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Soil and Composting: Is shredded paper ok?

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Sarah321
Milton, NH

February 25, 2012
12:25 PM

Post #9019633

I'm cleaning out my filing cabinet and shredding away when I got to thinking that all of it could be used for the brown material in my next compost pile. None of the papers are older than year 1992. Would the paper be to acidic? What about the ink?
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

February 27, 2012
10:23 AM

Post #9021966

i think u would be just fine composting paper sarah..
many of us that vermiculture use newspaper in our bins..
i use newspaper as a mulch around my tomato plants ..around
2nd week of july when things have really warmed up..to keep soil cooler
and help hold moisture in soil around the plants..
go for it... :)

pbyrley

pbyrley
Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL
(Zone 9b)

February 27, 2012
4:29 PM

Post #9022464

I use the shredded paper that I either recently received or that I printer with ink jet. I think that is fine. Old news print used to have something wrong, as I recall but I don't remember what. Now the print is soy based and is ok. I have had some trouble with the shredded paper matting together so now I immediately mix it well with the existing soil.
mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 2, 2012
1:38 PM

Post #9027303

We think alike! I'll take it a step further; we've got an outdoor bunny who sleeps in a hutch. I shred paper bags and use the shreddings as litter in his nesting box. After he soils it, it all gets thrown in the compost pile. Works great and he seems to enjoy fresh litter.

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Sarah321
Milton, NH

March 4, 2012
12:15 PM

Post #9029645

Thanks everyone, my mind is now at ease. My next concern ws over it matting up so I've gone ahead and started to mix in my kitchen veggy scraps, coffee grounds, wood ash, etc in a large trash can. As soon as the snow clears I can start to build it. Can't wait!

pbyrley

pbyrley
Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL
(Zone 9b)

March 5, 2012
8:10 AM

Post #9030631

I don't know if wood ash is one of the "accepted" ingredients. Does anybody else have a comment? This is a compost pile not a vermicompost bin.

Paul

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 6, 2012
3:41 PM

Post #9032532

One thing seemed to cure matting for me, though it causes other problems. Last fall I added thick hard plant stems without chopping them up. They crisscross and keep the pile from matting down very tight.

But it makes it hard to turn! I don;t really reccomend this, since the stems stick out of the pile and rot more slowly.

I think that, next fall, I'll go back to chopping them. Maybe only 8-10" long instead of as short as I had time and energy toi cut them.

But a few stiff stems tossed in with your shredded paper, like tossing a salad, may keep the papper from matting down tight until its digested. (But then you might have to pull the stems out and chop them shorter so they incororate better and decompose faster!

BTW, I mean stiff plant stems, not woody twigs. In my small pile, wood large enough see almost never decomposes.

I'm collecting woody branches and twigs in a separate pile until I decide whether to try to do hugelculture with small amounts of green sappy juniper branches, or chop it small with a lawn mower - i.e., sharpen the lawnmower blade!

tlm1
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 7, 2012
9:20 AM

Post #9033262

Hi all, When it comes to the wood ash being used in the compostůMy thought would be that it's ok. I was reading an article about "lasagna gardening", and the wood ash was one of the ingredients listed that can be used as Lasagna mulch material. Sounds good to me! :-)

pbyrley

pbyrley
Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL
(Zone 9b)

March 12, 2012
5:45 PM

Post #9040160

Thank's Tim. I don't remember where I got the idea that wood ask would be harmful. Maybe it referred to the quantity of wood ash.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 12, 2012
6:06 PM

Post #9040186

Many people advise aginst liming a compost heap. I think it encourages the loss of nitrogen as ammonia.

Maybe someone suggested out that too much wood ash would do the same thing in a lasgna layer???

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2012
11:29 AM

Post #9041206

I wish I could convince my hubby that shredded paper is okay for the garden, but I have never been able to do so. (sigh)
Sarah321
Milton, NH

March 14, 2012
5:17 PM

Post #9042937

I've used thin sprinklings of hard wood ash around my arborvitae and they were unharmed, seemed to like it.. And I've used wood ash in prior compost piles. The trick is to make sure its is thinly and thoroughy mixed throughout, not just dumped in a clump. Too thick and it turns to some kind of salt. So far I've been tossing the ash into my dry shredded paper and slowly turning in my veggy scraps. Nothing is wet yet. I've found a friendly neighbor who says I can have a wheelbarrow full of chicken manure. What a cocktail! Any predictions?
tlm1
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 14, 2012
5:58 PM

Post #9042991

I could only dream of having a neighbor with chicken manure! My prediction would be YUMMY!!!! The garden would LOVE it! Take ALL you can get!!! I am SO jealous!!!!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 15, 2012
8:19 AM

Post #9043578

Sarah - be sure to age (compost) that chicken manure before using it, or it will kill your plants.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 15, 2012
11:43 AM

Post #9043824

Shredder paper is EXCELLENT for the compost pile, however, CONFETTI Shred does not mat up like the long strips, which almost double in weight when wet. Those long strips make it hard to turn a mat of wet paper.

Confetti shred doesn't mat like that...^^_^^
Sarah321
Milton, NH

April 14, 2012
8:02 AM

Post #9082047

Thanks for all the tips about shredded paper and matting. I've got about 2/3 of a large trash barrel, but, and, gosh I'm so excited, I've got two large trash barrels of chicken manure! The manure is mixed with straw and sawdust. The weather is great this weekend so I'll be playing in the dirt, err, soil, I mean.
Sarah321
Milton, NH

April 14, 2012
6:57 PM

Post #9082741

Here's a pic of my pre-pile mixture of shredded paper and kitchen veggy scraps which I started back in the winter. Thanks for the tips about matting. I'm glad I never added any water. Only about the bottom eighth was matted, I broke it up working soil into it. However the mixture was already breaking down anaerobically. Pee-yew. I added chicken manure with straw & sawdust litter, and turned it all, which helped decreased the stench.

Thumbnail by Sarah321
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RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 16, 2012
6:59 PM

Post #9085434

Anything coarse like straw will help maintain aeration, and the "browns" like paper are bound to reduce the stink.

The downside of adding coarse things like small twigs to the pile is that they break down really slowly, and when the rest of your compost is ready to use, they are still sitting there whole and tough.

Maybe adding some coarse pine bark mulch would help keep it "open". Adding mulch to garden soil can't hurt. But it could be a little expensive: $3-4 for 2 cubic feet.
BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 17, 2012
4:46 PM

Post #9086663

Talking about chicken manure. When we first moved here the grove across the street from us 25 acres used to spread it on the groves right up next to the trees and I'm sure the processing plants let chicken parts go into it cause the smell would knock you out but the trees flourished. Now they use chicken manure to feed to cows and pigs. Not us. I told my husb. I'd quit eating our beef if he fed them that. Extension agent says its good for them. Bull. Our cows get the best of hay and pasture pellets made from grains. No growth hormones either. We have black angus beef growing in the back pasture and we eat one a year so I believe in good quality feed for them cause they feed us. Wish I knew someone that kept rabbits. Thats the best manure you can get. Doesn't burn plants even if you put it right up against a stem.
Happy composting all.
Bonnie

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

April 21, 2012
8:06 PM

Post #9092307

mulched with cardboard,fiber cloth bags, filled with compost, and grass clippings over that.

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Sarah321
Milton, NH

April 22, 2012
5:33 PM

Post #9093367

nice pics juhur7. Thanks Bonnie. I do my best to eat only free ranging , organic, hormone free poultry, bison, beef, etc. Cows are vegetarians! Chickens not so much, but I know they don't eat cows, or pigs, or horses.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 4, 2012
11:05 AM

Post #9151746

just read a good article regarding the use of wood ash...there is a concern now with some heavy metals due to the uptake in the living wood. eventually the metals leach back out into the soil and then are taken up again by food plants.

pbyrley

pbyrley
Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL
(Zone 9b)

June 6, 2012
10:52 AM

Post #9154673

Trackinsand,
Do you remember where the article was?

Thanks, Paul

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 6, 2012
11:47 AM

Post #9154720

when i posted that, i couldn't remember where i'd read it but figured someone would ask so i had to review what i'd been reading lately! lol
here it is in its entirety from Vegetable Gardening for Dummies by Charlie Nardozzi (don't laugh):

"Proceed carefully: Using wood ashes as a fertilizer

Wood ashes are a source of potash and phosphate, although the exact amounts of these nutrients depend on the type of wood burned (hardwoods generally contain more nutrients than softwoods), the degree of combustion, and where the wood was stored (for example, dry storage prevents nutrient leaching). A general analysis is usually in the range of 0 % nitrogen, 1 to 2 % phosphate, and 4 to 10 % potash. But the major benefit of wood ashes is as a liming agent to raise the pH of the soil. Naturally, if you live in an area where soils are alkaline, don't use as a soil amendment; they raise the pH even higher.

Apply wood ashes to your soil in moderation (no more than 10 to 20 pounds per 1000 square feet of garden) because they may contain small amounts of heavy metals such as cadmium and copper. REMEMBER: These metals build up in plants if you add too much wood ash to the soil and can kill the plants---or harm you if you eat lots of those plants."
Sarah321
Milton, NH

August 13, 2012
5:52 PM

Post #9240529

Thanks trackinsand, that's good info about wood ash. I know we burn hard woods and the amount I've used is less than 10/1000.
Sarah321
Milton, NH

August 13, 2012
6:06 PM

Post #9240554

An update on my use of shredded office paper. With every turn of the pile, I noticed that any clumps of shredded paper were wet, but not decomposing. The pile got hot after every turn X 3. And the pile seemed to be getting heavier! I simply go tired of turning, so I just spread it out over the bed it was intended for. The composting continued to stay warm, about 90 degrees for about 5 days. At this stage very few clumps were noted. On one hand, I think the shredded paper worked, but only because I rigorously made sure the shreds were as evenly distributed as possible, and perhaps the shreds helped to hold moisture in. On the other hand, it was labor intensive. Really not the best material, but do able.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 15, 2012
10:05 PM

Post #9243133

Sometimes I turn with a pitchfork, sometimes a shovel.

Sometimes I scrape off the dry outer layer with a steel rake or cultivator, then bury the dry chunky stuff.

I have only a small pile, maybe 3 feet tall at most.

The cultivator is best at mixing things up, but the shovel is best for forming a compact shape.

Say, does anyone know a good way to compost sod? That seems slowest to break down, after insufficiently chopped-up wood.

pbyrley

pbyrley
Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL
(Zone 9b)

August 19, 2012
6:41 AM

Post #9246355

RickCorey,
What are you putting on your soil to compost? If leaves, maybe you should use your lawnmower with bag and shred piles of leaves, then dump on the soil.

Shredded trees or other shredded wood have decayed (after a year) on top of my soil (mostly red clay). Now, after rains, the earthworms are right under the surface which is nice black soil now. I call this process mulching, not composting but I thought this was what you were asking.
Paul

Whoops! Sorry Rick, I mis-read sod into soil. as they used to say on SNL, "never mind".

This message was edited Aug 19, 2012 8:50 AM

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 21, 2012
7:48 PM

Post #9249555

Yup, I compost in a heap, not underground, sheet-mulch or "lasagna". I guess I've become old-fashioned.

I WISH I had leaves to chop and compost!

I agree with you that wood chips or sawdust need to compost before being turned under, or they will steal nitrogen away from plant roots. (And I've had ugly fungusy masses when I turned too much wood under.)

I believe that this years' mulch can be next year's compost, but one yeqar is pretty fast for big chips to break down. Maybe you have active soil life and warm weather or a long summer? I always assumed that wood would need some green nitrogen source to break down fast, but it sounds unnecessary where you live.

... oh, you said SHREDDED wood. That makes sense. Big chunks slow, thin shreds fast. When I chopped up green juniper branchs with foliage, the fine wood shreds composted enough to use in 5-6 mionths. The thick wood is still in the heap, sneering at my efforts, not even softening yet.

After the chopping went slowly, I sharpened the lawnmower blade with an angle grinder.
The photos exagerate how much coarse stuff there was. It was as if the big pieces floated to the top.

This message was edited Aug 21, 2012 7:50 PM

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rouge21

(Zone 5b)

August 22, 2012
1:53 PM

Post #9250261

[quote="RickCorey_WA"]I agree with you that wood chips or sawdust need to compost before being turned under, or they will steal nitrogen away from plant roots.[/quote]

I am so unsure re the use of 'wood' in my composter. Specifically, I regularly mix clean wood shavings (not dust but the larger shavings) with my greens. Lately these greens have been lots and lots of my neighbour's grass clippings. But clearly wood shavings take (much) longer to fully breakdown. After several months of such composting I assume I could use the resulting material sprinkled around the base of my plants but how long and what would it need to look like to be able to use it as an actual planting medium?

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 22, 2012
9:17 PM

Post #9250784

>> but how long and what would it need to look like to be able to use it as an actual planting medium?

Mostly, I don't really know, but here comes a real long answer anyway!

I would wait, myself, until it was ALL limp and at least SOME was already mushy or turned to humus. I would guess that, when the thinnest parts of the shavings have crumbled away, the thickest part must be digested about that far in from the surface. And then the inner layers must be SOMEWHAT digested.

But my soil is poor, and I had one bad experience adding too much wood from a cheap and rip-off "soil conditioner" when I was even more ignorant. I thought "if it came in a bag, more must be better, and this is AWFUL soil". Now I don 't trust bags, especially from Home Depot.

Even if you don't need to worry about N defecit, too much raw wood in one spot seems to encourage fungus that sure LOOKS wierd and nasty, and seemed to make my bed hard to "wet". I don't know why, but it was ugly and grew nothing for about a year.


I think "how long" depends hugely on the thickness of the wood, how "hot" your pile is, and how much nitrogen the pile has. (And how N-rich your soil is, and how N-hungry your crop is.) Also, green wood will break down much slower than aged wood.

If your compost pile is big and hot and rich in greens, I would expect wood to compost faster. A cool pile, or a "brown", lean one, won't do much too wood in just a few months.

My compost pile is small and cool, so I plan for the visible wood chips to break down over a year or two (I screen out the black humus as I need it, and put big stuff back into the heap.) Sticks or stiff shavings are great for keeping a heap aerated, if you don't mind screening them out or waiting a year plus for them to break down.

OK, a "shaving" is much thinner than a "chip" or "stick". So it will break down "enoguh" faster. But I think a few months is ambitious unless you have a really hot pile and really hungry microbes with big teeth chomping down, to COMPOST the wood. "COMPOST" In the sense of "it all looks like black, crumbly humus indistinguishable from soil or peat".

However, you may not need that as long as the shavings are no longer nitrogen-magnets. How to tell that? I am only guessing now, but I would make a first guess by texture and color -
- stiff & white is not ready,
- limp & brownish but still visibly "wood" might be somewhat digested but still absorbing N
- falling apart or almost black sounds fully ready.

You might be able to jump the gun and still not starve your plants as long as you don't add TOO MUCH in one spot.

AND if your soil is very N-rich already, or you have lots of grass compost with relatively little wood compost. Or you fertilize frequently with high-N fertilizer withOUT burning roots!

(I think that is why people argue against burying sawdust and trying to balance the N deficit by adding soluble Nitrogen. It might be easy to shovel on "enough" N, but how do you avoid adding a toxic "too much" N? Better anemic, weak, small, N-deficient plants than dead burnt plants!)

My theory is that the time to add chemical N safely is BEFORE the plants are there. I fianlly found a store that would sell me Urea (46-0-0 and cheap). So I'm going to dissolve teaspoons or tablespoons in gallon and 5-gallon buckets, and fertilize my compost heap more often than my plants! Someone warned against more than 2 pounds of urea per 1,000 square feet of plants, and I figure that is just under one gram per square foot.

They say you can grow tomatoes in straw bales, if you pre-fertilze the straw with enough N that the straw is composting as the roots are growing. Wood would be slower than straw, but if you add enoguh N to your compost heap, the wood ought to decompose somewhat faster. And the risk of burning bacteria's roots is not as great as burning a plant's roots. If you over-fertilze a heap, rain will cure it eventually, or adding more wood shavings and waiting a week or two.

You also are lucky in trying to bury shavings prematurely, rather than fine sawdust. Soil microbes will jump right on fine sawdust, suck up ALL the soil N to try to eat it super fast and all at once. Thciker shavings can't be eaten as quickly, so the N deficit would be much less severe, but might last a year or more.

Then, are you growing some heavy feeders like Brassicas or N-hungry corn, or some slow-growing thing that likes lean, well-drained soil? If the crop needs more N than your soil has, worry. If your soil is richer than it needs to be for that crop, don't worry about a little wood that is still breaking down.

So it is a matter of degree and a judgement call, as to whene it would cross from "wow that bed grew poorly this year" to "you can't SEE any harm".

How immediate is the need to use those shavings underground right away? Raw or half-cooked or fully composted, they can always be spread freely on top as mulch! Above the soil, no one cares if they steal N from each other, and when they do dissolve, the worms will still eat them. And meanwhile they mulch cools your soil and keeps soil water from evaporating.

Just mechanically, how dissolved do the shavings need to be for your kind of gardening? Would you be OK mixing large, stiff anythings into your soil? (Like, ignoring the N-deficit problem). Chunks are great for top-dress mulch, but too many coarse things underground is going to make the roots wander and wind to get around them. But if you WANT big chunks, say for "loft" or aeration, maybe you can use some shavings relatively undigested. For example, greatly improved aeration and drainage might help more then a little N competition hurt.

All speculative, and like most gardening questions, the answer is "it depends on your situation and your kind of gardening".

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

August 23, 2012
5:42 AM

Post #9250965

[quote="rouge21"]

I am so unsure re the use of 'wood' in my composter. Specifically, I regularly mix clean wood shavings (not dust but the larger shavings) with my greens. Lately these greens have been lots and lots of my neighbour's grass clippings. But clearly wood shavings take (much) longer to fully breakdown. After several months of such composting I assume I could use the resulting material sprinkled around the base of my plants but how long and what would it need to look like to be able to use it as an actual planting medium?
[/quote]

Somebody should invent a cheap test.
How about, fill a small pot, plant a few beans and see how they look in a month? If brand new baby beans can grow, then wouldn't the stuff be OK for anything else?

Or--you could always put small piles of your 'cooled but maybe still composting' material on top of the soil between plants. Fungi and bacteria still at work will continue, plants roots below will suck up whatever comes on down.
nutsaboutnature
Algonquin, IL
(Zone 5a)

August 30, 2012
10:39 AM

Post #9259368

We've had excellent results with both woodshavings and sawdust.

My husband is an avid woodworker. He saves the sawdust when he empties out his sawdust collector (from using his power tools) and puts it in huge plastic bags. We've used it for assorted things, mostly in the yard, but I also layer it with greens in my small compost bin.

It's amazing how quickly the sawdust (or shavings) will kill the odor from rotting grass or veggie scraps. The contents also really heat up, but our bin doesn't stay hot very long because of its small size. We may eventually add a slightly larger open compost pile, but right now this serves us very well and also keeps out any curious critters.

The sawdust may take a little longer than some things to break down, but once it does, the resulting compost has been beautiful "Black Gold", very rich and wonderful to spread on my garden beds.

Don't ever use any part of a 'Black Walnut' tree as it has an ingredient that will inhibit the growth of many plants! Other than that, we've used both hardwods and softwoods with great results. You can also make a separate pile of the sawdust or wood shavings, if you like, to allow them to rot some, but whichever method you decide on, it's a very valuable ingredient in the garden.

Honeybee, I empty my paper shredder regularly...right into the compost bin. I don't dump it in one chunk, rather I layer it with some "greens" or other "browns" that don't mat down. I also collect my coffee filters, with the used grounds still in them, in a plastic bag (more paper). When it's full I dump it into the compost bin. Paper breaks down and it's just one more FREE ingredient for the garden. I just love anything that's FREE!



This message was edited Aug 30, 2012 12:56 PM
BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

September 5, 2012
5:11 PM

Post #9266277

We live in central Fl. where soil is nothing but sand. I use bucket on my Kubota and bring up cow manure from around hay feeder where cows eat and deposit and spread it on garden space just the way it is but also have some in 2 large piles that is rotting down for my flower beds. Once it dries out I just put the tiller on back Kubota and till it under to about 6 inches. Rake out all big stuff and smooth it all out then its ready to plant. I also use fish emulsion once plants get up about 2 inches. Just wish I knew someone with rabbit farm. That stuffs like gold for a garden.
I'm looking forward to cooler weather and my winter garden.
Happy gardening all.
Bonnie

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

September 5, 2012
5:53 PM

Post #9266336

..>> BonnieGardens I'm looking forward to cooler weather and my winter garden.

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

September 5, 2012
5:56 PM

Post #9266337

Well I goofed my post again , reply; I'M NOT!! only if that means you aren't going to miss this summer ,Me neither!!!!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 5, 2012
6:53 PM

Post #9266408

>> We live in central Fl. where soil is nothing but sand.

I wish I could trade a few yards of my clay for your sand! Mix 'em together and be halfway towards good loam.
BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

September 10, 2012
6:33 PM

Post #9271396

Took me 40 years to realize that the soil here had to be amended to grow anything plus water, water, water. Don't know what I'd use if we didn't have cows. Guess I'd truck it in but they keep our taxes down and provide meat and fertilizer and keep the pastures looking neat . We are zoned ag thanks to them so taxes are a lot lower. I will certainly miss them when we get to old to maintain the fences, haul their hay and go out to feed them. We have black angus. They really are my husbands best friends. He loves them but it does't bother him to butcher one a year which we can't do anymore so we take one to butcher and he slaughters, cuts up and packages.
Our youngest son lives pretty close so he helps his dad load and take to butcher. We give him 1/2 the cow cause just 2 of us we don't need all that beef. Plus I give friends that stop by some steaks as I don't like them anymore. I should raise some chickens again as we eat more of that now. I don't like butchering them but can do it. Can't beat fresh meat and fresh vegies.
When my kids were little they used to say Mom was making cow poop soup. I filled a barrel with water and added cow manure and used to bucket it out on plants. Helped them along. In Fl. the bugs are really a challenge. I tried neem oil but it didn't help a bit. Lots of times I sprinkle plain old cooking flour on plants and bugs leave them alone. I have the best luck with broccoli which is a winter crop here. Tomatoes are really a challenge. Blossom end rot usually gets mine even tho I bought the chemical to stop it.

Gardening is wonderful exercise and rewarding.
Happy gardening all.
Bonnie

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

September 10, 2012
6:45 PM

Post #9271411

What do people gardening in Florida think of the dissolved sorghum formulas,I now enough about sand that it doesn't hold that ( the syrup type formula) to any degree,but it does have a lot of nutrients for blooms or fruits. It has been years since I tried that so I am asking as discussion more than anything.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 10, 2012
6:46 PM

Post #9271412

You're making me hungry!

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

September 10, 2012
6:49 PM

Post #9271417

Is that the beef steak, the poop, the broccoli or the tomatoes, or maybe all of it with syrup?!!^_^

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 10, 2012
6:58 PM

Post #9271430

Mostly, all of the above! I really envy having enough manure that you can grow in sand, but the beef and tomatoes appealed to me even more than the compost tea.

I do like the name "cow poop soup". It would be a great martketing name, except that I understand it has to be used fresh and oxygenated to be good.

BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

September 12, 2012
9:56 AM

Post #9273080

Don't know anaything about sorghum formulas.
I thought you might get a kick out of the "cow poop soup". Sure works so I usually keep a barrell of it right besides the garden during growing season. My shubs and flowers get it also when they are lucky. I was raised in Conn. and lived in RI for many years and that soil is wonderful and loamy and I never used any kind of fertilizer or watered it. Thats why gardening in Fl. seemed so labor intensive but it is what it is. Every year I add the manure to my vegie garden and till under.
Out there I have drip irrigation which is a pain cause you have to move it all to get tractor in to work it but it does save water. If I was on city water I couldn't have all the water hogs I have. With 2 ponds and a pool that evaporate from time to time water is really important around here.
Our well is shallow but has held up very well over 46 years and been thru droughts. This year we have been blessed with a little rain every day and I am sure thankfull. One year our canal out back of the pasture went completely dry and it sure was a sad sight to loose 18' of water. It has come back pretty good but nothing like it used to be. It provides water for my irrigation system in my front yard. 350' of shrubs and flowering plants. Lived for years with only a sand front yard then in 2005 made some major changes. I learned how to dig all the ditches and put the pvc pipe and sprinkler heads in. I put 85 sprinkler heads around permiter and 8 large rotors down the center. Made a diagram so I would always know where pipes are running in the event of repairs.
I have mowed a few large rotars heads off but thats an easy fix.
I feel sympathy for you all that are gardening in clay soil. I'm sure its a challenge. If you were closer to me I would furnish you with cow poop. We have a few people that I don't even know that see my piles out back and stop and ask if they can have some. I fill their pick ups if they have one.
Happy gardening to all. We are eating better vegies than the rest of the country. I tell myself that every time my back starts to ach. LOL
Bonnie

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 13, 2012
12:09 PM

Post #9274130

Moo poo brew?


Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 17, 2012
11:24 AM

Post #9277844

My Dad did the same except with rabbit and moose droppings. Hey Question? We got a chipper/shredder and last night ran several bags of clippings, plant cuttings, some wood etc through it. Speaking of cow poop, that is about what it looked like. Except unformed into patties. Just splat splat. Green, gloopy stuff. I just dug in with my gloves and strewed it as best I could between my plants and such. Finally got a garden fork and used that to strew it and then try to mix with soil as I could. So we aren't talking compost, but the raw stuff. So is that okay? It will sit there all winter and heaven only knows what it will look like come spring. I have lots more to run through as I start cutting down the plants. I have lots of area to spread it about, and one bed will be empty of flowers as all it has in it is dahlias which will be dug up. Really need to amend that one as it was the straight 'garden soil' delivered by the landscaper. I also have two barrels of pretty well rotted but not completely done yet that I was thinking I would strew rather than leave in the barrels all winter. Worried about freezing and breaking the containers.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 17, 2012
5:16 PM

Post #9278198

>> strew it and then try to mix with soil as I could. So we aren't talking compost, but the raw stuff. So is that okay?

I think that spreading it on top of the gorund is 100% OK, sheet composting or mulching. No mnaure, so I am guessing it would not matter too much even if it touc he4s plan t stems.


Turning it under ground is probably also fine, unless there is so much wood that, when the wood breaks down, it steals nitrogen away from roots.

The fact that you are adding lots of greens at the same time you add wood helps provide N.

And the wood chips are probably fairly coarse, which keeps the nitrogen deficiet less severe (but it might last a year or more if the soil is hungry.)

And if you don't add a lot of wood, the problem is not very big (unless your soil was already low in N).

I suspect that when we add N, it gets taken up or washes away very quickly. Then the remaining wood gets digested by microbes for months or years. They become very hungry for N to balance the C in their diet, and they suck up every atom of N before the roots can get to it.

If you turneed very much uncopmposted wood under, bear in mind that you might have to provide more N for your plants than you expected, until the wood finishes breaking down. As if anything you planted had a tapeworm that made those plants REALLY HEAVY FEEDERS. Maybe keep top-dressing - green matter on the surface will trickle down into the soil, and wood does no harm composting on the surface. Anything that eats it on the surface CAN't steal N from your roots becuase the roots are down there and the wood is up top.

I like to let wood compost in a heap where at most it prevents N form being lost. THEN turn it under after it's mostly digested.

Or, use the wood chips as top-mulch. It protects the soil and breaks down gardually.

Short answer: no problem, just don't turn excessive sawdust or fine shavings under in soil that's already hungry.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 17, 2012
5:45 PM

Post #9278219

No, I wouldn't call the wood component at all excessive. A very small part of the green. And the shredded paper, even with all the turning of the drums was clumped not broken up. i went in dry but picked up moisture from the other stuff. Not sure I want to do that again but I am a bit short on brown stuff. Don't have too many trees. May poll my neighbors for their leaves. Just so I don't have to take them...

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 17, 2012
6:08 PM

Post #9278250

Good, then no problem. One thing about wood: it will add mechanical sttructure to the soil for as long as it takes to decomose.

I never understood why so many people warn against turning uncomposted sawdust underground, but never warn against doing it with paper. Do the extra ingredients in paper provide some N?

I don't know, I just like to feed my compost heap, and then add beautiful black stuff to the soil.

BTW, another way to use to use lots of wood in gardening is called "hugelculture". Instead of layin g mulch on TOP of the soil, away from roots, they bury it UNDER the root zone. Like, entire logs or brushpiles. It decomposes over years and acts like a huge sponge, absorbing water and releasing it to roots during drought. I guess the roots get their N from soil nearer the surface and water from deep down.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 17, 2012
8:58 PM

Post #9278412

We planted a blue spruce on the site where we had inherited a rotten woodpile. They built a little mound (the landscapers) on top and then planted the tree. I has grown phenomenally well. Gorgeous. I figure it has wonderful rotten stuff down there. We bought the house 15 years ago and it was half rotten then. You know, if I had an acre or two to play with, I would set up all sorts of test fields just to see what happens. But I don't think I have another 20 years to hang around and see what happens. Why do the most interesting things happen when you are too old to experiment. Well, I will carry on, with the help of you all here. I am hale and healthy, and am only looking at statistics for my eventual cancellation date. lol. So I will continue as if I had another 66 years to go.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 17, 2012
9:44 PM

Post #9278454

Good attitude! I used to read about forestry and daydream about what I would do with a few hundred wooded acres ... if I knew I would live fore a few hundred years.

I read an SF novel once (Way Station?) The premise was that many alien races travelled from star to star and needed one small room on earth as a way station ... with a human caretaker. Because they didn't want to spill the secret to a new human every 50-100 years, they were able to make him stop aging, as long as he was inside the little cabin in Maine that served as a way station.

But not even the lure of imortality could keep him from stepping outside most nights to watch the sunset and listen to the wind in the trees and the birdsong. So he aged eventually an yway.

What I wonder is: how, in MAINE, can you hear anything over the buzz of the mosquitoes and horse flies and deer flies and no-see-ums?!? It was like Newark Airport when the 747s were lined up at minimum separation distance, circling the airport. Except that they BIT.


Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 18, 2012
8:18 AM

Post #9278786

Neat book. I will have to look it up. I used to read SF only from the time I discovered doubleback ACE books when I was 14. Still pick one up now and then if they look interesting. Back then it was pretty much all Poul Anderson, Heinlein, Bradbury, Asimov, etc. Now, who knows.

I have never been to Maine, but I am reading a series of mysteries with a touch of the SN that are based in Maine. Aside from the creepies (isn't that Cujo country lol) I would have thought it was gorgeous and very primeviel (sp). How disappointing. Mosquitoes we got, along with no-see-ums, but not much of a bother.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 18, 2012
6:58 PM

Post #9279423

Heinlein and Anderson, my heros! And Niven, Pournell and H. Beam Piper.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 19, 2012
9:00 AM

Post #9279941

I have never heard of H. Beam Piper, but remember the other fondly. I found Simak's book "Way Station" at Alibris and have it coming. Thanks for the suggesting.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 19, 2012
4:20 PM

Post #9280428

You are welcome. Siamk often has believable "just folks" characters.

Piper is best known for "Little Fuzzy", but "Police Operation", "Lord Calvan of Otherwhen" / "Gunpowder God", all of the Paratime stories, Space Vikings " and "Junkyard Planet" are better.

I think "Junkyard Planet" was renamed "The Cosmic Computer".

Most of his work is public domain now, at Project Gutenberg. Free eBooks.
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/8301
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 19, 2012
5:31 PM

Post #9280510

Neat. I wonder if I can download any of them to my Color Nook. I will ask my daughter. She knows all about that stuff. If not, then I can download to my desktop and just read them there. Or I will check with Alibris my used book vendor. That is where I found the book by Simak. thanks again for the info. Will give me a whole new run of books to read.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 19, 2012
5:53 PM

Post #9280536

Yup. I went to my Nook Store and they have what I guess would be all of his books. I got the Cosmic Computer. I suspect it will be really strange considering how long ago it was written.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 19, 2012
6:52 PM

Post #9280565

It was written at a point in time that is now past.

In SF, it was still the "Campbell era" and a story was 10 times more likely to get published if it fitted with his viewpoints.

Cosmic Computer is especially fun if you like guns. If not, there's still lots of fun stuff.

"Perfect justice? That's the LAST thing we want.
Most of the planetary population would be in jail in a month!"

Piper once went to an SF convention, back when all fans were "print" fans becuase there were so few SF movies and no TV SF. But they still had movies at night. And Piper went to one.

But he didn't realize that was "Turkey Night".

The all-time-worst-SF-movie they were showing was "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes". He walked out early on and another escapee asked him "Do you READ this stuff??"

"Read it?" Piper replied in a disgusted tone.
"I WRITE it!"

Check out any of the ParaTime stories. The short stories might be even better than Lord Kalvan / Gunpowder God.



This message was edited Sep 19, 2012 6:58 PM
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 20, 2012
8:43 AM

Post #9281031

that's funny. I remember when attack of the killer tomatoes came out. I did NOT see it. I am (for good or bad) a 'blood and guts' SF movie fan. Starship Troopers is a great favorite. And I bought the book. I remember that the early SF stories were published in the small mags, quite often, in serial form. Then in 1960, they had the 'doubleback' full length (still probably only 130-150 pages) stories. Great fun.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 20, 2012
2:14 PM

Post #9281343

Since I read 'Starship Troopers' and worshipped Heinlein as a kid, I was horrified with what Voerhoven (spelling?) did to it as a movie. The idea that they forgave Johnny for getting a student killed "be4cuase he wnated to win" was not my idea of classic Heinlein.

But I loved the cute kids stomping on Bugs, and teasing the heavily-armed troopers to let them play with assault rifles.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 20, 2012
4:17 PM

Post #9281432

I had no expectations of the movie so I enjoyed it. I am pretty sure I read the book later, or so many years ago (as in decades) that I had forgotten it. I am over half through the Fuzzies. Pretty entertaining. Yes, very light weight, but I like the characters and of course the fuzzies.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 20, 2012
6:05 PM

Post #9281519

A contemporary author (Niven? There were Kzin in it.) wrote a short SF story or novella closely following the movie "The Treasure of the Sierra Madres" ... something like that. He incldued some homages to SF classics, also.

He had one alien critter like a Gila Monster, with a poisonous bite, golden fur, big eyes and a high-pitched cry that sounded like "PAAAPEEE JAAAACK".

Loved their escape, when one of the cops asked "Whbatg did they do, whittle a gun out of a bar of so0ap and bluff their way out?"

There are 2-3 follow-on novels, plus at least 1-2 written by other authors imitating Piper's style.

Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 20, 2012
7:05 PM

Post #9281563

that's funny about the gila monster's cry. I vaguely recall a SF writer by the name of Niven. They were all the best reading. All things considered, amazingly free of bloodshed. They had young folk books called "Tom Corbet" and " Tom Swift". I read and collected them all before going off to Ace doublebacks.. Also the Hardy Boys. Never got into Nancy Drew.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 20, 2012
7:23 PM

Post #9281573

Tom Swift! I grew up with him.

There was a series for his father,

"Tom Swift and his Motorcycle"
"Tom Swift and his Electric Searchlight"

Titles approximate, and I never ready any. Just saw them listed somewhere.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

September 21, 2012
7:57 AM

Post #9281982

Me too. I never realized it started with his father. I guess there were several written after I stopped reading them. Wish I had kept the collections I had. Once a week or so my mother took us to Adler's book store and I could buy one book, always hard cover. I believe they were about $6 apiece. That was a lot back then. All books were donated to the school library after I left home. Good thing as Fairbanks was flooded and they would have been lost when the basement went under.

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