Composting question

mccoml(9)June 11, 2012

So I just started my first compost pile, although growing up my family always did, but I guess I never paid attention to the details. We just moved into our house at the beginning of the year. For the compost foundation I raked up around a huge oak tree that probably had several years worth of leaves already composting beneath it. I'm sure some of this stuff was good to go as I got that rich earth smell from the deepest layers as I went. I've continued to add to this with grass clippings and kitchen waste, and stir regularly. The compost pile is just sitting out in a mostly shaded area, but when I turn it I get that good earthy smell. I know not all of its composted because I keep adding scraps, but how do I get out the compost that is? Should I stop adding scraps until it's done, then start another one? Also, I think I used some Chinese tallow leaves in a layer of about 3 inches underneath my raised vegetable garden, and so far I haven't noticed any adverse affects, should I be worried? My plants are pretty large and the roots are definitely down that far, but maybe the leaves aren't decayed enough to affect them yet.

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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

Go to the Soil Compost Mulch forum on this website and ask your questions. There are people there who have been composting for centuries and are standing by to answer your call

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Compost Forum

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:49AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Composting Forum

They have a great set of FAQs there that cover all the how-to issues.

Since you asked about the Chinese Tallow I assume you didn't know when you used them that it is considered a toxic plant? The berries and sap contain toxins that are poisonous and the leaves shed growth inhibitors for other plants as they decay?

Unfortunately there isn't much you can do about it now but hope for the best. Eventually they will decay but in the mean time I don't know of any studies other than the one linked below that have been done regarding the toxicity absorption rates but this paper does discuss the medicinal uses so does provide some insight.

Hope this helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Chinese Tallow Management Plan for Florida

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 10:11AM
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Yes, I didn't know that it was tallow, although I should have. We have so many invasives in Florida it's hard to keep track of them. It was a small tree so I don't think a lot of the leaves were from it, but I mixed it in with leaves from the oak tree. The Tallow's actually been wonderful at attracting bees, I literally got hordes of them when it was pollenating, although now that it isn't anymore I'm not getting very many. I know family members that live 15 minutes from me that don't grow OP plants because they can't get bees.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 4:12PM
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