We live on a 4-acre pecan orchard and gets lots of pecans most years. I've just finished shelling and freezing about 50 lbs. of pecans.
I'm wondering if it would be okay to put the pecan shells on the compost pile OR just broadcast them across the garden plot before we till for the spring/summer plantings. Haven't read anything on whether the pecan shells would make the soil too acidic or too alkaline.
I throw unsalted peanut shells and unsalted pistatio (SP?) shells into the compost. Not the same thing, but it helps if you smash the hard shells into smallish bits. I'd be interested to know the acid/alkaline answer myself...
I like most of the stuff on that link, except for one thing that made me want to shriek, and that was the mention of tobacco waste.
Tobacco easily harbors the Tobacco Mosaic Virus, which is very deadly to other members of the nightshade family (e.g. tomatoes, peppers, eggplant,) and I wouldn't count on the heat of the compost pile to kill it.
You just might be right on that, Tarheel2az, but if it were me, I'd still check with some knowledgeable horticulturalists to find out more about how well the mosaic viruses can withstand hot composting, and ESPECIALLY the kind of cold composting I think you're proposing.
I wouldn't worry about tobacco mosaic virus too much any more, it's pretty much been eradicated for decades now and is usually seen only in big greenhouse operations. Even modern day cigarettes, etc, don't tend to carry the virus anymore. But if you think about it, where would one get tobacco waste from for the home garden? Even here in NC, "tobacco country" tobacco waste is not something readily available.
Miles, if you have clay soil like I do I think I'd tend to put those cracked shells directly in the garden and work them in. That would do wonders to, as tarheel said, aerate your soil. I'd love to have some to work with!
Shoe (knowing full well Miles has sore hands from cracking and shelling 50 pounds of pecans! Yikes!)
Shoe - I'm going to put a disclaimer on the following statement as I'm not being knowleagable about tobacco. The local ag program still advises against anything that brings the tobacco mosaic virus into the yard including ciggies. There are still tobacco farms and tobacco processors in the area. I guess I better go see what the local extension office says about it.
I have an old VitaMix container that I use to pulverize things like shells, crab shells, whatever and then just water it down and disperse it directly into the garden wherever there is an empty spot- works for me!
Susan, I still ask folks not to smoke in my garden or greenhouse, partly because I don't want to be around the smoke, partly because "anything can happen" (regarding TMV). There was a time when it was highly prevalent but apparently there has become a cure/eradication of it, especially since the tobacco farmers were really hurting from it financially so I imagine they had to figure something out, eh?
JO! So glad you reminded me! I had an email the other day about a woman who was looking to get rid of about 200 pounds of pecans, still in the shell and bagged in 1 pound bags. I'll dmail ya!
Shoe, Thanks for the kind thought about my hands. In this rural county with LOTS of pecan trees, we have a huge pecan industry with warehouses where you can take your pecans and either sell them (the Chinese are buying them up this year due to their own crop failure) or have them machine cracked for a small fee.
So after we got ours cracked, I didn't have a lot to do other than just separate the meats from the shells and bag them up!
Wow, what a great plan on having them cracked for ya. I've looked at pecan crackers (machines) but you'd have to really be a pecan farmer to buy one so that it would pay for itself. Heck, it took me years to finally decide on a bean sheller and find one I could afford that would pay for itself.
Maybe if you get too many pecans you can send JoParrot some...she's really itching for some pecans!
Just a thought - I would be less concerned about TMV than I would about residual from all the chemicals used in tobacco farming - South Georgia, where I live, is BIG tobacco country. I would NOT use any tobacco by-product in my compost (unless it was grown organically).