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Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

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Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  jercarol on 3/17/2011, 7:00 pm

Brand new to SFG. I just put in my first 3x3 box and planted my salad stuff.

I did not compost this winter so I had to buy some compost. I purchased composted leaves, composted manure, mushroom dirt and last I added some ashes from my fireplace. I did not have 5 materials for my MM. I am not sure if ash counts? I did not use a lot (two big shovel fulls in a 3x3).

I am reading all the composts threads and my head hurts. I have unlimited access to horse manure. I need to figure out the best way to compost it. I don't have any veggie/fruit scraps now that I feed a 13 yr old human garbage disposal. I live in a park so I have unlimited access to leaf debris.

If I start a manure/leaf compost pile this weekend do you think it can be ready for my summer crops? I really can't afford to keep buying the Mel's Mix for my remaining boxes.

Thanks,
Jerry in MD

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Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  ribarr4 on 3/17/2011, 9:43 pm

Wood ash is a good source of potassium, but wood ashes leach quickly. I put some in my compost pile, but it seems to work better for me if I apply it every few week around my carrots and potatoes. If you aren't growing those put it all in your compost pile.

As for the horse manure it will speed up your pile. I would make layers with the manure and the leaves with 1"manure and 6" of leaves several times. The more you turn it the faster it will cook. That should make some pretty good compost. Especially if it's free.

Good luck,

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  camprn on 3/17/2011, 10:09 pm

I use a small amount of wood ash right in my mix in the garden. i also do not have access to fresh manure, so to heat up my compost pile I use fresh grass clippings (when available) and dried blood, which you can get at the garden store. I use it so often through the season that I buy 50 pound bag. That will see me through almost 2 seasons.


Last edited by camprn on 3/17/2011, 10:28 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  ribarr4 on 3/17/2011, 10:17 pm

Yea grass is great. I loved it when I had a bager for my lawn mower. I always had to turn my pile more often though. I can get slimy if you don't.

I have never thought about blood meal. That is a great idea. We have chickens so they take care of heating up the pile.

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  jercarol on 3/18/2011, 3:13 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I am taking my son out right now and rack leaves in the woods around our house and start layering manure. I got 3 free buckets of chicken manure today so I will add that to the mix along with the ash.

How often do you turn a pile? I have a 4x4 compost bin I just built from scrap pallets and wire. Any guesses on how long until ready?

Thanks,
Jerry

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  Odd Duck on 3/18/2011, 3:31 pm

The time it takes is pretty directly related to how often you turn. If you turn daily, and keep it at the right moisture levels, you could have compost in as quick as 6 weeks. I am lazier than that but if I'm in a hurry for compost, I can get 2-3 turnings done and get nice stuff in about 3 months. That manure is what helps it go faster, but is also why you need to run your pile pretty hot. There will be seeds in the compost if your pile doesn't get and stay hot enough (over 130 degrees F for several days). That means that each part needs to get and stay that hot, which is why you need to mix well, turning the outside to the inside and the top to the bottom with each turning, so all bits get enough heat.

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  camprn on 3/18/2011, 7:19 pm

I have done an open pile in as little as 4 weeks. I would encourage you to use the Search feature, look at the thread Compost 101 a,d other threads, there is some good info there. Remember, making compost is a process, not an event, but you can do it! Very Happy

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  jercarol on 3/19/2011, 5:12 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I did my first turn today but there was not steam coming out of it. I have leaves, horse manure, a little ash chicken manure.

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  ribarr4 on 3/20/2011, 10:59 am

t might take a few days to start steaming, but keep doing what your doing. I usually make a hole in the middle and if it isn't steaming I stick my hand down in there to see if it is heating up.

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  boffer on 3/20/2011, 11:11 am

We've discussed a number of times on the forum that human urine is a catalyst for the decomposition process. Assuming you won't arrest your son for public urination, that's another thing he should be doing when he turns the pile!

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  ribarr4 on 3/20/2011, 3:21 pm

@boffer wrote:We've discussed a number of times on the forum that human urine is a catalyst for the decomposition process. Assuming you won't arrest your son for public urination, that's another thing he should be doing when he turns the pile!

Would that make it a pee pile?

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  jercarol on 3/20/2011, 7:40 pm

I "watered" the pile. Very Happy

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

Post  boffer on 3/20/2011, 7:44 pm

make it a family tradition! tongue

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Re: Fireplace ash as compost and 'speed' composting.

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