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Compost for dummies?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by ND farm girl on August 06, 2006 03:52 PM
I found the picture of using panels to make compost bins, which I am going to do. I can put this on cement right? See? I have no idea what I am doing to make compost! Is there any step-by-step instructions on this subject?

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PattyM
by LandOfOz on August 06, 2006 04:48 PM
If you put your compost pile on cement you shouldn't have to worry about the nutrients leeching out as much as you would on dirt. I'm not sure, but it might eventually discolor your cement, if anything. I'm sure that someone will be along to help you with step-by-step instructions but it is extremely simple to do!

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Sarah - Zone 5b/6
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by patches1414 on August 06, 2006 05:16 PM
ND, I like to put my directly on the ground and loosen the soil underneath about a foot deep. I also put about an inch of sticks and twigs on the bottom before I put anything else in to help with the drainage. I guess you could put your bin on concrete though, my only concern would be that it might make it difficult for the worms to get in and do their work. [dunno] I'm sure someone will come along to clear this up for both of us, because now I'm curious! [Wink]

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"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen!"
by ND farm girl on August 08, 2006 01:28 PM
Help - anyone? I don't even know where to start. What do you put in compost? What can't you put in compost? I just dug up some grass today, making a new flower bed for some peonies I need to move to the front yard, can I use grass? How often do I 'turn it', what do people mean by sifting it? HELP???? [dunno]

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PattyM
by patches1414 on August 08, 2006 01:54 PM
ND, here is the list I use, but I'm sure others can add to it.

What TO Compost

Common "Brown" (high-carbon) Ingredients
Dry Leaves
Hay and Straw
Corncobs, Stalks, Vegetable Stalks
Shredded Paper (no colored ink)
Pine Needles
Wood Chips and Sawdust
Wood Ash (in moderation)

Common "Green" (high-nitrogen) Ingredients:
Grass, Lawn Clippings, Fresh Leaves
Weeds and Other Garden Wastes
Eggshells, Coffe Grounds, Paper Filters
Kitchen Scraps, Vegetable & Fruit Parings
Horse and Cow Manure
Feathers, Hair, Lint, Sweepings
Seaweed

What NOT to Compost (details)
Chemically-treated Wood Products
Chemically-treated Materials
Diseased Plants
Human Waste
Meat, Bones, and Fatty Foods
Plastic, Glass, or Metals
Paper with Colored Inks
Pernicious Weeds
Pet Wastes

I hope this helps!

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"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen!"
by ND farm girl on August 08, 2006 02:23 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now - what do I do with it? [Smile]

[dunno]

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PattyM
by ND farm girl on August 08, 2006 02:24 PM
Grass clippings - so if I'm digging up some grass for a new flower bed, should I just shake off the extra dirt and throw it in the pile?

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PattyM
by ND farm girl on August 08, 2006 02:47 PM
What if is gets rained on? Do I have to use it this year or can it be stored until next spring? How long does it take? How big of a pile should I make? Should I have a couple of bins set up? [nutz]

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PattyM
by patches1414 on August 08, 2006 05:15 PM
quote:
if I'm digging up some grass for a new flower bed, should I just shake off the extra dirt and throw it in the pile?
I guess you could, but personally, I don't put any of my grass with roots or any weeds in my compost bins. [Frown] We have yard waste pick-up so I just throw that stuff in the cans. I really don't need to use any of that because I have plenty of grass clipping and leaves from my yard. [thumb] I also collect the grass and leaf yard waste from three of my neighbors who are kind enough to mark all the bags which contain ONLY grass or leaves and not any sticks, branches or others things they pick up in their yard. [clappy] They all use the yard waste bags you have to buy, so after I empty their bags I fold them and return to them, so it's a win-win situation for everyone and I'm saving a lot of trees in the process. [Wink] [Wink]

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"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen!"
by johnCT on August 09, 2006 03:24 AM
quote:
Originally posted by ND farm girl:
Grass clippings - so if I'm digging up some grass for a new flower bed, should I just shake off the extra dirt and throw it in the pile?
Best thing to do is just dig the pieces of sod up and just turn them over in place.

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John - Zone 6
by tkhooper on August 09, 2006 07:08 AM
I have some sod in my compost pile and it's been so dry and so hot 100+ degrees hot that the roots have died and the grass is even turning brown rather than heating. But for the most part I think with sod I would follow John's directions. Because otherwise you might find the grass growing in the compost pile stealing all the good nutrients that you are trying to build up in your new soil.

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by ND farm girl on August 09, 2006 07:41 AM
Ok, now what? Do I sprinkle it with water each day, turn it each day, how wet? What if it rains on it?

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PattyM
by tkhooper on August 09, 2006 09:14 AM
If it rains, good. no problem.

The pile should be sponge-like not soaked.

It can be turned as often as each day or not at all. The more you turn it the sooner it is ready to use. So that decision is up to you.

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by patches1414 on August 09, 2006 09:32 AM
I turn mine about twice a week and with this hot, dry weather we've been experiencing I've had to add water them to keep them damp.

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"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen!"
by ND farm girl on August 09, 2006 11:10 AM
We have had a major dry spell here all year. We have gotten about 1 inch of rain since May!!! VERY dry here. I just made my 'bin' with pallets this afternoon! Now I need some stuff to put in it! [Smile] With no rain - I have no grass clippings because we haven't had to mow! :-(

Thank you everyone!

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PattyM
by tkhooper on August 09, 2006 02:21 PM
somewhere around here is a post about what all works as greens and what all works as brown. I just don't remember where it is. I bet Weezie knows. She is our Compost Queen. Very, very knowledgeable.

You can use weeds as long as it doesn't include the roots or the seed heads. Or basically any green plant material as long as it isn't diseased, rooted or have seeds included.

But even if you don't get greens this year you can get a big bunch of browns all ready for next year. I run out of browns more often than greens every year so getting a head start on those is going to be a real boost for you.

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by patches1414 on August 09, 2006 08:28 PM
There are a lot of other things you can use for greens besides glass clippings. I use a lot of coffee grounds that I get from a coffee shop here in town. [Wink] Last spring, I had a student that worked at Starbucks and they package up all their used grounds to give away to anyone that wants them, so he would bring me about 15-20 big bags every Tuesday and Thursday! [clappy] I can also get all the fruits and vegetables I need from the Farmers Market up the street because they throw a bushel or two of them away every day. [Wink] Check with your local grocery store or coffee shop to see if you can get any of these things from them.

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"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen!"

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