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Composting

Posted by trumpwm zone 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 19:00

Thia ia my first try at composting.I have been chopping up all my leftover vegetables and peelings and storing them in plastic bags in the freezer all winter ( potatoes carrots etc ) and I was wondering if I can use orange peelings? I plan to put everything in a blender and then add it to the soil so it will decompose quicker.I live in zone 6 any comments will be appreciated.
Bill


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Composting

Hi Bill - in case you din't know Composting has its own forum here and a great set of how-to FAQS too that cover all the basics on what to add and not to add. I linked it for you below.

Including citrus is debated - some do, many don't. A normal active compost pile will cope with them well but Pit or Trench composting, what you are planning to do, would not IMO given all the oils in citrus. They need a lot of time and a healthy balance of carbon additives to break down.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Composting forum


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RE: Composting

Hi Dave.
Thanks for the heads up on the composting forum I will be checking it out for sure.


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RE: Composting

That is too much work for nothing. To have true compost the composted items has to break-down for 2 years. I have no nerve or time to do that. In place I buy the commercial humus. It certified to be real compost and it is not expensive, beside that I use chicken manure and rabbit manure.
If I collect the left over from vegetable and fruit and store in the refrigerator my GF will kill me and she will never allow that. The re-frig is in her domain. If I force the issue I will never have breakfast in bed. I am not going to have a bed at all I will be sleeping on the sofa in the rec room and more importantly I will have none of sex.


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RE: Composting

That is the best defense of not composting I have ever heard...even including those that live in apartments with no space to outdoor compost. Congrats.

That said, me and my wife fight over the compost we make...as if her flowers need compost over my intensely needy vegetable plot.


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RE: Composting

foolish Composting isn't as hard as you think!
Yes it's easier to buy some stuff, but why not use what you have? It's a hell of a lot cheaper! leaves chopped up with a free leaf sucker from a yard sale, grass clippings from the OCD neighbor who mows his 1/2 acre every week, UCGs from my own coffee pot or if you get really into it, a coffee shop will often save them for you, chopped up vege leavings (takes a few seconds to do the chopping), some clippings from the yard.
I got a tumbler from the dump for $5, tumble for a couple of months then tip it into another stationary bin to "finish"....voila! a couple of good bunches per year!
I also ad in some manure as I can find it. I like rabbit, goat , llama, sheep. Those are able to go right into the garden, not HOT as are cow horse and poultry( might cook your veges!)
Have fun and happy gardening! Nancy


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RE: Composting

Yeah, quite seriously composting is really easy.

I find the large-pile, 2-3 pile composting zone/areas type of composting really easy. Keep it moist...turn it when it gets hot...keep your greens/browns in proper check...

It looks like a lot, but for the most part it just sits there. Turning it can be a chore, but the right tool (a good turning fork...or a shovel if you're strong) makes it easy.

Rodents aren't an issue in my area...I hear they can be annoying visitor (or a welcome extra turner) to piles in some areas.

When you have your 2nd/3rd zone/area full of wheelbarrow ready compost for application 2-3 times a year non-stop it's rather nice. Winter slows down the availability of browns/greens, but a well maintained compost pile stays hot and cooking if you got the materials to add during the winter.


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RE: Composting

trumpwm - you are making it far harder than it needs to be. Firstly there's no need to store the stuff - it can straight onto the pile winter or summer, although in cold climates it won't rot in winter. And it certainly doesn't need blending - that's a huge effort for very little gain. Finally, citrus is no problem unless you are considering making entire piles out of it. Go on over to the Compost Forum if you want more help. But beware - there are some real compost nerds over there who love to make it sound difficult.


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RE: Composting

LOL I love the discussion on compost. I started a pile last summer, it is still out there in the plastic garbage can I bought. The stuff on the bottom has finished, but as I kept adding to it in the winter the whole batch is not completely finished yet. Not hard at all and you can learn all of the basics pretty quickly. Good Luck!


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RE: Composting

People chop up the scraps before composting them? Wow.

I follow the lazy method. I put kitchen scraps, twigs and small branches from pruning, leaves, and whatever else comes along into my giant compost mountain.

The mountain is actually 4 large plant pots and a plastic cylinder thingie. I put plywood over the full bins, so that they can brew undisturbed and new stuff goes into the less full ones. But often it's all piled so high that it looks like one pile. Then I get my friends to jump on it and squish it down :).

IMO, for a suitable sized compost pile you would want a concrete mixer, not a blender. But I let the worms and germs do all that.


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RE: Composting

I'm thinking more about this blendering thing.

I can see the appeal -- it seems like you get the vegies into the soil faster.

But I'm not sure that's the point. What makes compost good is the huge numbers of microorganisms, and their products, right? And I think for that you need the vegies to be all together, not mixed into the dirt.

And then there are quantities. The amount that you can store in your freezer or put through your blender is awfully tiny. When I put finished compost into a bed, I cover the whole bed 2-4 inches deep.

Does your city do municipal composting, of tree trimmings or yard waste or something? Can you buy a truckload? Here it costs about $10 to fill a pickup. You can also get composted manure free if you shovel it yourself, from people who have horses and chickens and stuff.


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RE: Composting

Oh, and I agree that sex is more important ;).


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RE: Composting

The orange peelings will decompose slower than the rest, so I would put them in a separate bag. Bowl-shaped halves from grapefruit or oranges make good compostable slug traps, worth saving in the freezer.

Next winter maybe get an indoor vermicomposter? Then you would have at least some compost for spring planting. Many people do use your method, though. In late summer I bury fruit waste (apples, pears) in beds to avoid yellow jacket problems in the compost, and it's rotten by spring.


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RE: Composting

Whoever said that you need to wait two years to use compost isn't making it properly. Four or five months is more like it if you follow the proceedure taught by Alan Chadwick, the famous organic horticulturist who build a demonstration garden at the Univerisity of California in 1967. You can read all about his method for making compost at the following link. Click on "Techniques" and then on "Compost". No need to store in freezer or blend up. It's a much more natural process than that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alan Chadwick


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RE: Composting

In a warm climate, yes, just a few months is all you need. My compostables go into a small bucket I keep in the kitchen. I empty about half a pound every day from that bucket into the pile outside. That includes coffee grounds and filter, which add plenty of moisture. I hardly ever put water on my compost. There is certainly no need to store the stuff over winter, unless, I guess, the snow is deep enough that you can't get to your compost patch.

Actually, I have more of a "pit" than a "pile". A pit gives better temperature control than a pile. I don't "turn" the contents (the lifting of which is pretty effort-intensive), but rather push a spade into the periphery of the pit every day, and dump the daily leavings into the wedge it makes. That pushes up the center, and aerates it. Aeration is what "turning" is for. I do it clockwise, so one day I push the spade in at 12 o'clock, next day at 2 o'clock, etc. etc. So in a week or so, I've gone all the way around. The material is slowly pushed toward the center as it composts, and I take my finished compost out of the center.

I wouldn't bother with a blender, but it is best to chop big chunks (like the remains of a celery stem or a rogue potato) into smaller pieces. I sometimes put in citrus peel, but not usually. Rarely banana peel. That's all pretty leathery stuff.


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