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This year's compost I22gcj10This year's compost 14dhcg10

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This year's compost

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Post  ETNRedClay 4/9/2014, 6:17 pm

This is my 2014 compost.  I'm adding it to ANSFG and my flower beds.

Small truckload each:
- mushroom compost
- composted horse stall leavings
- composted cow manure & hay
- composted chicken litter
- composted leaves and grass clippings from last fall's last mowings

One huge rolling trash can:
- last year's composted kitchen and garden scraps

Five gallons each:
- worm castings
- kelp meal
- alfalfa meal
- fish meal

(May still be able to get rabbit and alpaca droppings...)
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Post  llama momma 4/9/2014, 6:33 pm

Sounds remarkably rich in nitrogen, I hope you have a lot of leaves and carbs to add to it.  What does anyone else think???  Remember all your manures count as one.  Horse, cow, and chicken poo is still one ingredient of your 5.   I worry for you that you'll get loads of top green growth yet decrease production.  Please someone else chime in.  (I can always learn more about this topic  too!)
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Post  ETNRedClay 4/9/2014, 6:41 pm

Why do all manures count as one?
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Post  Goosegirl 4/9/2014, 6:48 pm

I don't count all manures as one, because different critters eat different things, digest differently, and so leave different nutrients in their 'leftovers'. However, it is wise to be careful not to use just 5 different kinds of manures instead of some vegetable type compost, as the manures will be VERY high in nitrogen and will give you LOTS of green leafy top growth but very little fruit or roots (if a root crop).

GG
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Post  llama momma 4/9/2014, 6:55 pm

Mel advises stable or poultry manure be 20% of your total by volume. It's on page 96 ANSF Garden Book, the 2006 edition.  The more technical reason as I understand it is variety of ingredients will bring about various microbes that will decompose making your finished compost highly nutritious. Some ingredients encourage various beneficial bacteria, other ingredients encourage various beneficial fungi.  Together the end product is an almost magical richness yet diversified combination of nutrients to make your plants produce at optimal performance and be strong to fight off diseases and withstand some insect attacks too.  Chatty this evening aren't I??     What a Face
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Post  donnainzone5 4/9/2014, 7:03 pm

Despite having small differences in nutrients, manure is a high-nitrogen ingredient.  Mel advises against using more than 20% manure-based compost in Mel's Mix, or one in five.  
I do think, however, that adding small amounts of different animal manures or composts is beneficial.  

LM's suggestion to add plenty of browns is sound, in my opinion.  Mindful of the need to keep manure to around 20% of the total, I just realized that I need to make a 30-mile run to get more mint compost to augment my Whole Foods compost to augment my Rogue Valley compost to augment my leaves, etc., since the homemade is not yet ready.
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Post  llama momma 4/9/2014, 7:09 pm

I'd like to add two more thoughts here please.
You can combine as many animal manures as you want. 
Try to keep it around 20% of the compost volume.
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Post  donnainzone5 4/9/2014, 7:19 pm

+1, which is what I meant to imply.
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Post  llama momma 4/9/2014, 7:46 pm

oops sorry Donna, I didn't mean to trample, ran my mouth off and got caught up with my own thoughts! 
..from me to you-
 BIG hug
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Post  ETNRedClay 4/9/2014, 8:18 pm

Thanks all for your input, I never looked at it that way!

Just curious, since you've all weighed in.  Has anyone actually used all-manure compost and ended up with no roots or fruits?  Or is this common sense wisdom based on manures being high in nitrogen and nitrogen encouraging plant growth vs, roots/fruit growth -- which is the science behind the idea.

I ask because REALLY old timers around here often used straight composted manure in garden beds for decades -- because that's all they had.  And I would think there would be MANY third world gardens that had little else but animal manure for compost... with no vermiculite and no peat moss and only compost....did they end up with great lettuce and sucky or no peppers and potatoes..?

(Really, just curious here, never looked at compost the way I've had to look at it in the last few years.)
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Post  donnainzone5 4/9/2014, 8:56 pm

I think there are ALWAYS plant wastes to compost, not just manure-based ones.
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Post  camprn 4/9/2014, 8:57 pm

The fact is most manure composts are not straight up manure. Typically there are other things like bedding straw or shavings that are part of manure based composts. All manures are not created equal. It is all good stuff and I use all I can get and don't worry too much, if it is composted. I have other things that need worrying about.

Now that doesn't mean I forget about the fact that high nitrogen will make a lot of foliage. A lot of foliage is important early on for a growing plant.


Last edited by camprn on 4/9/2014, 9:09 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : corrected typos per usual)

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Post  llama momma 4/9/2014, 8:58 pm

Back in 2010 my first garden was a 4by 8ft bed, begun around july or august.  I had a tiny pile of composted/composting spent flowers and plant debris.  But I had massive loads of 4 year old llama manure out the back pasture that turned itself into soil looking compost.  I threw it together and pretended to make Mel's mix with proper amounts of vermiculite and peat.  I grew broccoli that was stunning.  So to answer your question I can say in my experience a heavy load of composted manure and little composted plant material and proper amounts of peat and vermic.  indeed did work for broccoli.  Unfortunately  I Can't give a personal experienced answer for any other crop.
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Post  ETNRedClay 4/9/2014, 9:27 pm

OK the worry was too much manure in my compost...

- mushroom compost -- starts with horse stall leavings, but a lot of vegetative structure added, because it looks like really coarse mulch down to grit.
- composted horse stall leavings -- not sure what the bedding materials were, but again there is distinct texture to this, even composted, it's almost... airy and water sifts right through.

- composted cow manure & hay -- this was gleaned out of fields and includes spilled feed, grass, whatever dirt was scooped up, and cow manure -- which is barely composted grasses when it comes out, but a year later is black dirt-like material. 

- composted chicken litter -- this is bedding material PLUS chicken droppings, but the chicken farmers used the deep litter method and there is never an odor around their coop, so it's more bedding than manure.


- composted leaves and grass clippings from last fall's last mowings

One huge rolling trash can:
- last year's composted kitchen and garden scraps

Five gallons each:
- worm castings -- not sure the ratio of worm poop to other in this
- kelp meal
- alfalfa meal
- fish meal

------------

So all in all, I think the overwhelming majority of these manure composts is not manure but vegetation of some sort liberally sprinkled with various manures.
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Post  boffer 4/9/2014, 11:10 pm

I would use your compost mix in a heartbeat. It's nearly identical to mine, less the 5 gallon buckets of amendments. There's no sign of surplus nitrogen here.
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Post  ETNRedClay 4/9/2014, 11:12 pm

boffer wrote:I would use your compost mix in a heartbeat.  It's nearly identical to  mine, less the 5 gallon buckets of amendments.  There's no sign of surplus nitrogen here.

  Thanks for the input, I was a bit worried
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Post  boffer 4/9/2014, 11:18 pm

There are several forum members who run about half plants and half multiple manures. For some of us, it's the only way to get the volume we want.
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Post  Kelejan 4/10/2014, 3:04 am

My second year of SFGing I produced a nice lot of home-made compost and had wonderful, huge beetroot plants, all leaf and no beet roots. Same with the radishes. Good job I liked beet leaves.
I realized later that I did not have the right balance of compost ingredients.
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Post  llama momma 4/10/2014, 5:42 am

ETNredclay
Your last description had more details of what else was mixed in with the manures which eased my thoughts somewhat.  From my experience it doesn't take a lot of manure to make a fine compost.  There are many formulas to make good compost.  I'm looking forward to You getting in the last word on this topic with pictures of your results!
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Post  ETNRedClay 4/10/2014, 11:12 am

Llama Mama, you're right, the last word is always results.  LOL.  Fingers crossed for heaping bushels of results!
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Post  CapeCoddess 4/11/2014, 4:38 pm

Kelejan wrote:My second year of SFGing I produced a nice lot of home-made compost and had wonderful, huge beetroot plants, all leaf and no beet roots. Same with the radishes. Good job I liked beet leaves.
I realized later that I did not have the right balance of compost ingredients.
Kelejan, have you remedied this problem yet?  What did you do?  This has been my issue 2 yrs running & I didn't use any manure...

I like the leaves of everything, if they are edible.  So it was no loss, just a surprise.

CC
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Post  southern gardener 4/11/2014, 5:17 pm

my 2 cents here. We had a rose bed out front, and decided to pull them out. The soil level in the planter was about 1-2' lower than we wanted it, so hubby brought up a couple of tractor loads of almost pure pig manure (it was old, don't know how old) and topped off the bed. We were gonna just grow flowers in the bed which we did, and some beautiful flower bulbs. We ended up putting in a couple of tomato volunteer plants, a tomato sucker and WOW!!! That is by far the best garden we've ever had! Everything we plant in there grows and grows well. There are some pics of the bed in "Loaded Brandywines" thread. The plant grew to 12 or 15 feet across and had to be trimmed because we were running over it with our car! The bed is now full of onions and garlic that are beautiful. soooooooooooooo...there you have it!  my 2 cents lol
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Post  Kelejan 4/11/2014, 5:53 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:
Kelejan wrote:My second year of SFGing I produced a nice lot of home-made compost and had wonderful, huge beetroot plants, all leaf and no beet roots. Same with the radishes. Good job I liked beet leaves.
I realized later that I did not have the right balance of compost ingredients.
Kelejan, have you remedied this problem yet?  What did you do?  This has been my issue 2 yrs running & I didn't use any manure...

I like the leaves of everything, if they are edible.  So it was no loss, just a surprise.

CC

Last year was not a good year for my leafy veggies as I think it was too wet at times.  Hoping for better things this year.  Maybe cut down on the nitrogen.
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