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Leaves in a tree root hole....

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Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/27/2015, 11:19 am

Hi, all!  I raked  out my perennial bed this spring and put all the leaves whole in a tree root hole from a tree that fell down near my SFG in the back yard.  My thinking was start composting there, no real hurry, and slowly fill the hole, and eventually get a functional above ground compost pile like I have had in the past at another house.

It has been so rainy here, the hole is, well, full of water.  Of course, that is not aerobic at all, no smells, but, not exactly what I had in mind.  I guess I need advice.  I have been putting kitchen veggie debris there, toilet paper rolls, coffee filters/grounds, etc. all along.  It is slowly coming to flush so that is is not below the ground level.

Should I just keep on keeping on, and maybe add more leaves, small branches, grass clippings and build it up this Fall?

Thoughts....
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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/27/2015, 12:56 pm

If you don't turn it regularly, it will become the kind of pile that sinks dramatically. You may then have that hole, or compost and debris barely above the hole, for a very long time. If you don't want to just live with stuff slowly decomposing into a hole, you might want to put stuff on top that you turn and perhaps harvest regularly.

That might mean saving the small branches for a different pile, as they don't go away too quickly. But if you're going to just put it and leave it, fine.

A year or so ago I put well over a ton of horse manure into a pile, a huge tub of over 50 pounds every day for months. Today you can hardly see where I put it. If I hadn't plucked out some of the native grasses colonizing it, you'd never have known anything was ever there at all.
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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  sanderson on 6/27/2015, 2:17 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:A year or so ago I put well over a ton of horse manure into a pile, a huge tub of over 50 pounds every day for months.  Today you can hardly see where I put it.
I can picture all the worms and other critters that loved it when it was moist enough for them to eat it. From earth back to earth.

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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/27/2015, 3:36 pm

Marc, I had been turning it regularly before the rain...then it just became too wet and heavy.  Maybe I should put some topsoil/dirt in there to fill the hole, and start traditional composting in a pile.  That way, at least it will be on dirt, and, like you said, not just a continually shrinking, composting hole forever.  

I do have access to manure.  Can you put it on fresh?
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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  sanderson on 6/27/2015, 3:42 pm

Fresh is good in compost piles.

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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/27/2015, 4:05 pm

@sanderson wrote:Fresh is good in compost piles.
OK, good because that is what I would have access to.  Sanderson, should I fill the hole with dirt and start above ground?
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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  yolos on 6/27/2015, 4:17 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:
@sanderson wrote:Fresh is good in compost piles.
OK, good because that is what I would have access to.  Sanderson, should I fill the hole with dirt and start above ground?

I vote for yes, fill with dirt and then start your compost pile on top of the dirt.  If you do not fill the hole with dirt, the compost will keep breaking down until there is nothing there but the original hole, even if you use wood chips, they will still eventually decompose to leave you with your hole again.
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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/27/2015, 6:20 pm

Right, thanks yolos.  I really never thought we would have so much rain as to basically submerge the whole area.Embarassed


Dirt is goin' on sale round here.  Guess it's a re-dux!
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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  sanderson on 6/28/2015, 3:07 am

I also vote to fill the hole or find another flat area for the compost pile.

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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/28/2015, 9:49 am

I am going to have my boy help me today get it filled.  Thanks for the input!
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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Razed Bed on 6/28/2015, 10:40 am

More importantly, what did you do with the tree?  That fallen tree is a jackpot if you use it to your advantage.

You can allow the wood to rot where you can then basically hit it with a pick and enjoy a large harvest of wood chips and powder, or you can try an old German method of growing in a raised bed with the tree as the base, some of those leaves as filler, and soil (or Mel's Mix) on top.

It is called "Hugelkultur", and it can easily be implemented using the New SFG methods.  Rather than building your raised bed with lumber or stones, just use the tree as the base to create a natural berm raised bed.

http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

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Re: Leaves in a tree root hole....

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/28/2015, 12:38 pm

Old apple tree, burned in fireplace 3 years ago, smelled divine!  I have never heard of hugelkulture!  Interesting!  Thanks for the link, RB!
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