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Soil and Composting: I have lots of "browns"

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 16, Views: 243
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rouge21
Canada
Canada
(Zone 5b)

March 13, 2012
4:58 AM

Post #9040667

This past week I was able to obtain these two large bags of wood shavings from our local high school (wood shop). (In fact I can obtain two similar sized bags each week if I wanted). With only two small composters (14 cu. ft each) this is too much supply for me!

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bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

March 13, 2012
5:10 AM

Post #9040679

You do not have to put them in composter. I would just dumped them and mix with green like grass clippings and add water to hasten the process. You can never have too much of composting stuff. I know I use a lot!!!@
Also I would not put this mix near the house because of termites.


Belle



This message was edited Mar 13, 2012 7:12 AM

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2012
11:26 AM

Post #9041197

Wood shavings are great spread between raised beds. They break down over time into wonderful free dirt.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

March 19, 2012
5:50 AM

Post #9048302

If I had that, I'd use thick newspaper on my vegetable garden paths, and cover it with the sawdust. Other than that, you'll need a whole lot of green and moisture to use it in compost.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 23, 2012
11:03 AM

Post #9054065

Or, you can compost browns with the addition of straight human urine. Diluted, it's great for the garden too.
http://permaculture.org.au/2011/11/27/urine-closing-the-npk-loop/
back40bean
Decatur, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 23, 2012
7:59 PM

Post #9054673

Good article. There's a lot of good fertilizer being lost to the local water treatment facility.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 23, 2012
10:27 PM

Post #9054765

Some of that N makes it into the biosolids they sell or give to composting companies. Around here, they give it to Cedar Grove, that adds huge amounts of sawdust and woody waste, then charge $30-35 per yard.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 25, 2012
12:05 PM

Post #9056479

Ive used it as mulch. Then added nitrogen over the winter to help break it down, for next year.

One year my exhusband added some to the garden and tilled it in right before plant out time (he meant well) But it tied up all the N in the soil and nothing grew. There was no way too fix it that late in the game.
rouge21
Canada
Canada
(Zone 5b)

March 25, 2012
1:34 PM

Post #9056548

1lisac wrote:One year my exhusband added some to the garden and tilled it in right before plant out time (he meant well) But it tied up all the N in the soil and nothing grew. There was no way too fix it that late in the game.



I am now confused re the use of as much browns as I have shown above i.e. the wood shavings.

I am almost finished creating a brand new garden bed by the simple removal of sod. I was intending to mix a significant amount of the shavings with other 'topsoil' to make this a raised bed ready for taking perennials and annuals this coming May. Is this not a good idea? If not are there other things I could combine with the shavings to *then* add to the new soil that would benefit the plants this season?

I am not sure if this helps but I have access to a *significant* amount of wet tea leaves (tea shop) and rock dust.

If I mix lots of these wet leaves with the dry shavings and dry rock dust then all would bind together and then finally I could combine this with outside topsoil...is that going to be beneficial now?



This message was edited Mar 25, 2012 4:15 PM
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 25, 2012
2:10 PM

Post #9056599

I would not add Shavings to a garden that i plan on planting in this year, unless they are added to the surface ie. the walkways, in between raised beds (like bee suggested) or as mulch. They will make good compost but not that fast. You want to plant in soil that is composted not composting. I wouldn't advice planting in them this year but somebody else maybe more knowledgeable.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

March 25, 2012
5:04 PM

Post #9056743

IF you want to mix tea leaves and shavings. I think it would have to be at least equal parts . Do you really have that much tea leaves. ?

I agree with1lisac. Don't mix sawdust/shavings in. Use them to mulch, or mix half and half with tea leaves for compost. Or let the rain add your nitrogen and let them compost slower. Adding dirt to the sawdust pile for compost might help it along.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2012
5:39 PM

Post #9058285

My own prejudice agrees with the above advice: it's better to compost "browns" BEFORE mixing them into soil.

Maybe your soil will be less organic and less aerated this year, but you can make the beds deeper, late this fall by turning under the composted or partly composted shavings. That will give them the entire winter to reach "nitrogen equilibrium", if there is such a term.

Of course they will compost faster, in your compost heap, if you have "greens" - nitrogen-containing stuff - to mix with the shavings.

Tea leaves would be good. Ciffee grounds, green leaves, grass clippings - all very good..

The compost heap will also go faster if you keep it from drying out, and keep it aerated instead of "packed down tight". Turning it monthly, weekly or even more often will kepe it fluffed up, aerated and perking.

rouge21
Canada
Canada
(Zone 5b)

May 25, 2012
4:48 AM

Post #9137721

bellieg wrote:I would just dumped them and mix with green like grass clippings and add water to hasten the process. You can never have too much of composting stuff. I know I use a lot!!!@
This message was edited Mar 13, 2012 7:12 AM


Well I did just that yesterday i.e. I was able to get a large bag of week old grass clippings from a neighbour. Just below the surface of this bag it was hot, hot, hot. I then added one bag of my wood shavings and this bag of grass to my two composters.

The problem is that for now both bins are full to the top.

I am hoping that in a few weeks the volume will be decreased so I can continue adding my household greens.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 25, 2012
5:50 PM

Post #9138722

Are the neighbors too fussy to let you make piles on the ground? One way to make it look a little less like a heap of garbage is to make a circle with some kind of wire fence, even chicken wire. Fill that with sawdust, grass clipp0ings and tea leaves. Then it looks more "planned" than a pile does.

Do you have anything tall you can trransplant as a screen? Or fast-growing? If you never plan to turn it, you could plant something faster-growing on top and call it a flower-bed.

You could stand 16"x8" concrete pavers on end and call it a raised bed - those are ~$1.25 each.

I've heard the claim that you can make OK compost even if you have 20:1 browns to greens: i.e. 95% sawdust and 5% grass clippings, coffee grounds and tea leaves.

(Or a little high-N chemical fertilizer, if you don't worry about purely organic compost. After the compost-microbes have used a small amount of lawn fertilizer to digest a huge amount of sawdust, those fertilizer molecules will be "pretty organic". )

This message was edited May 25, 2012 5:50 PM

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bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

May 25, 2012
6:11 PM

Post #9138746

The volume will decrease as it decomposes. you are on your way to organic gardening!!! I am excited for you.

Belle
nutsaboutnature
Algonquin, IL
(Zone 5a)

June 1, 2012
12:57 PM

Post #9147883

The biggest problem with adding fresh wood shavings or sawdust directly to the garden is it uses up nitrogen while decaying. I've read if you add manure or lots of extra nitrogen it might be okay, but I'd probably pile it somewhere to break down first.

I have bags and bags of sawdust (my husband is an avid woodworker). I alternate layers with grass clippings and other greens in my compost bin and also find places in the back of my yard to spread it around to rot.

The year before last we spread some thinly in Autumn in a shady area of the back yard that had trouble growing grass. It rotted all winter under snow and in Spring the grass grew up through it.

Wonderful stuff. congrats on the find, rouge21!!
rouge21
Canada
Canada
(Zone 5b)

June 1, 2012
4:11 PM

Post #9148198

Thanks "nutsabout". I was able to add all of the sawdust mixed with all of the lawn clippings to my two smaller wooden composters. I am hoping that by the end of summer I will have ready to use compost/'soil'.

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