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Questions about store bought compost

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Questions about store bought compost

Post  FRED58 on 4/2/2015, 8:28 pm

I have started looking for commercially available compost (I have none), and I have some questions:


  1. Is all manure "manure". I other words, is there much difference between cattle, horse, pig, sheep and other barnyard critter leavings?
  2. One retailer nearby has several mixed products (they all seem to have peat), including manure and "humus" (which I thought was dip made from chickpeas). Is this stuff OK? (BTW: One of them includes Zebra manure!).
  3. Same question, specifically about "triple mix".
  4. Is mushroom manure "OK"?
  5. For future reference, does "compost accelerator" actually work?


Thanks in advance!


Last edited by camprn on 4/2/2015, 10:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : expand title)
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Re: Questions about store bought compost

Post  camprn on 4/2/2015, 10:24 pm

There are differences between manure of different livestock.

http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=567

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/manure/documents/nm1478.pdf

Humus is not compost, nor is sphagnum peat. Compost eventually breaks down into humus.

Mushroom 'compost' is actually the used substrate from growing the mushroom, not rotting mushrooms, It is not particularly high in nutrients.

Compost accelerator or activator, may work, if conditions in the pile are good.
You can get the same acceleration in your compost pile by assuring a balance of carbon, nitrogen, water and air.  If I feel my pile is low in nitrogen and want to crank up the heat, I add A LITTLE BIT of dried blood and water. This usually works like a charm.

There are many back threads about this, in particular Composting 101 and Are you a Hottie.

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Re: Questions about store bought compost

Post  sanderson on 4/3/2015, 12:58 am

1.  Dumbing down:  Yes, there are some differences.  Bunny can be added directly as top dressing.  Cow is a little higher in nitrogen than horse because they digest more thoroughly.  Poultry can be even higher (hotter).  Regardless, if you are looking for 1 of the 5 composts, they need to be composted or aged before adding to the mix or they will burn.  Fresh is better for making your own cooking composting pile.
2.  peat and humus do not add any nutrients so can't be used as a compost.
3.  Probably the same answer as #2, don't know what triple mix is.
4.  Mushroom compost, as Camp noted, is used compost.  Weak in nutrients.
5.  "compost accelerator"-  don't buy any, maybe buy dried blood meal if the pile needs a kick to heat up.  If a compost pile is perfectly balanced and moist, it won't need anything.  Urine is used by some and is free.


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Re: Questions about store bought compost

Post  FRED58 on 4/3/2015, 8:21 am

Thank you both. I'm working my way through those two stickies (almost 60 pages).

Triple mix is made of equal parts sphagnum moss, compost and humus. So I guess that's out.

Commercially I can get cattle, sheep and pig manure (bagged, well rotted), horse, poultry ,goat and llama manure from local farmers I know. that stuff is not fully rotted, and I would want to compost it for a while. I can also buy bags of "compost with worm castings" and "garden manure" which, by the description is mixed animal manure and compost. I guess I can get fresh horse manure from the roadside by following the Mennonite buggies, but that will take time.

So, does this basically put me at two or three out of five types of compost?

Finally, can bone meal and blood meal be added to Mel's mix? (In limited amounts).
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Re: Questions about store bought compost

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/3/2015, 8:55 am

I know a lot of folks use urine since it's nitrogen.  But if you take any prescription drugs, I'd not do it.
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Re: Questions about store bought compost

Post  sanderson on 4/3/2015, 1:43 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:I know a lot of folks use urine since it's nitrogen.  But if you take any prescription drugs, I'd not do it.
Forgot about the prescriptions. As far as bone and blood meal, resist the urge to add anything "extra" unless indicated. Some of the products at the nursery are okay or actually needed for row gardening because it is in the dirt. But, we use Mel's recipe with compost. Very Happy

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Re: Questions about store bought compost

Post  CharlotteHawk on 4/14/2015, 4:44 pm

@FRED58 wrote:

Triple mix is made of equal parts sphagnum moss, compost and humus. So I guess that's out.

Triple mix sounds like an attempt at a starter soil mix.
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