Compost

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by tambo, May 31, 2006.

  1. tambo

    tambo Well-Known Member

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    If you have a place for a wire hoop you should have a compost bin.

    When I planted my squash I was tired and just dug a hole and stuck them in the ground.They looked poor for a while.So this past weekend I got out there cleaned the grass out and put some compost around them.That was Sunday.I could not believe my eyes today when I went to the garden.They were standing so tall and bunched out I couldn't believe it.We haven't had any rain either.

    Now I have tried so many times to get a compost pile to work.I haven't had any luck till now.I'm not faithful about putting all the kitchen waste or turning it like it is suppose to be.I put chicken litter in it some straw some old hay. We turned it once when we moved it.It had some black soil in the bottom of it.That is what I put around the squash.

    I put some more around my banana peppers today.I want to see how it works on them.

    To turn it we pulled the hoop up placed it beside the pile then forked it back in the hoop.I've had this pile for awhile but if you turn it regularly it will break down quicker.

    I am going to try harder to produce more now that I've seen what it will do. I usually use miracle grow and it does a good job but the compost is free.

    My hoop is about four ft dia and three ft high.It is probably half full.

    If you have the space you should try it.

    Tambo
     
  2. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    Compost is one of my favorite gardening activities. Once you get started on it, composting is absolutely ADDICTIVE!

    Me, I started small... a little 3x3 pile in the corner of the yard. Then, I picked up a Yard Machine. That was good, but I soon found I needed MORE!!! For a short while, the addition of another Yard Machine fed my desires, but it didn't last long... MORE, MORE, MORE!!!

    Then, DH and I assembled a three-bin system. That's kept me going, for the most part, with a couple "extra" piles on the side. My DH enables my addiction to compost by gleaning black-gold market goods at curbside and coffee shops: Leaves, straw bales, spent coffee grounds, newspapers... Friends and family know that they have to save banana peels and kitchen compostables or face the pitiful question, "You aren't going to throw that away, are you?"

    Hello, my name is Pony and I'm a compost junkie.

    Pony!
     

  3. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i learned this year than compost heaps like to be watered.
     
  4. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    Do you mean H20 or "liquid nitrogen"? Around here, DH, DS, and their friends supply that. Beer parties are SO helpful!

    Wish I could train the dog to lift in the appropriate spots... ;)

    Pony!
     
  5. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

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    I just use 6mil black polyethylene and lay it over the top. I don't actually turn it, I just scoop up the edges and put it on top, water it and cover it back up. The sun cooks it good. I get about 3 years worth of compost in one year with the black plastic.

    I try and do 1/3 dead leaves and branches, 1/3 green grass and cuttings and the rest dirt. It works out pretty good. I compost the chicken dung with the bedding (grain straw) seperately. That's the good stuff and I only put it on mature plants.

    Compost is cool.
     
  6. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi. I'm Paula and I'm a compost wacko (oops, wrong forum) lol

    I have 12 bins all 4x4x4, an open pile that is about 10 feet across, a similar sized heap of composted horse manure and my pride and joy, 3 truckfulls of wood chips from the local tree trimmers. I turn the piles by forking it from one bin to the next (combining the contents of 2 into 1 etc as it breaks down) and always hose them down when turned or filled. The boys add nitrogen on a daily basis.
     
  7. Woodroe

    Woodroe Well-Known Member

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    Natural nutrient rich compost is awesome, petroleum based, chemical laced, store bought fertilizers are not awesome.
     
  8. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    I did not know that was you over there! HI! :)

    I am impressed with your composting prowess! Have you gone the whole way and started a "sawdust" operation? ;)

    Pony!
     
  9. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Although normal compost does have nutrients, stating that it is "rich" in nutrients is not exactly correct. About the maximum NPK that you are going to get is 1.0-0.5-1.0. That's not exactly "rich" when compared to the basic needs of most vegetables. That's also why one needs an inch or more of compost to be an effective fertilizer.

    Martin
     
  10. karsan

    karsan Well-Known Member

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    martin, doesn't depend on what you put into the compost? Are your figures on nutrient contents of compost based on vegetable matter only, or on animal products?

    Where I live, suburban Stockholm Sweden, we are allowed to put meat scraps and such into a covered compost container, provided it is rodent proof. So my compost contains all kinds of chicken, pork and lamb bones, sometimes fish heads, along with egg shells, cheese ends etc. It really chocks American visitors, who say that is against everything they have been told. I turn it often, it does not smell - ok, there is also a lot coffee grinds and soft paper - and leaves and weeds, amd fruit peels.

    So I figure my compost has quite a lot of phorphoros from the bones and nitrogen from the meat and milk products. The bones do not compost as fast and are put into hte soil as bones in the compost. (but the composting process makes the bones unattractive to dogs and badgers which otherwise will dig them up). Eventually, after about two years, the bones get brittle and disappear. I assume they give nutrients to the soil in the meantime.

    Do you have any estimates of the nutrient contents of a compost like that?

    karsan
     
  11. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Raw animal bone meal can be as high as 21% phosphorus. Normal vegetative compost does not contain bone meal. Bones which contain the most calcium phosphate are older bones while younger bones contain the most nitrogen. The older the bones, the slower the release of available phosphorus.

    Fish bones run about 7% phosphorus but are better than animal bones since they break down so much quicker. Being also about 7% nitrogen, they are virtually self-composting.

    To find what the animal phosphorus percentage of your finished compost would be, use the above percentage and then figure what percentage of bones make up the overall starting weight. It would be a bit difficult! In fact, the compost experts suggest adding plain bone meal to the compost pile to increase the immediately available phosphorus percentage.

    Martin
     
  12. karsan

    karsan Well-Known Member

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    Martin, Thank you very much! Karsan
     
  13. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    :eek: Well, we must have the "laziest" form of composting on here from the sounds of it, LOL.

    I collect kitchen waste in a tub in the kitchen, when it's full, it goes over the fence into whichever is the current spot designated by DH. Then when he tills between the rows, it gets worked in. In the fall, DH shreds leaves with his favorite yard toy (the "leaf chewer-upper" :) ) and spreads a layer on the garden. Tills it in. Saves some leaves for later (we have 5 acres of oak trees!). Does it again a month or so later. Come January or February he tills again, working in all the kitchen deposits that I've put out there all winter.

    Come spring, we till & plant. When the garden is done, till the leftovers in, start the cycle all over again.

    Working so far!

    Nance
     
  14. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Pony! I have to say my composting habit changed greatly when I met professorDirt (IALBTC) a few years ago - before that my compost never heated up and it wasn't very exciting. Talking to him I found out "wrung-out sponge" is nothing close to the quantity of water I needed to get a hot pile - I went home, hosed down the pile and the next day it was steaming and I was addicted! lol
    We haven't gone sawdust yet, but it is on my list of things to do. We do have one carcass composter though - I run the wood chips through our chipper/shredder, fill a bin with that and then bury carcasses in it. I could talk composting all day, but now I feel the need to turn a pile! lol
     
  15. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i am going to start adding a bit of "sub-standard" soil to my compost heap to improve that soil. i figure a will save a step in the process by adding the soil to compost a little at a time vs. just mixing the compost with poor soil. when i put the compost where i need it, it should be more like usable soil than just the compost.
     
  16. northstarpermie

    northstarpermie Well-Known Member

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    Hello, my name is April, I'm a compost junkie, & I'm proud of it. :dance: The main reason we started was I'm a gardener by heart. There isn't any good soil up here, just trees & rocks. So if you want soil you have to make your own or buy it & have it hauled in.

    I have a pail everywhere I go & take put my banana peels, apple cores, etc. in there. I even went so far as to go to a couple of work places & put pails there. I also get scraps from a few restaurants in town. They are happy someone will take it away for free instead of having to pay someone to take it away. We started doing that because our animals were eating up all the scraps we had, I wanted more soil, & I'm addicted. :baby04:

    We just started the sawdust this year. Last year, we brought a couple cases of beer to line crews that were trimming & chopping up what they trimmed. They were glad to dump 6 huge loads at our place. There was steam coming out of the top of a couple of them this winter when it was 30 below outside. We frequently encourage men to aim at the compost piles here as well. But have a sign saying don't pee on me if you are on any medication.

    This may disgust some, but we compost our own feces. We have a little sign in our bathroom that says if you are on any medications, birth control, etc. to please use the toilet A, but if not we highly encourage you to use toilet B. We don't want anything that is not going to break down in our soil, like estrogen from birth control stuff. Read the Humanure Book, you'll understand & probably be upset that you have a septic system.

    We water our piles with the rainwater we have collected & don't turn them. We have a couple of nice handle from shovels we use to poke holes in them so the air circulaltes. We don't really add anything to them. Bone meal scares me because of the mad cow disease(Its a protein that can't be destroyed). I don't care to eat that. But that's a whole other subject.
     
  17. northstarpermie

    northstarpermie Well-Known Member

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    GREAT! Had to mention the compost will decompose much faster if you add soil to it. The microrhizomes which are in the soil help everything do their job better.

    Told you I was a compost junkie. :nerd:
     
  18. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi, My name is Jennifer and I'm a compostaholic. I'm pretty lazy so I avoid turning compost but when I move this summer I might avoid the 1-3 year wait for finished compost by more actively managing it- but since I'll probably be quite busy starting the nenw garden and gatehring compost ingredients maybe not, except to water/add urine to it which I no longer do here. Right now I have a local council black plastic composter (had 2 before downscaling for moving) into which I dump grass clippings, shredded paper from our family papers, kitchen waste including meat scraps. I just take compost as needed from the bottom hatch and once in a while move the bin and take all the contents- not fully composted- and pile it around my rose or other plants as mulch. And then use the previous compost bin area for my pumpkin plants.

    I did bring in a lot of horse manure and 50 bad (bad for feeding livestock, not for gardens) hay bales a few years back- built a fort for the kids and then a swim pool with tarp over the hay bale fort- and those have sort of sheet compsted my garden patch as they collapsed to nothing. Also made a lot of apple juice most years and added the pomice to the garden wherever it would fit (open piles most years).

    At my last homestead (this is just a house with yard) I gathered putrloads of fall leaves and piled them between my chainlink fence and some fence roll. Of course we moved just as it was getting good. I had chickens and kept them on shredded paper I got from the local army hospital and put the scrapings from chicken house twice a year into the compost bin. Got bad hay whenever I could but generally used it directly (bad idea since I got an invasive sorghum in my raised beds) as a sheet mulch. Got putrloads of shredded wood/dirt from the local dump and put 4-6" that over 2-3 layers cardboard over lawn to expand my gardening area with very good effect. Can't wait for my next garden.

    I think I need to get a cow to augment my compsting- milk and calves an optional pay off with manure being her primary product- have to be sure I don't spend too much buying in food for her in which case might as well just pay for delivery of bad hay or offsite manure and use that instead of homegrown cow manure.