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5 types of compost?

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5 types of compost?

Post  SewingMom on 5/6/2011, 3:29 pm

I'm just getting started and I have two 4x4 frames built which I'm very proud of Smile I've never built anything before!

I have the vermiculite and the peat moss and 2 types of compost; cow manure and mushroom. How important is it to get all 5? Composted cow manure seems very easy to find, does it count if it I use 2 different kinds of composted cow manure that are different brands? If not, what are the other types of compost I can find and where should I look? I feel like I'm already behind and would really like to get my plants going.

Thank you for your advice!
Laura

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/6/2011, 3:56 pm

@SewingMom wrote:How important is it to get all 5?

Congrats on what you've accomplished so far! And, welcome aboard, too.

As for your question, it is paramount to your success! In Mel's book, he tells you that Mel's Mix is the backbone of your SFG. He tells you not to skimp when making it.

I would encourage you to keep looking until you come up with 5.

Hope to see more of you around here.

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 5/6/2011, 4:18 pm

Hi SewingMom,

Congratulations and glad you\'re here

I'm new myself but I would second BBG - everyone here indicates it's super important.

However, I had the same problem and I'm south of you so I've taken lots of notes as to how you might up the nutrients in your SFG. Here ya go:

You may have to start asking around. Do you know anyone who has horses, chickens, rabbits? Horse and chicken manure has to be composted first, but according to this forum rabbit manure can be used without composting first. Also worm castings are great, so I've read. I, too, found mushroom compost as well as cow manure (one poster liked Black Kow - I found some at one of my Walmarts - not all the stores have the same selection). I also found something called Better Earth Premium Organic Compost at a local nursery (thanks to a forum member in Peoria's suggestion). They sell in several places in Illinois - check out this link for where to buy...
http://www.betterearthcompost.com/
I would think you could use that for a third source pretty easily, while it is natural matter and cow manure, it's probably different enough that it counts. Some folks even look at craigslist to find manure or worm casting sources - I'm about to go ask at my local bait shop. Smile

Just keep in mind that some compost "blends" contain peat - read the label or look online. If you can't avoid the "peat" products, you'll have to account for the extra peat when you do your mix. I try to avoid them.

There are organic items you can use to pump up the nutrients if you just can't find enough composts. Many are in a form where you add water and "water them in". I've read here about fish emulsion (which I've found at several big box stores), a compost tea from worm castings (search the forum for "compost tea" - LOTS of stuff - benefit here is you get a little "more" from worm castings which tend to be expensive) and I also saw a poster who used something called Happy Frog (it was like a bagged soil product) to add to their SFG. If I remember correctly it was an organic product that had some more unusual ingredients such as bat guano in it.

I'm sure most of the posters here would agree that starting your own compost for the future is a great idea. clap

I'm hoping the forum hosts will start a compost database for those of us who are having trouble finding good compost sources. Smile

Happy Hunting! Smile

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  boffer on 5/6/2011, 5:16 pm

1 compost=potatoes

2 composts=potatoes and veggies

3 composts=potatoes, veggies, and fruit

4 composts=potatoes, veggies, fruit, and dairy

5 composts=potatoes, veggies, fruit, dairy, and meat

6 composts=potatoes, veggies, fruit, dairy, meat, and dessert!


Just like a human body, plant health depends on a balanced diet.

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  SewingMom on 5/6/2011, 6:33 pm

Thank you so much for the replies! I was hoping to hear that it's fine and just use lots of cow manure though Smile I called and found hummus compost (she said it was horse manure) at one garden center so that brings me to 3. Then I found a local store called Brew and Grow which has Bat Guana and Worm Castings along with fish emulsion and several other things. The worm castings are a little pricey compared to the cow manure I bought but if it will make a good soil I guess it's worth it.

I wonder if someone would have just a minute to take a look at their website and let me know what you think would be the best things to get? http://www.altgarden.com/store/cart.php?m=product_list&c=48

Thanks again!


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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  Miss M on 5/6/2011, 8:15 pm

Don't give up on finding less expensive stuff locally. Very Happy Your municipality may sell or give away compost. You may find compost on Craigslist in your area. You could post a wanted ad on your local Freecycle group. Look in the phone book for animal-related businesses (herbivores, though). Someone who makes goat cheese and goat's milk soap. Go to your farm supply company and see if there are chicken farms, rabbit farms, etc. in the area. Try the zoo. Look for plant-related businesses -- a couple of us have gotten cotton burr compost. Yes, I did get it at a nursery, but they grow cotton here. Find out what the farmers in your area do with their waste.

I raise meat rabbits, and I put the resulting bunny berries directly into the garden as one of my composts. They are a cold manure, with no composting needed. They will not burn your plants. (The urine, though, is another matter. That must be diluted something like 3 parts water:1 part urine... 5:1 is probably safer.)

The stuff on that link looks like it's probably excellent and potent, but it sure is $$$$$! You should be able to avoid making that huge a hole in your wallet for compost. Vermiculite is going to do enough of that. affraid

It is worth it to persist and find your five composts. Each compost will have its strong points (nutrients it is rich in) and its weak points (nutrients it is deficient in). Using five composts helps ensure that you balance out all the strengths and weaknesses, so you end up with a strong mix.

I've seen an number of posters on here that admit to using only two or three composts, and their gardens are not faring very well. They end up having to fertilize, and supplement with fish emulsion and stuff in order to get stuff growing, because their MM is deficient in some key nutrients.

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  SewingMom on 5/6/2011, 9:26 pm

You are right! I put a post on Craigslist and got an email already!
He has a compost pile with straw, rabbit, chicken and duck manure that he will trade me for some pine shavings which is only about $5 a bag. Will this work with the straw in it? I hope so, it sounds like this might just work out perfectly! bounce bounce

Please let me know if you think this will work. I guess I just need to get a big rubbermaid tote or something to bring it home in. And one more question (sorry, I guess I'm full of them today!) how much should I get? He said he has as much as I would need so I'm assuming he has quite a bit. I wouldn't be able to weigh it like when I bought the compost in the bag at Menards.

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  camprn on 5/6/2011, 9:34 pm

Straw is more desirable than hay, as hay has seeds. Sounds like a great deal. I would suggest, bring a truck!!! Very Happy Wink

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  walshevak on 5/6/2011, 11:26 pm

@SewingMom wrote:You are right! I put a post on Craigslist and got an email already!
He has a compost pile with straw, rabbit, chicken and duck manure that he will trade me for some pine shavings which is only about $5 a bag. Will this work with the straw in it? I hope so, it sounds like this might just work out perfectly! bounce bounce

Please let me know if you think this will work. I guess I just need to get a big rubbermaid tote or something to bring it home in. And one more question (sorry, I guess I'm full of them today!) how much should I get? He said he has as much as I would need so I'm assuming he has quite a bit. I wouldn't be able to weigh it like when I bought the compost in the bag at Menards.


Get as much as you can. Even it if it not fully composted, you have the start of your own compost pile. What you are looking for is "stuff" that is small crumbly matter that you cannot recognize any individual component. You may have to sift out the bigger chunks and throw them into your own pile to finish. The ready to use compost will most likely be at the bottom of the pile.

Kay

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  Miss Mousie on 5/7/2011, 1:11 am

I have a question for Miss M. since you raise rabbits. Isn't the rabbit urine mixed with the "bunny berries"? I'm thinking of rabbits in cages where they go potty where ever in the cage and it falls through the wire on the bottom of the cage and accumulates. So I'm thinking that any rabbit manure I get will have urine in it too. Right?

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  vjam5555 on 5/7/2011, 1:32 am

@Miss M wrote:Don't give up on finding less expensive stuff locally. Very Happy Your municipality may sell or give away compost. You may find compost on Craigslist in your area. You could post a wanted ad on your local Freecycle group. Look in the phone book for animal-related businesses (herbivores, though). Someone who makes goat cheese and goat's milk soap. Go to your farm supply company and see if there are chicken farms, rabbit farms, etc. in the area. Try the zoo. Look for plant-related businesses -- a couple of us have gotten cotton burr compost. Yes, I did get it at a nursery, but they grow cotton here. Find out what the farmers in your area do with their waste.

I raise meat rabbits, and I put the resulting bunny berries directly into the garden as one of my composts. They are a cold manure, with no composting needed. They will not burn your plants. (The urine, though, is another matter. That must be diluted something like 3 parts water:1 part urine... 5:1 is probably safer.)

The stuff on that link looks like it's probably excellent and potent, but it sure is $$$$$! You should be able to avoid making that huge a hole in your wallet for compost. Vermiculite is going to do enough of that. affraid

It is worth it to persist and find your five composts. Each compost will have its strong points (nutrients it is rich in) and its weak points (nutrients it is deficient in). Using five composts helps ensure that you balance out all the strengths and weaknesses, so you end up with a strong mix.

I've seen an number of posters on here that admit to using only two or three composts, and their gardens are not faring very well. They end up having to fertilize, and supplement with fish emulsion and stuff in order to get stuff growing, because their MM is deficient in some key nutrients.

Be careful with municipal composts. I read an SFG article this week that said some municipalities use treated sludge (ie:biosolids; wastewater solids; ...sewage) as their compost. Even though it's treated,there is concern that chemicals (medicines) that are excreted turns up in the sewage, and therefore, in the compost. Organic standards prohibits the use of "biosolids/treated sludge" for organically grown food. Links: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Kellogg_Garden_Products and Mother Jones (a fantastic web site!) http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/04/your-organic-compost-really-sewage-sludge-rosario-dawson-kellogg-amend. Hope this helps...

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  SewingMom on 5/7/2011, 3:47 pm

I got my compost this morning from the person on Craigslist. It was so fun! He has a farm with chickens, ducks, pheasants, and geese so I was able to get some great compost. We had a great chat (I have chickens too so we had some things to talk about) and what is even better is that he container gardens too! He knew exactly what I needed as far as compost and shoveled it out into the bins and loaded them in my van for me. Super nice guy! Plus he said I could come back any time and get as much as I needed.

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  camprn on 5/7/2011, 4:35 pm

@SewingMom wrote:I got my compost this morning from the person on Craigslist. It was so fun! He has a farm with chickens, ducks, pheasants, and geese so I was able to get some great compost. We had a great chat (I have chickens too so we had some things to talk about) and what is even better is that he container gardens too! He knew exactly what I needed as far as compost and shoveled it out into the bins and loaded them in my van for me. Super nice guy! Plus he said I could come back any time and get as much as I needed.
FABULOUS!!!!

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  Miss M on 5/7/2011, 11:58 pm

@Miss Mousie wrote:I have a question for Miss M. since you raise rabbits. Isn't the rabbit urine mixed with the "bunny berries"? I'm thinking of rabbits in cages where they go potty where ever in the cage and it falls through the wire on the bottom of the cage and accumulates. So I'm thinking that any rabbit manure I get will have urine in it too. Right?
Many of us who raise for meat use slanted chutes and a gutter system. This works only for the urine. The bunny berries stay on the chute. Yes, it is true that some of the manure will get urine on it, but the urine will mostly leave the manure and be collected by the gutters. The manure can then be swept off of the chutes separately. It doesn't have enough urine on it to be a problem then. Very Happy

@vjam5555 wrote:Be careful with municipal composts. I read an SFG article this week that
said some municipalities use treated sludge (ie:biosolids; wastewater
solids; ...sewage) as their compost. Even though it's treated,there is
concern that chemicals (medicines) that are excreted turns up in the
sewage, and therefore, in the compost.
Yuck! Thanks for the heads-up! tongue

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  Miss M on 5/8/2011, 12:01 am

SewingMom, that's a great score with the compost! Like someone else already mentioned, the stuff that's ready to go into the garden will be thoroughly broken down -- the stuff at the inside bottom of his pile, assuming he doesn't turn it regularly. The rest of it can finish composting on your watch. (Then you'll have plenty of it for your next SFG!)

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  Miss Mousie on 5/8/2011, 1:39 am

Thanks Miss M. I don't think my nieces set up is that sophisticated, I'll have to ask. She was raising rabbits for meat but now she is raising them for pets and for show, she's in 4H.

If the manure and urine is combined, then I should probably compost it before I put it directly into the garden, right?

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  Miss M on 5/8/2011, 2:03 am

@Miss Mousie wrote:Thanks Miss M. I don't think my nieces set up is that sophisticated, I'll have to ask. She was raising rabbits for meat but now she is raising them for pets and for show, she's in 4H.

If the manure and urine is combined, then I should probably compost it before I put it directly into the garden, right?
There's a good chance the urine and manure for her rabbits would be collected in wood shavings. This would definitely need to be composted -- though, with an extreme amount of patience, you could separate the manure from the bedding.

If the manure for her rabbits is separate enough to still be little separate balls, it is fine to put into the garden. If they are stuck together or all in one lump, they've probably absorbed too much urine, and should be composted.

There is one guy on the rabbit forum I frequent who always soaks his rabbits' manure in water for a while before adding the manure to his garden, in order to rinse residual urine from the manure. Nobody else goes to this trouble, and it's probably just extra work. But if it makes him more comfortable about using it, there's no problem with doing it. Smile

It's also possible she has litter-trained her rabbits. If this is the case, it would depend on the type of litter she uses as to whether you could use it or not. If it's the sawdust pellets, or the paper pellets, you can compost them. If it's clay litter, you can't (and she really shouldn't use that with rabbits -- but she probably knows that). A lot of bunny berries would likely be separately dropped below the wire into a tray.

Several people on the rabbit forum do vermiculture with rabbit manure. The worms turn an awesome gardening medium, bunny manure, into absolute gardening gold, worm castings. If you are interested, here's a link: http://rabbittalk.com/vermicomposting-worm-beds-using-rabbitpoo-t122.html

Can you tell I'm excited about rabbits? What a Face Hey, the rabbits can eat a lot of garden trimmings. In turn, they produce meat for us and manure. The manure can go straight into the garden, or it can go to the worms in your vermiculture bin, and the urine can be diluted for fertilizer (it is not only a source of N, but P and K as well)... to grow more vegetables they can eat the trimmings from!

Dried bunny berries have the highest BTU rating of any manure. Yes, I'm saying you can burn it for heat or cooking. I haven't tried this one on for size yet... Cool

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  shannon1 on 5/8/2011, 2:31 am

Miss M you forgot fur as well. I love bunnies yumm.

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Re: 5 types of compost?

Post  Miss Mousie on 5/8/2011, 3:47 pm

I'd be very surprised if my niece has litter trained her rabbits. I'll have to ask or better yet go over and see the operation.

Lot's of interesting info on the vermicomposting and rabbit poo operations. Thanks.

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