Composting

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Susan Paynter

    Susan Paynter Active Member
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    Thanks Ken and John, I will frwd your input to her. She is quite well versed in the skills of gardening and has churned out quite a bit of produce in the last two years. But experience counts and your input will add to her knowledge.

    About the pic of the compost bin as suggested by you John, sure will post one when I can start walking again or I will ask her to take one. Right now she is my caretaker and a good one too.
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I think you need tougher worms. I raise worms throughout the winter. Starting with one bin, I'll have four or five by spring, if it's like last year, and my worms eat coffee grounds. A few days after I add some coffee grounds in a corner of the bin, the worms will be crawling over it. Even then, it's about balance. I certainly wouldn't feed them all of my coffee grounds (I wouldn't want to keep them up all night) but the rest of it does go into the outside compost piles. I even empty the grounds and the compostable paper from K-cups into my compost containers.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    On the subject of balance, if you grew up on a farm that included horses or cows, you might be familiar with manure piles. Our manure pile was on one side of the barn, and it got pretty big. Although everyone knows that manure is great for compost, you could dig to the bottom of that manure pile and it was still manure - dried perhaps, but still manure. It didn't begin to compost into the soil until it was mixed with a bunch of other stuff, which would occur after dad spread it out in the fields.
     
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  4. John Brunner

    John Brunner Very Well-Known Member
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    Such are the downsides to being an Internet Expert, huh? I figured you (and your worms) had experience with this.

    Seek and ye shall find...whatever opinion you choose.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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  7. Susan Paynter

    Susan Paynter Active Member
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    My compost bin with kitchen scraps ready to go in.

    20210123_104809.jpg
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2021
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  8. Susan Paynter

    Susan Paynter Active Member
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    Ken,
    Have you considered composting your boxes using the lasagne method.
    Bellow is an article I came across for composting boxes if you are not able to shred them.
    Thanks for correcting my picture, I posted it the wrong way, n cld not get it right!

    Have you ever stumbled across the concept of lasagna gardening?

    Lasagna gardening is a slow compost process that requires little effort. The method begins by laying down sheets of cardboard which then get composted into the underlying soil and vegetation. You then add alternate layers of nitrogen rich green material, and dry carbon rich waste.

    You can use this same method in your compost heap by creating alternating layers of cardboard, green and brown organic waste (Sprinkle the layers with water as you go).

    You can also spread some soil or old compost over the card to help speed up the process (the soil contains some useful microbes to get the process started). Compost piles are teaming with fungal activity. This cardboard lasagna construction will get broken down by the fungus over a period of a few months. It’s is relatively slow operation and will take at least 3 to 6 months.

    You can even leave the plastic tape on your cardboard packaging and remove when everything has broken down.
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Oh, I kind of do that, anyhow. When I created the planting areas along the sides of my yard and driveway, I first put down a few layers of newspaper and cardboard since the only thing I was planning on planting immediately were lingonberries, which are shallow-rooted. That discourages the weeds some. Plus, I bury compostables in the empty areas between plants, which kind of serves the same purpose.

    However, I have shredders capable of shredding cardboard. As I have mentioned earlier in this thread, I use the boxes to avoid having to turn over my compost pile. Each box is filled with compostable materials, which includes shredded paper and cardboard, as well as kitchen waste, leaves, and so on, including air. Since the cardboard on these unshredded boxes composts at a slower rate than the shredded stuff, the material inside each of these boxes is composting, and because sealed boxes don't compress as tightly as they would if they were shredded, I don't have to turn over the pile. Every box is an individual aerobic composting environment.

    That's pretty much what I do. A layer of filled boxes and bags is covered by a layer of leaves and shredded paper, except that the leaves aren't available in the winter. I live in Maine, so I don't usually have to water anything down but, during the rare dry period, I do. In the winter, we have layers of snow and ice, which melts in the spring. I use large compost piles so that some composting continues throughout the winter.

    I do that, too.

    No, that I won't do. I've done that and it's a lot easier to remove the plastic tape beforehand. Before filling the boxes with compostables, I remove any plastic tape and replace it with paper-based tape. Plus, I seal the boxes, which reduces the mess that would otherwise be made by raccoons and other critters. They can get in if they really want to but I try not to add a lot of stuff that would overly tempt them, like meat. In a smaller compost pile, it might be easier to let the box compost around the tape, and pull it out later. In a large pile, the tape blocks the composted material from sinking to the bottom where it can be harvested.
     
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  10. Susan Paynter

    Susan Paynter Active Member
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    2021-01-29 14.20.58.jpg
    Shredded paper and cardboard, strips of paper, paper towels, coffee grounds, food scraps, etc. When available, I add a layer of leaves to the boxes before sealing them.
     
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  12. Susan Paynter

    Susan Paynter Active Member
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    Yes, we too put shredded paper, not so much with cardboard, we put it out for recycling....too much work n not much garden space.

    You are a pro with composting.. and look at me giving u ideas!! .u probably have a huge garden to utilize all that composted material. We here, have two garden beds, lack of space.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Actually, I use most of it to build up the soil level in my yard. The town that I live in was created by a paper mill, which is no longer in operation. The part of town that I live in, the original part of town, was built on a base of coal ash, which is a waste product from the paper mill operations. They filled in a swampy area with coal ash, added a few inches of soil, and built houses. So, anything that I plant has to be in above-ground planters because when I dig down in my yard a few inches, I hit coal ash, which is more like rocks than ashes. Trees that will grow here have to be either species that can root horizontally or whose roots are tough enough to work their way into the coal ash. For example, I have choke cherry trees along one side of my house. The young ones do well and produce cherries, but once the tree gets large, it falls over. Birch trees do well, but they will extend their roots a long distance horizontally.

    I have been here for more than twenty years now and have managed to build the soil up some. Sometimes I'll buy different types of soil when it comes on sale in late summer. Our town maintains a compost pile that produces very good compost, and it's free to residents. While I still had a pickup truck, I hauled a lot of compost here from the town's site, but it seemed kind of crazy for me to be hauling compostable materials to the transfer station while hauling compost back here, so I produce my own compost and reduce the number of trips that I have to make to the transfer site.

    I also raise composting worms through the winter so that my compost can get a good start in the spring. Of course, the ones that I have out there don't die off during the winter, but I add to it.

    With a reduced need for the compost, what you have looks perfect to me.
     
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  14. Susan Paynter

    Susan Paynter Active Member
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    I guess u were aware of the soil content before u bought your place. Just read some concerns about coal ash.? trying to build up.soil level, may help in some way. Though it is coal ash. Do u have a well or get municipal water? Lots of things to think of when buying property.

    Sorry deviated from the topic.
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    No, I had no idea. But then, we only paid $14,500 for the house, which was a 3-unit apartment building at the time. We have municipal water but we don't drink it, except to make coffee with it sometimes.
     
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