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To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on 11/19/2015, 3:04 pm

Fresno (at least they used to) rotates chlorination among the city wells. Also, when work is done to a line.

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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/19/2015, 5:52 pm

Makes sense Zmoore.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Zmoore on 11/23/2015, 8:02 am

If you guys(sanderson, scorpio, monitors) get tired of my "updates" just say so.  Not a problem to stop... (wait, that's what addicts say isn't it?).
Anyway, 1 month mark.  Outside temperatures dropped this weekend, it was "crisp" saturday morning when I went out to turn and add more stuff.  Pile temperature seemed "cooler" to me, but due to the "delta" in air and pile a lot of "steam" was coming out.  I finally got a picture where you can see the steam coming off the top of the pile and this was before I dug into it.


So, I flipped about half the pile over and then added more material.  I'm really going against the grain here a little and definitely playing with my pile.  I should stop adding and just let this finish, BUT I don;t really need it until April, so... why not just keep playing with it.  Also, Sanderson recommended that I reduce amount of sawdust I've been adding with the horse manure because sawdust (being woody) takes longer to break down.  Then I'm talking with a friend who has a wood shop and does a lot of his own milling and planing and has lots of clean sawdust as a by-product.... well, gotta try that right?  So, I added a little "kitchen" stuff, grapes, egg sheels, apples, didn't have much and then layered over it with a bag of sawdust.  I didn't want to add water because that will cool my pile down, but the sawdust was bone dry, so I wet it, amazing how much water it can absorb.  Then finished flipping the pile. 


After I was done, covered it back up with my CAMO tarp, how cool is that Smile  (shout out to Yolos again Smile ).  Yes, on the left hand side of the photo near the top is my "helper", one of our cats or the rear end of him anyway.  Sitting on my screener.    


Side note.  Later that day I went to help my daughters Girl Scout troop at a "Skills Day" event.  My daughter was helping to run the "knife safety" station and as part of that station the girls were practicing cutting/shaving potatoes and bananas (with plastic knives Smile ).  Anyway, My daughter came up with the idea to save all the potato and banana bits for me.  On her own, I didn't ask.  I thought that was sweet of her.  So, I have those to add next week Smile
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/23/2015, 9:23 am

Awww...  What a great daughter, ZMoore!

("addict"....  snicker!  We can stop any time we want to!  That's my story & I'm stickin' to it...  I just don't want to stop!)

What is the plastic tube sticking out of the pile?  Is it to let excess water drain?
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  jimmy cee on 11/23/2015, 10:11 am

I love playing in my compost piles too....
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Zmoore on 11/23/2015, 10:57 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:What is the plastic tube sticking out of the pile?  Is it to let excess water drain?

Ahh, well um... you see.  Ventilation?  I got the basic idea from to Rodale composting book.  The idea is if you insert some perforated tubing through your pile the natural heat convection of the pile (warm air rising) will draw outside air into tubes/pile and the need for turning is negated.  The pile can get air that way.
That's my feeble attempt at playing with the idea.  I had some 4" pvc drain tile laying around, I grabbed it and laid it out and then put my pile over it.  Theoretically, air can be drawn in and into the bottom center of my pile.  
To really try it out I need some more tubing and have it more distributed through the pile, one at bottom center not really enough methinks.  I'm just playing with it and have been watching it see if warm air from center travels back up the pipe and vents out the end and may be visible over the winter as "steam" coming out of the pipe.  Haven't seen that yet.
The future "plan" is to get some more piping, maybe a little smaller even, and try 3 pipes along the bottom spaced 12-18", cover that to 6-12", then lay 2 more pipes spaced off center, cover that, then 1 more pipe and then cover that.  Kind of a triangle shape of vent pipes in center of pile.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on 11/23/2015, 2:53 pm

Kids play with sand piles, we play with compost piles! Very Happy

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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/23/2015, 6:14 pm

Sometimes especially in summer I will put a few sticks into the pile to aerate it a bit.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/24/2015, 8:26 am

Okay, ZMoore...  I get it.  That's really a great idea!

My pile is mostly greens & very slow, but I am building it up.  (Not in a hurry - can you tell?)  But I think I'll dig around in the shed & see what I can find.  I want to build a real compost area.  I could use pvc with holes drilled into it and set them at various heights to do the same thing.....

I really would like to speed up the process & make it better.....

thinking     thinking     thinking     thinking
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  yolos on 11/24/2015, 11:41 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Okay, ZMoore...  I get it.  That's really a great idea!

My pile is mostly greens & very slow, but I am building it up.  (Not in a hurry - can you tell?)  But I think I'll dig around in the shed & see what I can find.  I want to build a real compost area.  I could use pvc with holes drilled into it and set them at various heights to do the same thing.....

I really would like to speed up the process & make it better.....

thinking     thinking     thinking     thinking
AM - that reminds me of one experiment I did with my compost pile that failed miserably.  I got 1 inch PVC pipe and drilled lots of holes in the PVC.  Then in a 4 x 4 pile I laid three pipes spaced evenly horizontally across the pile about a foot off the ground and then another set of three about 1.5 feet above these. I made the pipes long enough so they would stick out on each side of the pile. Then I bought some caps so that when it turned cold I could cap the pipes to keep the cold air out of the inside of the pile.

The ants thanked my for providing them with a nice easy highway into my pile so they could get to the food scraps buried in the pile.  That was the last time I put the pipes in horizontally.  The next year I tried them vertically and again the ants thanked me for the highway into my pile.  So now I just do what I can with turning occasionally and sticking a long Concrete tie rod into the pile and wiggling it around.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/24/2015, 4:28 pm

Mindreader!  That's exactly what I was thinking I'd do!!!

Thanks for the warning, Yolos....  Guess I'll just have to do it the old fashioned way....
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  yolos on 11/24/2015, 4:46 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Mindreader!  That's exactly what I was thinking I'd do!!!

Thanks for the warning, Yolos....  Guess I'll just have to do it the old fashioned way....
If you don't have a problem with ants it should work.  But we have ant hills all over the place and it is a struggle to keep them out of the garden.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/24/2015, 8:59 pm

I remember your ant battle  Shocked

We are fighting fire ants IN OUR HOUSE... *deep sigh*  They are everywhere.  It's insane.  We're going to have to call in a professional to win this one I think.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/26/2015, 7:55 am

You TOO, Audrey Jeanne?  

We found thousands of them by our back door & inside one of our classrooms.  We finally seem to have got rid of them, but what a battle!  I've got ant baits all over the downstairs & made sure to spray around that door & beyond.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  trolleydriver on 11/26/2015, 8:28 am

Have you tried the "baking soda mixed and powdered sugar" ant destroyer?

http://www.wikihow.com/Kill-Ants
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  yolos on 11/26/2015, 9:31 am

@trolleydriver wrote:Have you tried the "baking soda mixed and powdered sugar" ant destroyer?

http://www.wikihow.com/Kill-Ants
I have tried many of the suggestions listed in this article.  The last time I went ant hunting, there were 7 ant hills in the back yard.  I looked over at the neighbors field and they had 12 ant hills.  All over the place.  Your article was the most comprehensive I have seen.  But this is the method that gave me a chuckle.


Smash the ants. When all else fails, you can always squash the ants with a shoe, old magazine, or fly-swatter.

They say that if you keep the pile moist enough the ants won't be in the pile.  But with the PVC highways leading into the pile, the moisture of the pile does not effect the entry of the ants.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on 11/26/2015, 3:48 pm

Red ants, fire ants, RIFA - I would hate to have to battle painful ants. I just have the highly nuisance Argentine.

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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/27/2015, 8:45 am

@yolos wrote:

I have tried many of the suggestions listed in this article.  The last time I went ant hunting, there were 7 ant hills in the back yard.  I looked over at the neighbors field and they had 12 ant hills.  All over the place.  

Same here.  It's been a terrible year for them.  We've got 1/3 acre & must have 50 hills scattered around.  Our neighbors aren't any better.

One good reason to mow the yard...  Scatter the little buggers to the wind & make them VERY unhappy!   Twisted Evil
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  jimmy cee on 11/27/2015, 8:33 pm

In my opinion there is only one way to rid yourself of these pests,
Get rid of the entire colony colonies.
And that may be done by extensive research into the pests.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/28/2015, 8:42 am

I agree, Jimmy.  Unfortunately, for large areas, everything goes back to chemicals I don't want in my yard...  At least everything I've found...
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/28/2015, 9:24 am

Too bad you can't rent an anteater.....
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/28/2015, 2:25 pm

funny post  

I agree, Scorpio!  That would make life easy...  for both me AND the anteater!
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  CapeCoddess on 11/28/2015, 4:28 pm

Does anyone compost their raspberry canes? I won't compost rose clippings - they bite no matter how old the are - but the raspberry canes don't seem as threatening to the hands later on down the line.
H
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on 11/28/2015, 5:43 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Too bad you can't rent an anteater.....
There's an empty business niche! You know, like Rent-a-Goat.

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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/29/2015, 8:13 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:Does anyone compost their raspberry canes? I won't compost rose clippings - they bite no matter how old the are - but the raspberry canes don't seem as threatening to the hands later on down the line.
H
I've HEARD you shouldn't compost raspberry canes due to diseases they may carry.

Who is it that has the 200 raspberry bushes?  Haven't seen her in a WHILE!   thinking  She would be the one to ask!
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