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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  jimmy cee on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 14:53

I have a question about little worms. My beds now being elevated with around 15 inches of air space between ground and bed makes my beds candidates for freezing, and freeze they do...Solid clear through the 6 to 7 inches of MM.
I have seen activity after they thaw, however not with the worms, sowbugs, roam around.
I am sure the worms freeze solid, no way they can't. No place to go.
Do you know when worms freeze, do they die ? or do they enter a state of hibernation and then come back to life after thawing.?
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Kelejan on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 16:41

I rather think they die, jimmy. :-(

You could do an experiment. Sacrifice one, put it in a freezer bag, freeze, then thaw.

Report the results of your experiment.

PS Must admit I would not do it myself. I'm a wimp.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 16:44

They die. Their cells are very full of water, which expands, and explodes the cells destroying the organism. Same way with dessication, drying out. Opposite of course.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Kelejan on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 16:49

@Scorpio Rising wrote:They die.  Their cells are very full of water, which expands, and explodes the cells destroying the organism.  Same way with dessication, drying out.  Opposite of course.  

Of course, Scorpio.  I should have remembered.  In any case, they go back to the Soil Web to be eaten by other organism that do survive freezing.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 17:51

@Kelejan wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:They die.  Their cells are very full of water, which expands, and explodes the cells destroying the organism.  Same way with dessication, drying out.  Opposite of course.  

Of course, Scorpio.  I should have remembered.  In any case, they go back to the Soil Web to be eaten by other organism that do survive freezing.

You were right, Kelejan, they cannot survive a full on frozen state. Maybe a mild freeze, idk. But again, you are right, all part of the circle of life, dead organic material like worms will nourish the soil then plants that utilize it!
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  jimmy cee on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 18:37

@Kelejan wrote:I rather think they die, jimmy. :-(

You could do an experiment. Sacrifice one, put it in a freezer bag, freeze, then thaw.

Report the results of your experiment.

PS Must admit I would not do it myself. I'm a wimp.
That's a great idea...I'll do it tomorrow unless I forget..
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  jimmy cee on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 18:41

Ok, I'll forget that idea of a sacrifice. I suppose that's one negative effect of elevated beds. Can't dig through to find them in the fall, that would be destroying  microbe and tunnel activity...
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compost

Post  landarch on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 19:06

Had problems with an earlier post so I'll give it another try.

I turned my two compost piles this weekend.  I layered them with chopped leaves, manures (rabbit, chicken, horse, cow), coffee grounds, and kitchen scraps.  I turned 100% of the pile on Saturday and noticed zero heat...and less than 24 hours the pile was steaming.  Nothing like a little oxygen to get things going.

pile one - 4x4 vinyl coated wire panels
 

pile two - Geobin...about 3' diameter or so.  Had to replace the original cheap stakes with some rebar.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Sun 21 Feb 2016 - 23:32

Really thick layer of insulating mulch? Topped with clear plastic tarp? Christmas lights on the MM?
http://wormmainea.blogspot.com/2009/10/overwintering-red-wigglers-outside.html

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

Post  trolleydriver on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 4:48

One of the suggestions is "digging a pit below the frost line and insulating the sides and top with closed cell foam insulation and a trap door lid."

I would have to dig down more than 48 inches!
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Zmoore on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 4:52

Looking good landarch!!!
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  jimmy cee on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 5:20

@Zmoore wrote:Looking good landarch!!!
I agree, I enjoy looking at a well made compost
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  AtlantaMarie on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 5:46

DH made me a bunch of worm tubes that I'll be incorporating this year.

Is there any food items that are not recommended for them? (I know worms don't like onions...)

How finely do you chop up the veggies/fruit?

How often do you replenish the tube?
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Zmoore on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 6:37

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Is there any food items that are not recommended for them?  (I know worms don't like onions...)

I haven't done the worm tube thing... yet Smile  , but from just general composting I'd say incorporate some coffee grounds and even a little shredded newspaper once in awhile.  I think about any general kitchen waste (non-meat) will do and you'll be fine, but coffee grounds they seem to really be attracted to.

OH!  Maybe not eggshells?  I use egg shells in large compost pile, but they're a small portion of the total, inside a smaller confined space maybe try to avoid or at least in moderation.  I THINK egg shells can cut them?  Maybe that's just slugs.  

Anyway, coffee grounds.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 10:18

Search box: 110 topics on worms and 6 topics on red wigglers.

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

Post  AtlantaMarie on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 13:20

FINE, Sanderson.... (head hung low, shoulders slumped...)

Thanks, Zmoore!
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 13:52

@AtlantaMarie wrote:FINE, Sanderson....  (head hung low, shoulders slumped...)

Thanks, Zmoore!
You literally made me laugh out loud!!!  I can just picture it  Laughing
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  CapeCoddess on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 14:18

Can we compost old yogurt if there's no mold? It's only a month old...

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

Post  sanderson on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 16:58

I have cleaned the refrigerator and cupboards with my large piles. Yogurt, milk, pasta, nuts, veggies; just no meats, oils, pickles, the usual no-nos.

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

Post  Scorpio Rising on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 19:15

Never would have thought of that.  I guess I equated milk with meat.  Not so?!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 19:15; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spell incorrect)
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 19:34

Milk is really good for the garden.  It can be used sprayed on the leaves mixed 50/50 and the milk sugars can't be digested by soft bodied bugs like aphids.  They do not have a pancreas so cannot break them down and they die.

Milk spray also helps against powdery mildew.

The milk also feeds the bacteria in the soil and increases the soil fertility massively.  I read and I think I posted an article about that last year.  You might search about milk in the garden online.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  sanderson on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 22:41

I thought this was an interesting article on milk for crops. That's why I started thinking about spraying the lawn with milk. Also molasses. Now compost tea.

http://www.minnesotafarmguide.com/news/regional/milk-works-as-fertilizer-says-preliminary-study/article_028652ea-849c-11e0-9dcc-001cc4c03286.html

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

Post  trolleydriver on Thu 3 Mar 2016 - 6:11

Not sure if I've raised this before but here goes.

We grow a lot of Iris and Tiger Lilies around our fish pond. In the Fall we cut off the leaves down to ground level. Last year I chopped up the leaves with the lawnmower and put them into my compost bins.

Here's the problem ... I did not realize that (some or all?) Iris and Tiger Lily plants are poisonous. Will these poisons remain in the compost and possibly cause problems for us if I use that compost on the SFG beds?  Should I take the safe route and use that compost only on flower beds or even discard it? Most of this stuff probably did not compost anyway over the winter so I could take it out.

Then I also found this "Iris borers lay their eggs on the iris leaves, and the eggs overwinter quite nicely."  And this ... "Dead leaves from tomatoes and squash plants, bean vines and corn stalks provide a paradise for overwintering bean beetles, squash and corn borers, and many other pests.  Cut them down and remove them from the garden now.  Do not compost because many eggs and diseases will survive the home composting procedure."  I've got tomato leaves and bean vines in my compost as well. Yikes!
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  CapeCoddess on Thu 3 Mar 2016 - 7:16

TD, I've been composting all those things forever and I haven't been poisoned yet. Maybe it adds to the pests and maybe it doesn't, how does one ever know?
thinking
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

Post  Scorpio Rising on Thu 3 Mar 2016 - 16:18

Yeah, I compost tiger lily debri and iris stuff. Milkweed, no. Poison to humans in the milky latex sap.
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Re: To Compost or not to Compost that is the question...

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