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 Post subject: new compost pile
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:37 am
Posts: 12
Location: Whitesboro, TX
I started my compost pile a few months ago. It is 8x8x4 made out of 3 sheets of lattice and a frame for support. We started dumping all kitchen scraps in it and some veggies that fell from the vine or were partially eaten out of our garden. I also add old unpaid bills(lol) :lol: , pizza boxes, newspaper, and a bunch of other stuff. I then added an old square bail of hay. I have been turning it probably once every 5-6 days and it hasnt heated up. Its not that tall. The size of the pile was about 4x4x2 with no activity or heat. My neighbor stopped by the other day with a truck load of fresh horse manure and asked if I wanted it. Yabba dabba doo! Follow me sir. His nephew visited him one day and after cleaning out his barn he wheeled the manure over to my land and dumped it. They thought we wouldn't appreciate that...hehe. Anyways, I dumped about half of it on my pile and the rest next to the pile. My question is, What else can I do or how long should I wait for the pile to begin cooking? thanks for any and all advise ladies and gents.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 12:12 pm
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Location: Garland
try a little sugar or dry molasses, a few pounds (5-10) would be plenty.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:06 pm 
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Location: Robinson,TEXAS
You did not say if you are adding water. With all that horse manure it should heat up if you mix it well and water it well. It should be about as wet as a rung out sponge. One caution about horse manure. If the horses are fed coastal burmada hay that has the herbicide pichloram or clopyralid put on it do not use it. Even after hot composting the finished product will sterilize you soil for several years.
Good luck!
Richard Spitzer


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 Post subject: Re: new compost pile
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:49 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,Tx
JP:

Welcome to the BB. Glad to here you're ready to get down and dirty.
Good start on the compost pile and advice given thus far.

Anything with sugar content will fire up the pile but don't over do it.
Regarding the hay, it's important that you find out what hay treatment the live stock was feed. A test you can make on the hay and/or manure is to place some in a bucket of water to make a tea. Let it sit for about a day, then apply to some weeds/grass and see if it is affected.

You didn't mention if your pile was in the sun...should be.

Regarding the paper added, watch the ink used. Ink from soy is OK. Phone books are good except for the covers. Malcolm Beck collects them here in SA for his composting. One recycle donation gets us a 10% discount from Gardenville. It also keeps the books out of the land fill.

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 Post subject: Thank you so much
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 10:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:37 am
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Location: Whitesboro, TX
I will ask my neighbor about the hay. Thanks for the advise. By the way, my pile is directly in the sun and it is uncovered. Some say it should stay covered and others say it doesnt matter. What are your opinions? Can someone tell me if I should have more than one bin. I am thinking that I could have one for manure, one for dead branches, and my curent bin for the final product. right now I have more manure than I know what to do with and didn't think I should add it all to the compost pile. One other thing, is there any way to keep the flies to a minimum on the manure? Are they beneficial? Thanks once again.


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 Post subject: almost forgot
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:40 am 
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Location: Whitesboro, TX
I water it about once every 5 days. too much or not enough?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:33 pm 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
I like to keep my "hot" composter (the one I use for ongoing compost needs, rather than my "batch, let it rot" composter that sits and gets added to all summer, fall, and winter for Springtime use) as moist as a well-wrung out washrag...but I turn this pile about once or twice a week, because it really cooks! Here in Dallas, that means that I add water a lot during the summertime. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 12:24 pm 
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Flies are controlled by covering the manure with browns. In general the flies are decomposers (good) but several are also carrying disease (bad). So, I usually cover my fresh manure with dry leaves and water the pile.

The pile should have gotten hot immediately. In fact it should have been hot coming off the truck. If it was not, maybe you received finished compost. Doutbful though if you have flies in it. It was probably just extremely dried out.

When you water, does the water go in or roll off the outside? In my open pile, I have to dig a crater in the top and then water it. Otherwise the water will roll off the outside like water off a duck. I can water all day and it's dry two inches in. With the crater, it all seems to stay in the pile. I water mine for several hours at a time. In fact, I built a double shower head thing over top of the pile just to water it. I have plans to change the nozzles to misters and put them right on top of the pile. The shower seems to waste a lot of water and still lets the pile dry out.

Picloram and clopyralid are broadleaf plant killers that persist through both the animal and the hot composting process. So they don't sterilize, but for broadleafs, it ain't good news. If you have 190 degree compost, the herbicides seem to degrade in a year. If not, it takes 2 years. Still, though if you are going to use the compost on grass, it will work great. But if any shrubs or trees have roots under the grass, they will be toast. You can test your manure quickly for these killers. Soak a cup of manure in a gallon of water overnight. The next day use the water to water a broadleaf weed or plant you don't want. If it turns crispy dead in 3 days, you got the bad guys. Otherwise use it freely. Both picloram and clopyralid are extremely soluable in water, so this test works every time.

My compost pile is in full shade year round and seems to work fine. Since I don't do any microbial testing, who really knows.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 4:57 pm 
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Location: Garland, Texas
Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
My compost pile is in full shade year round and seems to work fine. Since I don't do any microbial testing, who really knows.


I agree. My pile is also in full shade, and I don't do any microbial testing. My pile is a tool. It is a digester of products that would otherwise reside in a landfill.

I rarely water my pile and it (the pile) just continues to work. I turn my pile once or twice each week when I add kitchen scraps and plant trimmings. Perhaps the moisture content from the scraps is sufficient for the process. The pile's moisture content is far form the advertised "squeezed out sponge". Sun or shade, wet, damp, or even dry as my favorite bumper sticker says "Compost Happens".

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