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Afraid of my own compost...

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Afraid of my own compost...

Post  jillwilliams1 on 1/13/2012, 3:49 pm

I'm a sfg newbie, but long time single row devotee....I admit to never using compost; but rather synthetic fertilizers. I'm very comfortable using a packaged compost from a garden center, but I'm not so sure about my own pile that I've been working on for 18 months....it's only got wheat straw and chicken manure from all the coop cleanings. Maybe that's not enough variety of ingredients; I worry about it being too strong and hurting my plants. Any thought or suggestions would be great...I'd really like to see this pile be one of my 5 composts; they're hard to find!
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jillwilliams1

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Re: Afraid of my own compost...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/13/2012, 3:56 pm

It already is one of your five....maybe two of your five, technically. But, calling it "one" is likely the more conservative route.

I can tell you I understand your apprehension. We've all been there. You just have to trust it and toss it in the mix. Understand that once all that stuff breaks down, it's likely better than anything you can buy. I wish I could help with the "strength" of it, but I can't. You can always dilute it with a couple bags of "trusted" compost from your local stores. If you like your results, add more next time and use more of your compost.

Either way, I'm glad you are converting and joined us. Welcome aboard if I haven't already said so!
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Re: Afraid of my own compost...

Post  littlejo on 1/13/2012, 4:00 pm

Use your nose and smell it. If it just smells like dirt, it's ok. If it smells like manure or ammonia, then it's got to work longer, and try to add just some straw without the chicken poo. Have you been adding to it constantly for 18 months? That's plenty of time! But, start another pile to add new stuff to.
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Re: Afraid of my own compost...

Post  jillwilliams1 on 1/13/2012, 4:09 pm

Excellent feedback everyone. I have been adding to the pile continually....I've not turned any of it so I can probably remove several layers till I get down to some broken-down material? I'll definitely start a new pile.
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Re: Afraid of my own compost...

Post  llama momma on 1/13/2012, 4:24 pm

During the first year all I had was 3 yr. old composted llama poo containing straw and hay. It looked like dark soil, that's what you want to find when you dig down into your existing pile.
I can say the garden grew beyond my expectations even though I didn't have a 5 way compost mix at the start. If you wanted to cross your fingers and gamble like I did, you could try using your limited ingredients of old composted stuff. But start your five way compost asap. We all have to start somewhere!
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Chicken manure

Post  tomperrin on 1/13/2012, 5:26 pm

I'd love some chicken manure. But if I had it, I would cut it like I cut my horse manure compost - with something a little less potent.
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