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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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COMPOST 101

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Post  sanderson 7/31/2014, 12:32 am

Marc,  I think it's been years that soy-based inks have been used in newspapers.  Enough years that the person on the other end of the line may have wondered about the question.  I use matte newspapers (not the shiny ad pages) in the compost.

I'll read the blog above.

Okay, read it.  Then I checked "Uncle Jim's Worms" for what to feed red compost worms.  Newspaper is included in the food list.


Last edited by sanderson on 8/1/2014, 12:10 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : after reading the blog)
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/31/2014, 7:33 pm

Yup, everybody always talks about the wonders of newspapers in controlling moisture with their redworms. However, I'm not sure that Uncle Jim is a scientist, much less one with specialized knowledge in this regard.
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Post  camprn 7/31/2014, 7:38 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:Yup, everybody always talks about the wonders of newspapers in controlling moisture with their redworms.  However, I'm not sure that Uncle Jim is a scientist, much less one with specialized knowledge in this regard.
Marc please feel free to post links to scientific, empirical studies.

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Post  llama momma 7/31/2014, 8:09 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:
llama momma wrote:Marc
A neat trick for tearing up cardboard is put water in a wheelbarrow.  Soak large pieces for a few minutes then it easily rips into smaller pieces.

I never thought of that. Thanks for the tip! You just turned cardboard back into a usable material for me.

Your welcome Marc, Glad to help out   
 Smile
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/31/2014, 8:23 pm

camprn wrote:
Marc Iverson wrote:Yup, everybody always talks about the wonders of newspapers in controlling moisture with their redworms.  However, I'm not sure that Uncle Jim is a scientist, much less one with specialized knowledge in this regard.
Marc please feel free to post links to scientific, empirical studies.

Thanks!

Where could one expect to find scientific, empirical studies as to whether Uncle Jim is a scientist, much less one with specialized knowledge in this regard?
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Post  jimmy cee 7/31/2014, 9:25 pm

Years ago I did an interesting thing with a piece of newspaper.
I took a half page, ( at the middle crease ) crumpled it up, then opened flat.
I did this till I became weary of doing it.
The paper eventually broke down and became as soft at tissue paper.
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Post  camprn 7/31/2014, 10:55 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:
camprn wrote:
Marc Iverson wrote:Yup, everybody always talks about the wonders of newspapers in controlling moisture with their redworms.  However, I'm not sure that Uncle Jim is a scientist, much less one with specialized knowledge in this regard.
Marc please feel free to post links to scientific, empirical studies.

Thanks!

Where could one expect to find scientific, empirical studies as to whether Uncle Jim is a scientist, much less one with specialized knowledge in this regard?
Please, being purposely obtuse is unnecessary. I was speaking of newspapers and their value, or not, in the compost pile or garden. Or about any other gardening subject.

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Post  sanderson 8/10/2014, 1:12 pm

I think it was 687carguy who asked for photos in a different topic of finished Berkeley compost.  Here are 3 different batches.  I used the 4" pot to collect equal amounts:
COMPOST 101 - Page 12 Compos10

I make compost as fast as I can and hope to actually have some stock-piled without that panicked feeling of not having any compost.  I use what ever green and browns are available at that time of the season.  The one thing I really, really want to put in every pile now is horse manure.

Below:  This pile [#3] was started in the fall 2013 using quite a bit of twice composted wood chips, some leaves, lots of produce culls, bags of commercial composted manure and bags of Starbucks.  At the top are the large screened leftovers that I put back in the cage for over-wintering and you can see there are still pieces of wood in there come this summer.  The compost worms thrived in this open-bottomed chunkies, at least!  The mid pile is screened and the bottom is the chunkies left over from the screening this morning.
COMPOST 101 - Page 12 Compos11

Below: Pile #4 [easily screened] was started April 7 and used May 27, 2013.  No wood chips this time.  Dry leaves, horse manure, used lambing bedding straw, starbucks and some veggies I managed to collected over winter.  A few handfuls of blood meal.  I really like it.
COMPOST 101 - Page 12 Compos12

Below:  Pile #4 not screened.  But it breaks up so easily.
COMPOST 101 - Page 12 Compos13

Below:  Pile #5 started June 29 through August 8 this summer.  Leftover leaves, lots of horse manure and veggies, with half a bale of alfalfa hay to make up for the lack of leaves. 1 1/2 cups of leftover blood meal.  It's dry so the color doesn't match the other photos.  Top is as-scooped, bottom as screened and right chunkies from screening.  There's still recognizable straw and manure in it.  Soft and fluffy and nice smelling.
COMPOST 101 - Page 12 Compos14

Well, posting these photos is embarrassing   Embarassed  because I know some of you have better looking stuff that me, but someone wanted photos of finished composts. I may have to edit later today when I get another chance to review it. Sanderson, who is off to build #6 this morning if DH can get some manure for me. I've been spoiled by the college's pile of manure but someone cleared the last out recently.
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Post  camprn 8/10/2014, 1:25 pm

Yup! you need some poo for that pile.

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Post  yolos 8/10/2014, 2:18 pm

Good looking compost there Sanderson.  Your pest looking pile seems to be Pile #4.
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Post  CapeCoddess 8/10/2014, 2:45 pm

My current and only compost pile was started last fall and turned a couple of times since if that. the beginning of August I  divided it into two piles - one that I am still adding to and one that I had stopped adding to so that I can use it now.

This is the pile I'm still adding to. It will get mixed in this fall with the leaves:COMPOST 101 - Page 12 Img_2046

This 2nd pile isn't as finished as I would like it to be but I'm using it now anyway:COMPOST 101 - Page 12 Img_2047
If I screened it it would be fine, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.
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Post  sanderson 8/10/2014, 4:36 pm

Scored the manure from a riding stable in town (in a grandfathered county island) at which my daughter used to ride. I drove 10's of miles last evening looking for country stables that should have had piles. All the produce is chopped (and starting to ferment), I have alfalfa hay and bedding straw. Each pile is built according to the seasonal supplies. Horse manure is my essential now! I actually have GREEN plants this year. Nap time now, but when it starts to shade this evening, I will build the 3 x 3 x 3' bin.
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Post  Kelejan 8/11/2014, 4:59 pm

sanderson wrote:Scored the manure from a riding stable in town (in a grandfathered county island) at which my daughter used to ride.  I drove 10's of miles last evening looking for country stables that should have had piles.  All the produce is chopped (and starting to ferment), I have alfalfa hay and bedding straw.  Each pile is built according to the seasonal supplies.  Horse manure is my essential now!  I actually have GREEN plants this year.  Nap time now, but when it starts to shade this evening, I will build the 3 x 3 x 3' bin.

I can safely say, with all the stuff I have learned here,  that it is going to be a good pile for next year and you will have some awesome results.  Very Happy
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Post  sanderson 8/14/2014, 9:59 am

I have a gallon of spoiled raw milk. Can I had it to my hot Berkeley pile when I turn it this morning?
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Post  camprn 8/14/2014, 10:02 am

Yes I do it all the time . Just cover it up.

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Post  sanderson 8/14/2014, 10:35 am

Thanks
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Post  camprn 8/14/2014, 11:20 am

Yes I do it all the time . Just cover it up.

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Post  Marc Iverson 8/14/2014, 3:05 pm

Watch out for dogs or rats or other predators when you add animal proteins, though.
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Post  camprn 8/14/2014, 3:44 pm

I put that kind of stuff right on top for my neighborhood nocturnal critters and crows to feast on. If I put it on top or to the side they don't dig into the pile. Im talking stuff like moldycheese skin, bones left over from spper, old bread. Adding milk orvold yogurt or keifer typically doesn't lead the critters to dig. Don't put fat into the pile.

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Post  CapeCoddess 8/14/2014, 3:53 pm

At lunch today I just buried a big bag of lobster tails & bodies.  I have to dig a big hole down into the center of the pile to pour them into and then bury them well or they end up all over the neighborhood, probably courtesy of foxes.
 cutesie 

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Post  camprn 8/14/2014, 3:55 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:At lunch today I just buried a big bag of lobster tails & bodies.  I have to dig a big hole down into the center of the pile to pour them into and then bury them well or they end up all over the neighborhood, probably courtesy of foxes.
 cutesie 

CC
that kind of stuff I bury deeply as well. Wish my neighbor would go fishing again so I can have the leavings for the pile!

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Post  CapeCoddess 8/14/2014, 4:04 pm

I just heard this: in the community garden down the road they are having a rat problem.  They found out that one of the gardeners was burying fish remains in his plot and they think that's what's attracting the rats. His plot is about 26" deep. Shocked  I don't even bury my lobsters down that deep.

How deep do you bury your fish, Camp?
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Post  camprn 8/14/2014, 4:18 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:I just heard this: in the community garden down the road they are having a rat problem.  They found out that one of the gardeners was burying fish remains in his plot and they think that's what's attracting the rats. His plot is about 26" deep. Shocked  I don't even bury my lobsters down that deep.

How deep do you bury your fish, Camp?
About a foot and then typically throw a bunch of fresh green stuff on top of that.

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Post  sanderson 8/15/2014, 11:57 am

I turned my Berkeley pile (160*F) yesterday and added the spoiled raw milk in the interior. First time doing this. This morning it was 174*F. Does raw milk have this hot effect? Or did I over water it? Or both? Thanks
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Post  Kelejan 8/15/2014, 3:31 pm

sanderson, just make sure it does not reach 451F.
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