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Wood Pellets as Browns - Zeolite

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Wood Pellets as Browns - Zeolite

Post  sanderson on 8/5/2017, 9:32 am

I'm wondering what the rest of you think about using wood pellets as browns. My husband bought two 40-pound bags of bedding pellets to supplement the last of fall leaves for a new batch of tumbler compost. On the label it stated contains Zeolite for absorption. Per internet, this is Zeolite: Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts. Hmmm, aluminum? Silicate for absorbing moisture? I'm afraid that it might alter the activity of the Mel's Mix.

I'm going to check on wood pellets for fireplace inserts and see if they are free of additives.

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Re: Wood Pellets as Browns - Zeolite

Post  Abiqua Ike on 8/5/2017, 10:27 am

I used to sell both animal bedding pellets and wood stove pellets at the farm co-op. The zeolites are natural rock minerals, they are safe and increase the moisture absorption rate of the pellets. There are no additives in the wood stove pellets. Both kinds of pellets will rapidly turn into sawdust. I doubt that there would be any noticeable difference in the physical properties of the mix from the zeolites. (It might moisten a little easier if bone dry.)

That said, sawdust (which is effectively what these pellets are) has a poor carbon to nitrogen ratio. The micro-organisms will break the sawdust down and will require nitrogen from the surrounding mix to digest the sawdust. You can counter this by adding additional nitrogen, but that is a cost. Sawdust can be a decent soil amendment if you can get it REALLY CHEAP and can add extra nitrogen through manures etc.

My guess is that these pellets are probably too expensive when compared to a bag of sawdust.
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Re: Wood Pellets as Browns - Zeolite

Post  Robbomb116 on 8/6/2017, 12:02 pm

Zeolite is actually somewhat structurally similar to vermiculite. Vermiculite has aluminum, silicate, iron and magnesium. I wouldn't be too worried about the aluminum and silicate as it is already in the vermiculite. That being said, if there's a lot of zeolite, it might be worth considering cutting down on vermiculite? Not sure...
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Re: Wood Pellets as Browns - Zeolite

Post  sanderson on 8/6/2017, 12:16 pm

I appreciate the replies. I did some internet search and it seems the Zeolite does not affect the microbes and nutrients. But, I decided to have hubby take them back, anyway. If I decide to try wood pellets to supplement the browns, I will use the plain fireplace ones.

Normally I wouldn't use any type of wood product for browns, except fall tree leaves, as my limiting composting situation requires a fast turnover time. If I ever got a large back yard, then I could do both fast and slow composting piles. But, not likely. I thought the compressed saw dust would be doable as an addition to leaves and bedding straw, especially with blood meal. ?? Just thinking.

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