Skip to comments.Composting 101
Posted on 06/19/2012 6:49:08 AM PDT by orsonwb
Composting. Learn the basics, benefits, components, no-no's, and six ways to get started...
(Excerpt) Read more at howdogardener.com ...
Thanks for the ping Red Devil 232.
“Do you shred the cardboard?”
No, I just cut it into pieces that fit around the tomatoes and the cages. It haa helped a lot. Diana in Wisconsin gave me several suggestions for mulch, cardboard was the easiest for me. She also suggested regular fertilizing and using a copper based fungicide. After I took her advise on mulching, fertilizing and using copper spray, I have had barely any fungus in the last two years.
She also told me to never water tomatoes from the top.
I don’t think I’d contaminate my dear compost pile with that anti-productive piece of trash. It’s so unproductive, I don’t think it will even burn.
--H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920
My compost pile is just that a pile on the ground. Works fine for me. I can walk around it and turn it with a pitch fork.
I have been composting for years, but my pile or bin never gets hot. Eventually it breaks down but it takes a year or more.
What am I missing?
It’ll keep the earthworms warm and fuzzy..............
I'd like to get some of these Australian earthworms. I wonder if they are legal here?.............
I’m considering this one, because it seems sturdy, has a fairly good capacity, is covered but sits on bare ground and isn’t insanely expensive. I don’t think my dogs will be able to tip it over, either. I’m going to keep looking.
I don't know about the composting of pine needles, but I understand they make a great mulch.
It's not for everyone, but have you considered vermicomposting?
You can compost that?? My husband asked me the other night when he was cleaning up the remains of our shrimp dinner if I was going to compost the tails and I said that wasn't a compost thing. I'll be sad if I've been tossing shrimp tails for the last year and could have composted them :(
I thought of that, but we don’t have the right space for it, and it’s kind of icky. :)
Lobster shells, shrimp shells, clam shells, and mussel shells. :) We also buy unbleached coffee filters and dump them in the compost heap with the coffee grounds. It’s much easier.
I hear you. I find it interesting, but there is no way the missus would allow such a thing in the basement.
You can speed up the process by spraying it down with a solution of potassium nitrate, about 10% solution, through a lawn sprayer bottle at the end of a hose. You’ll have to calibrate the solution mixture according to the dilution ratio on the sprayer but it’s quick and cheap. Just store the unused potassium nitrate sealed and somewhere very dry.
Thanks. But I do not think I have access to that product in NY suburbs. Isn’t that the stuff they use to make explosions? When I tried to find it I got really weird looks.
Also, how do others get their piles to “cook” without chemical additives?
Thank you again. I will look for it.
I agree that composting bins are expensive and usually require a lot of space. Living in an apartment with not much direct sunshine and not a lot of space has proved to be an interesting challenge. Some plants, like roses, actually bloom well with the amount of light they get. Basil does wonderfully, as does parsley, sage and rosemary. Will try thyme next summer. lol Tried tomatoes and cucumbers without any success. When composting in pots, I always put some heavy rocks on of the planter to deter squirrels and place the vegetable material as deep in the planters as possible.
It's an excellent method for those who have limited space. I had never thought of it.
We grow most of our herbs in flower boxes on our deck. It's right off the kitchen, so it's very convenient to access, as well as to water and care for. One of our recent successes last year was Thai basil, which is beautiful as well as fragrant.
Thank you very much for the information. I’ve already started putting cardboard down. Only watered tomatoes from the top twice this season and I’ll never do it again!
Cardboard and marsh hay are my best weapons against weeds. :)
Cardboard and marsh hay are my best weapons against weeds & early blight. :)
It’s so good to see you again, D! How’s it going?
We had some contractor’s black plastic sheeting left over from the garage construction, so I spread that over the ground and *nothing* is growing beneath it. Landscaping fabric didn’t work as well, but large pieces of cardboard seemed to do the trick. Now, I’m weeding by hand and placing the cardboard under the landscaping fabric. We have cute little baby cantaloupes and watermelons, and I’ve put cardboard under them, too. In the desert, I think I parked the melons on top of straw, but that was a long, long time ago. I spotted a bunny hot-footing it out of the backyard this A.M., but there are two new fox-mothers in the neighborhood, so who knows which way the situation will go?
My money is on the fox! :)
Work is slowing down now for the season; I could use a breather! Still dating Mr. Wonderful (over a year now) and am enjoying every minute of it. So wonderful to be in a relationship with a NORMAL person, LOL!
My garden is doing great despite us being 3” behind in rainfall. Watered established trees and shrubs this morning; they’re really ailing! Of course THIS is the year I decided to add a whole new treeline to the front of my property - totin’ LOTS of water out there, but it’ll be worth it when it all fills in.
Been working on my house and de-cluttering. Have all the parts bought for a kitchen upgrade, but that’s going to have to be a winter project when Mr. Wonderful is more available to help me. Life. Is. Good. :)
FreepMail me and let me know what you guys are up to!
I have been experimenting with composting in pots too. We have a basement kitchen for processing foods. Right outside the door we had a garden plot of clay soil which is too shaded to grow any herbs.
So I dug up spaces and set several garden pots into the ground about 1/2 way up the pot. The area is also inside a fenced of play yard. I put bones in one pot. Banana Skins in one pot, and egg shells in a pot during the fall and winter.
Cover with some of the clay dirt. Then next spring, I use these as needed as additives to my main compost in the garden. For example I like to add the egg shells to my Tomato or watermelon garden plot.
Any bones not totally decomposed are just added back to the pot and covered up again. So far so good. It seems to work, and saves a long trek everyday to the compost pile.
How big are your pots, greeneyes? I have to say that I find your composting solution to be both inventive and appealing.
Well they are only medium sized about 12 inch diameter for the experiment. This winter I will probably use slightly larger ones.
If it wasn’t for the fenced in area,there could be problems, with critters I guess, but so far so good. I covered the bones with about 4 inches dirt.
A 31 gallon trash can with a lid can be had through Amazon for only $32.42. Free shipping, too.
Yep, I’ve read that on this very website. Walmart had some 30 gallon last fall for around $15.
I actually had thought too about using an old plastic laundry hamper. Drilling holes in the bottom. Once it’s full, just duct tape it closed, maybe even whip a bungee cord around it, and roll it around every once in a while.
I’ve also been intrigued with just filling up a trashbag and poking holes in it, and setting it out behind the bushes and trees that hide our burn barrels or big compost pile.
I don’t really need anything that large for bones, eggshells, and banana peels, and I keep a container under the sink for the rest of the kitchen stuff, then take it out to the big pile when it is full.
During the summer it all goes to the big pile daily or at least every other day! LOL
I love your ideas! LOL!
Marsh hay? Is that Spartina grass?
Thanks trisham. Most people just think my ideas are weird!LOL
LOL! I think you just made my day. :)
It’s got to be at least 3cubic feet, 50/50 brown and green material, moist like a damp sponge, and turned regularly to allow air in the mix. That’s what I got out of the article.
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