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<  Composting, Mulch, and Soils  ~  Leaves

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:08 pm
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:01 pmPosts: 116Location: Branson MO/Zone6
NiftyNabber wrote:
This year, I'm just using the leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds, and some compost from this past year, all mixed up together. I also save a bucket of liquid stuff, what ever is left from the morning coffee, and if anything is left in a can of soda, iced tea, or beer. I pour it into a bucket outside, then, when it's near full, pour it over the compost pile. Seems to work.



This sounds like a perfect haven for some redworms. Everything they like there. They will also help process the organic matter and your compost will be better. If the pile is large enough and the temps don't get too terribly cold for a long period, they should survive in the pile without a problem. They've been doing it in nature forever.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:48 pm
User avatarJoined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:38 amPosts: 145Location: New York
SMOKE!! We have smoke!! Well, steam actually!! I went out to dump the day's kitchen scraps, and I have steam coming out of the 3 center tubes!! I'm impressed cause it's not realy cold out, (50-55 degrees) yet I can see the heat rising out of the pile.

I added horse manuer on Saturday. I thought the pile was a bit dry. It's suppose to rain for a few days, starting tonight.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:48 am
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:27 pmPosts: 22
I bet [code][/code]that is a sight Nifty!!

Here is mine as we approach winter. The center is current and probably 3/4 finished. It looks like a lot of leaves on it, but just a layer on top and down the front.

The left is the new bulk pile of leaves and grass clippings that I will use to cover the food scraps. The leaves help prevent the bulk pile from freezing into a solid mass.

The bin on the right was emptied of it's "gold" and dressed areas of the lawn as well as re-filling parts of the raised beds.

Looking for some steam as well!!!

[img=http://a.imageshack.us/img101/7752/compostbins7nov10300kb.th.jpg]

Mods.....why will this not embed?



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:05 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
My leaf piles break down just fine. It's a fungal process that breaks them down, so I don't feel the need to mix other things in. They just get a little grass when I mow them up.

In the spring I'll mix some of the leaves in the grass clippings since they don't break down well when piled up with nothing else and we do get a lot of clippings in the spring.

By the end of next summer, or before, I'll be using some of this years batch of leaves, just as I do every year.

Nifty, I'm glad you had success from what you learned. Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:43 pm
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:07 pmPosts: 48
You can just take the bedding and horse manure and compost it on its own right? I just mulch my leaves into the yard cause it could use the help. I thought about snaging the leaves in my travels. I do work at a food plant and they have half an acre and they rack and bag them up real nice. I was going to grab a few and get out my leaf blower/mulcher and shoot them into my woods( my woods are 50 feet by 20 feet). I wanna get rid of the woods and figured this would help prevent the ground growth and then all I would have left to cut would be the trees. The following year I would run around dig off the top layer. Not an exact science but somewhat mother naturish.



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:39 am
User avatarJoined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:38 amPosts: 145Location: New York
I bought a compost thermometer. (god, I'm such a compost-geek) I left it in all day. It reads 100 degrees.

To bring the heat up, somebody mentioned covering the pile with black plastic. What about landscaping paper? That would allow moist in, yet it's black to absorb solar heat. It would also block much of the wind. I'd like to get it to 110-150 degrees.



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:13 am
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:35 pmPosts: 162Location: NH zone 4/5
bogydave wrote:
Old post I asked same ?. Got hammered by some
https://thegardenforums.org/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=15818
High nitrogen fertilizer helps. Found some 22-0-0 at Lows, fair price
Fresh green grass clippings mixed in, lights it up pretty hot& pretty fast.
Tonics should work fine, lots more work though.


Juicing up composts with something long on nitrogen is a peristant old fashioned idea. My old "10,000 Gardening Questions Answered" 1947, has at least a couple places where it adds fertilizers to get a quick heat up.

The fibrous stuff still doesn't really break down (for me) but only by two means. 1, Chop what ever is full of cellulose to realy tiny bits. 2, turn everything weekly.

I am slow and lazy, it still all rots. So my lazy fix is to build bigger piles and get to them later after more decomposition has taken place.

If it lets you sleep better at night gin up your compost. Ignore the pharasees



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:29 pm
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:01 pmPosts: 116Location: Branson MO/Zone6
I, too, subscribe to the "stack it and it will rot" idea. I fill the compost bin with leaves in the fall, add clippings and other organic waste as I go, mostly in the spring and summer, and, by Fall, I have a nice bunch of compost to use the next spring.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:04 am
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
NiftyNabber wrote:
I bought a compost thermometer. (god, I'm such a compost-geek) I left it in all day. It reads 100 degrees.

To bring the heat up, somebody mentioned covering the pile with black plastic. What about landscaping paper? That would allow moist in, yet it's black to absorb solar heat. It would also block much of the wind. I'd like to get it to 110-150 degrees.



You have turned into the "Compost King"

140 to 150 is nice, it kills 99% of the weed seeds.

You may be too late in the year to get the pie close to 150.
Covering it helps. I use clear visqueen, it lets heat from the sun thru.
Mine (started in beginning of Sept) got pretty hot end of Sept, but is now cooling
off & frozen on the outside. (has been below 0°f here a few days)
If you have some hay, HM mixed with bedding or
another green (something with high nitrogen) to mix in
you might get it that hot in the center if the pile is large enough.

I have to re-light mine in the spring by mixing in grass clippings from my first mowing
to get it cooking again. I'll have "done" compost by the end of August.

Before I mix it in the spring, when it's thawed, I take some of the moldy leaves (20%) & mix it with HM compost (40%) & garden/kitchen compost (40%) for new soil mixes for 2011 garden & GH, topping for existing beds & any new beds that need soil.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:41 pm
User avatarJoined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:38 amPosts: 145Location: New York
I'm gonna cover mine this weekend. The temps realy dropped as it's turned cold here. Below freezing at night, mid 30's during the day. I'll use some black plastic I have around. Once covered, I'll side-pile the kitchen straps to mix in in the spring.

Do you use oranges? I thought I might have read that citrus isn't good in a compost, is that true? The scarps I get sometimes have whole oranges.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:14 pm
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pmPosts: 307Location: Alaska
I throw in everything. (but meat & cooked food scraps)
Oranges will compost just fine, IMO.
Orange, lemons, tangerines etc all disappear in my pile.

covering will help it get & stay warmer. you have plenty of air with the pipes
so covering should help allot.
I cut a hole in the plastic & let the air pies stick thru for a good fresh air source.



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:45 am
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:35 pmPosts: 162Location: NH zone 4/5
NiftyNabber wrote:
Do you use oranges? I thought I might have read that citrus isn't good in a compost, is that true? The scarps I get sometimes have whole oranges.


If speed is your abslolute need, anything oily will slow that to a degree. By the time an occasional orange peel gets into the pile nothing much will change. This of course subsumes your gonna grind everything into small enough particles so that they all will pass through a hardware cloth screen. and turn the pile at least once every two weeks. Daily in a tumbler.

As soon as shredding and turning, um, get put off, then urgency isn't a burning issue. You can set worry aside because: If it was alive, it will rot.

Oh if you added a substantial amount of oily product like several cases of citrus peel, then your compost will noticably slow. IMO fryalator oil is a more likely culprit, it shows up in gallon amounts. It has the potential to make your whole pile anerobic, and can slow things to a crawl.

As this thread notes air speeds decomp.

Speaking only for myself if your not getting enough compost collect more stuph, the pile will reach your capability to use it in time.

Lest I sound to smarmy, I'm still going out every morning and urging my next crop of garlic to "get busy, and grow". Its not listening to me either...



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:52 pm
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:17 pmPosts: 21
Nifty, you say the local authorities have passed a law limiting the amount of inorganic fertilizers, did they say how they could possibly check on what homeowners use.
Seems to me 1984 was read by somebody and took it to heart. They cant possibly control what homeowners decide for themselves to spread.

The aim, of course, is to try to educate people on the dangers of how fertilizers affect nearby water courses. Any limiting law is though unenforceable.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:53 pm
User avatarJoined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:38 amPosts: 145Location: New York
Oh I don't even know if it passed. There was talk about not being allowed to use chemicals near water shed areas. I can't imagine how they would enforce it. Maybe if you order a very large amount.

We think that's pretty funny, since we have 2 golf coarses near by, and they both have streams going through them!! One has a small pond. The grass looks pretty green to me!!



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