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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  trolleydriver on Sun 14 Feb 2016, 3:17 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@trolleydriver wrote:KJ ... They are strictly vegetarian except when they decide to take a nip out of a finger when you are holding them.

That takes care of the blood-meal requirements then.

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing  Good one KJ
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  trolleydriver on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 2:36 pm

Here is yet another possibly redundant question to demonstrate my newbieism:

If I make my own compost (which I do) then is that the only compost that I need in my Mel's Mix or do I still need to get several more kinds of compost to add to it?
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 2:44 pm

If your compost was made with 5 different ingredients, with one being a barnyard manure, it should be good by itself.

Other's thoughts??

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

Post  trolleydriver on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 2:55 pm

Thanks sanderson ... My compost this year will be made from kitchen scraps (e.g., egg shells, banana peels, other fruit parts, pieces of vegetables, etc. ... no meat or fats), leaves, some grass clippings, vegetable and flowering plant materials from the garden, leaves and the stuff I cleaned out of the fish pond.  I'm going to try to get coffee grounds from the local coffee shop. I can also get composted horse manure from my neighbor.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 3:05 pm

Sounds excellent.

http://klickitatcounty.org/SolidWaste/fileshtml/organics/compostCalc.htm

I had to search other sites to find C:N ratios of things not listed on this site. Then grouped similar valued products together to come up with only 4 to plug into the boxes.

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

Post  jimmy cee on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 3:51 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Thanks sanderson ... My compost this year will be made from kitchen scraps (e.g., egg shells, banana peels, other fruit parts, pieces of vegetables, etc. ... no meat or fats), leaves, some grass clippings, vegetable and flowering plant materials from the garden, leaves and the stuff I cleaned out of the fish pond.  I'm going to try to get coffee grounds from the local coffee shop. I can also get composted horse manure from my neighbor.

Kitchen scraps....chop them up
egg shell....grind in coffee grinder, add when adding plants (1 teaspoon of eggshells + 1 teaspoon of Epsomsalts)
banana peels, other fruits.. chop as finely as you can
leaves, dry and shred.
grass clippings dry before adding
coffee grinds...store on side till adding to compost
horse manure, fresh heats a pile better, store finished on the side.

Not saying this is the way to go, this is the way I do it and getting great results...That fresh manure will sure bring in the worms, then they'll multiply like crazy..
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  trolleydriver on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 4:07 pm

Thanks sanderson and jimmy.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  camprn on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 6:17 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Here is yet another possibly redundant question to demonstrate my newbieism:

If I make my own compost (which I do) then is that the only compost that I need in my Mel's Mix or do I still need to get several more kinds of compost to add to it?
I usually add some manure or lobster compost to my homemade, kitchen and garden scrap compost.

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

Post  p14shooter on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 7:21 pm

so in watching this post, I have been doing it all wrong.  I was putting my kitchen scraps in whole, it is to wet, and I was putting absolutely no browns in it.  No wonder nothing was working right.  It is only the 2 of us, so we do not generate a lot of kitchen waste and am only doing it in a bucket.  So if I recap, this is what I should be doing

Cutting (maybe grating) up my peels, cores, etc
crushing up my egg shells more
adding shredded paper (maybe flyers with safe ink??
adding my egg carton in bits
Are leaves browns or greens?  dry leaves brown and green leaves green? if so that what is the difference other than the obvious lack of water
What about the dead plants from the SFG do they need to be cut/chopped? (well that was silly, of course they need to be chopped)

I did not use MM last  year, so the stuff I had collected all spring and summer I just dug into the ground in the fall hoping that it would all just rot/decay/be worm food over the fall and spring.  I now presume this will not have the desired effect. 

Where we generate so little waste, maybe it is not really worth trying to compost?  Just buy the stuff and be done with it?  We do have a full compost program that goes with our garbage collection so it is not being wasted.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  camprn on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 7:44 pm

@p14shooter wrote:so in watching this post, I have been doing it all wrong.  I was putting my kitchen scraps in whole, it is to wet, and I was putting absolutely no browns in it.  No wonder nothing was working right.  It is only the 2 of us, so we do not generate a lot of kitchen waste and am only doing it in a bucket.  So if I recap, this is what I should be doing

Cutting (maybe grating) up my peels, cores, etc
crushing up my egg shells more
adding shredded paper (maybe flyers with safe ink??
adding my egg carton in bits
Are leaves browns or greens?  dry leaves brown and green leaves green? if so that what is the difference other than the obvious lack of water
What about the dead plants from the SFG do they need to be cut/chopped? (well that was silly, of course they need to be chopped)

I did not use MM last  year, so the stuff I had collected all spring and summer I just dug into the ground in the fall hoping that it would all just rot/decay/be worm food over the fall and spring.  I now presume this will not have the desired effect. 

Where we generate so little waste, maybe it is not really worth trying to compost?  Just buy the stuff and be done with it?  We do have a full compost program that goes with our garbage collection so it is not being wasted.
You're not doing it wrong, just differently.

  • I don't waste my valuable time mincing the kitchen scraps to go into the compost pile.
  • Same with the egg shells
  • I tear the egg cartons into maybe 6 pieces
  • Tree leaves are mostly carbon, a brown.
  • Grass leaf cuttings are high in nitrogen, a green.
  • garden leavings are more brown than green, and I only cut up long stalks and such, with my garden clippers to about 6 inches.

The smaller you chop stuff up the more surface space there is for the microbes to get the whole composting thing going. It will all rot just fine, eventually, regardless of size.

The stuff you stuck into the garden soil last summer is long gone and is now fertilizer.

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

Post  jimmy cee on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 9:23 pm

@p14shooter wrote:so in watching this post, I have been doing it all wrong.  I was putting my kitchen scraps in whole, it is to wet, and I was putting absolutely no browns in it.  No wonder nothing was working right.  It is only the 2 of us, so we do not generate a lot of kitchen waste and am only doing it in a bucket.  So if I recap, this is what I should be doing

Cutting (maybe grating) up my peels, cores, etc
crushing up my egg shells more
adding shredded paper (maybe flyers with safe ink??
adding my egg carton in bits
Are leaves browns or greens?  dry leaves brown and green leaves green? if so that what is the difference other than the obvious lack of water
What about the dead plants from the SFG do they need to be cut/chopped? (well that was silly, of course they need to be chopped)

I did not use MM last  year, so the stuff I had collected all spring and summer I just dug into the ground in the fall hoping that it would all just rot/decay/be worm food over the fall and spring.  I now presume this will not have the desired effect. 

Where we generate so little waste, maybe it is not really worth trying to compost?  Just buy the stuff and be done with it?  We do have a full compost program that goes with our garbage collection so it is not being wasted.


WHOAAAAA WHOOOAAAA
you just need to compost differently
Vermicomposting...check it out, you're a perfect candidate for this type of composting.
I just attended a seminar today, given by friends of the park here in town..
Explained everything about it, how to make your own or buy finished worm bins, and the entire process...
I've never done it (YET) LOL...check it out on facebook, youtube and the internet in general...A fascinating topic...
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 9:47 pm

P14, you are making compost right now! It is fine! The smaller the size of the addition, the faster it degrades obviously. I hand crush my eggshells, and don't chop anything and I have a productive old fashioned compost pile!

There are many methods, and then there is yours! I tend to use the Rodale's Organic Gardening method. Not fast, but also the lazy gardener's friend! I get a spring and fall batch.

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

Post  p14shooter on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 9:49 pm

I had looked into the subject, but without guidance seemed to be a simple yet impossible project.  Not to mention the fact that the winters here would kill the worms.  I don't know if that is a bad thing or not, they are just worms.  Is that wrong to say that?  I think it is here.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Kelejan on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 10:44 pm

@p14shooter wrote:I had looked into the subject, but without guidance seemed to be a simple yet impossible project.  Not to mention the fact that the winters here would kill the worms.  I don't know if that is a bad thing or not, they are just worms.  Is that wrong to say that?  I think it is here.

Just heresy, p14.  Very Happy   RE: kitchen waste etc.  It is never pointless composting even if you do not have very much.  I have only myself but I make as much compost as I can using as many ingredients as possible.

If you have time, read the thread "Microbes...you gotta see this one!!!" currently running here on the Forum.  It may be a little advanced for you at this stage but it gives you a idea of whatsoil is made of etc.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 11:32 pm

If the worms have access to actual ground, they will be fine. They die in the table tops that are suspended above ground when temps get extreme, like we have. All my squares are on the earth.

If they have an escape hatch to actual dirt and Earth, they will hibernate and be fine! Or become part of the complex food web that exists in actual dirt.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Sat 20 Feb 2016, 11:51 pm

P14, My 2 cents. Dry leaves and barn manure plus your scraps. Starbucks or church coffee grounds. Check out 'worm tube' in the Search box. The little red worms can make worm castings right in your beds. An over-winter pile of dry leaves and horse manure will attract ground worms.

Did you ever tell us what your set up is for composing? The size and set up.

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

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 12:21 am

I opened up my large compost pile I started at the beginning of the fall today.  I had it covered with a clear plastic cover and a bunch of seeds have sprouted in it.  A lot of mustard which is great as it's super easy to pull and just toss right back in the pile.

My phone was dead or I would have taken pictures of the compost - it's amazingly broken down to dark, very fine, almost coffee grounds texture.  I direct planted squash seeds all around the big mound and have the covered with make shift "cloches" made of wide mouthed nut containers.  They will warm the ground during the day and protect from any random frost that could hit.  Our true last frost date is 3-15 but in 5 years it's never been that late.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  p14shooter on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 7:30 am

sanderson, I had mentioned that I was just doing bucket composting.  I am using a 5gal bucket.  It is white but I wrap it in black cloth to help bring the heat in.  I see now that has55 has posted a bit, and will look through that.  And will search for tubes as mentioned. 

just so I understand correctly, when everyone here is talking vermicompost, you are talking using red wriggelers, not just regular ground worms right?
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  jimmy cee on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 7:34 am

@p14shooter wrote:I had looked into the subject, but without guidance seemed to be a simple yet impossible project.  Not to mention the fact that the winters here would kill the worms.  I don't know if that is a bad thing or not, they are just worms.  Is that wrong to say that?  I think it is here.

Vermicomposting correctly done has no odors, and from what I understand no negative effects that it cannot be done indoors, ( thus the winter problem )
No odors as long as the procedure stays aerobic. The one drawback I heard about were small  gnats being attracted to the container.
There are easy remedies for this.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  jimmy cee on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 7:40 am

@p14shooter wrote:sanderson, I had mentioned that I was just doing bucket composting.  I am using a 5gal bucket.  It is white but I wrap it in black cloth to help bring the heat in.  I see now that has55 has posted a bit, and will look through that.  And will search for tubes as mentioned. 

just so I understand correctly, when everyone here is talking vermicompost, you are talking using red wriggelers, not just regular ground worms right?
Yes on the red wigglers.. I haven't purchased any and there are thousand of them in my compost piles.
I'm thinking they came with the fresh batches of horse manure that I've been using, aged manure also.
The heat that is seen in composting does not come from external sources, heat is developed from all those microbes doing their work
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 1:48 pm

P14,  I am filling a new bed today and will install a new worm tube in a few days.  I will take some worms from a heavily populated bed and resettle them in the new tube.  The red wigglers feed on rotting veggie scraps and other stuff I add, then travel around the bed until I add new food. Old photos:  


Jimmy, free red wigglers?  I had to pay for mine! Wink

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

Post  CapeCoddess on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 2:20 pm

Ooooo...lovely wormies, Sanderson!  I was out playing with mine just this afternoon.
I love you
They were free.  Build a ground pile and they come.

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

Post  Scorpio Rising on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 2:25 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Ooooo...lovely wormies, Sanderson!  I was out playing with mine just this afternoon.
I love you
They were free.  Build a ground pile and they come.

CC

+1!
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 3:33 pm

If anyone does not have red wigglers and wants to use them to compost - you do not have to buy many.  I can't remember if I bought one or two pounds initially but I think I have millions now, lol!  I just grab a handful and add it to any new raised bed.  

I keep heavy mulch on my beds for water retention in our very hot, very dry summer climate.  The worms break down that mulch and turn it into the soil for me as well as adding their castings through out the beds.  I add food in my worm tubes where I first put them in, I don't use them in the newer beds because the mulch and chop and drop is enough to keep them fed.  When I pick off leaves or prune anything back I chop it finely and add it on top of the beds.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Sun 21 Feb 2016, 4:54 pm

Plus your compost has cow manure! Mine has horse manure and the worms love it. I bought 1/2 pound of red wigglers from the local worm man. Divided them between 4 worm tubes with the remainder into the free-range box.

The earth worms like the ramial (fresh wood and leaves) chip areas and the flower beds heavily enriched with compost.

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