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Question on Mel's Mix

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/29/2011, 11:53 pm

hey Under....thanks for the quick reply.

I was just thinking that if I have my compost bin(which is fruit/veggie waste, grass, some leaves(I'm adding more), shredded newspaper, coffee grounds, etc., I could add different animal manures to it(I have 5 sources lined up) and that would be the blended composted needed for Mel's Mix.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  southern gardener on 10/30/2011, 1:05 am

that sounds like a good blend tootall!! you're smart to get your mix right!! cheers cheers

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/30/2011, 1:14 am

southern gardener, I have no idea how much my current compost pile is. I'm taking a guess that it's maybe 3 ft x 3ft x 3ft. Because it's not in a bin yet, it's mounded and not squared off.
Do I just add, let's say, 5 gallons of each of the different manures I get, let it compost properly and then that's the blended compost portion of Mel's Mix? By the way, my compost pile doesn't include the 2 big bags of leaves I'm going to add nor does it include the forestry compost I'm going to get from the woods that surround me.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Cincinnati on 10/30/2011, 10:30 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:...
Yes...I know I need to get the book but since I was snowed in today, I was unable to run out and get it. I'm just looking for a heads up on the compost blend.

Amazon.com delivered to your door.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/30/2011, 10:36 am

I'm going out tomorrow so I'll probably be able to get it then

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Cincinnati on 10/30/2011, 2:28 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:When Mel says that you need a blend of 5 composts, I'm assuming equal portions of each. ...

Yes. That is also my understanding if you are purchasing compost. That is because one source (like pine park compost) does not provide all the nutrients and micro-nutrients required.

However, if you are making your own — and you include a variety of sources, brown leaves, dead plants, grass clippings, various vegetable scraps, various fruit scraps, coffee grounds etc. — you will not need to add 4 other kinds of compost to that. Also, I find that I don't have to be particular that I have equal amounts of each specific component. I mix every compostable organic thing into the pile. This excludes items void of nutrients like cardboard and newspapers. I don't include any of these items in my compost recipe. They are generally acidic, have been processed with chemicals, and have been printed with inks and coatings chemicals that I cannot be sure have been destroyed by the micro-organisms in the composting process.

Making my homemade compost from variety of sources produces a balanced full nutrient system compost. I have had an organics analysis to verify this.

This verifies what the book says: If you do not make your own compost, you need a blend of 5 types of bagged compost.


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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/30/2011, 6:13 pm

This is cool. So all I would have to do is add 5 or so different manures, plus some forestry compost I'm getting from the woods, to my compost pile and I'm good to go.

I just hope I don't add too much animal manure to the existing compost pile. I wouldn't want there to be too little manure either.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  camprn on 10/30/2011, 6:36 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:This is cool. So all I would have to do is add 5 or so different manures, plus some forestry compost I'm getting from the woods, to my compost pile and I'm good to go.

I just hope I don't add too much animal manure to the existing compost pile. I wouldn't want there to be too little manure either.
If you mix it up now it will be perfect for the spring planting.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/30/2011, 6:48 pm

I could easily fit two 5 gallon buckets of manure in my car at one time for each of the 5 or so manure sources. Is that going to be too much?

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  camprn on 10/30/2011, 7:06 pm

I don't think so. get as much manure you can, it will sit in its own little pile if it doesn't fit into your first batch of mix. And it will compost as it sits there.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Cincinnati on 10/30/2011, 7:51 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote: This is cool. So all I would have to do is add 5 or so different manures, plus some forestry compost I'm getting from the woods, to my compost pile and I'm good to go.

Yes. Are you adding the manure as a raw ingredient to a composting process, or adding the fresh manure to a finished compost that is completely decomposed?

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote: ...I just hope I don't add too much animal manure to the existing compost pile. I wouldn't want there to be too little manure either.

The manures need to be well rotted by the time you plant in them. I would recommend adding raw manure to the compost pile ingredients and letting it all decompose/rot together.

As far as having too much, I would think if you had about 20% manure in your homemade compost you'd have a really good compost.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/30/2011, 9:01 pm

No....the compost isn't completely decomposed. I've been adding stuff to it as I get it. Some of it might be fully composted but it's all been mixed together. I usually mix it every week or so. I know it's not the ideal way to compost, but my somewhat limited space in my back yard isn't ideal for a two or a three bin system.

I thought that after I add the manure, straw/hay bales from my halloween decoration, and anything else I gather over the next few weeks, I will let that compost from now until it's planting time. It won't compost that much over the winter but it should start composting nicely once March/April rolls around.

What do I do with the fruit/veggie scraps that I get over the winter? Well.....it is slightly possible I can start a new compost bin a little further down the back of my house. All I would really have to do is transplant some ferns and Solomon's Seal to somewhere else in my flower beds.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Cincinnati on 10/30/2011, 10:40 pm

Hey Too Tall. You are fine having a one bin compost pile. Seems like we never have enough money or enough places to decompose poop & stuff.

I have a two chamber rotating drum. The idea was I'd fill one side. While it was finishing, I'd be filling the other chamber. As it turns out. I generally fill both bins at the same time. SO it's essentially a one-bin compost pile. It takes 4-6 weeks to fully cook the batch.

During that time, I had to start a "Pre-Compost" Pile on the ground. In this pile I layer as much of the raw ingredients that I accumulate until the composter drum is available. I generally don't turn or wet this pile, but it is exposed to the elements. When the composter is ready to be loaded, I run my lawn mower over the pile, bagging the mulched up bits and dumping them into the drum chambers. I add in freshly mowed lawn clippings and add compost starter.

I now have a second pile of finished compost. If I could purchase a load of manure, I'd have to have a third pile for that ingredient. Or at least put it in trash bins or something. Maybe I'd have to find a corner behind the fence and cover it with a tarp.

What started out as a simple one pile operation is mushrooming on me. I screened the compost into a 39 gal trash can, but now I find I need several cans. When does it end?

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/30/2011, 11:18 pm

Yeah Cincinnati, all I really wanted was to have a compost pile. I had no idea that it can get crazy.

I'm wondering if I stockpile buckets of fruit/veggie scraps, coffee grounds, etc. over the winter, I could probably store those buckets in my garden shed. It isn't insulated and it gets as cold as it does outside. That'll be easy enough to do. I'll just have to fight the urge to store buckets of poop in there too.

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Cincinnati on 10/31/2011, 8:56 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:Yeah Cincinnati, all I really wanted was to have a compost pile. I had no idea that it can get crazy.

I'm wondering if I stockpile buckets of fruit/veggie scraps, coffee grounds, etc. over the winter, I could probably store those buckets in my garden shed. It isn't insulated and it gets as cold as it does outside. That'll be easy enough to do. I'll just have to fight the urge to store buckets of poop in there too.

You'll have to keep an eye on them. I would bet you'll be OK if it is refrigerator cold outside. You may need a lid on those buckets, or put them in a garbage can with a lid. If you have a pile or can of dry leaves, you may be able to layer leaves and your household organics to keep down smells and absorb some of the moisture from them.

Another option for winter food waste, if you have a warm corner of the basement, is a worm compost system. Worm castings are nutrient rich — I hear even better than manures. Or should I say other manures.

Speaking of getting out of hand. Now I'm considering worm poop too!

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/31/2011, 9:08 am

I would like to try worm composting but I don't have a basement in my house. There's a crawl space under my house that's only about 4 feet deep at the deepest part and it's a pain to get down there. I'm not as limber as I was even 5 years ago. LOL

I'll probably just get a 30 gallon or so trash can and like you said, layer it with leaves. Where I live most of the people just burn the leaves, but where I work in NJ, I see that people line up leaf collection bags at curbside. I could always pick up some of them to keep in my shed. Once the winter hits, I don't really go into the shed except to get the snow shovel and ice melter. Even if the food scraps do smell a bit, it wouldn't really bother me.

All of this composting and gardening stuff started because I saw an article in my local newspaper about a man who grows 7 1/2 ft tall tomatoes!


Last edited by Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/31/2011, 9:09 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  camprn on 10/31/2011, 4:17 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
I'll probably just get a 30 gallon or so trash can and like you said, layer it with leaves.

I just used a small rubbermaid tote with a lid (the square in the lid I cut out and taped a piece of nylon screen over the hole) and kept it in my dining room. You don't have to go big with vermicomposting. here are a few links.

http://halifaxgardennetwork.wordpress.com/tag/vermicomposting/

http://lisasroombyroom.blogspot.com/2011/04/vermicomposting-for-earth-day.html

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/31/2011, 7:32 pm

@camprn wrote:
I just used a small rubbermaid tote with a lid (the square in the lid I cut out and taped a piece of nylon screen over the hole) and kept it in my dining room. You don't have to go big with vermicomposting. here are a few links.

So I'm assuming that if you do vermicomposting correctly, it's not going to smell?

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  southern gardener on 10/31/2011, 7:57 pm

mine is right outside my back door, next to the patio table. There is NO odor Evil or Very Mad . In fact, someone asked me where my vericomposter was, and I told them, you're sitting next to it! affraid

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 10/31/2011, 8:01 pm

I wouldn't be able to keep the worm bin outside. It gets too dang cold here.

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Vermicomposting resource

Post  Nicola on 11/1/2011, 11:20 pm

The first, basic primer on worm bins, vermicomposting, et cetera is the book, Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof. I checked it out from the library, and I think the cover price is only $12.95
Her related website is: http://www.wormwoman.com

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Re: Question on Mel's Mix

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