Backyard Composting

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by jerry111165, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Good morning Grasscity Organic gardeners. We are gardeners who utilize and rely on soil microbes; ie: bacteria and fungus in our soil mixes to make what we do possible. Without these soil microbes our organic gardens simply wouldn't work - at all. These soil microbes originate in decomposing organic matter - compost and vermicompost.

    We have a thread dedicated to the art of Vermicomposting; raising worms and utilizing their valuable waste, but we don't have a thread dedicated to the simple backyard composter - it's time we do.

    Compost! Decomposing or decomposed organic matter, so rich in a variety of bacteria and fungus, assorted elements and organic compounds. Without compost my organic gardens wouldn't work very well - I rely heavily on its magical properties. Home composting is very easy and SO very beneficial to us; we are able to get rid of our waste from our kitchens to our yards, our animals and by following some very simple rules turn this waste into very valuable material for use in our gardens.

    I'm going to borrow from the University of Illinois "Composting for the Homeowner" website.

    "While our ancestors realized that compost was helpful for growing plants and improving soil health, they did not know how or why it worked. Our knowledge about the science of composting comes from research conducted during the past 50 years – relatively recent compared to the 2000 plus years that humans have been composting.

    Backyard composting speeds up the natural process of decomposition, providing optimum conditions so that organic matter can break down more quickly. As you dig, turn, layer and water your compost pile, you may feel as if you are doing the composting , but the bulk of the work is actually done by numerous types of decomposer organisms.

    Microorganisms In A Compost Pile
    Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes account for most of the decomposition that takes place in a pile. They are considered chemical decomposers, because they change the chemistry of organic wastes. The larger decomposers, or macroorganisms, in a compost pile include mites, centipedes, sow bugs, snails, millipedes, springtails, spiders, slugs, beetles, ants, flies, nematodes, flatworms, rotifers, and earthworms. They are considered to be physical decomposers because they grind, bite, suck, tear, and chew materials into smaller pieces.

    Of all these organisms, aerobic bacteria are the most important decomposers. They are very abundant; there may be millions in a gram of soil or decaying organic matter. You would need 25,000 of them laid end to end on a ruler to make an inch. They are the most nutritionally diverse of all organisms and can eat nearly anything. Bacteria utilize carbon as a source of energy (to keep on eating) and nitrogen to build protein in their bodies (so they can grow and reproduce). They obtain energy by oxidizing organic material, especially the carbon fraction. This oxidation process heats up the compost pile from ambient air temperature. If proper conditions are present, the pile will heat up fairly rapidly (within days) due to bacteria consuming readily decomposable materials.

    While bacteria can eat a wide variety of organic compounds, they have difficulty escaping unfavorable environments due to their size and lack of complexity. Changes in oxygen, moisture, temperature, and acidity can make bacteria die or become inactive. Aerobic bacteria need oxygen levels greater than five percent. They are the preferred organisms, because they provide the most rapid and effective composting. They also excrete plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium. When oxygen levels fall below five percent, the aerobes die and decomposition slows by as much as 90 percent. Anaerobic microorganisms take over and, in the process, produce a lot of useless organic acids and amines (ammonia-like substances) which are smelly, contain unavailable nitrogen and, in some cases, are toxic to plants. In addition, anaerobes produce hydrogen sulfide (aroma-like rotten eggs), cadaverine, and putrescine (other sources of offensive odors).

    There are different types of aerobic bacteria that work in composting piles. Their populations will vary according to the pile temperature. Psychrophilic bacteria work in the lowest temperature range. They are most active at 55 F and will work in the pile if the initial pile temperature is less than 70º F. They give off a small amount of heat in comparison to other types of bacteria. The heat they produce is enough however, to help build the pile temperature to the point where another set of bacteria, mesophilic bacteria, start to take over.

    Mesophilic bacteria rapidly decompose organic matter, producing acids, carbon dioxide and heat. Their working temperature range is generally between 70º to 100º F. When the pile temperature rises above 100º F, the mesophilic bacteria begin to die off or move to the outer part of the heap. They are replaced by heat-loving thermophilic bacteria.

    Thermophilic bacteria thrive at temperatures ranging from 113º to 160º F. Thermophilic bacteria continue the decomposition process, raising the pile temperature 130º to 160º F, where it usually stabilizes. Unless a pile is constantly fed new materials and turned at strategic times, the high range temperatures typically last no more than three to five days. Thermophilic bacteria use up too much of the degradable materials to sustain their population for any length of time. As the thermophilic bacteria decline and the temperature of the pile gradually cools off, the mesophilic bacteria again become dominant. The mesophilic bacteria consume remaining organic material with the help of other organisms.

    The drop in compost pile temperature is not a sign that composting is complete, but rather an indication that the compost pile is entering another phase of the composting process. While high temperatures (above 140º F) have the advantage of killing pathogenic organisms and weed seeds, it is unnecessary to achieve those temperatures unless there is a specific concern about killing disease organisms and seeds. (You can greatly reduce the possibility of pathogens in a pile by excluding pet waste, diseased plants, and manure from diseased animals.) Many decomposers are killed or become inactive when pile temperatures rise above 140º F. If the pile temperature exceeds 160º F, you may want to take action and cool the pile by turning it. A number of research projects have shown that soil amended with compost can help fight fungal infestations. If the compost pile temperature goes above 160º F, the composting material may become sterile and lose its disease fighting properties.

    While the various types of bacteria are at work, other microorganisms are also contributing to the degradation process. Actinomycetes, a higher-form bacteria similar to fungi and molds, are responsible for the pleasant earthy smell of compost. Grayish in appearance, actinomycetes work in the moderate heat zones of a compost pile. They decompose some of the more resistant materials in the pile such as lignin, cellulose, starches, and proteins. As they reduce materials, they liberate carbon, nitrogen, and ammonia, making nutrients available for higher plants. Actinomycetes occur in large clusters and become most evident during the later stages of decomposition.

    Like bacteria and actinomycetes, fungi are also responsible for organic matter decay in a compost pile. Fungi are primitive plants that can be either single celled or many celled and filamentous. They lack a photosynthetic pigment. Their main contribution to a compost pile is to break down cellulose and lignin, after faster acting bacteria make inroads on them. They prefer cooler temperatures (70 to 75º F) and easily digested food sources. As a result, they also tend to take over during the final stage of composting."

    This is such an important part of being an organic gardener. I've been thinking and wondering why we haven't had a thread on this very important subject and so thought it was extremely important that we do. I know many of you compost in your backyards like I do - lets please start the discussion.

    More to come -

    J
     
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  2. Continued from the University of Illinois Extension -

    Composting for the Homeowner

    Composting is the biological decomposition of organic material into a humus-like substance called compost. The process occurs naturally, but can be accelerated and improved by controlling environmental factors. People may wonder, “Why bother with composting if everything organic decomposes eventually anyway?”
    If raw wastes are put directly into the soil, the decomposition process will rob the soil of nitrogen, an important nutrient for plants. (Soil incorporation is one method of composting, but requires leaving the area fallow.) Finished compost from a pile is typically a more uniform product with a better balance of nutrients. It can be used throughout the growing season in many different types of applications.

    With a pile, composters have more control over adding and mixing the amount of carbon and nitrogen rich materials used to make the end product. In addition, a properly controlled composting environment can ensure production of high temperatures needed for killing weed seeds, diseased plant tissue, and pathogenic organisms.

    J
     
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  3. Continued from the University of Illinois Extension -

    "Why Compost Yard Trimmings?

    We live in a “throw away” society. It's considered easy to get rid of things we regard as useless or unhealthy by wrapping it up and placing it in the garbage can.

    Nationwide, yard materials account for nearly 20% of all garbage generated each year (Environmental Protection Agency).

    Once this “useless” material is taken away to a landfill, it really becomes useless. Enclosed in an oxygen-limited environment, garbage degrades very slowly. Landfills must be monitored to make sure gases such as methane do not build up inside, and to make sure underground water does not become contaminated from landfill liquids. In addition, many landfills are nearing their maximum capacity, and in the near future will need to be closed.

    This throw-away attitude is also prevalent with yard materials. Grass is cut, raked, bagged, and put out at the curb. Leaves are raked and bagged as well. Many times a special charge will be made to pick up yard materials. Nutrients present in the materials are removed from the yard. These materials must be taken to landscape composting facilities, where they are composted, screened, and possibly sold back to homeowners!

    It's very easy to turn this into a resource that can be reapplied to a yard. Composting, a biological process that decomposes organic material under aerobic (oxygen required) conditions, is becoming more popular to homeowners. Neighbors see neighbors composting leaves, grass, and some food materials, ask questions, and start making compost themselves. They like the idea of turning a “waste” into something that can be reapplied to the landscape.

    Since 1990, landfills in Illinois cannot accept landscape waste. This means communities have had to find alternative disposal methods. Many larger communities have developed composting operations. These operations must be issued a permit by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and must submit yearly reports. Much of the composted material is used in land reclamation, fill material, and as daily or final landfill cover (used as a protective layer over garbage). Medium and smaller communities (under 100,000 population) cannot economically produce compost. These communities must rely on landscape or sanitation businesses to provide services for pickup of yard materials and composting operations. Other alternatives include paying producers to take the yard materials for use on their farmland. Regardless of the size of community, it is a cost that must ultimately be born by the taxpayer.

    Composting Benefits
    Composting yard materials has many landscape benefits. Nutrients that otherwise are removed when trimmings are bagged can be placed back into the nutrient cycle, lessening the need for fertilizers. When added to the soil, the nutrients present in compost are released slowly, so they are less likely to leach out of the root zone, as compared to regular fertilizer. Soil structure is improved by the addition of organic matter. Structure is how individual soil particles combine. Organic matter, such as that present in compost, aids in creating a structure that allows good water retention and root penetration. This is accomplished by the way organic matter attaches to soil particles.

    As yard materials go through the composting process, there is an increase in temperature within the compost pile. High temperatures kill most disease pathogens present. Most weed seeds and pesticides are destroyed as well because of the high temperature.

    Materials that may be acidic when added to a compost pile will become almost neutral in pH when the composting process is complete. Soils that are high or low in pH may make some nutrients less available for plant use, or may let plants take in too much. When added to soil that is acidic or alkaline, compost acts as a buffer against high or low pH.

    Earthworms thrive in soil amended with compost. Tunnels created by earthworms increases drainage, and the casts they leave behind are a great nutrient supply for plants."

    J
     
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  4. Continued from the University of Illinois Extension -

    "Materials for Composting

    What To Compost
    The materials you put into your compost pile have a major impact on how well the composting process works and the quality of the final compost. The key to good composting is to have a variety of materials and a balanced carbon to nitrogen ratio. Variety increases the types of microorganisms at work in your pile and your chances of obtaining a nutrient rich compost. Some folks think they don't have enough organic material to build and maintain a compost pile. In addition to the leaves and grass clippings that we usually think of composting, there are numerous other suitable organic materials. Most of these materials are easy to find at home. Occasionally, it may be helpful to find free or cheap local sources of organics to add to a pile.

    In contrast to those who worry about having enough materials, some folks want to put almost any type of organic material into their pile. While anything organic will eventually decompose, it may not belong in a backyard composting pile. It is important to be aware of these materials and the reasons they should be avoided. New and potential composters often have questions about what materials can be composted. A list of some commonly available materials is included in Table 2. Compostable materials that need special handling are mentioned in Table 3. Materials that should be avoided are named in Table 4.


    Commonly Used Compostable Materials
    As you are collecting materials around your yard and home, it may not be easy to determine if materials are higher in carbon or nitrogen. Tables showing carbon to nitrogen ratios for particular materials are helpful, but they usually only show a limited number of materials. A simple method (also described earlier in Lesson 2) for differentiating between materials is to remember that fresh, juicy materials are usually higher in nitrogen. In addition, materials of animal origin (such as feathers, manure, blood meal) are typically higher in nitrogen. Drier, older, or woody vegetable and plant tissues are usually higher in carbon. The following table helps to illustrate this point. The presence of a carbon, nitrogen, or oxygen in the C/N column indicates whether a material's effect on compost would be carbonaceous (C), nitrogenous (N), or other (O). Materials designated as other (O) do not affect the C:N ratio.

    Before adding food scraps and lake weeds to your composting pile, check with your municipality to make sure that there are no restrictions on their use.

    TABLE 2.Partial Listing of Compostable Materials
    MATERIAL

    C/N

    MATERIAL

    C/N

    Bedding,herbivorous

    C & N

    Hair

    N

    Blood meal

    N

    Hay

    C

    Bone meal

    N

    Lake weeds

    N

    Coffee grounds

    N

    Leaves

    C

    Crushed egg shells

    O,alkalizer

    Lint

    N

    Feathers

    N

    Manure

    N

    Fruit

    N

    Paper(non-recyclable)

    C

    Fruit peels and rinds

    N

    Peanut shells

    C

    Garden debris, dried

    C

    Straw

    C

    Garden debris, fresh

    C & N

    Pumpkins

    N

    Grass clippings, dried

    C

    Vegetable scraps

    N

    Grass clippings, fresh

    N

    Tea grounds and leaves

    N

    J
     
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  5. Continued -

    "Put a pile of leaves, a cardboard box and a watermelon in your back yard, exposed to the elements, and they will eventually decompose. How long each takes to break down depends on a number of factors:

    What are the materials made of
    How much surface area is exposed
    The availability of moisture and air
    Backyard composting is a process designed to speed up the breakdown or decomposing of organic materials. Let's take a closer look at how we manipulate the process and speed things up.

    We insure the makeup of the material is a mixture that bacteria and other microorganisms can easily feed upon, breaking them down into compost. A proper C:N ratio is the goal. Carbon in fallen leaves or woodier wastes serve as an energy source. Nitrogen in the greener materials provides microbes with the raw element of proteins to build their bodies.

    The more surface area the microorganisms have to work on, the faster the materials will decompose. It's like a block of ice in the sun: slow to melt when it is large, but melting very quickly when broken into smaller pieces. Chopping your garden wastes with a shovel or a machete, or running them through a shredding machine or lawnmower will increase their surface area, thus speeding up your composting.

    All life on Earth needs a certain amount of water and air to sustain itself. The microbes in the compost pile are no different. They function best when the compost materials are about as moist as a wrung out sponge and are provided with many air passages for aerobic breakdown. Adding water and turning the pile maintains efficient decomposition. Extremes of sun, wind, or rain can adversely affect this balance in your pile.

    Understanding these key factors when composting allows for efficient, quick break down of kitchen and yard wastes, turning them into “Black Gold” ¾ compost!

    Things to consider when getting started

    Location
    Where should you place your compost pile? This seemingly simple question must be thought through carefully if you are striving for efficient composting. Remember a pile of leaves will eventually break down, but our goal is to speed this process up. First, find out if your community has any local regulations pertaining to composting. Your municipality may have a setback ordinance requiring composting bins be located a certain distance from lot lines.

    The right location is important for a successful compost pile. Choose a level area with good drainage. Standing water will slow down the pile. If possible avoid direct sunlight and areas exposed to strong winds, which can dry and cool the pile. A half day sun situation is ideal. A shaded area is fine but pay attention to limited rainfall through a canopy of leaves, and slow drying out of a saturated pile. Some trees may send roots up into the pile in search of water and nutrients. When the pile is turned, these roots may be damaged. If your only location is near trees, you may want to consider setting a brick or stone foundation.

    Select a convenient location. One that is easy to get to and not where you will have to trudge a long distance just to add your carrot peelings. Choose an area that does not interfere with family activities but is close to a water source and has enough space for temporary storage of excess organic wastes. Avoid placing your compost pile near dog areas or other animals. Animal urine and feces may harbor unwanted pathogens.

    Don't place your pile directly against wooden buildings, fences or trees, because wood in contact with compost will decay. Avoid placing under a wide overhang that would limit rainfall, or under a drippy eave or rainspout that would continually saturate your pile.

    And one final point. Your compost pile may be a thing of beauty to you but not to your neighbors! For some this may not be an issue, but for those who live in higher population areas, this may be something to think about.

    Camoflaging a compost pile can be done in many creative ways. Surrounding the pile with tall flowers or plants or using a vine trellis are just a few examples of how to blend a compost pile into its surroundings.

    Size
    The recommended size for a home compost pile is no smaller than 3 feet X 3 feet X 3 feet, and no larger than 5 feet X 5 feet X 5 feet. A smaller pile may not heat up high enough for efficient breakdown, or it may loose heat and quickly slow down the process. A larger pile may hold too much water not allowing air into the center. This would create an anaerobic environment. Air naturally penetrates 18 to 24 inches into a pile from all directions. The biggest problem with a large pile is physically turning the pile. It can be too much for some people to manage.

    Layering
    When starting a compost pile the recommended practice is to layer the materials thinly and uniformly, the same way lasagna is made with thin layers of pasta, cheese, and sauce. Never overdoing any one single ingredient and never skipping a layer in the construction process will prove successful! You only have to layer when starting a new pile. Once the pile is active you add materials by either burying them in the center or incorporating them when you turn your pile.

    It is recommended to start your pile on bare ground. Don't place your pile on asphalt or concrete. This impedes aeration and inhibits microbial contact with the earth. If tree roots are a problem, a loosely laid brick foundation could be installed. Placing a pallet underneath the pile is a possibility if you feel the area may be damp or holds water in the spring. This creates air channels from below. Starting with the bottom layer (layer #1), continue to layer until you reach the top or (what happens most often) you run out of material. Firm and lightly water each layer as it is added but do not compact.

    Layer 1- The organic materials layer can be vegetable wastes, sod, grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, chopped corncobs, corn stalks, untreated sawdust, twigs less than ½ inch in diameter, or garden debris. Remember the proper C:N ratio and mix accordingly. Your bulkier organic materials do best in the first ground level layer. As your pile settles, these items tend to allow for more air spaces. Shred or chop up materials for greater surface area. The organic layers should be between 6-8 inches thick. Materials that tend to mat such as grass clippings should be either mixed in or placed in 2-3 inch layers within this 6-8 inch layer.

    Layer 2 - Animal manures, fertilizers or starters serve as activators that accelerate the ignition or initial heating of your pile. They all provide a nitrogen source for the microbial community. Some provide proteins and enzymes. If manure from a grain eating animal is available, add 1-2 inch layer. If this is not available, add one cup of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 commercial fertilizer per 25 square feet. If using a commercial starter, follow label directions.

    Layer 3 - Top soil or active compost introduce microorganisms. Plain garden soil is fine. Avoid soil that has been treated with insecticides recently and sterile potting soils which lack these necessary microbes. A one to two inch layer is enough.

    Care
    Temperature plays an important role in the composting process. Decomposition occurs most rapidly between 110 to 160F. Within two weeks, a properly made compost pile will reach these temperatures. At this time, you will notice your pile settling which is a good sign that the pile is working properly. Now you must decide how you want to compost. Do you want to add to your pile or just let it continue as is?

    If you want to add to your pile, you can do so throughout the growing season and into the winter months. As you add fresh material, you will need to turn and water your pile more often. Monitoring the temperature and turning whenever the piles temperature dips below 110F keeps your pile active at its highest level, and you will have the fastest breakdown. This means turning the pile more often. This can be weekly and it is work! In reality, the average composter turns their pile once every 4 to 5 weeks. This mixes in the fresh material with the older, adds air to the pile and allows you to add water. With this method, a pile started in the fall, added to and turned the following summer will be ready in late fall of that year or the next spring.

    If you are not adding lots of new material, turn and water the pile 5-6 weeks after initial heating. Make sure to turn the outside of the old pile into the center of the new pile. The compost should be ready to use 3 to 4 months later. In Illinois, a pile started in May should be ready by September-October of the same year.

    How much water should you add? The squeeze test is an easy way to gauge the moisture content of the pile. The organic material should feel damp to the touch, with just one or two drops of water expelled when squeezed tightly in the hand.

    What to do in the winter months is a common question. As the temperatures lower, the pile cools down and eventually all activity ceases. Most people let the pile shut down and plan to reactivate it in the spring. During extremely cold weather, the task of getting to your compost pile may be the most difficult. If you want to keep the pile active in the winter, you will have to insulate it. Covering the pile will help retain heat and prevent water buildup. During the winter, kitchen scraps are generally the only items added."

    J
     
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  6. #7 jerry111165, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2013
    Building your own compost heaps is such a simple process and doesn't take up (too much) room - anyone can compost. A back corner of your yard is usually perfect. It's such an excellent way for us to get rid of our autumn leaves, grass clippings from our yards and kitchen produce waste. Almost any organic matter with a few basic exceptions can be turned into premium material that can be used in your gardens.

    Which of you compost? What are your experiences? What can you add to this discussion? Are you looking to learn to compost? You've come to the right place!

    COMPOST HAPPENS.

    J
     
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  7. Green,brown,water turn


    goat.chicken.burro majuro

    Leafs are free!



    4 by 4 by.four for heat
    Water with well water?

    Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Grasscity Forum mobile app

     
  8. Great thread J
     
    If anyone needs anymore links on composting my Gardening Books thread is loaded. (See Sig)
     
  9. Hot dookie , grass fed


    Cook.it

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  10.  
    you ruined it 
     
    :laughing: 
     
     
     
    Alfalfa and comfrey make great accelerators, as they have high levels of nitrogen and decompose very quickly.
     
    Avoid black walnut leaves unless you can wait a year or so after composting them in a separate pile from your go to source of compost.
     
    Nettles and yarrow make for varied nutritional input for free, provided you forage for them first.
     
     
     
    Great thread jerry, should be quite valuable. Might be worthwhile linking all the bookmarks I have that pertain to composting here since this is pinned. (hint hint Haggard)
     
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  11. 50 (51?) views, 11 replies, and now it's a sticky (pinned)?  Perhaps now it IS what you know, AND who you know.  lol!
     
    Great thread, J.  I'll be lurking.
     
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  12. Btw, I just noticed that the Backyard Composting thread got stickied - thanks Chunk.

    I honestly feel that this topic is overlooked and under-discussed here in the Organics forum. I know that I myself am a compost junkie - I was out back this afternoon as soon as I got home from work today working on the heaps and mixing soil made from the compost made here. The soil that I am making using the compost that I make is seriously blowing me away. As a matter of fact I have several plants in my straight compost - no peat or aeration, as the compost contains mucho leaf mold and drains perfectly. These plants in the straight compost are incredibly healthy!

    Organic gardeners, we live to have massive amounts of soil microbes, no? This is THE absolutely perfect way to go about making yourself lots and lots of microbes. Lots. The, or at least one of the single most important things about organic gardening - HOW it works is Nutrient Cycling; breaking down all of the organic matter and soil amendments in our mixes into usable plant food and organic compounds for our growing plants to use.

    After my compost goes through it's thermophilic stage (hot) and cools back down into its cooler mesophilic stage I begin adding all of the various soil amendments that most folks normally add to their soil mixes directly to my compost heaps. Neem cake, alfalfa, rock dusts, crustacean meals, chicken manure, fish meal, bone char, fish bone meal - etc., are all added now to my compost and not to my soil mix. In this way these amendments get a long cycling time and are totally broken down before my soil is mixed.

    The mature compost heap is so loaded with worms it's ridiculous - their slime and castings add to the mix.

    The last several batches of soil I've made have been my compost, peat, worm co post and buckwheat hulls and is ready for use immediately. The cycling is already long over. The soil is incredible!

    J
     
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  13. #14 Chunk, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2013
     Jerry has friends in high places.
     
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. And here I was thinking that it was because this is an important topic to us as organic gardeners... Hmmmm....

    Lol

    J
     
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  15. #16 waktoo, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
     
     
    I've been considering this myself.  Once my piles cool down! 
     
    So you've mixed your amendments into your compost instead of your soil.  This changes everything.  I know you're not big on "measuring" ingredients (do you get away with this when you make bread?), but how do you determine what amount of "stuff" to add to your compost piles?  Just a good solid, even sprinkling of everything (combined?) between layers as you turn the pile?  I'm down for sprinkles!
     
    And then are you growing straight in this ultra-compost?  Or do you amend recycled soil at 20% per volume?  Please keep in mind I understand that you have indoor/outdoor gardens.  I'm concerned with indoor pots. 

     
  16. #17 jerry111165, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2013
    No - no measuring at all. It doesn't seem to matter. Again - it all comes down to fully composted/nutrient cycled OM & amendments; these items will not "burn" if fully composted/cycled. I just sprinkle handfuls of everything that you normally add to your soil directly into te compost when turning, exactly as you suggested.

    Yes - I measure with my bread lol

    I'm just experimenting right now with several plants in this compost and yes it is working great. For the most part though I am using around a 50/50 mix of either peat or a mix of peat/recycled soil and just add buckwheat hulls for aeration until I have the consistency I want. Just (of course) make sure that the end "soil" is very well drained/aerated. The very bottom line here is that this compost is extremely rich and loaded to hell with life - it's exactly what we're after and everything that makes what we do work.

    Not only soil amendments are added to this "super compost" - accumulator plants like comfrey, large amounts of dandelions, horsetail fern, nettles and yarrow are in it as well.

    Think about it - holy cow! Every possible element/macro/micro nutrient and massive amounts of microbes in the same mix - could it possibly get any better? Besides then feeding this compost through a worm bin maybe?

    Btw yes, this "soil" is kicking ass in indoor pots.
    J
     
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  17. #18 bcheese1, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2013
    Just made a compost tumbler. My dog would've been all in the compost pile digging it up, so I started looking into compost tumblers, they're too exspensive, and then I found these guys design on google. If you can find the barrels for free, you could make it for under 60 bucks, it beats the heck out of the $200 dollar store bought models.
    http://buildegg.com/bewp/?p=127
     
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  18.  
    Jerry,
     
    For the record, this topic was long overdue and I appreciate you taking the time to get the discussion started. We talk about compost so much here that a dedicated thread is a natural.
     
    Thanks again,
     
    Chunk
     
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  19. Ditto.
     
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