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Compost composition question

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Compost composition question

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/8/2010, 9:16 am

Now that I no longer live in the country, it is inconvenient to get manure -- I can do it as I have several rancher friends, but it is difficult to fork heavy cow poop into my truck. But I was given 20 bags of leaves and a bale of hay and have access to lots of fresh grass clippings. If I used just grass clippings and coffee grounds as my greens will the resulting compost be balanced enough or do I really need to add manure?

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Re: Compost composition question

Post  camprn on 5/8/2010, 9:48 am

hmm, I would say first off, I would put the bale of hay just next to the compost as it may contain seeds. I have a friend trying to grow some things in a bale of straw this year. She hacked at and loosened the center of the bale and kind of made a growing container out of it.

For quick hot compost the fresh cut grass is great! the carbon in it will generate heat. There are a few reasons I sprinkle dried blood onto my pile 1) nitrogen, feeds the bacteria that breaks down the grass, etc. 2) It transports well (don't have a truck to get fresh manure). Dried leaves to break up the grass clippings, as those tend to mat together and slow the process by inhibiting air flow (I think). You should be able to get good results with what you have there, plus kitchen scraps. It may not offer complete nutrition into the garden bed, but improving the soil quality and inviting the worms. My $0.02. Very Happy
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Re: Compost composition question

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/8/2010, 3:05 pm

Thanks. Believe me, the heat of the compost pile will kill the hay weed seeds. I rarely have any seeds survive. This is for a batch pile -- kitchen scraps go into my on-going pile and to my wormies. I'd fogotten about blood meal even though I recommended the use to someone else in the past week. Might hedge my bet and get some of that. Good idea.

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Re: Compost composition question

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/10/2010, 1:16 pm

I mentioned after church on Sunday that I really needed some easy to get manure, and one of members' son had gotten rid of 3 rabbits and there was still manure where the cages had been. Went this morning and got 6 5 gal. buckets of rabbit manure. Enough to finish out this compost bin and make one more. That will give me 4 compost piles -- I think that will be enough for the foreseeable future. I screened out a bucket of "pellets" and scattered them around the garden since rabbit dropping don't burn. I'm a happy camper.

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Re: Compost composition question

Post  timwardell on 5/10/2010, 10:46 pm

@belfry... GREAT find on the bunny poo. Wish I knew someone with rabbits. I'm so jealous. albino

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Re: Compost composition question

Post  trukrebew on 5/10/2010, 11:07 pm

What exactly does the manure add to the compost that you can't get from regular greens and browns?
I've been composting for a few years and have never added poo to my bin.
I have supplemented my own with some store-bought manure/compost blends, but never used fresh.
If it is necessary, I can easily get some fresh poo b/c I have a friend with 7 bunnies and no garden. How would she look if I just showed up with empty buckets and some gloves? Shocked

I'm also trying to remember some practical details of that 80's movie where the entrepreneurial kids sold horse manure as fertilizer, but can only recall a freckled face boy on a mountain of manure! Anyone else remember KidCo?

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Re: Compost composition question

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/11/2010, 8:20 am

What exactly does the manure add to the compost that you can't get from regular greens and browns?


A more well-rounded nutritional balance and I've found it heats the pile better. I don't turn my pile, so getting it hot from the beginning is important. Until recently I lived in the country and had poultry, so always added manure. My compost was the absolute best. So I don't want to "fix what not's broken". No problem using plant-based greens, but I've found adding manure makes for a better end product.

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Re: Compost composition question

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/11/2010, 8:22 am

@belfry... GREAT find on the bunny poo. Wish I knew someone with rabbits. I'm so jealous

Eat your heart out! Or place an ad on freecycle -- bet you'll find someone who would love to have you come and clean out their rabbit pen.

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Re: Compost composition question

Post  trukrebew on 5/11/2010, 7:47 pm

Thanks for the tip. I only turn my pile when I add a full kitchen bucket or lawn clippings, which is only 2-3x a week, tops. So I guess I could use a some heat to help it along.

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