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2 questions on compost

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2 questions on compost

Post  jimmy cee on 4/20/2016, 8:29 am

1st..I have that pile of fine chipped pieces of brush.Can I add it all to my compost piles. ?

2nd, One of my piles is sort of halfway done. I want to get a load of fresh horse manure and turn the ppile over to the next bin. Would it be ok to do the halfway finished compost ? I've kept working this pile all winter. it's cold now and I know there is material in it that isn't done yet.

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Re: 2 questions on compost

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/20/2016, 12:41 pm

I'm looking at the stuff I get from my chipper as wood chips, brush and all, and will be using them to mulch my perennial gardens.  I wouldn't put them in my compost pile since I have enough woody substances in there.

BUT, if I had a lot of fresh manure coming, I may be tempted to put the fresh wood chips in with that, but I would NOT put fresh manure in a half way finished pile.    Doesn't it take at least 6 mths to compost fresh manure?  I've used sifted halfway finished compost on my SFG in a pinch, and fresh manure would put on that brakes on that option.

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Re: 2 questions on compost

Post  camprn on 4/20/2016, 1:11 pm

If it's wood, use it as mulch. If it is bark, that will compost much more easily.

I would not add this to my compost pile.

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Re: 2 questions on compost

Post  Zmoore on 4/21/2016, 8:43 am

@jimmy cee wrote:1st..I have that pile of fine chipped pieces of brush.Can I add it all to my compost piles. ?

2nd, One of my piles is sort of halfway done. I want to get a load of fresh horse manure and turn the ppile over to the next bin. Would it be ok to do the halfway finished compost ? I've kept working this pile all winter. it's cold now and I know there is material in it that isn't done yet.

Ask a question, get several different answers Smile

I generally wouldn't add the chipped brush to an existing pile UNLESS I knew I wouldn't be using the material for quite awhile, 6 months or more for the "chunky" wood.  Wood chips are very high in carbon and IMO I don't think there'd be enough residual nitrogen in a partially done pile to compensate and get the "magical" environment that you would want to get the bacteria rolling and munching on your wood chips.  

I'm generally with CC on adding the manure to a halfway finished pile.  If you're trying to "kick start" the pile again, I can understand that.  However, IMO, once you do that the pile is no longer "halfway" done. it's pretty much zero done, starting over.  If I added fresh manure, I'd also add some fresh carbon, not something very high like wood chips, maybe straw or leaves.  I'd also try to layer it into the middle of my "halfway" pile, hoping to "start a spark" in the middle of pile.  Monitor temperature, temperature should rise, as soon as it starts to fall, then flip to mix again.  Now let it do it's thing, just remember it's no longer "halfway" done.  

As far as composting your chip pile, I'd go for it.  I'd start a brand new pile though.  The only version of wood chips I've done is saw dust, so a much finer material.  Wood chips are pretty much same, you just have chunkier material.  Wood chips are very high in carbon.  Sanderson provided a nifty little calculator link from Klickitat County, you probably already have a link saved to it.  For wood chips I would suggest a 1:1 ratio of chips to horse manure.  The wood chips are just so high in carbon you need a lot of "nitrogen" to counterbalance.  Your shredded brush looks great to me and I'm envious of your shredder, but it's still a little on the "chunky" side in relation to what you want for finished product, so I think it will take a little longer than your normal for the material to break down to what you want, BUT I think it certainly can be done.  

As far as using the chipped brush as mulch.  That sounds good too, BUT those chips look "green" to me.  I'm not sure just looking at the picture, but just be careful.  If the wood you chipped was all dry and "seasoned" fine.  If there was still "green" wood in the mix, let the chip pile mellow for a little while before you use it as mulch.  Green wood chips could "burn" your plants.

My 2 cents.

P.S. somewhere in another thread someone asked about composting cardboard.  I thought wood chips were the highest in carbon, but I just looked at the Klickitat calculator and Cardboard is the winner for carbon at 378:1 followed by wood chips at 226:1 and then paper at 126:1.  From there it drops to 40-50:1 for your typical "browns" or carbons.  Just an interesting comparison IMO, the "top three" average about 5 times higher in C:N ratio than your other typical "brown" materials.

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Re: 2 questions on compost

Post  sanderson on 4/21/2016, 1:34 pm

I'm going to use this as mulch in the front yard color spot. They are 2 days old with lots of skinny green leaves. Ramial chips with heavy on the leaves. I'll let you know how it goes before using yours as mulch. I know the fresh ramial chips from our tree 18 months ago really heated up in the containers and had a tight web of filaments growing.

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Re: 2 questions on compost

Post  jimmy cee on 4/21/2016, 7:46 pm

Thanks everyone,  
Will start new pile with chips. After screening old half done pile, I'll just toss the leftovers in the new one.
This answers both my questions.
I'm having a small maple tree cut down and chipped, chips are mine, so that will give me a good start...chips, horse manure, and discarded veggies...lots of ammunition there. I'll add some elbow grease also.

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Re: 2 questions on compost

Post  sanderson on 4/22/2016, 3:19 am

And some coffee grounds Wink

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Re: 2 questions on compost

Post  jimmy cee on 4/22/2016, 6:28 am

@sanderson wrote:And some coffee grounds Wink
Thats just a standard here, never an empty pile of coffee grinds.

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Re: 2 questions on compost

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