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Of Ashes, GMO's, Organics, and Systemics

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Of Ashes, GMO's, Organics, and Systemics

Post  TN_Leatherneck on 1/16/2012, 3:53 pm

I don't like having to add to the overall volume of posts for others to have to sort through,Mad but I do have some composting questions that I have so far not been able to find a satisfactory answer to (I was up till after 2am searching last night).:scratch:

1) a) How does wood ash fare in the compost pile, and is it considered a "brown" or a "green"?

b) I've seen emphasized that if you're going to use ashes, it should be wood ash. Why is the use of charcoal ash not desirable?

c) I've also seen several folks talk about using ashes directly on the garden rather than composting it. Is it better to add it this way, and if so, in what amounts?

2) How does GMO material affect compost and ultimately the produce from your SFG?

3) I'd like to keep this year's garden as organic as possible, will adding non-organic produce have an adverse effect on this goal, or does the hot composting process break down everything that I need to be worried about?

4) I watched the documentary The Vanishing of the Bees recently and have become somewhat paranoid regarding systemic pesticides. Do these break down during the hot composting process also, or is that something else to add to the list of "make sure to avoid..."?

Any insights appreciated!!!
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Re: Of Ashes, GMO's, Organics, and Systemics

Post  Mamachibi on 1/16/2012, 6:02 pm

Wood ash is best used composted rather than fresh because it can, depending on the wood used to create it, be too high in certain nutrients and cause burn or disease.

In the compost pile, it is considered a "brown."

If the charcoal is made from hot burning your own untreated wood of known source, it is fine. When people talk about not putting charcoal ash in your compost, they are referring to the pre-made briquets treated with lighter fluid, which is a petrochemical.

Ash directly in the garden is helpful for increasing pH. I wouldn't add it to Mel's Mix, but don't see a problem with adding it in very small amounts to my compost or around established berry plants. Remember that ash+water=lye, a pretty caustic combination.

The problem with GMO and non-organic vegetable matter is that the DNA of the genetically modified organism and the petrochem-based fertilizer and 'cides do not break down in composting. I don't know that the DNA would adversely affect your crops in any way. But most GMO crops are treated to excessive amounts of petrochem 'cides, which would then be a permanent part of your compost.

If the purest compost possible is your goal, I would avoid both genetically modified and non-organic components in your compost. Of course, it's easy to make yourself crazy...what about the water you are using to moisten your pile? Is it chlorinated and fluoridated? Has it come off a roof that uses petrochemically-produced asphalt shingles? If you compost paper, does it contain petrochemical inks and dyes? It goes on and on and only you can determine the level of contamination you are comfortable with.

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