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Are you a hottie?

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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/16/2012, 11:06 pm

hey morganfam7....


The bigger the piece of wood(or any composting material), the longer it'll take to compost.

I'm not saying that you absolutely have to do this. It may sound goofy but if you have alot of them consider renting a small chipper and send those bigger chunks through that. Heck, if you do rent a small chipper, I would just run all of the wood chips/chunks through it just to maybe grind them up smaller. If you don't want to do that(I'd be surprised if you do) at least pick out the big chunks and set them aside for something else.

That'll be great if you can score some vegetable scraps from that plant but be careful that they don't accidentally toss in other items that don't belong such as plastic. If you completely trust them, go for it. Otherwise maybe you'd want to pick through the stuff they give you.

To tell you how nuts I am about composting, I'm giving some serious thought into getting something like this.....

http://www.gardeners.com/Electric-Leaf-Shredder/39-402,default,pd.html?start=3&q=shredder

I wouldn't be able to run big sticks through it but I could certainly run leaves, small twigs, and even my kitchen scraps, through it. Everything would be chopped up real fine and it should compost quicker.
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  morganfam7 on 3/17/2012, 12:30 pm

Too Tall, that shredder looks great! We have an electric mower and I love how quiet it is. Unfortunately we don't have a bag on it. I mow over all our leaves and blow them up against a wall of the house so that they're in a semi pile. That leaf shredder looks like it would make quick work of any leaf pile!

The biggest pieces of mulch were in the 3-4" range. i figured I would leave them in for aeration purposes. I'm trying a tumbling composter for the first time, and so far it seems to hold the heat real well, so I'm not concerned about loss of heat. Once I find my soil thermometer I'll get a reading...but I've only seen it once since moving. I may need to use one of the kitchen thermometers (shhhh! I promise to wash it off).

Kay, I hope to get to Starbucks today for some grounds. Sorry they had you dig in the trash! I hope mine doesn't do that!
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Here's the mulch

Post  morganfam7 on 3/17/2012, 9:45 pm

I opened up the barrel and took some of the pile out because it was too hard to turn the barrel. I found some of the tomatoes I put in there, but the pears are long gone! They probably already had a little compost action going since they were each wrapped in tissue paper. I did find a piece of the box, though. Here is a picture of the mulch and then a picture inside the compost barrel:



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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/17/2012, 10:28 pm

Well that stuff does look chunky but it's not all that bad. What you could also do is just compost everything and when it's done, run the compost through a sifter made from hardware cloth like this....



Not sure of that size but maybe you should use something with slightly bigger holes.

After screening, re-compost whatever doesn't go through the sifter.
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Sifter

Post  morganfam7 on 3/17/2012, 11:29 pm

That sifter will work great. Cool

I had another idea about Nitrogen - There is a barber college close by and I'm sure I could get a garbage sack of hair from them. I don't remember exactly how strong hair is...in the class(20 years ago) the instructor said hair was one of the most potent nitrogen sources.

Which reminds me...do you activate your compost with something? I used to use blood meal or cottonseed meal. I'd just throw a handful in there when we first made the pile. This time I used a shovel of some of the "let it rot" compost that I had and a shovel full of humate from the Wal-Mart bag. I also put a little molasses in there for good measure...trying to butter up the microbes to attack those big pieces. Wink
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/17/2012, 11:40 pm

morganfam7 wrote:That sifter will work great. Cool

I had another idea about Nitrogen - There is a barber college close by and I'm sure I could get a garbage sack of hair from them. I don't remember exactly how strong hair is...in the class(20 years ago) the instructor said hair was one of the most potent nitrogen sources.

Which reminds me...do you activate your compost with something? I used to use blood meal or cottonseed meal. I'd just throw a handful in there when we first made the pile. This time I used a shovel of some of the "let it rot" compost that I had and a shovel full of humate from the Wal-Mart bag. I also put a little molasses in there for good measure...trying to butter up the microbes to attack those big pieces. Wink

You might want to be careful with the hair from a barber. If the hair has a lot of chemicals(dyes, straighteners, perms, etc) you won't want that in the compost.

As far as activators, it's not totally necessary for composting. The only time I used it is when I "restarted" the compost pile after winter. I used dried blood and rabbit food. That compost pile has been running over 120F for an entire week....most of the time being just under 140F.
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RE: Are you a hottie?

Post  morganfam7 on 3/18/2012, 6:29 pm

wow! Congrats on being a hottie!

I hope I can get mine up there...just added a bunch of fresh grass clippings. Thanks for the heads up about the chemicals on hair. It's a barber college, and when I take my son I mostly see men getting haircuts. Hopefully it'll be chemical free. I don't know that I will definitely get some...I'm just lining up sources in case I need 'em. Very Happy
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  plantoid on 3/18/2012, 6:49 pm

My worm bin has been fed on 30 day wetted & weathered hair clippings from a ladies & gents hair salon , they seem to thrive on them , so I'm happy to add well weathered hair & our dog's hair into my seven composter bins in the future .
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/18/2012, 7:06 pm

morganfam7 wrote:wow! Congrats on being a hottie!

I hope I can get mine up there...just added a bunch of fresh grass clippings. Thanks for the heads up about the chemicals on hair. It's a barber college, and when I take my son I mostly see men getting haircuts. Hopefully it'll be chemical free. I don't know that I will definitely get some...I'm just lining up sources in case I need 'em. Very Happy

Thanks!

I was going to say that typically men's hair is relatively chemical-free. One really good thing you can use hair for (treated or not) is a rabbit repellant. A few years ago I had a problem with rabbits eating snapdragons that I had planted in a flower bed at the front of the house. They would bite them in half and just let them there uneaten. Well someone told me to put hair around plants and rabbits will stay away from them. So I went to a salon and asked the woman if I could have a bag of cut hair. I took the hair home and scattered it around the stumpy snapdragons. I also scattered the hair around some tomato plants. The snapdragons grew back and looked real nice.....rabbits wouldn't touch them. The hair didn't do anything to keep the voles away from my tomato plants.

If you have plants that rabbits like to chew on, use the hair trick. It should work.
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Hair in compost

Post  morganfam7 on 3/18/2012, 7:19 pm

Plantoid, do you just water the hair and leave it outside for a month or is there a special way of doing it? How do you give it to your worms - just like any other food? (I just gave my new worms their first feeding - pureed tomatoes that I dug out of the compost bin - I was given a bunch of rotten produce).I'm sure if I asked I could get a bunch of hair, and the college is just down the road. cheers

TooTallTomatoes, I don't have any problems with rabbits anymore, and we don't have voles..at least I've never seen one. lol Glad your snapdragons were ok. What do they do to the tomatoes? Eat the plant or the fruit? We're planting some snaps today that I'm hoping will stay year round. The worm lady's snapdragons are still going strong from last year's planting.

My son's on his way back with my Starbucks Coffee grounds! bounce I went ahead and added the goat manure and bedding to the pile. I can't wait! I'm going to get that pile heated up one way or another! lol
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/18/2012, 11:00 pm

morganfam7 wrote:TooTallTomatoes, I don't have any problems with rabbits anymore, and we don't have voles..at least I've never seen one. lol Glad your snapdragons were ok. What do they do to the tomatoes? Eat the plant or the fruit? We're planting some snaps today that I'm hoping will stay year round. The worm lady's snapdragons are still going strong from last year's planting.

Voles look like mice but fatter. The voles that I had trouble with ate my tomatoes in varying stages of ripeness. I took care of them with rat and mouse traps Twisted Evil

Good luck with your snapdragons. They're really neat flowers. Be sure to take some pictures.
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/19/2012, 7:31 am

It's been over two weeks since I rebuilt my compost pile and it held a temperature of between 135F to 140F for about a week. It slowly started to drop and now it's been stuck at 120F for a few days now. Now I'm not complaining about it one bit but is it usual for temps to hold at a certain temperature for that long? I'm sort of anxious to turn it but I don't want to touch it till it drops to around 100F
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leaf shredder

Post  curio on 3/19/2012, 9:27 am

OHHHHHHHHHHHH TooTallTomatoes... that link... :::drool:::
I just emailed hubby to tell him "I WANT!!"

I've been wondering how I was going to shred leaves, since we have no power mower or weed-eater. This would be awesome!!!
My list of "me wanties" is getting longer... meat grinder, dehydrator, and now this!! :::wondering what the next holiday I could get a "gift" for is:::
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/19/2012, 9:58 am

curio wrote:OHHHHHHHHHHHH TooTallTomatoes... that link... :::drool:::
I just emailed hubby to tell him "I WANT!!"

I've been wondering how I was going to shred leaves, since we have no power mower or weed-eater. This would be awesome!!!
My list of "me wanties" is getting longer... meat grinder, dehydrator, and now this!! :::wondering what the next holiday I could get a "gift" for is:::

To finish up the fall cleaning last year I bought myself one of those corded blower/vacs. It does a really nice job of vacuuming up and shredding the leaves. You could consider that too.
Once I get my beds built, filled, and planted(by mid-May) I'm getting one of those shredders. I don't know how the shredding capability of that compares to a blower/vac but it'll be mainly for shredding veggie,fruit, and garden scraps.
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  curio on 3/19/2012, 10:21 am

Once I get my beds built, filled, and planted(by mid-May) I'm getting
one of those shredders. I don't know how the shredding capability of
that compares to a blower/vac but it'll be mainly for shredding
veggie,fruit, and garden scraps.

I just ordered one from Amazon... same one as in the link... less expensive and FREE SHIPPING!! I'll let you know how we like it. I have probably a cubic yard or more of leaves to add to the bins.
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  morganfam7 on 3/20/2012, 2:38 am

Congrats on the purchase, Jan! I bet you'll have great compost before long. Very Happy
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/20/2012, 8:29 am

curio wrote:
Once I get my beds built, filled, and planted(by mid-May) I'm getting
one of those shredders. I don't know how the shredding capability of
that compares to a blower/vac but it'll be mainly for shredding
veggie,fruit, and garden scraps.

I just ordered one from Amazon... same one as in the link... less expensive and FREE SHIPPING!! I'll let you know how we like it. I have probably a cubic yard or more of leaves to add to the bins.

Please let me know. That would be so cool.

Just another garden tool to go into my shed. What a Face
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  morganfam7 on 3/20/2012, 11:59 am

We got about 3 inches of rain in about 9 hours. affraid My apple trees are sitting in water along with my whole backyard. I found a local source of alpaca manure that I hoped to work into the pile today...still chasing that hottie status. Looks like I'll be adding the manure tomorrow instead. Maybe by then I'll have a reply from a local rabbit manure source.

The jury is still out about whether I like this tumbling composter. I've only ever done it in a pile until now. I'm missing my pile because this barrel doesn't hold enough for my taste, but I'll wait until I've figured this barrel out and got a good batch of compost from it before I decide. I could always do both, I guess.

Are coffee grounds acidic? I just read in the ANSFG to limit them to 10% of the pile. Know why? (I've got to go digging through those moving boxes stored in the shed that have all my gardening references...)

Also, should I be discussing this here or should I take it to a thread that is not stickied?
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/20/2012, 11:32 pm

morganfam7 wrote: The jury is still out about whether I like this tumbling composter. I've only ever done it in a pile until now. I'm missing my pile because this barrel doesn't hold enough for my taste, but I'll wait until I've figured this barrel out and got a good batch of compost from it before I decide. I could always do both, I guess.

Are coffee grounds acidic? I just read in the ANSFG to limit them to 10% of the pile. Know why? (I've got to go digging through those moving boxes stored in the shed that have all my gardening references...)


While your tumbler might not be big enough to hold enough materials for your liking, you should be able to turn out finished compost quicker because all you have to do is tumble it periodically rather than forking around a bigger pile, rebuilding layers, adding, dried blood, manure, etc. Just my opinion of course.
The tumbler will also definitely save your back.

Some people say that coffee grounds aren't very acidic. I agree. That's because most of the acid is in the coffee you drink. Do you drink coffee? Do you get heartburn/acid reflux after drinking coffee? Wink
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  morganfam7 on 3/21/2012, 3:16 am

No, we're big fans of the smell of coffee, but not the taste. Sugared up? Well, I don't need another thing with sugar. lol

The tumbler may save my back, but it is not easy to turn. I'm now noticing that there are tons of youtube videos about building your tumbling composter, but very few shown turning it with a load in it. Not as easy as you think. I found a couple that show it for just a second or two. Here is one and he turns it at about 8:30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcPz4XF-yUM

The compost clunks around in the barrel and makes it difficult to turn. It throws it's weight around.

I had an aerator that got air in the pile, and then I had some teen boys that turned it for me.
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/21/2012, 7:39 am


The jury is still out about whether I like this tumbling composter. I've only ever done it in a pile until now. I'm missing my pile because this barrel doesn't hold enough for my taste, but I'll wait until I've figured this barrel out and got a good batch of compost from it before I decide. I could always do both, I guess.

I'll take my piles over my tumbler any day. I agree, they don't hold enough and I personally think the tumblers need more attention. I just don't think they hold the mass that is really needed to generate a nice hot pile. I also don't think they mix as well as I can do with a little fork or shovel work. For me it's just easier to make a pile on the ground and turn it when needed. Just my thoughts, YMMV

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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/21/2012, 12:47 pm

RoOsTeR wrote:
The jury is still out about whether I like this tumbling composter. I've only ever done it in a pile until now. I'm missing my pile because this barrel doesn't hold enough for my taste, but I'll wait until I've figured this barrel out and got a good batch of compost from it before I decide. I could always do both, I guess.

I'll take my piles over my tumbler any day. I agree, they don't hold enough and I personally think the tumblers need more attention. I just don't think they hold the mass that is really needed to generate a nice hot pile. I also don't think they mix as well as I can do with a little fork or shovel work. For me it's just easier to make a pile on the ground and turn it when needed. Just my thoughts, YMMV

I just thought that a tumbler would be a big back saver for me. Instead of having a monstrosity of a pile, I should make it more manageable huh? When the shut the pile down at the end of last year it was 5ft x 5ft x 4ft tall. Way too big. The standard 3 x 3 x 3 pile would be much more manageable for me to handle.

My back just hurts at the thought of having to turn that again.
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  morganfam7 on 3/22/2012, 12:48 am

Rooster, I'm glad you posted because I felt really weird saying that. There are videos everywhere about those tumblers and everyone that I've seen seems to LOVE them. Whew! Glad I'm not the only one. Very Happy

TTT, yeah, me too. I thought this tumbler would be so much easier. Now I realize that everyone is turning an empty tumbler!

My compost is breaking down and definitely looking blacker, but it's not really heating up yet. Or at least I have only found it a little bit warmer than outside. I noticed tonight that my barrel is "crinkling" like the side is sucking in where it sits on the casters. It's a 55 gallon food grade blue barrel like you see in all those videos.

I'm going to drill more holes in it tomorrow in case it's needing more air. The kind we built is on rollers with the barrel on it's side. It has been turned every day since we put compost in it. I'm thinking it's warming up in spots and that makes it crinkle? I don't know...but I am missing my pile.

TTT, why don't you try one of those aerators that has the little fly out wings. It really does do a good job. Then you only have to turn just a few times. Do you use a shovel or a pitch fork? A pitch fork is much easier on my back, and I guess that's because the load is lighter.?

If we don't get any rain and I can get back there without rolling in the mud, I think I may make a two bin compost bin out of pallets.

edit: wait a minute! I did add a box of cornstarch that moths got into to the pile last night and then heave it around once. I wonder if that cornstarch heated up the barrel there. It did look a lot more broken down today. I'm telling you, I think flour, cornmeal and maybe cornstarch should be called activators - they seem to be almost explosive!


Last edited by morganfam7 on 3/22/2012, 12:52 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : forgot something)
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/22/2012, 7:31 am

morganfam7 wrote:
TTT, yeah, me too. I thought this tumbler would be so much easier. Now I realize that everyone is turning an empty tumbler!


TTT, why don't you try one of those aerators that has the little fly out wings. It really does do a good job. Then you only have to turn just a few times. Do you use a shovel or a pitch fork? A pitch fork is much easier on my back, and I guess that's because the load is lighter.?


I didn't buy the tumbler yet. It was just something I thought might work. I think instead of getting a tumbler, I won't let my pile get any bigger than 3ft x 3ft x 3ft. after my current one is done(hopefully) next month.

I did buy one of those aerators but haven't used it yet. I don't think I'd need to use it because the temperature of my pile is STILL at 120F after a few weeks(started out at almost 140F) and I'm going to rebuild the pile with blood meal and maybe more rabbit food pellets hopefully this weekend.
I tear down the pile and rebuild(in layers) it with an iron rake and a thick-tined pitchfork(if that's even what the thing is called).

Moral of the story:

Keep the pile no bigger than 3ft x 3ft x 3ft. At least that's what I'm going to believe in
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Re: Are you a hottie?

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/22/2012, 9:22 am

For your SFG compost, keep the pile size managable Very Happy I currently have three piles that I keep right around 3.5 to 4 foot. 4 foot being the max for the compost I use in my SFG that I turn by hand.

I do have LARGE compost piles that I turn 2x a year that is our chicken, goat and horse pen wastes (some steer as well). Straw, hay, manure, shavings etc. I clear it out of the pens with my tractor and add it to our large piles. Like I said, I turn it 2x a year with our tractor. Every year neighbors and some family come with pick ups and I load em up! And we use it too. It takes a lot longer to compost, and I don't babysit it like my "hand piles" but nature happens and its great stuff too!

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