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Compost Questions

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Compost Questions

Post  rabbithutch on 4/20/2014, 1:09 pm

I'm having trouble getting the 5 types of compost for my 1/3rd compost in MM.  I don't have any problem finding composted manures (Black Cow, sheep manure, rabbit manure) but I'm having trouble finding other types.  I have a lead on some cotton bur compost that I'm following.  Today I learned that Lowe's carries mushroom compost.

Questions:
1)  Has anyone used the bagged mushroom compost from Lowe's?  Is it good stuff?
2)  If I use composted sheep manure (obtained from a local sheep rancher), Black Cow compost from Lowe's, mushroom compost from Lowe's, cotton bur compost (assuming I can get it), rabbit manure, worm castings and some of my own rotted leaves and yard waste, will I be OK on the mix? 
3) I might not be able to get the rabbit manure and worm castings right away.  Since they are both usable without further composting, can I add them later without causing problems - using only the mushroom and Black Cow, composted sheep manure, home-made and cotton bur only?

TIA

 


Last edited by rabbithutch on 4/20/2014, 1:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/20/2014, 1:21 pm

Rabbit,

Is there a Whole Foods market near you?  Its outlets generally sell a great non-manure compost.  As do certain supermarkets!

Also, sometimes a hydroponics store will carry plant-based composts.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/20/2014, 2:58 pm

It's pretty common to have to "make do with whatcha got," rabbithutch. It's not recommended, but sometimes that's just the way things go because of limited availability or limited funds.

Perhaps if you decide to do so, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on trying not to overcompensate in the future for anything your soil mix lacks now. In other words, a soil amendment like worm castings also functions very well as a fertilizer supporting nitrogenous growth, which could be less than ideal in excess or at certain times, like when you're trying to promote flowering and fruit-set rather than green growth.

This is one of the reasons it's so much better to get your mix down right the first time. Ingredients too rich get mixed with ingredients too poor, like say a compost that turns out to have way too much wood or peat in it, and that's our best chance to have a less than ideal soil mixture even out into something pretty good.

But, if perfect Mel's Mix isn't an option right away, you can always amend it later. One of our forum mods, sanderson, did so and seems to be doing well. It does suggest that testing your soil and any new additions might be a good idea, though, as you were less likely to have created a good nutritional and pH balance in the first place, and ingredients added one by one are less likely to be as balanced as the five-way compost blend Mel recommends. Testing may reveal, for instance, that you're better off supplementing your original mix with another blend of compost types all at once rather than adding ingredients one by one as you get them.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  walshevak on 4/21/2014, 7:05 am

3) I might not be able to get the rabbit manure and worm castings right away.  Since they are both usable without further composting, can I add them later without causing problems - using only the mushroom and Black Cow, composted sheep manure, home-made and cotton bur only?



You have 5 listed as as almost certain and they sound very good.  Black Hen is labeled a fertilizer, but it is made entirely of composted chicken manure and makes a good minor addition to a basic mix in much the same way as worm castings.  Both are very rich.  I'm a firm believer in throwing in everything for a good variety blend but not necessarily in equal amounts.  Then using that blend as 1/3 of the MM and saving any excess in covered bins or buckets for used when replenishing the squares for replanting or top dressing.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  cpl100 on 4/21/2014, 1:57 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Rabbit,

Is there a Whole Foods market near you?  Its outlets generally sell a great non-manure compost.  As do certain supermarkets!

Also, sometimes a hydroponics store will carry plant-based composts.
Would you please specify names of these items so I can call the Whole Foods locally for availability prior to trekking to all of them?  Thank you so much!

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  sanderson on 4/21/2014, 3:28 pm

Cpl, I'm not sure the Whole Foods compost goes by the same name in every area. Just call and ask if they have the vegetable-based compost.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/23/2014, 11:14 am

I need leaves!  I get a lot of restaurant food, like these bananas, cukes & salads:


This is the first year I've ever added this type or amount of food to my pile.  While waiting for fall, I've been layering it with cardboard & shredded office paper between the produce  & seaweed.  So far I've been able to keep it from going anaerobic.

My questions are:

1) This produce is not organic.  Does any one have any thoughts or experience with issues involving the use of non organic compost in the MM?  Especially in these large quantities...

2) Also, some of the produce is dressed with oil & vinegar or pickled?  Do you see any issues there?

Compost won't be ready/used until Sept of next year.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/23/2014, 4:25 pm

Dressings and especially pickles can have a LOT of salt. The very high rate of pickle consumption, I've read, may be the reason behind the Japanese, who eat in such a healthy and moderate way and whose health is otherwise very good compared to that of Americans, having a vastly higher rate of stomach cancer than Americans do.

But then again, how much dressing are you really getting in a big pile of veggies? And could you just not include the pickles?

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  camprn on 9/23/2014, 5:08 pm

Its all good cc. It will all start to rot in that pile. When the leaves fall, shred some and layer it all together with some new manure or sea weed if you can get it. The pile will do its work over winter. The vegetable oils and vinegar will break down too. Don't fash yourself, all is well.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  sanderson on 10/1/2014, 3:42 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:
My questions are:

1) This produce is not organic.  Does any one have any thoughts or experience with issues involving the use of non organic compost in the MM?  Especially in these large quantities...

Compost won't be ready/used until Sept of next year.
CC
CC, It's pretty hard to use only "organic" marked produce. It can be expensive and/or unavailable in all produce in all seasons. I know in California, we get produce from Mexico and South America. I think the composting heat and process takes care of most concerns.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  camprn on 10/1/2014, 11:23 am

Please define 'organic'.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/1/2014, 11:40 am

@camprn wrote:Please define 'organic'.
In this case the line from the Wiki definition is perfect: avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge. 

For instance, to me my whole yard is organic and I can use just about everything from it in the compost pile without worry.  Of course there will always be the airborne pollution and small quantities of donated matter, but this question is in reference to extremely large quantities of food stuff.

i thought I had read a debate on this forum somewhere about the composting process alleviating the 'poisons' but I couldn't find it and was hoping it would resurface.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/1/2014, 1:26 pm

Found something:

"The compost process degrades and, in some cases, completely eliminates wood preservatives, pesticides, and both chlorinated and nonchlorinated hydrocarbons in contaminated soils."

http://epa.gov/composting/benefits.htm


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Re: Compost Questions

Post  plantoid on 10/1/2014, 3:47 pm

Do be cautious on what you read and use common-sense.

 It does eventually decay hormonal weed & feed lawn treatments , but takes anything up to three or more years for things to be completely safe tomnpant life .

 I found this out earlier today when I was reading the label on my hormonal , " Weed & Feed lawn treatment " , to snuff out the zillions of broad leaf weeds that came innhere from seeds in the left in the heap for three years or more not properly composted horse muck and stable clean outs.

" One years seeds, means seven years weeds Sad ".

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  donnainzone5 on 10/1/2014, 3:54 pm

I'd be hesitant to believe the EPA.  Plantoid makes a good point.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  camprn on 10/1/2014, 8:00 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:I'd be hesitant to believe the EPA.
If that's so, who would you trust to provide adequate scientific information about this topic?

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  camprn on 10/1/2014, 8:08 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Found something:

"The compost process degrades and, in some cases, completely eliminates wood preservatives, pesticides, and both chlorinated and nonchlorinated hydrocarbons in contaminated soils."

http://epa.gov/composting/benefits.htm


CC

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18691760

http://www.nps.gov/climatefriendlyparks/involved/resources/composting.html

http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0714.html

2-4D was a component of agent orange and is used in GM organisms.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC167528/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/01/06/agent-orange-gmo-after-usda-backs-24-d-seeds-michael-pollan-marion-nestle-lead-activist-hype-of-discredited-link/

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  donnainzone5 on 10/1/2014, 8:12 pm

I don't know which governmental, or quasi-governmental, agency I would trust.  But that's just me.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/1/2014, 8:23 pm

Highly tendentious writing in that last link. Too much "black hats vs. the white hats" mentality.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  camprn on 10/1/2014, 9:24 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:Highly tendentious writing in that last link.  Too much "black hats vs. the white hats" mentality.
I threw in the last link  because of the 2-4D link, not for the politics involved. Regarding that article and some of the positions it takes on the 'facts' ... The problem with a lot of the pesticide (insecticide/ herbicide/ fungicide) products is that only the 'active ingredient' is tested and the 'inert' ingredients that make up the other 98% of the product are not. Nor are the potentiating effects they have on the active ingredient being tested for safety. Nor is there a focus on sub-lethal effects of the entire product.

So basicaly, CC you have to do a heck of a lot more research to answer your original question. Wink

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  donnainzone5 on 10/1/2014, 9:34 pm

That's a good question.

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/3/2014, 5:54 pm

http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0714.html

This link has some great info, especially the last chart and ensuing info. Thanks for this, Camp!

Boy, that Clopyralid is nasty stuff! 
"compost contamination problems have been documented with an herbicide known as "clopyralid" in Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California...The problem is that, unlike most pesticides, clopyralid is very persistent in composts and manures and is largely unaffected by the composting process...plants in the bean family (Leguminosae), the potato/tomato family (Solonaceae), and the sunflower family (Compositae) are very sensitive to this herbicide. It can stunt tomato, clover, lettuce, pea, lentil, sunflower, pepper, and bean plants at levels in compost as low as 10 parts per BILLION! Since the level of clopyralid on grass the day of application is 10,000 to 50,000 ppb, even a small amount of contaminated material entering a composting facility or directly applied to sensitive crops can cause major problems."

And according to the chart it takes 1-2 yrs to break down!  Makes me wonder if the problems with some of the premade MM was due to this stuff.

And the products with no data...well, that's just a big dead end. Evil or Very Mad

Lot's of reading to do...

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Re: Compost Questions

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/14/2016, 8:17 pm

Question: my neighbor is cleaning up her lake beach and removing about a 2-inch thick layer of pollen. She says it smells bad and has the consistency of clay. My guess is that it's anaerobic. Can I use this in my compost pile mixed with lots of browns?

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