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Compost not black yet.

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by DanielNewman007 on July 31, 2006 09:22 PM
As I'm only running on one bin, I have decided that it was time to move all my compost into bags, and store this somewhere until needed next year. So that I'm ready for autumn (fall).

Trouble is, when I was transferring the 'compost', most of it looked like soil. It was quite sticky, and brown. Definitely wasn't black or crumbly as I would have expected.

Is this just a case of me not leaving it long enough, or is a cause of not enough browns, or something else?

As I've said, it's now in four quite large plastic bags, that are in turn covered in black bin liners, so has some more cooking to do.

Should I be worried, or is it still usable?
by johnCT on August 01, 2006 01:07 AM
It is most likely a product of only having one pile and continually adding to it. It will neven be completely done, but it will definitely be usuable. I would hesitate to seal the plastic bags though as compost needs oxygen as one of it's ingredients. You also need to keep it moist.

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John - Zone 6
by tkhooper on August 01, 2006 01:19 AM
Why bag it? I just leave mine outside over the winter. Now leaves that will blow away those I'm willing to bag so they don't run off lol.

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by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 01:39 AM
My garden (yard) is not large. In the UK we're not as well blessed as some of you US peeps with regard to garden sizes. So I've bagged it up to keep it contained. Might need to rethink my strategy though as johnCT suggests.
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 01:50 AM
Keeping it in the bag also keeps it moist,
to finish it's process and keeps it all in
one place, so when it is crumbly, you don't loose it...
Also, I don't seal or tie mine either..
I do sorta twist the top a bit, but eventually
unwinds a bit...

And only parts of mine are so called "crumbly" when I bag mine... it's still trying to break down when I put mine in bags if I need the space in my bins..

Daniel,
Do you garden in what they call "Allotments" over there???

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 03:03 AM
Not personally, I garden in what I call a small lump of mud :-)

My "vegetable patch" is quite literally 1.5 x 1.5 meters. Still, I've got four short (and diagonal) rows of carrots, two rows of onions, one catch crop row of lettuce (assuming the slugs leave me any!), and a row of french beans at the back!

Plus an overflow grid of 9 sweetcorn off to the side. I'm not exactly self-sufficient, but it's great fun just having a go.

As for my bags, the inner bag is twisted as yours, and then I have a black liner on top to catch the rays and keep it warm. I think this should work?
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 03:14 AM
Yep, sounds good to what I do.....

I keep mine in the basement if I want to sift my compost early in the spring, *I have lot's of snow all winter, not sure if your climate is the same, I am growing zone 5.*
But the other stuff, if I want to use in fall or whenever, I just leave out in a sunny spot so it
gets the sun to heat up some more...

Have you ever done any research on Companion Planting... the size of your garden, it sounds like it could do that..
And I personally love the book by Mel Bartholomew called Square Foot Gardening..
It's an awesome book for smaller gardens, or
even if you have the space, more suffient gardens.... and gives you some neat things to build as far as upright gardening goes too...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 03:37 AM
I've read about square foot gardening. Did consider it, but the amount of planning required seemed quite intense. I'm all about experimenting at the moment, see what grows, if I like, how we can cook it, etc. etc.

I've got a bit of companion planting going on already (in theory), onions next to carrots, as the smell of onions deters carrot root fly, with some chives around for extra help :-)

As for weather, I think we're a zone 7 (not sure if this matches to your US Zone 7 though?) but don't get much snow so must be a bit warmer??? I'll move the bags into the garage for spring use and sifting.

Oh, made my first sifter at the weekend, though I doubt it's very practical!!!! Found a large plastic container that once held a clematis, and as it had six quite suitable holes at the bottom and is quite deep, I just fill it up with soil, give it quite a few long and strenuous shakes, and throw away the rubbish!!! Not ideal (takes a bit of effort on my part) but seems to work quite well :-)
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 03:41 AM
quote:
and throw away the rubbish!!!
[shocked] [shocked] [Frown] [shocked] [Frown] [shocked] [shocked] [tears]
Let me clarify that statement...
You throw it away for like good, into the garbage like?
or throw it back into the new compost pile
you start????

*I hope it's the second one*

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 03:46 AM
In the instance from the w/e, the "rubbish" were stones, and bricks, and stuff not destined for a compost heap, so it went in the trash :-0

My sifting of compost will require a different approach.....
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 03:48 AM
If you do get that book, you may get some new ideas' you didn't know about before..

and it's not too much planning really...
I think it's as much as you want to really..
I don't do much, cause I am sooooo slow, and pulled in sooooo many directions, but I manage to remember enough and implament it...

Also companion planting can be for a crop that ripens early and a crop that ripens later, can share the same space..
Something like cucumbers up a trellis, and just behind it *according to the way the sun comes up* plant lettuce and say radish.. so that the radish comes up fast and you eat.. and on the other side you plant the lettuce and by the time the peas crawl up the fencing up... middle of summer the lettuce is in shade from the peas, which does better in the shade in the summer, cause it bolts in the summer heat.

Or I did last year a half~hoop for my cucumbers to grow over, and under it, for shade I did my lettuce..

Just an example..

I do believe if you Google that above book title and name of auther you'll get a little more info of what he's talking about...

But I really go back to that book alot when I am looking for stuff to read.. I enjoy the book, and enjoy the ideas off of it, I'd like to try..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 03:52 AM
quote:
My sifting of compost will require a different approach.....
[grin] I am glad you said something... whew!! [clappy]

Take that stuff, keep it off to the side,
then when you start your new pile,
intermingle that stuff..
It's already been innoculated with the
"good stuff" *microbes, etc.* from the previous compost pile.
In the process its'elf of decomposing and then will jump start or kick start the new layers in the new pile...

Some of the stuff I put in, will go into a new pile 2, 3, 4 or more times, like some sticks, corn cobs, nut shells, *they never break down, but I like them in there, they have pockets to hold the microbes, and give me a good rough hard surface to sift against when I sift, breaks that stuff up as I sift...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 03:56 AM
Thanks Weezie. Good to know I'm not making a complete hash of this composting lark. It is my first year, so good to have a success from it.
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 03:59 AM
ohhhhhhh yes...
And I love to have anyone compost...
**I wish everyone could do it**
our landfills wouldn't be so filled and it
would be a better world for it.
So, one composter at a time is my goal... [muggs]
Glad to have you be doing it..
and [gabby] spread [gabby] the news [teacher] [critic] ...
[thumb]
Any questions, never hesitate to ask...
Always glad to help!!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 04:02 AM
Daniel,
Have you seen the pictures of what my
compost looks like in my Photobucket account??
There's some in there in the sifter..
When I first dump it in to work...
May give you a guide line of what some compost
looks like before sifting...

* * * *
Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 04:10 AM
Yes, I think I did look at your photos. I guess yours is a bit like mine, but woulk dsay mine is still more sticky than yours. But perhaps after some cooking and a bit more time, will be friable enough for sifting and using.

I have plans to turn my veggie patch into a raised bed for veggies, so will need quite a bit of decent compost to raise the soil level. That's my job for spring anyway.
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 04:13 AM
[clappy] [thumb] [flower] [clappy] [thumb] [flower] [grin]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 04:18 AM
It was the wife's idea. We have these conifers at the back of the garden, that are about 10 foot high. We plan to remove them, and then add an arbour or climbing arch behind the veggie patch. Gets the best of the evening's sunshine, so should be a nice place to sit.

Plus we'll be right in amongst the veggies [grin]
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 04:22 AM
Can you utilize them, like finding someone
that will chip them up for you???
Great for layering in the compost pile too....

That sounds like a nice idea..
*I don't get to sit much by mine*

Always going this way and that way...
~~~~>cause I'm always loosing my tools,
or forgetting what I'm doing [Wink] [Big Grin]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by DanielNewman007 on August 01, 2006 04:28 AM
I've still to get prices, but one of the companies said they would grind/shred them, and can give the material back. I thought conifers weren't much use? Thought they were too acidic? Is it useful? Might keep a bag or two of the stuff to add to the rest of the bags scattered/hidden around my garden. Amazing what you can squeeze behind bushes [Big Grin]
by weezie13 on August 01, 2006 04:35 AM
If it were me,
I'd be keeping every last drop..
*but I do have probably more room than
you do to store things, between the two
properties here...*
but I'd throw them in layers for the compost,
as your browns...(I'd let them sit off to the side for a bit to decompose)

I would also let them sit a bit and then use some as a mulch if you like wood chips mulch..
*make sure they are a bit decomposted or at least a season left out in the elements, as things like that break down and it's on top of the soil, the breaking down action steals or robs the nitrogen from the soil, so if you have a plant planted and used the mulch on top of the soil, the plant could compete *and may not win* against the mulch breaking down...

Also, I put some wood chips in a bucket I got,
and let it sit *the bucket did have a couple of holes in the bottom* and I've just let it sit,
out in the elements, they are decomposing all on their own...
*plus I put some seeds of some columbines in there and their growing*

quote:
I've still to get prices, but one of the companies said they would grind/shred them, and can give the material back.
That should, "theoretically" save on your bill they ultimately charge you too, cause they don't have to bring an additional truck to haul the debris away.... [thinker]

* * * *
Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/

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