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Post  jerzyjen on 3/5/2010, 1:55 pm

Since I've managed to screw up my home compost pile (its broken lol), I will have to buy more this year.

Can you use worm castings as one of your 5 types of compost? I'm at work so i dont have the book with me, but i saw a local person on craigslist is selling it by the trashbag full. Should I jump on this?
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Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 1:58 pm

sounds good! Smile if price is right, go for it!

i have friends who have worm compost bin in their kitchen. and they swear by that compost created by the worms. the worms literally eat anything (same stuff you put in compost pile) including junk mail. . .

weirds me out to think of worms in the kitchen, but that's just me.
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Post  jerzyjen on 3/5/2010, 2:04 pm

20 bucks for a 30 lb bag? does that sound reasonable? I just know i had a really hard time getting 5 different kinds last year so i want to start early.
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Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 2:08 pm

personally that's NUTS! my all time highest price per bag that i'll pay is $4.00. (chicken manure is around $3.69/bag)

30 lbs is right around 1 cu ft. not a huge bag at all. .. just heavy'ish.

1 cu foot is about the size of every bag of manure/compost you'll find any more. . .

so $20 for one bag is way out of my budget.

i'd skip that as a source.

post on freecycle for rabbit poop or chicken poop. that's what i did last year - it's in my compost pile composting away . . .it'll be no good when you get it - just add it to your kitchen compost - and the rabbit poop will heat your 'broken' pile right up. Smile
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Post  jerzyjen on 3/5/2010, 2:13 pm

thanks for the tip. I'm not sure what is wrong with my pile, i thought i had a good mix of greens and browns, but its just not heating. I put it behind my shed so my only thought is that its not getting enough sun. Its way to heavy to move by hand at this point, so i gotta get hubby to pull it out with his trailer hitch i guess.

Any other good compost tips, toss em my way i need em!
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Post  SirTravers on 3/7/2010, 9:10 pm

sounds silly but I had a pile that quit heating because it dried out and compacted. Without the moisture the pile overheated for a day or two and killed off all the good "bugs" and then it cooled off. Also due to my lack of attention, didn't stir the pile enough, it also compacted. I think the experts call it cold composting when the pile goes dormant like that. That gives me another reason to want a compost tumbler hehe.
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Post  boffer on 3/8/2010, 11:47 am

This thread is need of an expert. Pinging Josh, AKA The_worm_guy, we need you.
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Post  Odd Duck on 3/8/2010, 2:10 pm

Worm castings are essentially already composted and can go directly into the garden. All the "worm guys" will tell you it's the best compost ever. I haven't used enough to really say and haven't compared results w/other composts. That price is actually fairly cheap for worm castings (I usually see it closer to $30 for 1 cu foot) which is why I haven't used more of it. I'll let the real worm guy tell you more.

As far as manure to go into the compost heap (which is likely what you need at this point for your own heap), any of what happyfrog said should work great to "restart" that heap. I also would check the moisture content like suggested. My heap tends to be a bit too brown as I haven't had a great source of manure (working on that one) and we tend to have more yard waste (assorted shredded bush trimmings and other yard waste) than I would prefer and not enough kitchen waste w/just the 2 of us. I have to wet my pile regularly to keep it moist enough, I've learned to make the top a bit concave to direct water into the pile instead of letting it run off the sides. My pile also doesn't get super warm without the manure (but it does heat up if it's moist enough). I tend not to put too many weeds into it since it doesn't heat up as much as a pile with manure would.

I'm looking forward to having a hotter pile that should mature faster than what I've had in the past. In my experience, even tumble composters don't mature very quick if you don't get a jump start with manure. They also don't handle chunks of veggies very quickly (at least not without some manure) - shred them before putting them in and they process just fine. I have to keep my tumble composter "recipe" fairly brown or it get's soupy and NASTY!!!!!

Good luck w/the ol' heap.
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Post  jerzyjen on 3/8/2010, 3:13 pm

Thanks for your advice. I think when I built my pile i missed the key fertilizer step, as well as now I realized its in mostly shade all day. So.. remedy 1 - moved the pile yesterday. Wasnt easy but not too hard because we use the pallet method so hubby and my bro managed to slide the bottom pallet around to the other side of our shed. Remedy 2 - I've contacted a local Alpaca farmer in my town (apparantly in my tiny little town we have like 3 or 4 Alpaca farms!) and he is willing to let me have as much fresh manure as Id like to come get, and he also has some thats a few months old - i might be able to use that right away, ill have to wait and see.

The craigslist add also said that the average price for that bag is about 30 bucks so i guess they can get good money for that. If i have to buy all my compost again this season it doesnt sound like too bad of a deal even if i only get one bag. I still have some left over mels mix from last year but i know i will need at least some to get my new boxes going.
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Post  Josh on 3/8/2010, 9:07 pm

Worm compost would be an excellent compost in your SFG compost mix!

My mom gave me some information about worm composting that she got at a vermicomposting Symposium in Springfield Il. a couple years ago, and I became very interested in worm composting. The University of Ohio did research on using worm composting in comparison to cow and sheep manure compost and they found some awesome results, that worm composting out did the other.
I did some of my own research on using worm compost and had some outstanding results.
Here is a link that tells you about some of the results and use of worm compost.
worm compost

Worm compost is best if used fresh, not dried. Worm tea is also good for watering your plants.

Worm compost is expensive, and it is so easy to make a worm compost bin and have your own, FREE worm compost, and the worms eat your food waste, they take very little care.
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Post  kghouston05 on 3/10/2010, 2:52 pm

I am pretty new to this to, but I have been doing a lot of research on composting and I read that it needs to be about 50 degrees outside before your pile will really start to heat up. Also, you need to make sure that you get it at least 4 ft tall to really get it going. I bought my compost this year, but I plan on having some really good stuff of my own next year!

I also looked at buying worm castings and they were expensive here in VA too. I got leaves and supplemented it with other stuff.
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