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Beginner Vegetables: pecan shells in the compost?

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Forum: Beginner VegetablesReplies: 18, Views: 110
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milesdt
Pulaski, GA

February 1, 2012
9:35 AM

Post #8990742

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.
terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 2, 2012
1:56 PM

Post #8992409

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...
milesdt
Pulaski, GA

February 4, 2012
9:15 AM

Post #8994405

Here is a link I found that lists pecan shells as a good addition to the compost pile (but not walnut shells... read on...)

http://www.improve-your-garden-soil.com/composting-organic-waste.html
yardener
Greenfield, OH
(Zone 6a)

February 6, 2012
7:23 AM

Post #8996489

There good for the compost but I think they make a great and attractive mulch. You can use them in containers or raised beds.
terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 6, 2012
8:15 AM

Post #8996582

Very good to know. Thanks for the link.
petronius_ii
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7a)

February 8, 2012
10:35 AM

Post #8999240

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.
terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 8, 2012
10:55 AM

Post #8999254

Also, your cat may be alergic to the tobacco waste.
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

February 8, 2012
11:58 AM

Post #8999327

I'd think they would make a GREAT soil amendment to aerate clayey soil and to neutralize alkine soil.
petronius_ii
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7a)

February 8, 2012
12:28 PM

Post #8999364

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.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 8, 2012
1:51 PM

Post #8999479

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!)
SusanKC
Shawnee Mission, KS
(Zone 6a)

February 8, 2012
3:14 PM

Post #8999543

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.
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

February 8, 2012
3:21 PM

Post #8999554

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!
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

February 8, 2012
3:21 PM

Post #8999556

By the way, Shoe- did you ever find me any pecans??? LOL
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 8, 2012
3:50 PM

Post #8999593

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
milesdt
Pulaski, GA

February 9, 2012
7:40 AM

Post #9000244

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!
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 9, 2012
12:28 PM

Post #9000611

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!

Shoe
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

February 9, 2012
12:42 PM

Post #9000640

Thanks, Shoe- You is a sweetie!
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 9, 2012
3:21 PM

Post #9000813

Aw, shucks...you say the nicest thangs...~ *grin

Shoe
graceful_garden
Hahira, GA
(Zone 8b)

February 20, 2012
4:46 PM

Post #9013899

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).

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