Backyard Composting

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

  1. I managed to get those piles turned the other day. Things look like they are moving along nicely! Its turning into a nice black mound of really earthy smelling material. Some of the worms made it and are still wriggling around in there too.
     
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  2. You gotta be creative dammit! I'm never afraid to try something totally new, and never afraid to fail.
    I have a solarizing setup. I can't say for sure that it helps with 'heating up the pile', but it definitely helps to thaw the piles out when they are frozen bricks in the spring.
    Here is what I do. Most of my piles are in round cages, made from rolls of 'fencing/cage material'. The cages are around 4 foot diameter. On top of the cage, I place a square piece of fencing that's a little more than 4' square. I drape a piece of plastic over the top that is about 8' square. Kind of a mushroom shape deal. This gives great air flow, but helps hold the heat in around the top 2 feet of the pile. The plastic also performs the solar function of letting more heat in, than goes back out the top. I will snap a pic and load it later today.
    This also helps keep a pile dry. If its a rainy spell and I know I am going to want to screen some finished compost,I will throw the 'lid' on for a few days. It simplifies the job of screening, when its not soaking wet. Everything is so much lighter to work with.
    cheers
    os
    cheers
    os
     
  3. I've been thinking on how to stretch out a pile of compost as far into winter as i can. And i'm simply lost lol. Hoping for the pile to heat before the first freeze. Anyways my piles is mostly grass clippings and weeds as such. At first it was heavily on the green side but after a week or so a lot of the grass has turned brown. So maybe i dont have to source out some more C heavy items? Just wondering. If all else fails and it begins to freeze over. Would it be a good idea to heavily soak the pile and let the ice break down the material in prep for spring thawing and a pile coming back to life?
     
  4. I use some of my compost for feeding worm bins. It works just fine if it isn't finished compost. What I do is store 50 gal totes of material inside, so I can refill bins once a month. If it is overly green at that point, adjustments can be made for browns by adding shredded paper or whatever you can get your hands on. My first year, I had to chainsaw up frozen compost piles into blocks to thaw and use.
    If you get a decent amount of coastal rain I would just let it ride out.
    When I make big piles of greens (like horsetail and dandelions), they will breakdown into black goo, if I give them a month or 2.
    If possible, I would start collecting seaweed as well. I know its yet another green, but if you can score some beachcombing I would do it. Your plants will love ya for it later.
    I have always thought that out in western AK, crustacean shells plus seaweed, used to grow autos could be a real sustainable quick summer crop in a small greenhouse or cold frame. Also fish waste could be utilized, if you can figure a way to outsmart the bears. I would definitely collect salmon skeletons/ bones, to grind into fishbone meal.
    I know how ridiculously expensive it is to live out there, just a couple ideas above on how to save some money with what you have at hand. I think about this stuff all the time, I can't help it.
    cheers
    os
    cheers
    os
     
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  5. Havent seen any sea weed wash ashore yet but have seen plenty of sea grass. I do have a bag of kelp meal tho that i bought to use in soil, topdress, and ACTs. During winter when i'm ice fishing out in the ocean, i snag a few king crabs. I should save the shells this winter. Lots of oyster/clam shells at the beach. And i'm proud to say i've made my own flour with em. On another note. I found out today that these bluffs(small hills) about 200yards from the beach shore is littered with tons and tons of naturally created, eroded, and deposited lava rock. It amazed me. To bad i already spent money on rock dust and perlite lol. Hey i'm wondering. Is it safe to compost berries? They are plentiful out here. But i fear they will create the black goo you were referring too.
     
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  6. I wouldn't worry too much about the 'black goo'. I added pretty much just grass clippings to one half of my horizontal 2x4 wormbin this spring. It was black goo about a month ago. Just dug in there now and it's chock full of worms.

    Alaska is home to a vast amount of peat bogs. If you can find/identify one nearby you would have access to all the 'brown' material you would ever want.

    Adding native soil, river silts, and biochar to your compost pile wouldn't hurt either. If I was really in a pinch cardboard (only North American made) could be added as a brown. Worms love to breed in it too.
    RD
     
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  7. BTW,

    Where the heck is Jerry?
     
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  8. Hmm peat bogs? Will have to research this. I do have plenty of streams and a few rivers near by. Actually going to take a ride with the 4 wheeler today so i will be sure to get some. Has anyone attempted to make biochar at home? If so what is the process? And what is the process turned the grass pile today and the bottom center was black a fluffy just pretty soaked so i guess all is good
     
  9. He's in the organic vege thread
     
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  10. Well i found a good score tpday while out enjoying the wild and picking wild blueberries and salmon berries. I found this dried out pond bed and on one side of this bed was leaf bearing shrubs. On a closer look i found quite a stash of dried leaves. Kind of on the small side of leaves but still got me hyped. All i had was a few shopping bags so i packed em full and brought them home.
     
  11. I didn't mean to imply that the 'black goo' was bad. Its just the natural process that happens without enough carbon. Its just trickier to work with is all. For me its hard to 'fork around' goo.
    I would certainly use berries, I bet they have a nice broad nutrient profile.
    Nice score on the leaves! There are lots of things out there when you really look around.
    Homemade biochar. Its the blackened wood left over from a fire. It must be fully blackened, you want to remove all the grey ash. Its typically made by heating wood without adding air. There is always some leftover charred wood from a campfire that can be harvested.
    cheers
    os
     
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  12. I'm guessing that you are surrounded by peat bogs and don't know it. The dried up pond may be a good place to start digging around. Does the term "thaw lake" mean anything to you?
    Apparently peat bogs form near these permafrost fed lakes.
    Into the wild – peat in Alaska’s far north
    You can make biochar easily in a wood stove or even an outdoor fire. Get a roasting pan w/lid and fill it with small wood chunks. Don't use a latching lid, gases need to escape! Place it on a bed of hot coals in your wood stove before bed. In the morning it should be done. The wood should be black almost glassy. It will almost sound like glass too when you dump it into a bag or bucket.
    RD
     
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  13. I'll have to keep on eye out for that next time im out in the wild. As for biochar. I am planning on making some. Found i great site describing several methods of making some. Thinking im going to attempt the trench and bury method. Also, should i mix biochar into the compost or into a batch of super soil?
     
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  14. I would mix the bio char into the compost to 'charge' it, then put them both in your super soil mix.
    As far as finding the peat like stuff in your neighborhood, check out the cut-banks on the rivers and streams. Not the rocky ones, the ones that smell (you just know when you find them). That's where the black gold is.
    For sure save those crab shells you mentioned, shrimp work great to! I have run shrimp shells in the worm bin without issues.
    cheers
    os
     
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  15. I've been wondering about trying to order worms again and setting up a worm bin. I successfully committed genocide on the ones i ordered before. But i'ma take baby steps for now. If my first attempt of compost is successful and finished this upcominh spring/summer i'll give it another go. I have some botanical kelp tea thats about 6weeks old. If i created enough biochar to have extra after adding it to the compost. Would it be a good idea to soak the char in the kelp tea for a week or so and use it in the soil this grow. Just because it interests me enough to want to use it and i'm predicting my compost wont be done till 6-8months from now
     
  16. Worms will do alright just by being placed in your existing soil/pots. I've topdressed charged biochar into my beds and after a few runs it's mixed into the soil pretty well.
     
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  17. Any tips for bringing compost indoors for this upcoming winter? Garbage bag composting maybe? Would be nice to get 5-6months of composting done over the winter rather than leaving it outaide to be frozen for 5-6 month
     
  18. I use big totes that hold about 40-50 gallons and stash them in a corner in the house. They are quite heavy, so I have to fill them close to where I want to keep them. For me, this compost has worms in it already. I then use it for feeding worm bins during the winter. It works really well. You could fill a tote and add worms (if not there already), and let the worms finish your composting.It works just fine if the compost isn't finished btw, the worms will take care of it.
    I would be happy to help out with any questions you have on doing this. Its what I have been doing for years now.
    cheers
    os
     
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  19. I guess i should order worms again and try not to murder them
     
  20. #2020 ElRanchoDeluxe, Aug 12, 2018 at 6:47 PM
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018 at 6:56 PM
    Are you sure they are all dead? It's a pretty tough thing to accomplish. The cocoons survive some pretty harsh environments and don't hatch until conditions are right. Clive Edwards has observed and documented cocoons surviving 30-40 years before hatching. Vermiculture Technologies is the Bible of worm farming and is in Gimiks Library.
     
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