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No Leaves, how about mulch?

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No Leaves, how about mulch?

Post  LentilSoup on Sun 20 Feb 2011 - 18:46

I have a composter, and I'm anxious to start, but it's spring (well, almost), so I have no leaves stored.

I was thinking for now I could use some 'shredded hardwood mulch' as my primary brown ingredient. It's pretty cheap, and it comes pre-shredded... tongue

What do you think? Is there a different brown you could suggest I use?
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Re: No Leaves, how about mulch?

Post  CarolynPhillips on Sun 20 Feb 2011 - 18:58

I would not want the shredded wood in my compost. I don't know how fine it is shredded or how old it is. I would store it somewhere by itself for a few years and add some Cotton Seed Meal to it every so often to add heat to it. Neighbors are always willing to get rid of their leaves if you are willing to go rake it. "Will rake for free"
Other than that, just wait for grass clippings before grass goes to seed, let them brown after cutting for a couple of day, rake add to compost.
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Re: No Leaves, how about mulch?

Post  LentilSoup on Sun 20 Feb 2011 - 19:23

Thanks for the advice Carolyn!

I'm afraid all my neighbors have gotten rid of their leaves by now...

I might try the grass idea, though!

I can say, that I've noticed this mulch get's very 'degraded' by the fall when used just as a mulch. So I had figured it would compost pretty well with added green materials, moisture, and turnings. Could you tell me what does it's age matter? Is it because if it's 'young' it's not so brown?
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Re: No Leaves, how about mulch?

Post  CarolynPhillips on Sun 20 Feb 2011 - 19:49

if it is young shredded mulch, it will take longer to decompose to the satisfaction of adding to the garden quickly this year. If it still has some decomposing to go through when added to the garden , it could rob your garden of nitrogen while it is trying to decompose. But if it is well aged shredded mulch then it will do fine in the compost pile.
I always made two seperate compost piles. One for woody long term decomposing and one for finely chopped----non woodie---quick composting pile. But everyone does it differently.
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Re: No Leaves, how about mulch?

Post  LentilSoup on Mon 21 Feb 2011 - 3:57

ahhhh, thanks for the explanation.

Hmmm, well. Maybe I'll just buy compost this year, until the fall, and THEN begin my own.
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Re: No Leaves, how about mulch?

Post  Furbalsmom on Mon 21 Feb 2011 - 11:18

LentilSoup,

Other "browns" you might be able to use instead of the leaves are:

Sawdust (though I would be careful as to the type of wood and the size of the sawdust particles - cedar, myrtlewood and walnut and not good for compost according to the Master Gardeners here in Oregon)
Straw
shredded newspaper
shredded office paper.
Paper wise, don't use anything with shiny colored printing, such as plastic coated labels on boxes, or magazines with a glossy finish.

Even though you may need to purchase your compost this spring, if you have a composter, you might be able to make enough compost, early enough to use when replanting your squares. bounce
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Re: No Leaves, how about mulch?

Post  quiltbea on Mon 21 Feb 2011 - 11:29

I like using shredded newspapers that are made with vegetable dyes. Or make sure the newspaper is at least 2 weeks old for safety and no color comics, full page color ads or shiny pages or flyers from the newspaper are used.
I just tear it into strips about 1" -2" wide and pile it in a bucket or the wheelbarrow and then transport it to the compost area. Its a great brown ingredient. Sprinkle it with water when you toss it in the pile.
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