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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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cheyannarach
llama momma
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Post  llama momma 9/5/2012, 9:23 am

Personal observation -
There is a new pallet heap of compost out back all of 18 inches tall. I thought it had to be 3 to 4 feet tall to steam up. It was steaming inside and 100 degrees this morning. Granted not 140 to kill weed seeds but impressed ol llama momma anyway.
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Post  cheyannarach 9/5/2012, 10:04 am

That's awesome llamamama! Compost surprise 3170584802
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Post  southern gardener 9/5/2012, 6:02 pm

that's awesome. Llama momma...do the "llama beans" ever decompose? We put lots in our pile, and no matter what, they don't seem to break down? I've top dressed some squares attempting to get things going, and they're still sitting there like they were. We have a barrel of them, and are going to soak them hoping to break them down? Any ideas? Thanks!!
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Post  littlejo 9/5/2012, 7:02 pm

"llama beans"?

Is that llama poo?

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Post  southern gardener 9/5/2012, 8:17 pm

littlejo wrote:"llama beans"?

Is that llama poo?

Jo

yes, I think that's what they call them lol. Those things are indestructible affraid affraid Compost surprise 671790 happy turtle SOS
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Post  cheyannarach 9/5/2012, 8:35 pm

Llama "beans" can be put straight into your MM without being composted too! In case you get sick of trying to break them down!
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Post  southern gardener 9/5/2012, 10:38 pm

cheyannarach wrote:Llama "beans" can be put straight into your MM without being composted too! In case you get sick of trying to break them down!

Cheyannarach, that's what we've done, but they are still there, just the same after months! It's hard to plant seedlings/seeds in those "balls" lol. I'm wondering if/when they'll ever break down? They're like rocks!!
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 9/5/2012, 11:01 pm

Cheyannarach, years ago we were fortunate enough to have a neighbor with two llamas. Tidy little animals as they are, their llama 'beans' were always deposited in the same places in neat little piles that were easy to gather and move up to our place. I dug "post" holes and put a couple of shovel-fuls of "beans" in them, then planted a tomato plant on each side of each llama bean post hole all the way down a row: post hole, tomato, post hole, tomato. We had the best tomatoes that year, unrivaled until last year when I stuck the tomato starts in a long, raised bed (with Mel's Mix) on the south side of garden. Even with what was touted as a "green tomato summer," we had enough to eat and do a bit of canning before frost. Nonna
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Post  llama momma 9/5/2012, 11:33 pm

Llama poo is affectionately called llama beans! And yes let me assure you it certainly does break down. A few days back I filled many containers with crumbly fluffy compost that started out with more than 20% llama beans. It was aged since last October using fresh llama beans at that time. If you have balls of the stuff I think it is too dry and too thick for the microbes and worms etc to quickly break it down. The usual leaves, straw, kitchen waste are pretty soft stuff so balled up beans would take a long time to break down. I also used 3 year old llama poo from the back of my hay field, untouched all those years and it looks exactly like dark crumbly soil. (strawberries grew real well in it) In those three years you can imagine how many times it was rained and snowed on. I even teased my dear husband what he really put in the wheel barrow since it certainly looked like soil, not beans. Even though fresh llama beans can go straight into the garden without burning plants I prefer to compost the stuff first. I like Mel's Mix to look and feel fluffy not lumpy! I'm pretty sleepy right now hope this made sense.
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Post  llama momma 9/5/2012, 11:58 pm

southern gardener wrote:that's awesome. Llama momma...do the "llama beans" ever decompose? Yes they will decompose, go ahead and wet them down. We put lots in our pile, and no matter what, they don't seem to break down? I've top dressed some squares attempting to get things going, and they're still sitting there like they were. I have not top dressed any squares with llama beans, have always composted them first. We have a barrel of them, and are going to soak them hoping to break them down? Any ideas? Thanks!!

See my responses in red above too - but Also for immediate use you could make tea out of it and water the plants with it. Grab an old sock, fill it with beans, tie it shut with twine and tie it to the handle of a 5 gallon bucket, fill w/water and wait 24 hours, stir and its tea time!
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Post  southern gardener 9/6/2012, 1:24 pm

llama momma wrote:Llama poo is affectionately called llama beans! And yes let me assure you it certainly does break down. A few days back I filled many containers with crumbly fluffy compost that started out with more than 20% llama beans. It was aged since last October using fresh llama beans at that time. If you have balls of the stuff I think it is too dry and too thick for the microbes and worms etc to quickly break it down. The usual leaves, straw, kitchen waste are pretty soft stuff so balled up beans would take a long time to break down. I also used 3 year old llama poo from the back of my hay field, untouched all those years and it looks exactly like dark crumbly soil. (strawberries grew real well in it) In those three years you can imagine how many times it was rained and snowed on. I even teased my dear husband what he really put in the wheel barrow since it certainly looked like soil, not beans. Even though fresh llama beans can go straight into the garden without burning plants I prefer to compost the stuff first. I like Mel's Mix to look and feel fluffy not lumpy! I'm pretty sleepy right now hope this made sense.

Thank you for the info. I guess we'll just have to soak them. They're so hard, I think we would have to use pliers to crush one! I don't know why they're so hard. We put 3 barrels full in our compost pile a few months ago, and when we sifted the compost, there they were, just like when we threw them in. tough little "beans" lol
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Post  llama momma 9/6/2012, 5:00 pm

I would ask whoever you got it from how it was stored because hard llama beans that sounds very odd to me. Maybe it was somehow kept in a dry state?

My beans are farm fresh from my own llamas so I always know how old the stuff is. The beans I compost comes from 2 places, either fresh from the animals and put into the compost pile in Autumn for Spring,Summer, Fall use. Or like currently there is a new pile I started with beans that are young and fresh, like 1-2 months old. It will compost all the way through to next Spring and the rest of that season. Still, there is also 3 yr old piled up beans left on soil out the end of the pastures. It still composted completely without any help from me. I add that directly into beds to help raise up the settled mix along with a full blend of 5-way+ regular compost.

I suppose you could pulverize your hard beans in some way but understandably this would be inconvenient. Or instead make llama tea as described above. Or find a place that will assure you a fresh load of llama beans. And don't use it to mulch the top of the bed.

Final note is ask if the llamas are dewormed if you are concerned about your local worm population. Leftover deworming vaccine takes about a month or two to break down or leach out of the beans -- at least from what I've read. I do have garden worms in my compost it does work out fine. I deworm because the specific parasitic worm I'm after does paralyze and/or will kill llamas. Not gonna happen at my place.
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Post  CapeCoddess 9/6/2012, 5:06 pm

What if you run them over with the mower and let them collect in the leaf bag?

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Post  llama momma 9/6/2012, 5:29 pm

Curious if that works, never tried it myself. Let us know if you try it!
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Post  southern gardener 9/7/2012, 2:03 am

i just remembered, these are alpaca "beans", wondering if that makes any difference? I don't know how old they were/are. He was so nice to deliver them to our home a few months ago, and I just threw them in the compost pile, and also top dressed our garden with them. I'll ask next time I think just so I'll know. Thank you again for the info!
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