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 Post subject: New to composting
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm
Posts: 144
Location: Arlington, Texas
Newbie here... :roll:

I'm ready to start but I'd appreciate any input or guidance anybody wants to offer (especially the Captain!).

I also have some questions -- those are at the bottom.

Thanks in advance for taking time with me!!

1. I'm planning to use a 4'x4' slab made of some clay-y soil that I don't want to use anywhere else. I'm going to put a thick plastic dropcloth over that and rig up a little trough around the whole thing so I can catch the leachate when I water the pile.

2. My 1 cubic yard pile will go on top of the slab. I'm not planning on surrounding it or enclosing it. Just a pile.

3. We've got "junk" trees that we're savagely pruning to be rid of them. I'm going to use the thickest of those branches to make a mat on the slab and then stack the pile on it. Hopeful that will give some air up underneath.

4. I've got 3 bags of leaves, lots of grass clippings (collected from other people's lawns -- ours get mulched, of course :D), some chopped up swiss chard that should have been eaten by us but we didn't get that far, a 40# bag of cow manure, a 5# box of blood meal, liquid molasses to add, and some Agrispon.

5. I also read on this forum that somebody takes their kitchen waste, puts it in water and lets it break down, then waters their pile with it. I've got a container I'm collecting things in but because it's got more "food" kind of stuff, I don't want to put it in until the pile is "cooking".

6. Regular turning and watering is a given.

7. This will be the first of 3 piles. I plan to build this and only add to it one time (the kitchen scraps breaking down in water) but only after it's "hot".

8. I want to have new, middle-aged, and old piles and not add to them after they're built.

Ok, that's the plan, now here's the questions :?: ...

1. As I understand it, you have to have greens, browns, nitrogen, protein, and sugar. Is that right? And it's approx. 20% nitrogen?

2. I remember reading that the pile also needs protein. Is the blood meal enough? Redenta's told me to use alfalfa meal. :?:

3. We know we have poor soil so I wonder if my pile will have enough microbes in it? Redenta's said that if I build a good pile, the microbes will find their way to it. Is that really true? I wonder about that since I'll be using the plastic dropcloth...

4. How often should the pile be turned?

5. Should the components be thoroughly mixed, or layered? Or should a mixture of everything be buried in the middle of the pile?

That's definitely a long enough post. Again, to anybody who reads and answers, thanks so much!!


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 Post subject: Re: New to composting
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I think you are making this too hard and too expensive. You should not have to buy new stuff to put into the pile. Blood meal is both expensive and it is already a much better fertilizer than your finished compost ever will be. You may as well pour it down the drain. Instead I would mix small amounts of blood meal into your regular organic fertilizer and apply where ever you ordinarily fertilize.

Other than that, just pile stuff up and let it decompose.

You are a little mixed up about the contents. Sugars and browns are the same thing. Greens, nitrogen, and protein are the same thing. Really all you have is carbohydrates (sugar) and protein. The rest of that nomenclature can go away - the sooner the better.

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Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum


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 Post subject: Re: New to composting
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm
Posts: 144
Location: Arlington, Texas
Well, I'm not sure how I get so far off base when I read, read, read Dirt Doctor books and the posts on this website.

Anyway... thanks so much for reading and replying. Good stuff to know.

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God speed!
Cara
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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: New to composting
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:40 pm
Posts: 195
I think your going a little over board,there's no right way to or wrong way to make a pile.My 1st pile was made with just some found chickenwire and some tent stakes,it was about 3 ft. high and set up on the ground,I threw in grass clippings and cow poop and then waterd it down,later as fall aproached I threw leaves ,water and poop on it and by next spring I had perfect compost.The pile I have now (several years later) is made from chicken wire and is 10' long x6' wide x 5'tall.As of today I've put in(as of Oct.2009) 25 bags of leaves and about 5 bags of green grass clippings and assorted kitchen scraps and lots of coffee grounds,I turn it every month and it only gets waterd if it hasn;t rained for a week.By march or April of 2010 I'll take it out and run it through a screen into 5 gallon buckets and spread it all over the yard.
There's really nothing to it as you do it more and more you will get the hang of it and it will get easier. :lol:


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