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Soil and Composting: I'm Here!!! (just joined) Have lots of Questions

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 17, Views: 220
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onecoolcad
Gilroy, CA
(Zone 9b)

October 22, 2011
7:40 PM

Post #8859710

Juat call me the addicted gardener. Have a couple of general questions about compost. My name is Bruce, I live in Gilroy Ca (garlic capital) but I am a 2 year newbie at backyard gardening and many years in containers and balcony.

So I hear them say, I can put just about anything in a compost pile, but in mine I am just putting all my plant waste (flower and garden scraps), Grass clipiings, Tree Prunings, cover crop (oat) clippings and coffee grounds and egg shells. Thats just about all I am putting in there.

I turn over my compost pile about 2x a week and feel the heat. It's not alott but it seems to be compacting to about half its original hiegth eack week.

If I am missing a step, I take all good advise.

My compost bin/pile is 3'x3'x3' 4post/chicken wire with tarp top and sit in the sun about 8-10hrs per day.

also, my tarp cover only covers about the top half of my bin. Should I cover it completely?
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

October 23, 2011
7:36 AM

Post #8860082

You are doing a good job already. As far as covering half is good however if you want the decompoistion to be faster then cover the whole thing.

Some one may think otherwise.

Belle

This message was edited Oct 24, 2011 1:47 PM

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

October 24, 2011
9:27 AM

Post #8861534

My compost bins would dry out when they were in full sun. Now they are in the shade, the contents breakdown without having to add water frequently.
onecoolcad
Gilroy, CA
(Zone 9b)

October 24, 2011
6:47 PM

Post #8862288

Humidity range here is about 60-85% most of the time and the rainy season is coming, so I will most likely cover the bin with the tarp.

And I throw water on cover crop 2x a week. Residual moisture gets in there I'm sure.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

October 24, 2011
8:28 PM

Post #8862435

sounds like your doing a great job onecool !!
my composts are always in full sun.. i water them every time i turn them..usually 2 times/week..
mine cook down to just less than half too..so thats good..
i dont cover mine ..even in winter..but then the compost is done by nov for me..
keep up the good work ..ya cant have to much compost !!!

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

October 25, 2011
6:31 AM

Post #8862797

My name is Sally, and I am a gardener. LOL We're all addicted.

Sounds fine. Nice moist greeny mix of stuff. I think it would only get hot with a larger addition of N at one time, but its not needed.
meisgreen
Phoenix, AZ

October 25, 2011
10:39 AM

Post #8863168

I only turn mine 1x a week. Lazy? Maybe - I can bury an elephant in my pile. Just too much work!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

October 25, 2011
12:43 PM

Post #8863287

We don't turn ours at all. It takes about six months to turn into something usable. One great thing I've noticed now that the bins are in shade - earthworms by the thousands!
Pewjumper
Glenwood Springs, CO
(Zone 5b)

November 1, 2011
5:38 PM

Post #8872480

Hi my name is Sonny and I am a gardener, a real lazy one! LOL :)

I had a landsacping friend drop off A LOT of grass clippings, leafs and thatch last fall and I would say it is about a quarter of its size. This was put into an area that has yet to be developed. I figure I won't get to developing it next summer either because of other projects in the garden so I will rake out what is left and pile on some more. At least it cut down on the weeds by about 90% while improving the dirt.

I did have a cana come up in this mass of compost! HUH? This is Colorado, go figure.

Sonny
meisgreen
Phoenix, AZ

November 2, 2011
9:12 AM

Post #8873222

I love the stuff that comes up in un-turned compost. Last year I grew Jarrahdale pumkins and guess what came up? By the millions. Thought of harvesting them for the sprouts.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

November 2, 2011
11:29 AM

Post #8873366

Ha ha, some body probably pulled up a sprout or chunk of Canna while weeding, or dug it while thatching.
You probably COULD eat those pumpkin sprouts. The groundhog came thru my garden once and ate all the leaves off my youngish pumpkin vines.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

November 2, 2011
11:41 AM

Post #8873385

This summer we had Charetais melons pop up throughout the garden from the compost we had spread. We kept seed from the sweetest ones.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

November 5, 2011
9:02 AM

Post #8877573

i put spoiled/damaged heirloom tomatoes in compost im leaving for use next yr..i bet
ya i get tomato plants out of there..LOL
we are finally having leaves fall now..now if people would just start bagging them up..
LOL i plan to pick up alot of leaves this yr again.. they are free (except gas to pick up) and mow down..
during spring/summer i probably turn mine to much..i should let the temps get up there a bit more before turning..
guess if i added more manure id get hotter temps faster..
good luck to ya all compost enthusiasts!!!!!
Pewjumper
Glenwood Springs, CO
(Zone 5b)

November 5, 2011
12:47 PM

Post #8877752

Being a wastewater treatment operator, it never ceased to amaze me at the tomato plants that would pop up at our sludge, ( er...biosolids) dump site.

Sonny

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

November 8, 2011
11:31 AM

Post #8881648

>> sludge, ( er...biosolids) dump site.

I see a rainbow, leading to a potty of gold ...

juliabentley62
Danville, IN
(Zone 5b)

March 16, 2012
3:32 AM

Post #9044586

You guys are so awesome. I have a question and all I have to do it read and I know it will get answered...almost all of these postings were helpful to me...thanks so much!!!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 16, 2012
1:22 PM

Post #9045125

I only turn my small pile every few weeks. I breaks down pretty slowly - like 6 months for the big stalks.

Sallyg said:
>> Sounds fine. Nice moist greeny mix of stuff.

If you have access to paper trash, shredded paper, sawdust, stale straw, or brown leaves, you could add bulk to your pile and increase the amount you harvest from it. The etxra green nitrogen may make it a little richer, but you soil would thank you if it was easy to double the amount of organic matter left in the digested final product.

I noticed "Tree Prunings" in the OP. I bet those are the slowest part to break down! If you kept the branches and twigs separate, you might be able to use the rest of the compost weeks or months earlier, without screening out left-over wood.

Or you could chop up the branches with a lawn-mower, and a recently-sharpened lawnmower blade.

Or look up "hugelculture": gardening on top of woodpiles.
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

March 17, 2012
3:52 AM

Post #9045772

Gardening starts here now and DH re-did one bed and used all my compost. It is a huge bed.

Going back to home made compost bins I used the wood burning pen to cut holes at the bottom. I am not sure what it is called but it is electric, I use mask with eye protection because of the fumes.

Bellie

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