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add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

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add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  PeggyC on 1/11/2011, 10:06 am

I'm in western Nebraska where it's freezing for about 6 months/year. I've continued to add fruit and veggie scraps and coffee grounds to my heap so far this winter. It's starting to look like a dumpster. Am I going to regret this in the spring when it all thaws and starts stinking? I wont have any grass clippings to add to the top until probably a few weeks after the pile starts thawing (time for grass to grow). I can have shredded paper ready to add if that would be good.

Oh yeah, the stuff I throw out there isn't all chopped up, it's whole apple cores and even some whole potatoes that froze in the garage and got nasty. will that matter? This pile of kitchen scraps is on top of a summer worth of grass clippings and kitchen scraps and some shredded paper. I don't have a leaf source.

I hope to be better at turning the pile this summer. It's been a cold pile thus far.

Thanks!!

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  middlemamma on 1/11/2011, 11:29 am

I would pull the potatoes unless they are peeled and or cooked....I have heard that you will get compost that produces lots of potato plants otherwise. Smile

But I am a new gardener, new composter, new everything so hopefully someone else will chime in. Smile

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  camprn on 1/11/2011, 2:49 pm

I throw everything into the winter pile. When spring arrives it takes a while for the pile to thaw out for turning. I think adding the paper will help to keep any odor down, but it will probably not be so bad. The way to overcome the odor and seedlings sprouting up in the pile is to get it going hot as soon as you are able. There are numerous threads about starting hot compost. The best part right now is you have a few months to not worry about it. Wink

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  WardinWake on 1/11/2011, 5:25 pm

@camprn wrote:The way to overcome the odor and seedlings sprouting up in the pile is to get it going hot as soon as you are able. Wink

Howdy:

One way to get the pile hot quickly is to add horse/cow or other non-meat eating animal poop to the pile and stir it in as soon as the pile thaws or can be worked. Remember, no cat, dog, lion, tiger, or bear (oh, my) poop should be used in your compost.


When we stired the snow into our compost pile steam came pouring out.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  Megan on 1/11/2011, 8:52 pm

@WardinWake wrote:Remember, no cat, dog, lion, tiger, or bear (oh, my) poop should be used in your compost.

Or ferrets. Some people may find it easy to think of them like mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters...(they are NOT!).... but they are obligate carnivores and their food contains meat, so their litter is a no-no in compost. (Sigh!!! Would that I could.)

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  quill33 on 1/12/2011, 7:29 am

Where is your compost pile? Is it very close to the house? I keep my garden close to the doors of our home, but I keep our compost pile about 200 feet away. I think the pile does have a less than earthy smell initially when spring comes (I also do not turn my compost all winter) but about a month after regular turning, it will smell like 'dirt' and not so much garbage. Also, flies, etc are pretty common in my compost - which is why we keep it within walking distance, but not very close to house. We use 5 gallon buckets with lids (readily available in bakery departments - frosting buckets) or purchased for a few dollars in home improvement stores) as the storage container at our back door. A few times a week, we trek it back to the compost pile.

We have access to significant amounts of chicken and rabbit manure so we stir that in, in early spring and it gets things very hot very quickly in the compost piles.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  camprn on 1/12/2011, 9:39 am

My compost pile is about 50 feet from the house, right out the kitchen back door. If managed well, odor, flies and other assorted unpleasantness with the pile is easily managed and usually temporary. My worst problems arise usually from over watering.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  Megan on 1/12/2011, 9:41 am

So far, my worst problems with compost derive from accidentally dumping the compost pail on my foot..... Rolling Eyes

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  camprn on 1/12/2011, 9:49 am

@Megan wrote:So far, my worst problems with compost derive from accidentally dumping the compost pail on my foot..... Rolling Eyes
OOOOOOOOOOOH! Unlucky! Wink Been there, done that!

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  Megan on 1/12/2011, 9:52 am

@camprn wrote:
@Megan wrote:So far, my worst problems with compost derive from accidentally dumping the compost pail on my foot..... Rolling Eyes
OOOOOOOOOOOH! Unlucky! Wink Been there, done that!

'Tis messy. I do not recommend!

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  miinva on 1/12/2011, 10:17 am

We had a weird problem with our compost pile, it was alive! I'm not sure what kind of larvae were in it, but it was pretty nasty when we went out there and it was moving just beneath the surface *shiver* I'm sure we had the green/brown ratio wrong, but that was an unpleasant development for sure! I'm fairly skittish about using that compost in my garden.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/12/2011, 12:00 pm

Adding papers would definitely help with odors. I would also be looking for hay, straw, ornamental grasses, etc. But, in the winter/early spring, temps are cool enough the odors shouldn't be too bad unless you are actually working the pile. Any significant distance between the pile and another nose should allow enough air to mix in and dilute any odor.

While waiting, do you have any leaves to speak of that can be thrown in? Even if you have to drive a bit to a hedgerow to scrape up some leaf litter, I think that would also be beneficial to do once or twice a winter. When I lived in SE Kansas, we had some trees, but leaves were hard to come by this time of year.

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cooked veggys

Post  backyard Jeff on 1/12/2011, 12:29 pm

is it ok to put cooked veggys and cooked beans and rice on my pile?

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  miinva on 1/12/2011, 12:40 pm

I googled it and found a couple references to the fact that cooked foods break down more slowly and you shouldn't put oil in your compost pile, so if oil was used in the cooking process then they should go in there. We steam most of our vegetables so I would probably put them in there, but they might break down more slowly that raw veggies.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  Odd Duck on 1/12/2011, 12:44 pm

PeggyC, I would get some browns in there with your greens (like the shredded paper) and if you can get enough saved up to cover each addition to the heap or cover the entire heap very well, you will have far less odor and pest problems once things thaw. Next year, save up a bunch of browns so you can cover as you go. You'll like your heap MUCH better come spring.

Megan, ewwwww! Been there, done that, but fortunately wearing my rubber garden clogs so hosing off was easy. Got a little inside, that was yucky!

miinva - maybe black solder fly larvae (or other fly larvae) and covering with browns helps that a lot! I rarely see significant maggot work because I make sure to bury foods scraps at least 6-8" deep after the neighbors complained about seeing rats running the fence.

backyard Jeff - Yes, you can as long as there's nothing too "meaty". A little dab of meat or grease in a large heap is fine, but if it's a small heap or a lot of grease or meat (like a bunch of sausage in red beans), definitely a no no. Partially because it tends to attract more pests - either insect or mammalian, but also because it smells so much more during the decomp process.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  PeggyC on 1/18/2011, 6:09 pm

Thanks Everyone.

Backyard Jeff, I started putting extra steamed rice in my pile and then did some research and found out it supposedly causes vermin to come.

OK, I'll have to shred some mail. you all are the best! cheers

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  miinva on 1/18/2011, 9:58 pm

Extra white rice? You can grow a nice crop of beneficial indigenous organisms with that and a couple of other ingredients! Very Happy

BIO Link

I was thwarted by not being able to find wheat middlings anywhere, but I'm going to try again this spring. Someone told me about a small organic mill so I'm going to check with them and see if they sell their middlings.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  PeggyC on 1/18/2011, 11:46 pm

@miinva wrote:Extra white rice? You can grow a nice crop of beneficial indigenous organisms with that and a couple of other ingredients! Very Happy

BIO Link

I was thwarted by not being able to find wheat middlings anywhere, but I'm going to try again this spring. Someone told me about a small organic mill so I'm going to check with them and see if they sell their middlings.

Dude. Duuuude, I feel dumb. Are you saying to use their scientific process of rice, sugar and wheat garbage to enhance my compost pile? Or that I should do this experiment for fun?

What it did make me think is that I'm in the middle of wheat growing Nebraska. One side of my house actually borders a wheat/corn/fallow field. So, there must be a place around here that has Middlings to get rid of. Would that be brown matter for my compost? I wonder if it's free. Oooooohhhhh!!! Now I've gotta talk to some farmer friends.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

Post  miinva on 1/19/2011, 9:26 am

BIO will enrich your soil, whether you apply the finished mixture as top-dressing, mix it in when you add compost, or put it in your compost heap! Those little organisms will benefit whatever soil you add them to, and supposedly they help with nutrient uptake in your plants. There's a section at the end of the pdf about application.

I'm really hoping to find a batch of middlings this year. I tried it with a batch of middlings mixed with two other things (it was mixed as cattle food, but without vitamin or mineral additives) and then added that to my compost pile and it seems to really help it to break down more quickly. I had the green to brown ratio way off in my compost pile so it was in pretty bad shape.

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Re: add kitchen scraps to pile all winter. ok?

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