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 Post subject: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Arlington, Texas
I feel a little bashful asking this question, but I need an answer...

can I plant directly in finished compost?

When I first started learning organics I thought that's what you did. And that compost and humus are interchangeable terms.

Now I'm starting to think that compost is only used as a top dressing, under mulch.

??

Thanks! :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:47 am 
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In my opinion compost and humus are interchangeable terms. The problem with growing in pure compost is that there are nutrients in mineral soil that are not in compost. For that reason humus/compost makes a better top dressing than soil substitute.

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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:20 pm 
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Location: Arlington, Texas
Thanks for confirming about compost/humus. Very good. So, if I mix approximately 1 part finished compost/humus with 2 parts native soil and the basic soil amendments from the Dirt Doctor BOP (1 part), I'm good?

We've bought the following to amend with:
TX greensand
Lava sand
dry molasses
worm castings
Mineral powder (mixture from Redenta's)
SulPoMag
DE
Garrett Juice

I haven't figured out what the amount is per sq/ft for each of the above, but I'll do that before we add to the soil.

We also have horticultural cornmeal that I plan to spray in several locations because we've got problems.

Finally, we're just beginning our organic program in our new home so I'm wondering if that kind of mix will work for flowers, soil improvement, helping the yard, sick tree treatment, and veggies. So I can keep it simple to start with. Will that work?

Thanks!
Cara


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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:04 pm 
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I'm not sure how you went from topdressing on soil to mixing compost with soil. There are lots of great people who recommend that but not me. The main reason I don't is that there is nothing in nature that mixes humus and soil like you are planning to do. What happens in Nature is the soil sits there for a year until the fall and the leaves drop gently on top. They sit there for the winter, perhaps under snow, and decompose. By spring or summer the leaves have decomposed to humus.

Now compare the list of things that drop naturally on the soil and the list you presented and you'll get an idea of the rest of the things I don't do on a regular basis. One thing that does happen all the time is things die and fall on the ground. The microbes in the soil act like an external stomach to digest or decompose the dead things. These things are plants, insects, birds, and animals. The soil microbes recycle the protein and carbohydrates from the dead things into the soil and create plant food. Most of us won't tolerate dead critters in our lawns so we have come up with something else. The way we have come to simulate the dead things is to grind up grains and sometimes fish to fertilize the soil. Worm castings and corn meal are the only two things on your list that I would be sure to use. The rest are just elements of the organic catalog that you may not need. I would wait for symptoms to occur before spending the extra money.

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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Location: Arlington, Texas
Your reply definitely makes things simpler.

Because we have a tree under stress, we already have the molasses, lava sand, and green sand as part of the sick tree treatment. Sounds like I definitely don't need to buy anymore, though.

SulPoMag is for our tomato plants as we put in each one in the ground, and the DE is because we've got those huge roaches out in our yard and they wander inside on occasion. ICK!!

As to Garrett Juice, I thought it was a given when you're trying to grow anything. We're going to foliar feed with it. No? :?

And thanks!!


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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:03 am 
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Nobody outside the earshot of Howard Garrett has ever heard of Garrett Juice and they grow things very successfully. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but it is not a necessary component of a garden. If you have plants under stress, then use it. If your plants are not under stress, the use of Garrett Juice may prevent them from becoming stressed.

The components of Garrett Juice are all good things to use. Howard came up with the idea of mixing them together.

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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:15 am 
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In my opinion there are 3 stages of organic matter for gardening:

RAW ORGANIC MATTER: This is the stage of stinky smelly stuff like raw manures, or fresh food scraps, or whole dry leaves, grass clippings, etc. The first step of composting greens and browns.

HUMUS: Which is the final ultimate state of the decomposition of all living things. It is usually black and crumbly like peat moss. Usually it takes at least 6-12 months to produce humus using normal conservative greens and browns.

MATURE COMPOST: This stage is in the middle. It is not raw and smelly, but it doesn't have to be so old and black like humus. Compost is ready when it doesn't smell bad, not hot anymore, mostly homogeneous, crumbly, and dark (but necesarily black).

My compost that I make and sell using hot aerobic active composting methods is never really black, it has the color of "Folger coffee dark brown" ! I usually can make a ton every 1-2 months. Mature compost can have a wide variety of dark colors based on the original ingredients in the stuff before decomposition. My compost turns to black humus in my garden beds later in the year or next year.

For growing vegetables it is better to have a richer and younger compost than one that is over a year old. Especially in the no-till lasagna style gardens that I have on my organic farm.

My philosophy is to get a good safe balanced compost in or on the soil as soon as possible,
then let aerobic microbes and earthworms do their jobs over time, making the compost better and turning it into humates and other forms of nutrients for plants and foods for soil biology.

This can also be greatly accelerated in the soil by using aerobic aerated compost tea recipes and/or molasses products for stronger and faster aerobic soil microbial growth and colonization.

Happy Gardening!

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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Arlington, Texas
Thanks for the thorough and helpful replies!


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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 6:12 am 
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Dear colleagues,
are anybody from you interesting in delivery of humus from Russia.
My copmany is producing humus and the prices is very low comparing with the prices in your country.
May be you can advise how to find some customers abroad of Russia.
Alexis.


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 Post subject: Re: Compost / humus question
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:16 am 
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Posts: 4
I was now also a bug with the yellow card, meaning the referee ran up to me and pulled the card but it was to see a map and I had on the last league match again snow. Annoys me with this rather strange weather, hopefully the fix also something.

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