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Compost Questions

Posted by TNJDM none (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 22, 13 at 15:33

A couple of questions for all the Compost guru's on here. Read some great input to start my first "pile", but after reading page upon page, still had a couple of questions that I hope you can answer (no laughing please :)

-When keeping the pile moist, can I assume using city water with floride, etc. would kill all the bacteria, etc. that you are trying to grow?

-Would you get the same benefit by using pre-packaged, already composted, manures that you would get from trying to search out someone's farm to sweep and shovel.

-One of the guys I work with says he has a pile of horse doo doo behind his barn that has ben piling up. Would this be better than pre-packaged? If its already pretty well "composted" from sitting there, does it still have great benefits for my pile?

Appreciate the input.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Compost Questions

I'll take these in order.

Water - You can use tap water. If it was toxic to that big of a population of bacteria, it would kill everything in our gardens, our stomachs, and possibly us. The tiny amount of chlorine in drinking water is meant to kill off the last few harmful microbes that may be in there. It will be instantly used up as soon as it hits all that organic matter in the pile.

Manure - already composted *anything* adds little to your pile. Better to use finished compost on the soil rather than adding it to a compost pile.

Your friend's pile - Simply piled up, it may or may not have achieved the status of 'finished compost'. I would take a look and a sniff at it. If it's earthy and does not appear to look like or smell like poop, it's more like compost and can be used in the garden. If it's less than a few months old and still looks and smells like poop, add it to the compost.


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RE: Compost Questions

Thanks tox


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RE: Compost Questions

  • Posted by carrieb 7 Philadelphia (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 23, 13 at 21:55

Good advice from tox. FYI, I NEVER add water to my compost bins - I simply leave the lids open when it is supposed to rain, unless it's been raining a whole lot.


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RE: Compost Questions

Moisture all depends on your climate and conditions. My mom lives in Albuquerque and her compost bin would sit there mummified for a century if she didn't water it now and then. :-]

Anyway, it's good to check it now and then, especially during the warm seasons. If it's too dry or wet you won't have compost as soon as you might. Observe and adjust.


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RE: Compost Questions

The bacteria that would be digesting the material in a compost pile need some moisture, as well as air, to function. Moisture levels should be about what a well wrung out sponge would contain, just moist and not wet. Keep in mind that water will displace air so too much moisture will exclude the air needed as well and then that compost goes into anaerobic (in the absence of air) digestion. Anaerobic digestion is good only if one can capture the methane gas generated.


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RE: Compost Questions

Hi all, I have plenty of second hand compost bags to offer for free to whom is interested. The bags are available between July and end August. Book quick as it is a limited offer. Thanks :)


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RE: Compost Questions

I have a couple of pounds of worm castings left over from some tea I brewed. It has been in the shed refrig since summer and has frozen a few times during the winter. Would it be good, bad, or add nothing for the compost pile I started in a tumbler in the shed?

Thanks


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RE: Compost Questions

TNJDM, it will not do any harm to add those worm casting to your compost. How much good they might do is an unknown since you cannot be sure whether making the tea used up all of the whatever makes worm castings good or not. It makes no difference to organic matter, including worm castings, if they get frozen since in many areas they do as a normal practice every winter.


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RE: Compost Questions

Thanks k,

These were unused castings leftover, so weren't used to make tea. I'll throw them in the bin.

Thanks again


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RE: Compost Questions

Probably another stupid question, but remember, this is my first compost attempt.

Would the worm castings be considered nitrogen or carbon?


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RE: Compost Questions

Worm castings are like finished compost they contain a little of every nutrient. Consider them finished matl. to use and distribute through your garden. I know some people who keep the castings just for house plants.


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RE: Compost Questions

Thanks


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RE: Compost Questions

Many assume that since tests for nutrients in compost and worm castings show little these have very little. The nutrient tests look for soluble, readily available, nutrients and these items do not have soluble nutrients. Those of us that have used compost, and even worm castings, would not have the good results, without using fertilizers, we have if these items did not have sufficient nutrients.
Get adequate levels of organic matter in the soil and your plants will grow quite well.


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