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Legit
Porterfield, WI
(Zone 4b)

March 20, 2005
10:41 AM

Post #1349467

After I posted, I realized I should probably have put my question here, so any advice?

http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/492513/

Thanks, Legit


edited to say, Man, how do you correct spelling in the Subject Line?????

This message was edited Mar 20, 2005 5:44 AM
mstrgrdnr
SE GA, GA
(Zone 8a)

March 20, 2005
11:31 AM

Post #1349489

You already have a couple of valuable compost components right there.

Do you have access to any leaves, or newspaper you could shred, or even hay or straw?

If so then you have other components right there.

Are you familiar with the basics of composting? If so I don't want to insult you by beginning at the beginning. But if not, I will be glad to share that info with you.

You can add the coffee grounds directly to the garden. You can also add the manure directly to the garden as well. The only disadvantage to adding the manure directly is if it is not aged. You may have problems with salt, high nitrogen content, as well as weed problems. Is the manure clean or is it mixed with bedding?

I know that I asked you more questions than I answered for you but if you can narrow down things a little I will be glad to help from there.

Good Gardening!

Aubrey
Legit
Porterfield, WI
(Zone 4b)

March 20, 2005
6:44 PM

Post #1350213

Yes, I will have to admit that I do know the basics of composting, and I've always had a "pile", and have two compost tumblers, but I've never been quite happy with the results. They are not located in the best spots, don't get enough sun and water.

I would like to make that a goal this year, because I garden on a huge scale, and I know I'm missing the boat here.

I have access to unlimited shredded paper also, and have a chipper shredder, both of these I usually add to the shrubs and mature perennials just as they are.

I have manure (no bedding) is in all stages of decomposition, each time I have the kids clean the barn, I have them start a new pile so as not to mix the fresh with the old, because I had a horrible experience with hay seeds in fresh manure and barn litter when I first started gardening. I had hay growing in all my beds!

I was thinking of making some pallet and wire compost bins, I need to do this on a large scale, and actually tend it. I could sure use some percentages of each of the ingredients I have access to.

Thanks, Legit
mstrgrdnr
SE GA, GA
(Zone 8a)

March 20, 2005
8:55 PM

Post #1350419

A good rule of thumb I have found is a 50/50 mix of brown and green ingredients. While some things are stronger greens or stronger browns than others, this is a good place to start.

I have several bins in various stages of completion. I have 7 wire rings that are about 5 feet across and four feet high. I just layer the stuff in there. I have certain rings that get nothing but the leaves that are raked and vacuumed up with the mower all winter. I stick them aside along with whatever leaves I gather from in front of other people's houses. As I add cow manure (which I use fresh) I layer it with the leaves that I have right there. I also add in all of the kitchen items as well such as veggie scraps, egg shells, banana and other fruit peels, etc. I don't turn my piles very often, and I accept slower results because of that. The kitchen is where a great deal of my compostable stuff comes from.

Put them all in and wetting the layers as you go. You want it to be as moist as a wrung out sponge.

If you layer it alternating browns and greens and fill the bin up completely then it should heat up for you within just a few days. If you don't have a thermometer you can use, they are very handy. I usually get 150 degrees in about four days. My pile has gone as high as 157 degrees. I don't let it get any higher than that. I control it by turning or by adding more water.

I have my bins in an area that was in full sun up until 2pm or so. By giving them just a bit of afternoon shade I am able to better maintain the moisture level.

Personally I would avoid trying to compost the wood chips. Continue to add those to the shrubs directly. The shredded paper is a good addition.

Since you know that you can get a nice hot pile, especially in the tumblers, you can add manure of any age to the pile without worry about weed problems.

Back to the original point I made. Use 50/50 as a rule of thumb and see how it works for you.

Hope this helps.

Good Gardening!

Aubrey

Legit
Porterfield, WI
(Zone 4b)

March 20, 2005
10:35 PM

Post #1350549

Are you saying that you keep the leaves as a stockpile to add in layers as the other stuff becomes available?? Legit
mstrgrdnr
SE GA, GA
(Zone 8a)

March 21, 2005
12:21 PM

Post #1351637

Yes, I keep the leaves stockpiled.

I have found that during the winter I have tons of browns (leaves, straw, etc.) and in the summer I have tons of greens (grass, etc.)

So to create a better balance I save up the browns for later use. I just wet them down and add them to the wire bin and leave them there until I need them later.

Aubrey
Legit
Porterfield, WI
(Zone 4b)

March 21, 2005
6:12 PM

Post #1352370

Thanks for all of your help, I will try harder this year, and use some of your suggestions! Legit

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