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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 1:06 pm 
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I have a compost pile going that I turn weekly, add molasses to and continually add manure, kitchen scraps, sawdust, etc. I realized this weekend that I have compost in my pile in all stages of decomposition.

That being said, how do I get some of the finished stuff out of the pile to use?


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 1:38 pm 
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Location: Odenville,Alabama
Whenever your compost becomes homogeneous, not hot anymore, and no funky smells, it's ready to use in the garden.

It doesn't have to look black, unless you used a lot of black ingredients in your compost like coffee grounds or over 75% old dried leaves. My compost is 75% horse manure/sawdust, and 25% leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps. It is never black. It is usually dark brown and crumbly. Since I aerate my hot piles every other day, I can produce about a ton of compost every 2-4 weeks easily.

Instead of using plain ole dry molasses in making my compost hotter, I use aerated teas as a microbial/nitrogen activator for my compost piles. My brewed teas are made from compost, cattle feeds, alfalfa hay, and a little dry molasses. I usually only aerate these special teas 1-2 days max before using in the compost piles. This helps me make more compost faster for my customers.

I use a lot of slightly unfinished compost as an organic mulch around many of my heavy feeding plants. I also use it in my aerated compost teas.

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 1:44 pm 
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Since I only have one pile, I always have raw material mixed in the good looking stuff, do I screen the big chunks out?


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 2:10 pm 
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It doesn't matter to me. It all decomposes in the soil eventually anyway.

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The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 11:44 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I let my pile sit for a full year. Then I move it over about 6 feet and start a new pile. Then I use out of the old pile for a year or until it's gone (about 2 months).


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 Post subject: compost piles
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 6:33 am 
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Location: watauga,tx
I like to have two piles if room permits, build one up to about 4'x4' and 4 foot tall and let it work, I only turn it occasionally, then when I have new materials for the pile, I start a new one. I have been using compost teas for my plants while waiting for the piles to mature! :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:28 pm 
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I'm totally new to this concept but am very interested.

What do I need to put in the bin for the correct percentages of stuff?

I would love to compost my grass clippings as well but I'm of doing that because I have weeds (EEK). I wouldn't want to incorporate weed seed into my beds.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 11:43 am 
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MelissaE

Here is a link to a great guide on composting that was posted in an earlier thread. I hope it helps.

http://www.sourcecentral.com/library/168-1.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 4:17 pm 
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Regarding compost weed and seeds, one of two things will happen. The seeds will sprout and die in the compost when you turn it (or pluck them out), or they will cook in the heat of the compost and die there. Then they will be digested by the compost microbes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 8:01 pm 
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well what about grass burrs or stickers in the compost piles? are they a good idea for your piles? :?:


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 7:32 am 
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I throw all my plant waste on my compost pile. I use a lot of dry molasses and manure and keep it damp. Everything decomposes rapidly and it cooks pretty hot. No problems with weed seeds yet.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2003 12:43 pm 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
During the past twelve months I have been regularly composting materials in an attempt to revitalize my Dallas lawn. As I was "harvesting" a pile, I thought about what I was doing differently 12 months later with my piles.

[Sticks and Stones]
Last year I was searching for brown and green materials that were free of sticks and stones. Now, I purposefully add some trash to each compost pile (bottom layer). This trash helps me screen the compost more quickly. Also when the compost is moist, I can take a hair styling brush (rubber spikes) and it helps push compost through a screen.

[Helping My Back]
Chopping and turning the compost piles, plus screening compost can kill your back. (See my Dirt Doctor login ID.) This year I use a rake to turn my compost piles. It permits me to avoid the bending that a shovel or pitchfork requires. Also using a tall garbage bucket, provided by Texas cities to speed garbage collection, permits me to stand straight while screening large amounts of compost.

[More Nitrogen]
When the hot Texas sun cuts off my supply of grass clippings, I focused on adding more nitrogen (coffee grounds, weeds, compost tea left-overs, and other items).

With the help of other Dirt Doctor members, I hope to learn even more tips to make composting easier in the next twelve months.

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There is a pleasure in the thought that the particular tone of my mind at this moment may be new in the universe; that the emotions of this hour may be peculiar and unexampled in the whole eternity of moral being. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


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