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Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Susan-DonB, Jul 28, 2004.
What do you all use to create compost?
All kitchen scraps, including meats, etc., that most people don't put in, garden refuse, grass clippings, weeds, horse and cow poo, paper towels, occasional layer of dirt to add microbes.
What I would LIKE to do if I had the funds would be to start a compost business.
In our area, we have cotton seed hulls and rice hulls, not far from us are chicken farms, and the local lake has water weeds....seems to me those three in the right proportions would make one heck of a good compost.
Right now, I'm using old hay, coffee grounds :yeeha: , tea leaves, egg shells (I wash them before throwing in because of critters).
I don't use clippings because I still have so many noxious weeds. Lots of ground ivy, multiflora sprouts, poison ivy, that kind of thing. Once I get the weedy stuff settled into more normal weeds :haha: , I might use clippings, too. For now, I just leave clippings on the ground which the ground really likes.
i haven't yet begun putting veggie stuff in the compost because I usually end up using all parts of the veggies. I've heard, though, nothing's better for soil and compost than old bananas. !
Someday I'll have my composting toilet done. But that's another conversation.
Grass clippings, shredded leaves, shredded multiflora roses (a never ending compost source!), chicken litter (which is shredded newspaper and junk mail), kitchen scraps, spent plants from the garden, horse manure, hamster bedding... anything we can get our hands on that will decompose. We have three enormous heaps active right now, must be time to mow the lawn! lol
I am a compost wacko - I haunt starbucks and never buy anything, I bought a bagger for the garden tractor and bag several acres just for the compostables. I can wait for the leaves to fall - should get way more shredded with the tractor than I did raking by hand into the chipper/shredder. I even have pictures of some of our old compost heaps! :no:
We use pretty much everything from barn litter, vegi's leaves, grass clippings(although we tend to just make piles of those and let them compost down on their own, in 3months we had worms in one of the piles!) Comfrey is an excellent compost excellerator as is pig poo and urine. The only things we don't use are meat (huge rat problem here), morning glory, seed heads from weeds , and couch grass, everything else is fair game.
One reason I don't use leaves or clippings or other stuff for official compost posts is because my land here was very unhealthy when I first moved here (a lot of it still is) and I believe this stuff make the ground healthy and happy and ... wise.
So I mow leaves into the ground over a period of weeks. I also leave limbs and twigs down and keep lopping on them and stomping on them and going over them til they decompose and get totally broken up into the ground, as well.
I also do the same thing with horse poop. Which I have all over the place. :haha: I get that mower revved up and plow right over it to break it down into the ground.
One result is the ground here (in the areas I've done that for the past couple years) is looking better and better.
Someday, it will be healthy enough that I'll use all that stuff for compost. In the meantime, I'll continue to be a source of mystery to the neighbors (all of whom burn all that stuff) as to why I would let all those messy limbs and leaves and poop and whatnot be lying around all over the place.
Sheep poop, and all their straw bedding and wasted grass hay! We have more than we can use, since during the winter, the sheep spend a lot of time in the barn due to rain.... it does break down very nicely in a year. We don't have a tractor, so we don't turn our pile which is confined with pallet boards. We just give it a bit of water in the summer. The following spring, we put a whole lot in our veg garden. You should see our 7 ft tall snap peas this year! That is, before they fell over cause the fence they were climbing was only 5ft. Flower beds get occassional top-dressings of compost too.... and the chickens just love to scratch in it to find worms!
Chicken bedding, lawn clippings (from about 4 acres), excess from the fruit trees, ash from the fire pit, and food scraps from the house. I used to add meat scraps, since they'll compost as well. I don't since we moved here. It attracts too many critters that also like to eat chicken! If my compost pile was bigger, I could bury it and not have that problem, but it cooks down too fast to do that. The chickens turn it for me.
If it decomposes, its feed on my worm ranch. I do keep a log of what wastes are prosessed through particular lots so that I dont have poison ivy and such processed into potting grade vermicompost, but do compost them into the field grade and topsoil lots regularly.
Call up the nearest petstore and ask them to save their used bedding for you. If you agree to pick it up often, I'm sure they'll do it for you. The store that I manage produces about 20 bags of pine shavings, ground corn cobs and CareFresh (recycled paper bedding) all of which is loaded with lots of nice manure. You should see what guinea pig poop does for a tomatoe plant. We used the CareFresh from the ferret cages to mulch our fig trees. I stingily share my store's used bedding with two other employees. One particularly likes the ground corncobs to use as mulch around her azaleas.
WOW, great advice, so many places to get stuff that I never thought of! Sounds like this could be a year round business? I need to start gathering.