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Homemade Compost

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  boffer on 4/8/2011, 4:23 pm

Sherry Owens wrote:We do have oak leaves from water oaks that we can use. I've heard you have to be careful not to use too much oak leaves, though - I think something to do with the acidity or something? Not sure.

I've read that too; and I've read not to worry about it. Oak leaves have made up 10-20% of my compost mix for the last five years. I'm going to be really bummed when the source of my oak leaves gets cut down.

They come from two grand, majestic trees that are guesstimated to be 150 years old. They have survived the houses constructed around them. But in their old age, they are weakening, and they are starting to threaten the houses around them. The arborist is doing what he can to postpone the inevitable. Oaks aren't all that common here. If I can't have the leaves anymore, I'd love to get my hands on some of the wood!
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  sistabelle on 4/8/2011, 7:04 pm

what I don't get is the layering style then we're told to add scraps and stuff then stir it all up?? What's the purpose in layering if we then stir it up? And is it supposed to be in the sun?
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  buttaflie143 on 4/8/2011, 11:40 pm

@elliephant wrote:
@boffer wrote:Pee on it.

Hmmm...I'll likely be potty training a little boy this summer...

I'll be potty training twins....
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  boffer on 4/8/2011, 11:46 pm

@buttaflie143 wrote:
@elliephant wrote:
@boffer wrote:Pee on it.

Hmmm...I'll likely be potty training a little boy this summer...

I'll be potty training twins....

And here I thought it was a father/son bonding moment!
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Old Hippie on 4/9/2011, 1:43 am

@sistabelle wrote:what I don't get is the layering style then we're told to add scraps and stuff then stir it all up?? What's the purpose in layering if we then stir it up? And is it supposed to be in the sun?

I have wondered the same thing and have never found a good explanation for it. So, I quit doing it. The layers get kind of lost when you are dumping it from one bin to another or mixing it in the tumbler style bins.

I bag the shredder stuff from work and bring it home. We waste a lot of paper there no matter how much I try to encourage conservation. I also know several wood workers who bag planer shavings and sawdust for me, (more browns) that I mix in. I just try to stick to hemlock and pine for that and avoid any exotics as they can have toxic resins in them. Cedar shavings I save for my pathways.

Gwynn
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  shannon1 on 4/9/2011, 1:52 am

If a compost pile is cooking good and hot it should kill any bad stuff in the soil so you realy can use your oun soil. Be sure it is fully composted before useing. Even kills weed seeds as well. study
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  sistabelle on 4/9/2011, 1:58 am

How do you know if it's cooking?
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 4/9/2011, 7:38 am

@sistabelle wrote:How do you know if it's cooking?
The properly made compost pile will generate heat. Some of the piles I have had have gotten to 146F. I really like it when the compost heats up like that because I can have usable compost in about 3-4 weeks, more or less! cheers
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  kerriejo1961 on 4/9/2011, 8:36 am

Ok, so I'm not being as .... observant of details?... as what I'm reading here. I started with browns (leaves), have been adding kitchen scraps (veggie peels and such) including coffee grounds and eggshells, and later added some dried grass. I have it in a garbage can that I've drilled holes in for air circulation. I keep the lid on it, into which I also drilled holes. I strap the lid down with stretch-cords after I add anything, knock it over, roll it around a bit and set it back up. I have watered it a couple times. Am I gonna get -> NOTHING? I can go into the woods and get some nature's compost and I can get plenty more leaves and a little grass here and there, too... but I'd like to hear your thoughts... BTW, I noticed warmth in the can when I opened it last and it doesn't stink... so wouldn't that indicate that it's doing what I want it to do?

LOL @ elliephant, buttaflie, boffer on the potty-training and father/son bonding!!!
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Old Hippie on 4/9/2011, 10:13 am

Kerriejo, you will get wonderful compost. If you notice the heat, it is doing what it is supposed to do. If your compost gets up to about 130 F for about six days or more it helps to kill weeds etc, which sometimes go to seed even after you pull them up. The more often you turn it, the better. I am pretty casual about mine. It isn't rocket science really. And it is so great to see things that would normally go to waste be turned into something useful.

Gwynn
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  kerriejo1961 on 4/10/2011, 11:30 pm

Thanks, Gwyn, I like the "casual" approach!! It suits me. If something is too fussy, I usually won't follow thru for long!!

I'm going to add more leaves this week. I may even find my way back into the trees behind the house and see if I can dig up some Nature's Compost, too...
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Old Hippie on 4/10/2011, 11:42 pm

Some kinds of leaves take a long time to break down. In my compost book there was a great hint about how to chop up the leaves so they break down quicker. I would really like a compost shredder but they are very expensive and this works for quite a few things, not just leaves.

Take an old garbage barrel and fill it about a third full of leaves. Use a weed whacker to chop up the leaves and other coarse like stem of plants etc. (Make sure to wear safety goggles and a dust mask.) Add more and keep on going until the barrel is about 2/3 full. Dump it on your compost pile or use for mulch around plants. I use this method to chop up quite a bit of stuff and keep it in my old black plastic composter. When I put new veggie scraps on Gomer I add some of these chopped up leaves etc. It helps keep him looking tidier and keeps the flies away.

Gwynn
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  boffer on 4/10/2011, 11:57 pm

thanks I keep forgetting to try that; I think it's a great idea. Smaller is faster when it comes to composting.
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  myhouseofBOYS on 4/11/2011, 9:30 am

I also found "child labor" to work for "breaking"/"crushing" things Laughing. If the leaves are dry enough getting the kids, if you have any around being "bored", can jump/walk around on them on the ground/on a tarp or if really really dry enough so they aren't just compacting them walk around on them in a garbage bin to help break them down. They you can dump in compost pile. Or little bits in busser sized rubbermaid containers by stomping or just hand crushing can do small bits at a time and fight the bordem bug.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  kerriejo1961 on 4/12/2011, 2:02 am

LOVE those ideas!!! Thanks!!
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Barkie on 4/12/2011, 6:48 am

@Old Hippie wrote:
@sistabelle wrote:what I don't get is the layering style then we're told to add scraps and stuff then stir it all up?? What's the purpose in layering if we then stir it up? And is it supposed to be in the sun?

I have wondered the same thing and have never found a good explanation for it. So, I quit doing it. The layers get kind of lost when you are dumping it from one bin to another or mixing it in the tumbler style bins.

I bag the shredder stuff from work and bring it home. We waste a lot of paper there no matter how much I try to encourage conservation. I also know several wood workers who bag planer shavings and sawdust for me, (more browns) that I mix in. I just try to stick to hemlock and pine for that and avoid any exotics as they can have toxic resins in them. Cedar shavings I save for my pathways.

Gwynn

AFAIK layers are for Cold composting (bins or heaps which you don't turn) so that the materials don't compact down and go nasty and slimy.

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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Unmutual on 5/8/2011, 8:11 am

@sarah in the garden wrote:I have read some people use shredded newspaper, and others say no paper with inks - maybe newspaper ink is different than regular printer ink?

If you're worried about the ink in your printer, look up the Material Safety Data Sheet(MSDS). The manufacturer should make that available on their website, or at least have it available upon request. From what I can gather, most(if not all) newspapers in the US use a soy-based black ink. People are still weary of color inks in newspapers though(not sure why they'd use non-toxic for 1/2 - 1/3 of the newspaper and toxic for the rest...).

http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/0136.html

Though that link is about using newspaper for animal bedding, points #4 and #7 deal directly with composting.

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Homemade Compost

Post  sherryeo on 5/21/2011, 1:31 pm

Hi guys,

My husband surprised me with a new composter! Very Happy So I've been busily adding eggshells, shredded newspaper and cardboard, peanut shells, veggie peels, shredded paper towels, coffee grounds, etc & etc.

I wondered whether you have to be careful not to use cardboard with dyes on it or are they, like newspapers nowadays, made of soy inks, also? For example, can you shred the boxes soft drink and beer cans come in? And the boxes food items, like boxed scalloped potatoes or crackers come in? Or does the cardboard you use in your compost need to be ink-free? Maybe I'm over thinking this, but I'm wary of any toxicity issues for my plants and want to be as organic as possible. I searched some old compost posts and didn't see this particular issue addressed.

Thanks for any replies!
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  quiltbea on 5/21/2011, 1:53 pm

I play it safe. I don't use cardboard in my composter. I think it takes a little too long to decompose and I don't want any ink issues. I know newspaper uses veggie dyes now but who knows what the others use. The colored pages and flyers are not to be used nor magazines or shiny pages.

The best compost I've ever seen was one where the gardener uses about 1 part green to 20 parts brown. I try to keep my brown percentages way up there so I save my raked leaves from the fall (bagged) and add those to my composter as needed.


I very recently was given the kind that turns with a handle so I'm a happy gardener. This should make compost finishing faster. Someone was going to take it to the dump because of a few holes it it. My son patched the holes. The black one in the photo that you have to turn by pulling it toward you got to be too hard for me to turn as it filled. I got only one bin of finished compost from the black one last season.

Happy Composting!
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  camprn on 5/21/2011, 1:53 pm

Here is a pretty good chart Can I Compost It?
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Kelejan on 5/21/2011, 1:59 pm

I have just caught up on this thread and realize that I am sitting on a goldmine with regard to compost.

My little property is 500 feet deep and I only use the first 100ft where my house and yard sit. Behind me is the rest of the plot, 400 feet x 100ft of trees (and boulders) on a very steep slope that is impassable in places. I have never yet made it even half-way to the top of the plot as it is pretty steep and I am afraid of having a mishap and never being seen again.

So maybe I will venture a little way up and have a dig around to see what I can scavenge.

If I do not reply to this thread in a couple of days, please alert the authorities. I will take food and water with me, but I really would not like to be lost like our lady from Penticton, B.C.
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/21/2011, 2:27 pm

If I do not reply to this thread in a couple of days, please alert the authorities. I will take food and water with me, but I really would not like to be lost like our lady from Penticton, B.C.

Take your cell phone and be careful Laughing
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Homemade Compost

Post  sherryeo on 5/21/2011, 2:51 pm

Take something with you to bring some "leaf mold" back with you!!! Dig down the first layers of leaves till you get to the good-as-golden leaf compost created by Mother Nature herself! Ooooh, wish I could go to share in that bounty!!! Be careful! bounce
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Kelejan on 5/21/2011, 3:03 pm

Well, I'm back and did not need rescuing. I do not have a cell phone but I took my cordless phone which works up to about 100 feet away.

I have found my black gold. Within a few minutes I had about two coffee cans full and there is loads more there after I have pushed the debris aside. The only thing I have to be aware of are the bears.

Now, what should I do with it? Grade it through 1/4" wire and add it to my Mel's Mix, or put it straight into my compost pile?

None of it had any weeds that I could see, I was able to pick up handfuls of it after I had dug around with my three-pronged hand fork that has a 90 degree bend in the tines.

WhooHoo!

Edited add: I found some worms there.
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Re: Homemade Compost

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/21/2011, 3:27 pm

Glad to see you made it back ! Did not know about the bears, that would make me very nervous.

Black Gold

What a great adventure.

I would grade it thru 1/4 inch wire. As to how to use it, anything that did not pass thru the screening, add to you compost pile. Anything that did go thru the screening is ready to use. Do you need to add more compost now? Go right ahead. If you do not need it now, put it in buckets (with lids if you have them) to save for adding to your MM when you harvest a square, or if you build another bed.
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