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COMPOST

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Re: COMPOST

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 2/1/2012, 1:13 pm

Don't feel bad deriter...I've seen a lot of posters use a meat thermometer (but of course, clarify that it was relegated to compost work for the remainder of it's life). Smile I think compost thermometers actually have a longer probe, though.

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re: compost

Post  minervalong on 2/1/2012, 1:29 pm

I dream of a remote temp monitoring system. one probe for compost, one for green house, one for sqft beds. all recording max/min and reading them all from one receiver. I think they make such, but it will take a while to save for, they are a lot of unbought cappucinos.

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Re: COMPOST

Post  llama momma on 2/1/2012, 1:47 pm

My meat thermometer's lowest reading Begins at 130 degrees.
That's too high imho. to accurately gauge the changing temps.
I've read where some people attach a ribbon or string and use whatever thermometer they have on hand. Poke it into the heap and wait a bit for a true temp. then reel it back out.
My compost thermom. begins at zero and goes to 220 degrees and the probe is 20 inches. Can be purchased at Gardens Alive.com. It was around 30 dollars I think.

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The compost thermometer

Post  tomperrin on 2/1/2012, 1:56 pm

I'm using a ReoTemp Compost Thermometer. After seeing it suggested along with another on a compost site I checked the reviews on Amazon and saw that beloved spouse picked the right one for a Christmas gift. Internet price $25.00. My only complaint is that it is not graduated in Centigrade as well as Farenheit.


Last edited by tomperrin on 2/1/2012, 2:00 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fix font size)

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Re: COMPOST

Post  llama momma on 2/1/2012, 2:20 pm

Tomp--
The one I mentioned above from GardensAlive has both readings of farenh. and cent. Think some compost thermom's. have a 36 inch probe. Mine is 20 inches, good enough for me.

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F + C too expensive

Post  tomperrin on 2/1/2012, 3:45 pm

The Reo gets good reviews, the Mantis, which has F + C, does not. $25.00 is about as much as I want to risk. I say risk, because with just about everything being made in China, quality is uncertain and consistency is improbable from one product to the next. (Color me prejudiced). The Reo is also good, because the color shown on the dial is appropriate for good composting, meaning that the designers of the implement understood the process.



Tom

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COMPOST

Post  deriter on 2/1/2012, 4:29 pm

Off topic a little but just have to say, we don't make anything here in the USA anymore. China makes everything. There, sorry, but I do feel better having said that!

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Re: COMPOST

Post  plantoid on 2/1/2012, 5:08 pm

[quote="Lavender Debs"]
@plantoid wrote:....snip.... most of the oxygen is used up in the first few hours ( that surprised me )and as the bacteria get going they produce the heat as they break things down.

It comes to the point after the third or fourth turning that you will see little or no rise in temp after a few days , the compost is now cooked and needs to be set aside to fishing off with no further turning needed . ( you seem to have covered that angle in your post )

Adding new materials to the cooking heap will just prolong the time required to make the compost once you reach the dormant stage ....



Good job I have loss of memory probs as I'd be here typing you a list all night Wink ..
I've been looking into composting for three or so months doing a bit of research each day .. not the internet type forum research where you get loads of witchcraft mumbojumbo and mis information but more of the university extensions & local authority waste management concerns in :- The USA , Canada , New Zealand , Australia , UK and info out of websites owned by people who commercially compost for a living .


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USA Made

Post  tomperrin on 2/1/2012, 5:11 pm

One reason I haunt the auctions here, and esp farm auctions, is that I find good stuff made in the USA that will last longer than me. Also the yard sales. There is a practical limit as to how many I need of a particular thing. I deplore the move of manufacturing to China, and believe that it is a tragic, strategic mistake that sets us back hundreds of years. My aggie supply guy today told me that there are no new farms in New Jersey. They are going out of business as fast as the EPA can shove new regs down the farmers' throats.

Thank God for SFG. So far nobody has complained about the various animal manures I have stored here. Horse manure is pretty much exempt from regulation, and of course my compost heap has no discernible odor unless you stick your nose in it.

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Re: COMPOST

Post  plantoid on 2/1/2012, 5:34 pm

Because of the remotest chance of the WITC ... errrrrr ... I mean " THE LADY " next door ever getting a whiff of my composts I've purchased a total of seven Dalek lidded compost bins off the local authority , filled all but one with a varied mix of all sorts of animal manures & associated different beddings & added a composting accelerator to every 5 inch layer after giving it a good soak with a spray hose .

Thankfully I have kept & put on my PC a leaflet that came with the bins giving the approved way of making composts and stopping smells .
By law if I were using manure out in the open I'd have to have it incorporated in nthe soil within three working days .

There is not so much as even the faintest aroma of what is in the bins. But just in case they get nosey and reach over the back fence to look in the lidded bins I've laid a three inch layer of neat clean straw to the top of each bin by the fence
& lined the lids up very precisely to see if they do get looked into by next door.


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Chasing manure

Post  tomperrin on 2/1/2012, 5:53 pm

I knew a guy in Leeds back in the day who would chase after the rag & bone man's cart to pick up any chance droppings of manure for his allotment. In my beloved Northern New York some locals are trying to run the Amish out of town because their horses leave signs of their passing. I say they would be better off scooping up the stuff and transmuting it into compost. And, incidentally, getting a life.

I wondered what Daleks were. Now I know.

BTW, if we in this country gardened the way you do in the UK, we would transform the country overnight. I have never seen so many flowers as I have seen across the pond. You really should send some missionaries over here to set us straight.

T.

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Re: COMPOST

Post  llama momma on 2/2/2012, 7:32 am

@tomperrin wrote:....
"BTW, if we in this country gardened the way you do in the UK, we would transform the country overnight. I have never seen so many flowers as I have seen across the pond. You really should send some missionaries over here to set us straight."

T.

I agree, and the Japanese also know a thing or two about gardening:

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SMELLS

Post  deriter on 2/2/2012, 7:45 am

Plantoid, maybe we need to bring your neighbor over here and smell one of our hog confinements. You can smell one of those for like miles or translated to your country, kilometers or something. After wiffing one of these she would never ever complain about your compost believe me.

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COMPOST

Post  deriter on 2/2/2012, 7:47 am

I have read some articles about Japan and some of their intensive gardening practices. They know how to get a lot of produce from a small area, but I don't know anything about flowers.

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Two diffeent kinds of compost containers

Post  tomperrin on 2/2/2012, 11:33 am

Plantoid,

We are discussing two different types of compost piles you and me.

Here's mine this morning:



The open air pile differs markedly from your closed Davels in that the Davels and similar structures probably retain most of the heat they would otherwise give off by convection. I sometimes add a weed barrier blanket to retain some of the heat that would be lost via convection (that's the water vapor that comes off the pile if I disturb it). I've also been known to add hot water from the tap to goose things along a bit.

That's a four-foot rebar in the middle of the pile. When I can find a roundtoit I'll paint the top in graduated increments so I can measure the pile depth.

This morning's pile temp is well into the mid-one twenties F. cheers



Blurriness in the photo might be from the flash. Then again it might be vapor from the pile.

Tom

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Re: COMPOST

Post  plantoid on 2/2/2012, 8:20 pm

@deriter wrote:Plantoid, maybe we need to bring your neighbor over here and smell one of our hog confinements. You can smell one of those for like miles or translated to your country, kilometers or something. After wiffing one of these she would never ever complain about your compost believe me.

Oh yes she would ! Laughing

The worse smell I've ever had in my head was when I exhumed some dead dogs that had been wrapped in plastic bags and buried for six years .. olive green soup etc . Far worse than a sweet smelling pig farm I can assure you . Laughing

Maggot farms are good as well in high summer .


Last edited by plantoid on 2/2/2012, 8:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: COMPOST

Post  plantoid on 2/2/2012, 8:22 pm

@tomperrin wrote:I knew a guy in Leeds back in the day who would chase after the rag & bone man's cart to pick up any chance droppings of manure for his allotment. In my beloved Northern New York some locals are trying to run the Amish out of town because their horses leave signs of their passing. I say they would be better off scooping up the stuff and transmuting it into compost. And, incidentally, getting a life.

I wondered what Daleks were. Now I know.

BTW, if we in this country gardened the way you do in the UK, we would transform the country overnight. I have never seen so many flowers as I have seen across the pond. You really should send some missionaries over here to set us straight.T.

What ! Laughing & get eaten by the locals ??? Wink

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Re: COMPOST

Post  plantoid on 2/2/2012, 8:32 pm

Two Daleks from the BBCTV series " Dr Who " , ( it's for kiddies & yard apes ) their chant was a nazal metalic voice saying " We will exterminate , We will exterminate "
look up some youtube clips and have a smile .. it's a cult series ,has been for over 40 years & is still going strong .


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Re: COMPOST

Post  tomperrin on 2/2/2012, 8:34 pm

@plantoid wrote:What ! Laughing & get eaten by the locals ??? Wink

I'm almost a vegetarian, at least for most of the summer.

I've got some people your Dr Who Daleks could work on.

Tom

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Re: COMPOST

Post  RoOsTeR on 2/2/2012, 8:50 pm

Hey plantoid, how do you like those Daleks? My sister in law has one that looks almost identical. Think its called an earth machine? She has been begging me to remove it from her yard and I think I will now that I see yours and maybe set it up close to the garden for quick access. Guess I just never really thought I needed it, but it might come in handy!

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Bulk Compost

Post  tomperrin on 2/2/2012, 9:05 pm

Somewhere, somebody recently asked about bulk compost. Well, today I went and got a truckload. I have a lot of squares to fill and I don't want to be left behind by the arrival of Spring. Went to my usual landscape place to get a yard. AFTER I paid for it at the office, the yard man tells me that I'm 3 weeks too early for sifted compost. The only stuff he has available is unsifted. So being uncharacteristically gracious, and also being a compost vapor addict, and also being mollified by the addition of another third yard of compost, I filled the truck and headed home. Here's some photos to help you visualize my day.


One Cubic Yard of Unsifted Compost

Why it's important to have heavy duty shocks on your pickup.

What unsifted compost looks like. Always specifiy sifted stuff.

Sifted and unsifted.
I was able to fill 4 5-gal pails of sifted compost before dark. Each pail went into it's own contractors' trash bag. Once I'm done emptying the truck sometime in the year 2013, those 5-gal bags will be added to the 5 part compost portion of Mel's Mix. I don't know how much the 5-gal pail of compost weighs, but its manageable. More would not be. And I do need the exercise.
Once this stuff is sifted, it is undistinguishable from my home grown compost. Can hardly wait to start making MM.

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Re: COMPOST

Post  RoOsTeR on 2/2/2012, 9:31 pm

Once I'm done emptying the truck sometime in the year 2013,
Razz
You've got lots of sifting to do there, but looks like you'll have some pretty nice stuff there when you're done.

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Re: COMPOST

Post  walshevak on 2/3/2012, 8:35 am

You just hit the nail on the head as to why I don't go down and get the free truck load of cotton boll compost. I just can't handled the unloading. But I may break down and see if they will load just 1/4 of a truck load. I have 4 new beds in the works. AND my son has 2-4 depending on weather and work planned, so I may stop by and get him a truck load, He has a teenager to help unload.Very Happy I'm headed to his house next week.



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Bulk Compost

Post  deriter on 2/3/2012, 11:23 am

Tom, are you concerned with what is in compost? I would like to get started like that but am concerned with what is in the make up. I know I am going to have to buy mine this year but hopefully just this year. Was figuring to buy at the box stores.

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Compost concerns

Post  tomperrin on 2/3/2012, 11:48 am

With my home grown compost, I only make one distinction. I have a pile that contains gutter sweepings. That is earmarked for flower beds and lawn repair.

I don't worry about the compost I get in bulk from the landscape supply house. I know what's in it.



This windrow starts out the same as a lot of my own compost: lawn trash, garden trash. By the time this windrow makes it to the other side of the yard, it will turn into the stuff you see in my truck. It is then sifted in a huge mechanical sifter to make garden ready compost. The trash I sift out of my unsifted truckload isn't problematical. It's stones, twigs, pine cones, the occasional lump of clay and a few stray pieces of plastic. All in all, not a bad deal for $18. + tax. Mushroom compost comes in at $45 a cu yd and is very nice stuff. That said, the very best compost comes from my personal yard and efforts. I know exactly what is in it. (I have the same attitude toward packaged foods - if I make it from scratch, I know what's in it - and it tastes better.) Probably the best stuff that went into my compost is the 5 50-lb feed bags of pure chicken manure I acquired for $5.00 a bag. This is very hot stuff and needs to be diluted.

Commercial packaged compost is made the same way, except that some of it is blended with other things. For my new squares, I will be blending the leaf compost with mushroom compost, cow compost, my own compost (if it's ready) and whatever other kind(s) I can get retail to make up the 5 kinds. I'm a penny pincher and tend to shop around to get the best deal I can get.

Tom

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Re: COMPOST

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