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My Compost Pile

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  southern gardener on 11/6/2011, 12:37 am

tootall: Your pile looks like ours, except we have an identical compartment right next to the first one to throw the pile (aka "turn") into. Do you add water to your pile? We have been wetting ours down more frequently, and boy does it get hot! Ours is at 140 degrees and steaming! You'd think watering it down would make it cold, but it really gets it going. We are getting compost much quicker too. Not too much water tho, just enough to get it moist throughout. Good luck!!

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/6/2011, 12:39 am

I'd like to build another one of those to the right of it. I'm not too sure I want to sacrifice the ferns and lungwort that grow there.

Yes....I do water it whenever I add any dry stuff like leaves or woody yard trimmings

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  llama momma on 11/6/2011, 8:55 am

Cincinnati - Thanks. Apparently the right size bin and adding enough water is key to steaming compost. Added lots of shovels of accidentally made llama poo sludge. The lid blew off a large container of dry pooh then it rained a lot...but the compost pile seems content with all of that.. So yes I have llamas. The avatar is a baby picture of "Maximus" born mid summer. Should update that photo! Llama manure is the only manure used all year round in the compost, besides the usual yard, veggie garden, and kitchen waste. I make llama tea also. Got enough of this stuff I can't fathom purchasing another manure source.

Too Tall - your new bin is Really Pretty and I am kind of jealous,
( I'm a geek geek ) I have big clunky pallets. Which I don't want to look at, so they are all behind the shed and out of my view.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/6/2011, 9:07 am

Thanks momma!

I was thinking of making a pallet bin but the neighbors behind me might complain about that........I live in a village and the homeowners association might have something to say about wooden pallets.

I went outside and the compost thermometer was at 60 deg.

Just about 2 weeks ago, my compost pile was steaming at 120 deg. but then it turned colder at night.

I did just add that horse manure and a bunch of yard trimmings. I think all I need to do is add more manure. That should get the pile all steamy again.

Anybody know where I can get bags of seaweed? I've looked and haven't found anything.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  llama momma on 11/6/2011, 9:57 am

Can't help you with bags of seaweed..... I have the memory of decades ago growing up on Long Island and at times seaweed would wash up from the Great South Bay and I'd kick the stuff out of my way while walking. Nowadays I sure would put that stuff to good use! How about if you know someone on the coast that owes you a favor and would send you a bag of it perhaps...

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  camprn on 11/6/2011, 9:58 am

Too Tall, you may have to make a pilgrimage to the sea for the seaweed. Shocked

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Cincinnati on 11/6/2011, 10:10 am

@camprn wrote:Too Tall, you may have to make a pilgrimage to the sea for the seaweed. Shocked

I live 45 miles from the Gulf. For the past year, I have intended to go walk the beach with a burlap sack, but just have never had the time. I would think your most profitable walk time will be imediately after the tide has gone out.

I don't know if local laws prohibit one from harvesting it. It does make our sugar white beaches look very dirty.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/6/2011, 10:15 am

Well......I do work in NJ but not near any beaches. There's really no way I'd be able to drive to one. The only person I know who lives near a beach is my Aunt who lives in Clearwater, FL. Unfortunately she's not able to do much walking.
I could make a trip next spring/summer to the beach and gather some seaweed then but I'm not really into that now.

Well it was a thought......a crazy one though

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/6/2011, 10:17 am

You east coasters are lucky gardeners. Puget Sound (off of the Washington coast) is full of mercury and other toxins that I don't want to introduce into my boxes.

Debs…..feeling all doom and gloom and a wee bit envious.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  llama momma on 11/6/2011, 10:57 am

Eeww, didn't think of that!! God only knows what toxins are in east coast seaweed too!

Ok here's a hypothetical hydroponics job for someone,
Grow us some organic seaweed!! Very Happy

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Cincinnati on 11/6/2011, 11:04 am

Llama Mama. Sounds to me that your compost is fine as far as nutrient value without the seaweed. My only concern was the salt content. I know it has minerals too, but my MM dissolved salts is high already.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  llama momma on 11/6/2011, 11:19 am

http://www.floridaherbhouse.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=seaweed&osCsid=09c633c7c031883911ba0df15740f703

I found this website but too pricey for me. One pound of organic seaweed, want to guess? Yours for the low price of ten dollars!

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  llama momma on 11/6/2011, 11:23 am

Ok Cinci - thanks, did you know that manure has a pretty high salt content? I wonder if using lots of varieties of manure is too much, but then again I recall Boffer has a large majority of manure in his MM, yet we all know he is very successful. Sheesh, guess I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth here.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/6/2011, 11:01 pm

@llama momma wrote:http://www.floridaherbhouse.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=seaweed&osCsid=09c633c7c031883911ba0df15740f703

I found this website but too pricey for me. One pound of organic seaweed, want to guess? Yours for the low price of ten dollars!

Well I'll just have to forget adding seaweed to my compost.

I'm getting another load of horse manure tomorrow.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Goosegirl on 11/7/2011, 7:38 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
@llama momma wrote:http://www.floridaherbhouse.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=seaweed&osCsid=09c633c7c031883911ba0df15740f703

I found this website but too pricey for me. One pound of organic seaweed, want to guess? Yours for the low price of ten dollars!

Well I'll just have to forget adding seaweed to my compost.

I'm getting another load of horse manure tomorrow.
Since reading about seaweed compost I kick my self for not even thinking about it when I lived a beautiful 45 min. drive from the coast in CA. All I had would have had to do was throw a few 'beach weeds' into the back of my truck......... Mad Now that I am 2000 miles from the coast it is just a dream.....
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/7/2011, 7:43 am

I guess I'll just have to rely on that Sea Magic stuff

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/7/2011, 10:07 am

I picked up more horse manure today and I just got an email from a local alpaca ranch. The owner said that she has PLENTY of manure and I can come by and pick some up. cheers

And my compost pile is FINALLY heating up somewhat. For a while now, the thermometer registered 60F and this morning(and it was a cold one!) it was up to 70F. Maybe that horse manure I added over the weekend is starting to work.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/7/2011, 10:51 am

Does the edit button only work if you have to edit a previous post no older than a few minutes??

Anyway, the woman who raises alpacas also raises rabbits. Two different manures from one stop.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/7/2011, 12:06 pm

Too Tall,

You can edit your own posts for just a short time. I believe it is less than 30 minutes, but I am not sure of the exact time limit.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 11/7/2011, 12:44 pm

Thanks Furbalsmom

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  janezee on 11/7/2011, 7:20 pm

Y'all talking about seaweed made me get off my duff and go down to the beach on the other side of the island, 1.4 miles away, and pick up as much eel grass and kelp as I could stuff into a 30 gallon tub. Fortunately, it weighs a lot less than manure! lol
So I just bring it home toss some in the soil sifter, and hose it off. I try to separate some of the kelp from the eel grass to put in my buckets with the salmon and crab guts. Now there's a smell you won't forget.!!!!
Now it's time to mulch with the eel grass.
Did you know that you have to have a fishing license to gather seaweed in WA? Glad they didn't catch me before I found out. 8-)
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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/7/2011, 8:31 pm

Did you know that you have to have a fishing license to gather seaweed in WA?



Oh My! Shocked

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  boffer on 11/10/2011, 11:43 am

@Cincinnati wrote:Llama Mama....My only concern was the salt content. I know it has minerals too, but my MM dissolved salts is high already.
@llama momma wrote:Ok Cinci - thanks, did you know that manure has a pretty high salt content? I wonder if using lots of varieties of manure is too much, but then again I recall Boffer has a large majority of manure in his MM...

Manure in my compost is typically in the 60% range. Soluble salts were in the acceptable range when tested. I have read elsewhere that raised beds, in general, allow excess salts to be rinsed away. Add to that, my compost pile sits in the rain for more than a year, for extra rinsing.

Cinci, here is a link that someone posted about using mushroom compost. About half way down the page is a section about soluble salts. Different labs use different tests to measure SS, and the results aren't comparable. The compost is soaked in water that is then drained and used to measure the conductivity. In my mind, that supports the idea of salts being rinsed out of composts.


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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  plantoid on 11/10/2011, 6:32 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:I have a compost pile(I'm about to transfer it to a bin I'm making) and I'm just wondering how difficult it'll really be to compost through the winter. Winters can get really cold here. If the weather gets too cold to effectively compost, I'm thinking that I can just continue to add to it and when the weather gets warm enough(maybe in late March) I can turn it and get all of the things (that I added to it over the winter) to compost in time to prepare my SFG boxes.

Thoughts anyone?

When my father inlaw was alive he lived in Pegs Bay Canada ..is that cold enough for you ...6 months a year in the deep freezer.

His compost pile was two big conical heavy duty plastic compost bins with lids.

As a bin was filled it was agitated twice a week in suitable conditions by him using a garden claw device , just before winter struck he would empty out all the decent compost and use it as a mulch or dig some of it in using the claw.

Then he'd put the uncomposted stuff back in one of the big bins and add to the top through the winter , if it filled he'd use the second bin . Come spring he'd find that some composting had taken place so he'd use it and rebuild the heap in the part filled bin , he also used to water the compost bins fairly frequently in frost free conditions.

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Re: My Compost Pile

Post  plantoid on 11/10/2011, 6:50 pm

@llama momma wrote:This evening I was turning over my compost heap and was happy to see for the first time what others have described. Steam Very Happy At first I thought it was moldy dusty gook but then I could feel the heat when I got a little closer. It was 29 degrees this morning and 53 this afternoon. The compost size of 4ft by 4ft did the trick. Ok that's my newbie (one full year) sfg excitement for today!



If you add a small hand full of gypsum powder ( Here in the UK it's called plaster powder ) or a handful of builders lime sprinkled onto a layer of stable muck /manure , fork it in , wet it a wee bit , then cover it over it will cause the manure to heat up and "cook " , the heat and moisture generated will help speed up the composting and the spent plaster powder or lime helps release nutrients in the manure & the soil after it is put in the soil.



Too much stable muck in the garden will raise the acidity so it is worth while having a home soil test kit to keeep a check on things.



If it goes to acid add hydrated lime , fine crushed / powdered lime stone or fine crushed / powdered shell fish grit etc. water or dig in and retest after 30 days


EDIT: Note that all this is not necessary if one follows the instructions for creating Mel's Mix as instructed in the ALL NEW SFG book, Chapter 5.

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Re: My Compost Pile

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