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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Hi, I live near a coffee shop and they give me their coffee grounds. I'm a woodworker (hand tools) and I have a lot of wood shavings. I mix these two together in the compost bin and a couple days later it's as hot as a hot tub. Anyway, I've been adding about 10 gallons of coffee grounds a week to this current batch for the past six weeks. It's been continuously hot during that time.

Anyway, I bought a tree and I excavated an area that was previously quarter-minus gravel topped with flag stone. The area is about five-by-six feet. I have potting soil, enough to fill the area. I'm planting a dapple willow.

Here's the question: Should I mix the currently cooking compost with the soil now or wait until it cools down.

Thanks,
Ox


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:30 pm 
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If the compost isn't finished you probably should only use some of it for top dressing. Compost doesn't belong in the hole when you plant a tree.

Your tree will do better if you can plant it in just native soil. If the area you've excavated from under the gravel and pavers is soil, then I would use a mattock or something to break it up a bit (be sure it will drain and not act like a sink to drown your tree). Better than supplementing with potting soil, bring in more native soil to mix with what is underneath when planting the tree. And compost doesn't need to go into the hole. The best thing in the hole is native soil, and be sure you don't plant the tree too deep, with compost used as top dressing over the dirt.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:47 pm 
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Thanks for the response.

I've already filled the hole with potting soil. I put about three gallons of native soil in with the potting soil. Everything I excavated was quarter-minus gravel so there was no native soil. The hole drains nicely. There is a layer of gravel to help with this but even without it still drains well.

I plan to make a mound and plant the tree on top of it to assist in the draining.

So no mixing compost with the potting soil, eh? What if I wait until the compost has fully cooled off?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:44 pm 
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My problem with your particular compost is the wood dust. Coffee is very good at growing trichoderma fungus which prevents the fungus that normally decomposes wood. So while it sounds like a good idea, I think your wood dust is going to be a long term issue. Once you bury wood dust, it will never decompose. When you use your coffee wood dust material, well,...you may as well use it immediately as you get it. Coffee is a weak organic fertilizer all by itself. No sense wasting what little protein it has in the composting process. When the coffee grounds are gone, the wood dust will remain and eventually decompose at the surface of the soil.

For the tree I would buy some good, finished compost and mix it no more than 10% with the potting soil or any soil.

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