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Composting 101
The How Do Gardener ^ | June 17, 2012 | Rick Bickling

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 ...


TOPICS: Gardening
KEYWORDS: compost; compostbin; composting; gardening
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To: Red_Devil 232

Thanks for the ping Red Devil 232.

Thread Bump.


51 posted on 06/19/2012 5:25:55 PM PDT by Cindy
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To: Silentgypsy; Diana in Wisconsin

“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.

Thanks Diana!


52 posted on 06/19/2012 6:17:16 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: G Larry

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.


53 posted on 06/19/2012 7:48:05 PM PDT by tillacum
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To: Red_Devil 232; Diana in Wisconsin; gardengirl; trisham
Bookmarked. Does anybody have any good links to building an efficient composter that won't cost an arm and a leg, but won't look like it was built out of salvage from a redneck's back yard? Down here in this part of Alabama, our soil is compacted red clay - I tell family up north that the soil is so bad, I can't even grow dirt down here. LOL I switched to large container gardening a couple of years ago and it works great, but I'd like to minimize soil replacement after it gets nutrient-poor at the end of the season.........

"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

--H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920


54 posted on 06/19/2012 8:32:12 PM PDT by Viking2002
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To: Viking2002

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.


55 posted on 06/19/2012 8:39:21 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: orsonwb

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?


56 posted on 06/19/2012 10:43:38 PM PDT by dervish (ABO)
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To: Bigg Red

It’ll keep the earthworms warm and fuzzy..............


57 posted on 06/20/2012 6:31:21 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: meowmeow

I'd like to get some of these Australian earthworms. I wonder if they are legal here?.............

58 posted on 06/20/2012 6:35:13 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Viking2002

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.

http://eartheasy.com/yard-garden/composting/wibo-compost-bin-160-gallon


59 posted on 06/20/2012 6:55:48 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Jean S
Do pine needles make good compost? We have a gazillion white pine trees in our yard and my husband always rakes up the dropped needles and burns them in the fall.

I don't know about the composting of pine needles, but I understand they make a great mulch.

60 posted on 06/20/2012 6:57:56 AM PDT by whd23 (Every time a link is de-blogged an angel gets its wings.)
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To: trisham
I have to throw all of my kitchen scraps into the trash, which really bothers me.

It's not for everyone, but have you considered vermicomposting?

61 posted on 06/20/2012 7:04:08 AM PDT by whd23 (Every time a link is de-blogged an angel gets its wings.)
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To: orsonwb
We compost yard waste, kitchen scraps, and rabbit poop. My husband uses a pitch fork to stir the compost in the bin he built one afternoon. Seems to be working quite well. It's incredibly dry and hot here right now so I'm thinking I may give it a drink when I water the garden later. So far, we haven't had any pest/rodent problems. We do have some lovely ugly mushrooms growing along the side. The boards can be removed to make it smaller if we want. Photobucket
62 posted on 06/20/2012 10:39:52 AM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: trisham
We eat a lot of shellfish, which I love to compost.

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 :(

63 posted on 06/20/2012 11:59:54 AM PDT by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: whd23

I thought of that, but we don’t have the right space for it, and it’s kind of icky. :)


64 posted on 06/20/2012 1:02:16 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: meowmeow

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.


65 posted on 06/20/2012 1:10:26 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

I hear you. I find it interesting, but there is no way the missus would allow such a thing in the basement.


66 posted on 06/20/2012 1:34:42 PM PDT by whd23 (Every time a link is de-blogged an angel gets its wings.)
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To: dervish

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.


67 posted on 06/20/2012 2:01:58 PM PDT by BIGLOOK
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To: whd23

:)


68 posted on 06/20/2012 3:46:19 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: BIGLOOK

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?


69 posted on 06/20/2012 4:24:56 PM PDT by dervish (ABO)
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To: dervish
The fertilizer used in explosives is ammonium nitrate. Potassium nitrate is more commonly known as Saltpeter and it's not all that hard to find.

How others get the cooking started, don't know. It depends on the what they're composting and how it's covered really. You could try to obtain some beaver enzyme, that'll cook anything but it's pricey and really hot.
70 posted on 06/20/2012 5:04:21 PM PDT by BIGLOOK
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To: BIGLOOK

Thank you again. I will look for it.


71 posted on 06/20/2012 6:33:28 PM PDT by dervish (ABO)
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To: trisham

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.


72 posted on 06/20/2012 6:38:37 PM PDT by tob2 (November can't come soon enough for me.)
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To: tob2
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.

73 posted on 06/21/2012 6:45:10 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Jean S; Diana in Wisconsin

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!


74 posted on 06/21/2012 10:13:50 AM PDT by Silentgypsy
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To: Silentgypsy

Cardboard and marsh hay are my best weapons against weeds. :)


75 posted on 06/21/2012 4:42:02 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: Silentgypsy

Cardboard and marsh hay are my best weapons against weeds & early blight. :)


76 posted on 06/21/2012 4:42:25 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

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?


77 posted on 06/21/2012 6:47:48 PM PDT by Silentgypsy
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To: Silentgypsy

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!


78 posted on 06/22/2012 7:27:37 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: trisham; Red_Devil 232
Red - Thanks for the ping.

Trisham:

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.

79 posted on 06/22/2012 11:54:03 AM PDT by greeneyes (Moderation in defense of your country is NO virtue. Let Freedom Ring.)
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To: greeneyes

How big are your pots, greeneyes? I have to say that I find your composting solution to be both inventive and appealing.


80 posted on 06/22/2012 1:48:19 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

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.


81 posted on 06/22/2012 6:56:08 PM PDT by greeneyes (Moderation in defense of your country is NO virtue. Let Freedom Ring.)
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To: greeneyes
Larger pots might be better. I've heard of gardeners using large garbage cans. I'm guessing that they might drill holes somewhere in the can or lid, but maybe not. With all of the shellfish that we usually add to the pile, that might be a cheap but secure way of composting for us.

A 31 gallon trash can with a lid can be had through Amazon for only $32.42. Free shipping, too.

82 posted on 06/23/2012 8:04:49 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

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


83 posted on 06/23/2012 9:20:37 AM PDT by greeneyes (Moderation in defense of your country is NO virtue. Let Freedom Ring.)
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To: greeneyes

I love your ideas! LOL!


84 posted on 06/23/2012 9:44:23 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Marsh hay? Is that Spartina grass?


85 posted on 06/23/2012 10:16:32 AM PDT by gitmo ( If your theology doesn't become your biography it's useless.)
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To: trisham

Thanks trisham. Most people just think my ideas are weird!LOL


86 posted on 06/25/2012 9:08:40 AM PDT by greeneyes (Moderation in defense of your country is NO virtue. Let Freedom Ring.)
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To: greeneyes

LOL! I think you just made my day. :)


87 posted on 06/25/2012 9:12:12 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: dervish

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.


88 posted on 06/27/2012 7:12:49 AM PDT by orsonwb
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