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<  Composting, Mulch, and Soils  ~  Over my head with compost

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:03 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
I have compost!!
Maybe a lifetime supply.
As you can see, I've been busy.
I got 35+ more yards of HM. the first 28 yards I loaded, hauled (in a 4 yd trailer - 7 trips) & stacked by hand. (good thing about hand work on both end is no rocks :) ).
Figured I'd better get what I could because the horse farm may be sold soon, (economics) :(
The last 7 or so yards I was able to borrow a JD skid steer from my neighbor. WOW! I love hydraulics!!!:) :lol:
I was able to stack up all of the small piles that were delivered during the winter with the Skid steer (most anyway, some still froze & some loss that's not worth scraping up & getting all the mud & rocks)
That pile is about 25 yards worth.
Both pile are just starting to get hot & "COOK" (compost term I learned from Breezy).

Since I got this early in the year & will be able to have warmer temps for the pile to work:
?When should I turn/mix the piles?

Here is some pics of the piles & area & all the compost I'll have in a year or so.

Hand stacking (over 5 feet tall & about 30 feet long)
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Newest pile
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New pile & one on the left barely in pic is stuff from last winter I piled up
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I will be able to get more organized now with the Skid Steer. & be able to turn/mix the piles.
Pic of all the misc compost piles, bins (overview of compost area)
Image



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:12 am
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
My goodness, that's a lot of compost! You better start bagging some of it to sell. :)

There have been a lot of horses abused around here because of the economy. Sad to see. I don't know why they won't just sell them rather than let them suffer. Too bad you may lose your source.

Happy composting!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:39 am
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
I hope the buyer is a horse person. Why else buy a horse farm. I'm sure all will be fine since most of the horses are stabled there, & the owners come on weekends to ride. Was sure busy Sat & Sun with riders.



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:50 am
User avatarJoined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:37 amPosts: 912Location: Zone 6/7, Culpeper, VA
Luv2 - they're not selling their horses because, with the current economy, they CAN'T! I know folks who have had nice horses for sale at rock-bottom prices for going on 2 years now without even a nibble. Nobody is buying. Frankly, most folks have all or more than they can handle with the horses they have, never mind taking on more - myself included. Hay prices have TRIPLED in the past couple of years thanks mostly to gas conditions & seasonal drought. TRIPLED. And hay - more than grain products - is the backbone of the horse industry. I'm currently spending a bare minimum of $1,200/month on hay alone - 3 times what I was paying 3 years ago, & even with one less horse in the herd than I had back then.

Nationwide, more & more people are finding abandoned horses. They're found running loose, deposited in fields with owned animals - heck, one woman went trail ridiing & returned to find a horse actually loaded onto her horse trailer with an anonymous note begging her to take him &/or find him a home!!! Now that's real desperation.

While there's absolutely no condoning abuse, I think many of these "abusers" are hoping - albeit delusionally - that things will change for the better. Not to mention, if you're really into horses, how difficult it can be to give up your best friend, even if it's for the better.



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:03 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
Well, if it were me, I'd rather give a loved animal away rather than watch it die a slow death from starving, even though it would be hard, but not as hard as watching it die, though. I've only heard stories of neglected animals here, not many abandoned.

I wouldn't think the hay prices have gone up a whole lot here, with so many pastures around and eastern OR and WA produce a lot of straw and hay. My neighbor with horses gets a lot of bales of hay off his land every year. I just bought a large bale of straw for about the same price as in the past. I suspect alfalfa hay has gone up the most.

Dave, if it's a farm where people board their horses, then it probably will be bought by someone who will keep it that way since it's a source of income and it would be a lot of work to convert it. Hopefully that's the case so you'll still have your source. I was thinking it was just person with his/her own horses. Around here, property like that would be bought and developed, at least before the economic problems that is. Construction has slowed down a lot here, no new strip malls popping up on every corner and no new housing developments out in the middle of nowhere. We no longer have dump trucks going down our road every day, much quieter.

So what will you do with that much compost? I think you just like playing with the tractor. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:29 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
I may try to sell some locally.
Don't know how to do that, but I'll have to work on the problem.
Maybe put up a sign,
"Organic compost"
How much to ask $ ?? is another question.

Transformation in about a year;
From here May 2008
Image
To here: June 2008
Image Image
to here: April 2009
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My mixing bin looks a little junky now.
From buckets of compost to truck loads.
Lots of work.
Lots of help from this site.
Still room for improvement! :)
Goes to show you, making compost is as easy as piling up some garden scrap, leaves & grass OR
making bins, large piles, & tons of HM.
& many ways in-between to get good results. Many ways to make good compost.



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:02 pm
User avatarJoined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 amPosts: 284Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
Quote:
I may try to sell some locally.
Don't know how to do that, but I'll have to work on the problem.
Maybe put up a sign,
"Organic compost"
How much to ask $ ?? is another question.


If you have the space and it looks like you do, I would keep it, the older it gets the more valuable it is to you and a smaller pile required. If you try to sell it, you will be in competition with the "big box stores" which means you will be lucky to make 10 cents per hour of your time.

John



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:56 pm
User avatarJoined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:37 amPosts: 912Location: Zone 6/7, Culpeper, VA
[quote="luv2grdn"]Well, if it were me, I'd rather give a loved animal away rather than watch it die a slow death from starving, even though it would be hard, but not as hard as watching it die, though. I've only heard stories of neglected animals here, not many abandoned. quote]

Well, no worries here. NOTHING on this place is even remotely close to "starving", or even hungry for that matter. We, the humans, are just eating a lot more franks and beans than we used to. . . . .
:lol:



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:27 pm
User avatarJoined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 amPosts: 284Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
I had two German short-hairs and it cost me more to feed the two bird dogs than a game horse.

John



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:00 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
I just mixed up grass clippings with some of last years shredded leaves today and it's cooking already. The grass grows by leaps and bounds this time of year, so I have a good supply of it and a lot of leaves too.

I was laying out newspaper and straw to smother a weedy patch today and came across the article on horses here. An estimated 35,000 horses in the county (it's a big county), approx. $300 per horse for all care, 46 placed in foster homes in 2008, 3 emergency euthanasias that animal protection officers had to authorize in a 6 week time period. That's a lot of horses!

If you want to sell it, I'd suggest you do it by the pickup load. Do you have a craigslist for you area? That's one place you could advertise. Just be careful who you deal with. There might be farms where people can get it for free, though, so that would hamper your efforts.

If you keep it, you can take a year or 2 off from making more. :D That's what I would do.

You've come a long way in a year. Good job!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:15 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
I just calculated how much was in the pile from last years 1 year old HM that I'm shifting in the home made screening set-up. I got 12.75 yards of good done compost. It was about 20 yards when started so roughly 35% volume loss due to breaking down & screening (rock, sticks, & clumps) Pretty good return compared to the garden scraps, leaves & grass piles I have, they lose 60% or more by volume.

Plan to mix the two types when it's time to fill the raised beds. I've been using it (mixed 50/50) for potting plants in the GH. Stuff growing great.

I do have many uses, yard work, make an elevated chipping green, flower beds. So most of what I have now will get used this year. Probably do as John suggest, keep any extra for future use.

I'm beginning to agree with breezy, can' have too much compost.

I like luv2's idea, take a break, go golfing, fishing etc :)

Raining now, we need it to wash the dust off everything & then Alaska can turn green.

Having fun. Thanks for the ideas & replies.



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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 10:17 am
User avatarJoined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 9:43 pmPosts: 529Location: Upstate New York
["Hey man, open the door, it's Dave.", "Who?". "Dave". "Dave's not here."]

That's quite a pile of.... Dave.

If I was you, I'd put some worms in there and by next year, you'd have the best organic fertilizer known to man.



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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:15 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
I'm finding earth worms. Several small ones. Mostly on the bottom near the cooler wet stuff.
As I use & make more compost, I'm finding more worms in the garden. Their growing season is just short here so I'm not sure how large thy will get.
How long do they live?



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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 2:25 pm
User avatarJoined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 amPosts: 284Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
Oh, I would say about 4" to 8" depending on the breed. :lol: :lol: :lol:

John



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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:41 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
:lol:

I kill too many when I dig or pull weeds, they often come out with the root system. I set some aside if I see them in time. :roll:


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