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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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I found the listing of Green vs. Brown compost components helpful.
1 posted on 06/19/2012 6:49:10 AM PDT by orsonwb
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To: orsonwb

I endorse composting 100 percent, it’s great.


2 posted on 06/19/2012 6:54:35 AM PDT by Williams (No Obama)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde; Red_Devil 232

Garden ping


3 posted on 06/19/2012 7:01:56 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: orsonwb

I throw weeds in mine and have had no problems. The only thing that has risen from the dead once I use the final compost product in my garden beds is tomatoes (from kitchen scraps)! I had one tomato plant last year that actually grew out of an air vent in the composter and eventually produced nice tomatoes. This year I have 4 - one growing out of a different air vent and three that cropped up in my pepper bed after I added the compost. I transplanted them and they are doing better than the store bought plants.


4 posted on 06/19/2012 7:02:20 AM PDT by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: orsonwb

Earthworms!


5 posted on 06/19/2012 7:11:02 AM PDT by 1_Rain_Drop
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To: meowmeow

I throw weeds in mine, too. My “composter” is an old metal food barrel drilled full of holes. I’ve been doing it that way for years without a problem.


6 posted on 06/19/2012 7:15:13 AM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: meowmeow

Last year I let my chickens roam free on my lawn. They clucked picked pecked plucked all sorts of grasses. One day I looked and there were seven tomato plants growing in my lawn. The chickens had weeded around these plants exposing them. I’m not sure why they didn’t pick on them, maybe because they smell different? I tended to those lawn tomatoes till TS Irene stopped by.

Those tomatoes sure were a conversation piece. Who in their right mind would plant stuff in the middle of their lawn? A chaotic owner? LOL

I’m just curious how those tomato plants seeded themselves there.


7 posted on 06/19/2012 7:17:27 AM PDT by 1_Rain_Drop
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To: orsonwb; Elsie
Thanks for posting this. We used our compost pile for this entire garden. We'll see how well it does. One problem are the pods from a trash elm tree shown on the right side here:

I sit in the blue chairs while Mrs Binger does all the work. I like to wave at all the traffic on Historic Highway 89! Also the umbrella table is the employee lounge. Our hand insisted on having a place for a cool one.

8 posted on 06/19/2012 7:18:12 AM PDT by Utah Binger (Southern Utah where the world comes to see America)
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To: orsonwb

My new favorite composting method is the easy leaf compost. Rake wet leaves into a large garbage bag. Poke a few holes in the bag. Let it sit out for 2 years then it’s ready to use.


9 posted on 06/19/2012 7:22:31 AM PDT by Tao Yin
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To: 1_Rain_Drop
My DH laughs at me because after every big rain I go tip all the big planters in the yard and pull out the earthworms underneath them and then go toss them in my composter.

Those buggers can wiggle underground fast! I've gotten good - can give the robins a run for their money!

10 posted on 06/19/2012 7:22:50 AM PDT by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: orsonwb

I hear there are thousands of copies of the 2700 page “Obamacare”, soon to be available for composting...


11 posted on 06/19/2012 7:25:27 AM PDT by G Larry
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To: 1_Rain_Drop

Most likely a critter ate a tomato then pooped the seeds in your yard.


12 posted on 06/19/2012 7:29:46 AM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: 1_Rain_Drop

Most likely a critter ate a tomato then pooped the seeds in your yard.


13 posted on 06/19/2012 7:30:54 AM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: 1_Rain_Drop

Most likely a critter ate a tomato then pooped the seeds in your yard.


14 posted on 06/19/2012 7:31:04 AM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: kalee

Sorry for the triple post, sticky i-pad. ;)


15 posted on 06/19/2012 7:32:15 AM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: G Larry

>>> the 2700 page “Obamacare”

Those should have been declared “toxic waste”......


16 posted on 06/19/2012 7:34:26 AM PDT by Sir Napsalot (Pravda + Useful Idiots = CCCP; JournOList + Useful Idiots = DopeyChangey!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Diana in Wisconsin; gardengirl; girlangler; SunkenCiv; HungarianGypsy; ...

Pinging all the gardeners. Compost is one of the most important additions you can add to your garden soil.


17 posted on 06/19/2012 11:31:14 AM 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: Utah Binger

Great set up for your raised beds. What are you growing?


18 posted on 06/19/2012 11:33:58 AM 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: Utah Binger

LOL! Great garden! :)


19 posted on 06/19/2012 11:41:49 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: 1_Rain_Drop

Your chickens might have reasoned if they picked your tomatoes, that would hasten their trip to the stew pot.

The re-planters here are the squirrels. They keep busy planting pecans in the garden so I have to keep busy pulling up the new sprouts.

Got my composter free from the extension office. I think A&M had some sort of program going at the time. All it is is a foldable four square section of coated fencing with a tube of fencing for the middle. Have to turn it with a hoe or something. It’d be easy enough to make one or just have a pile of compost.


20 posted on 06/19/2012 11:43:08 AM PDT by bgill
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To: Red_Devil 232; All

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.


21 posted on 06/19/2012 11:48:55 AM PDT by Jean S
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To: meowmeow

I have had Cantelope and Tomatoes come up from compost... I call them free range plants... The Cantelope were the best I have ever tended.


22 posted on 06/19/2012 11:51:35 AM PDT by Rightly Biased (How do you say Arkanicide in Kenyan?)
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To: Red_Devil 232
What are you growing?

The large bed on the right side has three kinds of potatoes. Yellow onions and green onions on the left of that. Then there are green peppers crook neck squash, of course there are three kinds of tomatoes and two rows of sweet corn along with broccoli, tomatoes and even dill weed. Can't leave out three kinds of basil. Then we have cucumbers and pumpkins.

Whew, there must be more.

23 posted on 06/19/2012 11:52:22 AM PDT by Utah Binger (Southern Utah where the world comes to see America)
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To: meowmeow

I put coffee and tea grounds, bags filters and all, in mine............


24 posted on 06/19/2012 11:52:52 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red_Devil 232

Thanks for the Ping Red. We are about to sit down for lunch with our grandson but “I’ll be back”...


25 posted on 06/19/2012 11:54:28 AM PDT by tubebender
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To: Jean S

I don’t like Pine needles in my compost pile because they break down relatively slowly. The reason for the slow decay is that the needles are covered with a waxy layer that resists bacteria and fungi, and, like other fallen leaves, they have an excess of carbon relative to nitrogen. The process could be speeded up by shredding the needles, thereby offering bacteria and fungi greater surface area at which to “chew” away.


26 posted on 06/19/2012 11:55:16 AM 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: Red_Devil 232
covered with a waxy layer that resists bacteria and fungi

Interesting! I use cardboard as a mulch for my tomatoes because I have a problem with fungus on the plants. Would it be a good mulch for tomatoes? The cardboard is so ugly.

27 posted on 06/19/2012 12:07:23 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: Jean S

The fungus on your plants is not the same animal as those in your compost.


28 posted on 06/19/2012 12:15:37 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: Red Badger

What do the coffee and tea things do to the pH?


29 posted on 06/19/2012 1:13:41 PM PDT by Silentgypsy
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To: Jean S

Do you shred the cardboard? (Please excuse dumb question—I don’t have a good theoretical base.)


30 posted on 06/19/2012 1:16:31 PM PDT by Silentgypsy
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To: Silentgypsy
What do the coffee and tea things do to the pH?

I dunno, but the earthworms are always jittery when I dig them up...........

31 posted on 06/19/2012 1:33:54 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red_Devil 232

If I leave the grass clippings in the sun to totally dry until yellow before adding to the pile, do you think they count as a brown? I have tons of clippings and not many sources for leaves, etc.


32 posted on 06/19/2012 1:40:15 PM PDT by texas_mrs
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To: Williams

Yes it is. Even in the gardening pots I have, composting happens. I just take the materials to compost, put them in a pot, add a smidgen of organic fertilizer, water well for a few weeks, Viola, compost! No fuss, no mess, no smell. And I have enough organic fertilizer for my garden pots.


33 posted on 06/19/2012 2:07:09 PM PDT by tob2 (November can't come soon enough for me.)
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To: Red Badger

I dunno, but the earthworms are always jittery when I dig them up...........


Aren’t they? lol


34 posted on 06/19/2012 2:10:00 PM PDT by txhurl (Scott Walker is my President.)
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To: texas_mrs

Yep! The same with grass clippings. After cutting let them brown up and you got browns.


35 posted on 06/19/2012 2:29:40 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: tob2

Let me see if I understand this. You put your kitchen scraps, etc, in pots, then plant in those pots after the scraps turn into compost? I’m not able to compost any longer because it was attracting bears, dogs, coyotes, mice and who knows what else? I can’t compost inside the fence because my dogs would eat everything. I have to throw all of my kitchen scraps into the trash, which really bothers me. Those composting bins are so expensive.


36 posted on 06/19/2012 2:35:45 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: texas_mrs
I have tons of clippings and not many sources for leaves, etc.

Shredded paper is a "brown", I believe. Newspaper is good, so long as the ink is okay. (My local paper uses soy ink, which is fine.) Also sawdust, straw, etc.

I have the opposite problem as you, since I live in dry North Texas and have a small, brownish lawn. I get loads of leaves from friends every winter, and in the spring blend them with whatever greens I can get. (This spring was great for a while, and my compost heap hit 160 degrees for the first time.)
37 posted on 06/19/2012 2:36:56 PM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: trisham

Some people trench-compost: Dig a trench, dump in the kitchen scraps, cover with dirt, plant there in the spring.

Some critters might have a good enough nose to smell out and dig up your underground compost, I suppose. But it might be worth a try.


38 posted on 06/19/2012 2:42:59 PM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: Red Badger

I have been adding my dryer lint ever since I read about doing such in a magazine about 2 years ago.


39 posted on 06/19/2012 3:07:56 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: orsonwb

Unless I just scanned the list too quickly, I think they missed out on mentioning egg shells, the only animal product that is a good compost ingredient.


40 posted on 06/19/2012 3:10:01 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: LearsFool; All
That's a good idea, but our soil is like cement. All of our gardening is done on raised beds. I may have to break down and spend some serious money on something that I can keep in the yard. The worm composting method sounds interesting, but we have so much material I'm not sure that it would make sense. We eat a lot of shellfish, which I love to compost. The Mastiff next door loves it, too. :)

We do compost yard waste, but don't use it on our gardens. We have three areas where we just throw weeds, branches, small trees, leaves and so on. This compost is not accessible, however, since this is a very hilly piece of land. We leave as much of the grass as we can on the lawn, but if it's too heavy, it has to be raked. I'd like to gravel in the entire back yard.

41 posted on 06/19/2012 3:10:38 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: Bigg Red

They add calcium to the soil. My Irish grandmother would grind them up and eat them, but I’m not sure how.


42 posted on 06/19/2012 3:16:32 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

Those Irish grandmothers were tough, huh?


43 posted on 06/19/2012 3:29:51 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: trisham
My wife built a compost bin out of 2- 4x4's, cut in half; and 3 pieces of 4ft x 4ft heavy wooden lattice. The front is 5 pieces of 5/4 decking slid into a groove. The bin is inexpensive, free standing, and 4ft x 4ft x 4ft holds quite a bit of trimmings, scraps, grass, etc. We recently covered it with plastic deer netting to keep the chickens out of it. They could empty the bin in a days time.

You might find that the compost will loosen up the underlying soil unless it actually is rock or concrete.

44 posted on 06/19/2012 3:33:42 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Ever notice that when a beggar gets a donation, they immediately put their hand out for more.)
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To: orsonwb

I have several piles going simultaneously. The biggest has upwards of a hundred straw bales for the C component. Kitchen waste, chicken coop litter, weeds and grass cutting keep the critters fed. Alernatively, when I have a surplus of green (like now) I have some soft drink syrups (scrounged 5 gallon boxes) to wet the pile down. When things are in balance, watch out! Some piles are like rocket fuel; I lost a garden tool in one once and found it the following year with a melted handle.


45 posted on 06/19/2012 3:36:18 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (I'm for Churchill in 1940!)
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To: trisham
I’m not able to compost any longer because it was attracting bears, dogs, coyotes, mice and who knows what else?

Sorry, I completely missed this post when I answered. Chicken wire or chain link fence may keep out dog or coyote, but I am at a loss about the bear. Double 00 buckshot, maybe?

46 posted on 06/19/2012 3:37:48 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Ever notice that when a beggar gets a donation, they immediately put their hand out for more.)
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To: Sarajevo

LOL! I think I need something that I can keep within our six foot fence, and move near to the steps to the deck in winter. We’ve had as much as four feet of snow in our backyard. I’m going to do some research. It will be safer and more convenient if I won’t have to venture out beyond the fence, the gate of which is often impossible to open in winter.


47 posted on 06/19/2012 4:16:10 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: Bigg Red

Mine was quite a character. :)


48 posted on 06/19/2012 4:17:40 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: Sarajevo
My wife built a compost bin out of 2- 4x4's, cut in half; and 3 pieces of 4ft x 4ft heavy wooden lattice. The front is 5 pieces of 5/4 decking slid into a groove. The bin is inexpensive, free standing, and 4ft x 4ft x 4ft holds quite a bit of trimmings, scraps, grass, etc. We recently covered it with plastic deer netting to keep the chickens out of it. They could empty the bin in a days time.

********************************

Your wife is amazing.

49 posted on 06/19/2012 4:20:10 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: orsonwb
Have Compost... Will Travel


50 posted on 06/19/2012 4:43:38 PM PDT by tubebender
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