry.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  FamilyGardening on 7/26/2011, 1:53 am

im to lazy Shocked to look it up for my self.....LOL....just curious...what happens to your compost if you have to much green and not enough brown....this is what we are running into.....our pile is really heating up......Shocked we plan on using it next spring....



most of the compost is lawn clippings....



we add some veggie waste scraps....(from a family of four)....some shredded paper.....egg shells....( working on getting some coffee grinds)



this winter we will add wood ash.....



we are working on getting some critter poo....fresh bunny, chicken, horse (already composted cow) to throw into the mix......



does this sound right?.....can we just add stuff as we get it....to the lawn clippings.....even if its a couple months down the line....since we are not planing on using it until next spring?


hugs

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  TN_GARDENER on 7/27/2011, 8:08 am

@FamilyGardening wrote:im to lazy Shocked to look it up for my self.....LOL....just curious...what happens to your compost if you have to much green and not enough brown....this is what we are running into.....our pile is really heating up......Shocked we plan on using it next spring....



most of the compost is lawn clippings....



we add some veggie waste scraps....(from a family of four)....some shredded paper.....egg shells....( working on getting some coffee grinds)



this winter we will add wood ash.....



we are working on getting some critter poo....fresh bunny, chicken, horse (already composted cow) to throw into the mix......



does this sound right?.....can we just add stuff as we get it....to the lawn clippings.....even if its a couple months down the line....since we are not planing on using it until next spring?


hugs

rose

Too much green might make your pile a gooey mess. Shredded paper and shredded leaves are nice browns for the compost pile.

Regarding the question about adding stuff through time, YES. You can continuously add stuff to your pile. Just remember that everything needs time to break down. That's why a lot of folks make more than one pile (one for the older stuff and one for the newer stuff).

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  FamilyGardening on 7/27/2011, 7:17 pm

Thanks TN-gardener Very Happy



hubby has been turning it a lot...( he even went out and bought him self a pich fork Laughing ).....so far it all seems to be drying and looks like its getting.....broken down...kinda fluffy??.....doesnt smell and is really hot when we turn it.....hubby who is getting more involved with composting....( after he built me a larger composter Very Happy (he is so proud).....wants to build another one Very Happy ) we have a plastic tumbler one from the big box store that we started last summer.....but it just didnt give us the compost we needed this year.......so...what im trying to say is as long as it doesnt get goopy/slugy.....then are we doing it right? Very Happy



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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  TN_GARDENER on 7/28/2011, 8:06 am

@FamilyGardening wrote:so...what im trying to say is as long as it doesnt get goopy/slugy.....then are we doing it right? Very Happy

hugs

rose

Yes.
Compost happens. You can speed it up by getting your green:brown ratio correct and mixing it up. Or you can just let it happen.

Sounds like you are doing fine. Just don't throw a whole bunch of new stuff in there in March and expect to be able to use in the garden in April.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  AprilakaCCIL on 7/28/2011, 8:18 am

Okay I'm curious about how to clean egg shells. A compost site said to clean the egg shells...Inside the shells there is a thin-clear film, and if not removed, the egg shells are hard to crush properly. The film can cause the shells to cling together and not separate.

How do you guys clean/crush your egg shells???

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 7/28/2011, 8:36 am

@AprilakaCCIL wrote:How do you guys clean/crush your egg shells???
I don't. I just crush the shells in my hand and put it them in the compost. Easy peasy! Wink

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  westie42 on 7/28/2011, 11:26 am

I took this information from http://blog.composters.com/2009/07/14/tips-for-composting-eggshells/
"The first thing you should know is that from fecal matter on eggshells they can host salmonella on their surface, and as such, if you don’t want to spread that around to your garden, it’s best to wash the eggshells before composting them. There are those who also like to put the eggshells in a tray in the oven for 20 minutes or so to make sure to kill all the bacteria, and this might not be a bad idea since the procedure would not destroy the Calcium in the shell, which is what the plants will most require out of the eggshells in the first place.
Another thing you could do is to grind the shells into very small pieces. This helps in more than one way. For one thing, the smaller the eggshell bits, the quicker the break down process (and in the case of eggshells, this process will take quite a while so you want to do whatever you can to hasten it). For another, scattering the small pieces of eggshell around plants will keep slugs and other pests away from them.”
Though salmonella comes from the shell surface it grows in the egg yolk. We get the poisoning from raw and under cooked eggs.
Any bird could carry it, animals too however 90% of all reptiles carry it.
For years I have used all this neighborhoods egg shells untreated in my garden without incident. Since the recent 550 million egg recall happened in part just 30 miles from me my ways aught to change. I hate to use the energy to over heat them and also hate to give them a bath in chlorine water but good sense tells me to modify my former ways.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 7/28/2011, 11:50 am

@westie42 wrote:I took this information from http://blog.composters.com/2009/07/14/tips-for-composting-eggshells/
"The first thing you should know is that from fecal matter on eggshells they can host salmonella on their surface, and as such, if you don’t want to spread that around to your garden, it’s best to wash the eggshells before composting them. There are those who also like to put the eggshells in a tray in the oven for 20 minutes or so to make sure to kill all the bacteria, and this might not be a bad idea since the procedure would not destroy the Calcium in the shell, which is what the plants will most require out of the eggshells in the first place.
Another thing you could do is to grind the shells into very small pieces. This helps in more than one way. For one thing, the smaller the eggshell bits, the quicker the break down process (and in the case of eggshells, this process will take quite a while so you want to do whatever you can to hasten it). For another, scattering the small pieces of eggshell around plants will keep slugs and other pests away from them.”
Though salmonella comes from the shell surface it grows in the egg yolk. We get the poisoning from raw and under cooked eggs.
Any bird could carry it, animals too however 90% of all reptiles carry it.
For years I have used all this neighborhoods egg shells untreated in my garden without incident. Since the recent 550 million egg recall happened in part just 30 miles from me my ways aught to change. I hate to use the energy to over heat them and also hate to give them a bath in chlorine water but good sense tells me to modify my former ways.
Some good information and some very good points but, yeah, that is just too much work for me as the eggs are washed before use. Besides, if I can get it, I use local chicken manure in my compost pile. What a Face

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  FamilyGardening on 7/28/2011, 6:44 pm

@TN_GARDENER wrote:
@FamilyGardening wrote:so...what im trying to say is as long as it doesnt get goopy/slugy.....then are we doing it right? Very Happy

hugs

rose

Yes.
Compost happens. You can speed it up by getting your green:brown ratio correct and mixing it up. Or you can just let it happen.

Sounds like you are doing fine. Just don't throw a whole bunch of new stuff in there in March and expect to be able to use in the garden in April.



thanks again TN!



that is what we plan to do....load it up over the summer and let it sit over winter only giving it lots of turn overs with our new pitch fork Laughing love saying that...pitch fork.....its one step closer to getting a little farm.....



hubby is going to build a second compost bin and we will then add the winter stuff to that and go from there......



hugs

rose

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  boffer on 7/28/2011, 7:10 pm

@FamilyGardening wrote:...and let it sit over winter only giving it lots of turn overs with our new pitch fork Laughing love saying that...pitch fork.....its one step closer to getting a little farm.....

You and Eddie Albert! yahoo

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  FamilyGardening on 7/29/2011, 1:21 am





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjrpzOgGg1Y





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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  FarmerValerie on 7/29/2011, 8:01 am

I never quite understood why I loved that show so much, until one day my dad confessed that when I was little he worked days and my mom worked evenings. So he was in charge of me and he would set me up in front of the TV, Green Acres is one of the shows that came on, he said it was my favorite. I still get happy when I hear the theme!

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  camprn on 8/1/2011, 1:42 pm

5 Steps to Fast Compost Very Happy

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  barthie on 8/12/2011, 2:37 pm

i have a garden at my mother-in-law's house and have set up a compost pile in the wooded area on her property. the pile is about 3x3 and 2 feet high. i cleaned out her crepe myrtles and threw all the dead leaves in the pile. i collect my kitchen waste at home in a five gallon pail, throw it in there once a week when i turn the pile. it's been pretty dry this summer and our temps have been 100+ on most days. the leaves on the top of the pile are usually dry when i get there on the weekends. the spot i chose seems to get sun most of the day. it'll be work, but should i move the pile over a few feet so it's in the shade more? i set it up in june and would like to have it ready for the spring (i was hoping to have it for the fall but it seems too late for that.)



thanks!

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Compost in the sun

Post  Dan R on 8/12/2011, 3:34 pm

Barthie,



I would leave the compost pile in the sun. I have a small bin that I turn every 3 weeks or so. I move the bin back and forth to turn it, and it always seems to compost faster when it is the spot that gets more sun. Just keep it moist and the sun should help faster composting.

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COMPOST 101

Post  sherryeo on 8/13/2011, 7:01 pm

Ok, guys, fair warning - if you're sitting in front of the computer eating dinner or having a snack, you might not want to read this right now if you're squeamish. I know I'm gonna get laughed at for this, but here goes.

I know it's normal and desirable to have critters of the insect and worm variety in your compost. Every time I open the lid there are things diving for cover in my compost bin, which means it's working. But when the compost is ready will most of these things vacate the premises on their own or am I going to have to sift them all out? I could manage sifting a few out, I guess, but I can't help but get that girlie feeling "iiiiccckkkk" when I think of having to deal with many of them. affraid

There's pretty much nothing identifiable (except the icky critters) in my compost now, so I'm thinking it shouldn't be too much longer until it's ready. I've read that, even after it's "ready," you should still let it cure for a few weeks or a month, but it seems I've seen folks on here say that's not necessary. Any opinions?

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/14/2011, 1:09 am

I may be way out of whack with this, but I don't wait nearly as long to use mine. I don't let it "cure" at all. When I can't recognize things, I use it....critters and all. I want most of those critters in my compost. They help all the microbes in the soil. Besides, there are things you can't sift out that you want....like protozoa and nematodes and bacteria. It's supposed to be a bit dirty...it's dirt now. Good, healthy compost is full of stuff that would gross you out if you saw it under a microscope.

I am reading a book, more like a thesis paper from a PhD, about compost tea. The "health" of the compost is apparently critical. And, she mentions that there are somewhere around a billion, yes I said BILLION bacteria of about 25-100 different species growing in every mg, yes I said milligram, of healthy compost. That's a psychotic, unbelievable number for my mind to wrap itself around! But, this is the stuff you WANT in your garden. You want all that bacteria, and critters, to take away space and food from the pests and harmful bacterias that will harbor disease.

It's a boring read, but it's packed with information. This woman dedicates her life to compost tea and has forgotten more about the subject than I will ever know. I will never overanalyze the stuff that much.

I guess my point is that what 10% isn't ready in the batch you describe will continue to break down as your garden needs, provided you keep the critters in there. What tries to hop out will likely attract birds, other bugs, and amphibians to your garden to further increase the health of the overall ecosystem you are creating. I say good job.

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Re: COMPOST 101

Post  mijejo on 8/14/2011, 8:57 am

That is interesting BackYardBirdGardener!



I am wondering what to do with the dirt in which I grew my potatoes. It is not MM, but a combo of premiums (Scott's) top soil, and compost. I am considering just dumping it in my composter and letting it mix with all that is in there. Does anyone have suggestions for its use?

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COMPOST 101

Post  sherryeo on 8/14/2011, 11:56 am

Wow, BBG, what a great answer! Thank you so much for taking the time to post such a thorough and informative answer. I'll try to be brave, then, but those grub things are revolting!

I'm currently trying to gather enough ingredients to fill 3 new boxes & to replenish the squares in my first two boxes. I have, so far, cotton burr compost, Black Kow cow manure and mushroom compost. I'm trying to find someone near me with rabbits, so maybe I can get some rabbit manure. I think I'll also be able to get some worm castings, plus add my homemade compost. I think I didn't really get good bagged composts the first time around, so am trying harder for these new boxes.

I've added lots of peanut hulls (torn into small pieces), finely minced thoroughly washed shrimp hulls (called "compost" where I got it, cheap, at a nearby co-op, but not actually what I'd call "finished" then), chopped leaves and some chopped newspaper & cardboard "slushies" with the usual kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and egg shells. I'm hoping it will be good stuff.

While surfing around yesterday checking the sticky links that Middlemamma filed under the "compost" forum, I found an article about a couple of tests for compost to tell if it's ready. It says to put some of the moistened compost in a baggie and check it in 5-7 days to see if there's an earthy, pleasant smell rather than a stench.

Another test recommends to actually plant several seeds in some of it and several in your regular planting medium to compare results. If the "new" compost germination rate is significantly less than that of the regular planting medium, the new compost needs more time. I may just try that. I'm interested to see what might happen & still have probably a week or so till I'm ready to use the compost.

Anyone who's interested in the tests can check for full details at: http://www.compost-info-guide.com/test_maturity.htm.

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Re: COMPOST 101

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