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 Post subject: Compost Accelerant
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:53 am 
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 8:25 am
Posts: 147
Location: Clute,TEXAS
Can cottonseed meal be used as a compost accelerant? If so, how much should I use? My bins are 3'x3'x5'.

What are some other things I can use to speed up the process?

I hope not to have to wait for six months for my next batch of compost. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Compost Accelerant
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Arlington, Texas
Hi Love to Learn!

Composting is cool, isn't it? 8)

I did a great deal of reading, and had in mind all the things I was going to add to our pile but, we've been composting for about a year now and -- after much trial and error -- here's what we have finally ended up with:

* Make sure your 3' x 3' x 5' is full. Until we did that, our piles did not cook. Once we got a pile that was 3' x 3' x 3' it was cooking within a day or two with only what I put below.

* You need about a 4-to-1 ratio of dried leaves, pine straw, hay, dried out grass clippings (basically "brown stuff") to fresh grass clippings, fresh green kitchen waste like stems from greens, plants you have just pulled up from the garden minus their roots, hay with horse urine on it, or any other high nitrogen source.

* Mix or layer your brown stuff with your nitrogen source and water in each layer or mixture.

* If you have it, add some dried molasses at each mixture (a handful or so, to feed the microbes), or mix up a gallon of molasses w-water and pour it over the pile when you finish building it. Horticultural molasses is what we use but, for compost, I understand that regular food grade molasses is ok, too.

* Turn your pile as often as you can (we turn ours -- with a yard fork -- about once a week) and keep it moist, like a wrung out sponge.

* After 2 weeks or so, don't add anything new, just let the pile break down.

We are turning out completely finished, beautiful, forest-floor-smelling compost in about 2 months, sometimes a little less, if we turn our pile every week, and add nitrogen again the 2nd week after we build it.

Hope that helps!

_________________
God speed!
Cara
**
Take time to stop and smell the flowers!
(or... as my ladybug refrigerator magnet says
"take time to stop and eat the flowers!" :D)


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 Post subject: Re: Compost Accelerant
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:04 am 
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 8:25 am
Posts: 147
Location: Clute,TEXAS
Hi Love My Garden,

I have been composting for quite and while and just screened about a cubic yard of good stuff from my 3 3'x3'x4' bins yesterday. It is good, in my opinion, but not as fine of a grade as some prefer but it all went through a 1/4" screen quite well. It smelled quite good also.

I start out with piles higher than the borders of my bins and they sink down about 2' within a day or two which is also good. I keep them wet but not soaking also. I turn them, on average, about every other week.

Also, my bins get grass, small sticks, natural kitchen scraps, pine needles, garden waste, etc. so they are pretty good piles.

I produce good compost but just do not want to have to wait 6 months to do it.

I have seen people use alfalfa pellets, etc. but I am trying liquid mollases now, not the sugary grocery store types as I want to keep the ants away anyway I can.

I am a member of the Brazoria County Master Gardeners and the lady that is in charge of the compost bins next to my organic garden lets hers sit longer but they produce BEAUTIFUL compost that is extremely fine.

Also, back to one of my original questions: Can cottonseed meal be used as an accelerant? I have plenty of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Compost Accelerant
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Arlington, Texas
To address your original question, Tarheelgarden gives a tip about cottonseed meal combined with molasses to heat up a pile in this thread (which is kind of embarassing as it originates with me when I was a major compost newbie... :oops: ): how-quickly-will-a-pile-start-cooking-t9429.html

I also agree with Northwesterner (from the same thread). We've started adding fresh grass clippings (the neighbors literally finish mowing and then bring their full bags right over to us -- they know they get veggies when they help build the piles :D ).

Having high nitrogen and turning the piles frequently is what gets us compost in 2 months.

Hope you're able to get lovely compost sooner!

_________________
God speed!
Cara
**
Take time to stop and smell the flowers!
(or... as my ladybug refrigerator magnet says
"take time to stop and eat the flowers!" :D)


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