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Compost combination, Good or Bad?

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Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  FLA-girl on 1/2/2012, 11:45 am

Hi, I just started my new compost pile, this one seems good so far(I've tried three compost piles in my life, none was ever so sucessful)...It's in a round trash can with holes for aeration and a lid. I roll it once a week. What I want to know is 1)is my combination good? and 2)Should I dump it out and fork it back in to mix it better?

First, I have the following in there:

-A bunch of fruit and veggie scraps, no seeds as best I could
-A couple of dead flower bunches
-A big bag of coffee grounds, gratias Starbucks
-Some shredded paper from junk mail, no glossy ink or paper
-And a huge amount of green grass clippings with dead leaves mixed in

Do I need more green or brown? I feel like my pile isn't even...

Second, the reason I'm thinking of mixing it is that the pile of grass clippings was dumped on top and now fills the can until it breaks down. I'm not sure if I should mix it now, wait until it breaks down some, or just leave it be and keep rolling and checking it's wet.

Some help would be appreciated... thanks

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  quiltbea on 1/2/2012, 1:48 pm

I think you need more browns.

I'm not an expert, having just begun 2 years ago, but I've learned a few things. A local Master Gardener showed results at a seminar I attended and I was amazed. His ratio is 1 part green (green crop residue, kitchen scraps) to 15 to 20 parts, yes thats twenty parts, brown. What a lovely result.

I tried it last year. It works for me. Even without turning my compost during the long, snow-covered winter when I couldn't even get out there, the compost that developed at the bottom of my pile was wonderful. With you living in Fla, I don't see that as a problem for you. Your compost will disintegrate much more easily, and you can turn, or roll it, it frequently. Keeping a high ratio of brown also keeps the odors down and the wild pests away from your pile.


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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  quiltbea on 1/2/2012, 1:53 pm

If you need a list of what is green and what is brown, go here:

http://organicgardening.about.com/od/compost/f/greensandbrowns.htm

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  camprn on 1/2/2012, 2:20 pm

If the barrel is now full, sure, I would pull some of it out and pile it to the side, in a week or two after the stuff in the barrel starts to break down you can add more stuff from the extra pile to it. Very Happy

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  FLA-girl on 1/3/2012, 9:03 pm

Thanks guys, I'm going to let it break down a bit and see where it goes from there.

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/3/2012, 10:48 pm

More browns. Ratios should run from 8:1 in favor of brown up to 30:1, possibly higher....depending on who you read. You really don't need a lot of greens, especially if they are hard to come by. Living in FL, I suspect they aren't...lol.

I know they are compostable, but I'm also not a huge fan of junk mail type paper. Newspaper and coffee filters is about as "paper" as I go.

Either way, I bet you're fine. It's not rocket science. It's as simple as....take yo stuff, tro it in, fuggettaboutit for awhile, and bingo....compost.

We all turn into dirt in the end..... Cool

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  FLA-girl on 1/25/2012, 11:51 am

We dumped it out today and mixed it in a new trash can(so it can sit and work)and I am slightly awestruck by the rich black loam sitting on the bottom! Amazing what a few bits of paper and veggie peels turns into. Shocked

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/25/2012, 5:00 pm

cheers for compost

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  GWN on 1/26/2012, 10:46 am

His ratio is 1 part green (green crop residue, kitchen scraps) to 15 to 20 parts, yes thats twenty parts, brown. What a lovely result.
thanks That totally explains why mine is turning to a foul smelling muck in my tumbler.
I just do not seem to have many sources of brown.
I do have some straw, so could use that.
The cardboard, will have to be it.....
thanks

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  quiltbea on 1/26/2012, 12:44 pm

GWN.....for browns, I rake up the fall leaves and pile them into large black plastic bags which are then piled behind the compost tumbler. I jump on them and stomp of them a bit and then leave them alone. When I need browns, I just open a bag and pile them on. They make great browns.

If you are anywhere near some wooded area, just fill some bags with the dead leaves. They stay pretty much intact during the winter months out in the woods. I would not clear out all the leaves around any one tree. After all, Mother Nature put them there for the tree to enjoy as they compost. I wouldn't want to deprive the tree of its nutrition for next year.

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  Kelejan on 1/26/2012, 3:05 pm

quiltbea, I too, rake up the leaves in the fall, put them in bags, then add as needed to my compost pile.

Most years I get over 30 bags from my own 8 large birch trees. This coming year the birch trees are being pruned by the utility company as the trees have grown through their electric wires.

I don't mind, as my trees are dying and getting dangerous and I cannot afford the money quoted (2 to 3 thousand dollars) needed to take down the trees. The utility company will cut off the branches and also any dead wood. I will sweet-talk them into taking as much as they can, and also ask for the wood chips so tht I can surround my SFG beds.

Hopefully I will get a little more late afternoon sunlight. I need every square foot I can get.

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  JK on 1/26/2012, 4:27 pm

I think I have the opposite problem... I have all the browns I could possibly want in the form of leaves and pine needles but the greens are hard to come by. I toss all the kitchen scraps and coffee grounds I can get but it still doesnt seem to add up to much compared to all the leaves.

Probably doesn't help that I have no way of shredding said leaves Sad

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Greens for compost

Post  tomperrin on 1/26/2012, 5:05 pm

I would look to see if there is a horse stable operation near you, or possibly someone with a lot of chickens who might let you have what you need. I get my horse manure for free locally, but have to pay $5. for a 50lb feed bag of chicken manure.

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  quiltbea on 1/26/2012, 5:15 pm

I've read that some gardeners go to their local grocery store chain and check with the produce manager. They often have lots of wilted and outer leaves and produce past its prime that they are just going to trash. It would be worth a trip to see if you can load up with several trash bagsful.

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

Post  FLA-girl on 2/16/2012, 10:40 am

WORMIES!!!

We are digging a foundation for our shed today and found earthworms. I thought to get a bucket with a little dirt and add them to our compost. Nothing like free worms! Smile

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Re: Compost combination, Good or Bad?

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