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Raw - not composted

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Raw - not composted

Post  Chopped Liver MM on 4/8/2011, 12:58 am

We finally found 5 compose sources and were thrilled to start mixing. The chicken litter seemed to smell a little more than anything else, but it wasn't a harsh odor like I'd expect if it hadn't been composted. So we went to mixing and then potted the sprouts and watered them. That evening the sun room smelled horribly of raw chicken litter. Some of our sprouts withered and we realized the chicken litter was NOT completely composted.

Well now what? We have all this mixed so we can't take the chicken litter out and we're not dumping the prized mix? Do we mix another batch with out the chicken litter and then mix good and bad 50/50? Are the withered sprouts related to this mess or is it just coincidence? I tested the soil and found med/low levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, but high levels of potassium (potash). This I expect from incomplete chicken litter as we put it on the fields for that very reason. Some sprouts (cucumbers) are doing fine, but the zinnia's are gone.

I'm happy to answer any questions to help put this in the right direction. Thanks in advance for any input.

CL

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  shannon1 on 4/8/2011, 1:10 am

Maybe you could treat the whole mix as a compost pile and let it cook alittle while longer. If I am right it will not effect the vermiculite or peat in an adverse way. Please tell me it was not "black chicken" compost I just bought some today.

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Chopped Liver MM on 4/8/2011, 1:15 am

Okay, I'll tell you it wasn't Black Chicken from Lowes, but it's not the truth. Get some of it wet before you smell of it. You might get lucky and get a different batch.

Do you think that the wilting of just some plants was due to this?


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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  shannon1 on 4/8/2011, 1:22 am

Thanks for the warning. About the wilting I just don't know. I will test it tomorrow and let you know I did not get mine from Lowes so maybe I got lucky.


Last edited by shannon1 on 4/8/2011, 1:30 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : bad spelling)

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Old Hippie on 4/8/2011, 1:47 am

Chicken manure is fairly strong. It can "burn" the plants if it is too fresh. I am thinking that could be the problem. I would maybe let it sit for a week or two and then try again with just a few seedlings to see what happens. Hopefully, it won't be too late for you to get things planted if you wait a week or two to let it cool down.

Maybe a few others may have some ideas as well.

Gwynn

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Chopped Liver MM on 4/8/2011, 9:59 am

That sounds pretty good Gwynn. I think we're going to go ahead and mix the next batch without the chicken litter and shelve this unless some smart person has a wonderful idea. I hate to do it, but I hate to loose good plants to it.

Thank you!

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Old Hippie on 4/8/2011, 10:23 am

Chicken manure is a great addition BUT of any of the manures it is probably the strongest. So once that cools down a bit you will most likely have a great mix.

For your next batch is there something else you could substitute to get the mix of five composts. Leaving this one out of your mix gives you only four....which is not a huge problem unless one of your others is a dud. That leaves your plants with only three composts which may not give you enough nutrients.

Are you composting your own kitchen and yard waste? That is a wonderful FREE addition to the compost part of your mix. If you have any of the chicken manure left it would be a wonderful addition to your own compost.

Best of luck.

Gwynn

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Chopped Liver MM on 4/8/2011, 10:57 am

I'm going to see if we can find mushroom compost again. I'd like to find another manure source to replace the chicken litter, but most everything I'm seeing is raw or cow which we already have. I agree we need a fifth candidate.

No chicken litter is left, but we got a good story and lesson in being patient. I was measuring out gallons of the various manures, vermiculite x5 , and peat x5 into a water trough that we're using to mix. It's going slow, but it's not hard work. So someone suggests we put the smallest bag in the 5 gallon bucket, mark the size, them match the other manures etc. We'd been mixing 15 gallon batches. The new idea resulted in 60 gallon batches. Lesson learned: 60 gallons is not 4 times harder to mix than 15... it's 100 times harder! Lesson 2: Wet the manure before you mix it in to see if it smells raw when wet. We learned this after bringing the potted sprouts inside.

We built a composter out of things we had lying around and filled it with grass, leaves, vegetable matter, straw, news paper, etc.



Basically it's wire fencing wrapped in landscape fabric. The spokes are scrap wood. A piece of rebar attached to the top of the "vineyard" is the axle so we can turn it frequently. It was so easy to build and cost us time and scraps we had laying around. The vines are dead so they didn't complain about sharing. Wink

Thanks again,

CL


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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Old Hippie on 4/8/2011, 11:41 am



Wow! That is some composter!! Way to go. I love it when someone comes up with a creative idea to repurpose things and make something out of what is at hand.

Gwynn

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/8/2011, 7:31 pm

Looks really good.

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And they have a PLAN

Post  Chopped Liver MM on 4/9/2011, 12:07 am

Does this plan sounds reasonable?

We're thinking that we're going to seek out an alternate compost to replace the chicken litter, and place the mixed compost to the side. In the mean time we'll mix a small batch with 4 composts for repotting the sprouts that are still alive. Once we have compost number 5 (sound like a Beatles song) we'll mix a big batch and transplant the sprouts to the boxes. I know it might leave us with a mix that is lacking for the sprouts, but at least they will not burn between now and when #5 is found.

Thoughts anyone?

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/9/2011, 2:13 am

That is a very reasonable way to handle the current problem.

Since you will find your fifth compost in a fairly short period of time, your little sproutlings should do fine in a temporary home with just 4 composts.

Just so you know, there is sometimes a delay in growth when you transplant (transplant shock) but they should catch up before long.

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  shannon1 on 4/9/2011, 2:21 am

Sounds like a good plan to me. Depending on how big your sprouts are you may just want to start again with new unstressed ones. I am sorry about the trouble you are having but glad for the warning. I'm taking my black hen and dumping it in a clear plastic bag to cook in the hot Florida sun a couple of days before I use it. I only have one small bag of the stuff so I think that will be ok. What do you think?

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  Odd Duck on 4/9/2011, 11:53 am

@shannon1 wrote:Sounds like a good plan to me. Depending on how big your sprouts are you may just want to start again with new unstressed ones. I am sorry about the trouble you are having but glad for the warning. I'm taking my black hen and dumping it in a clear plastic bag to cook in the hot Florida sun a couple of days before I use it. I only have one small bag of the stuff so I think that will be ok. What do you think?

I would leave it open to the air and get it wet. Nitrogen will leach out with rain (or hosing) and being open will off gas any ammonia quicker.

Chopped Liver MM, sounds like a good plan. You might get away with mixing everything together after the first batch sits for a while, but I would still be pretty careful.

Both of you, keep that stuff damp, turn it frequently, and basically, treat it like a compost heap, because that's what you want it to be for a while. At least, that's what I would do.

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Re: Raw - not composted

Post  shannon1 on 4/10/2011, 1:17 am

Thanks for the good tip.

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Re: Raw - not composted

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