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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Best Compost Ingredients Toplef10Best Compost Ingredients 1zd3ho10

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.

Best Compost Ingredients I22gcj10Best Compost Ingredients 14dhcg10

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Best Compost Ingredients

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Post  skyrokit 3/4/2015, 11:16 pm

Until I actually start reading the book, what are some of the best composts for the 1/3 compost mix?
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Post  sanderson 3/4/2015, 11:55 pm

Shocked   There are many, depending on what is available in your area.  I think it would be easier if you tell us what you find and we can reply.  Make sure there is at least one composted barnyard manure.  Check Craig's List for worm castings, composted manures and other local composts.  Homemade compost is probably the best because you can control what goes in it.

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Post  CapeCoddess 3/5/2015, 11:33 am

Hi skyrokit, happy hi

My fave are kitchen scraps, grass and leaves for starters.  After that, just about anything goes... Wink

Or did  you mean store bought?


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Post  skyrokit 3/5/2015, 11:09 pm

Actually store bought. But, home made ingredients are helpful too. Have plans to put up a compost bin. Smile 

Nothing in stores yet, so the suggestion to look on Craigslist will be a start.
As for other ingredients-- vermiculite is available at Menards here for $14.88/3 cu. ft. (Micaflake Attic Insulation -- MSDS lists it as A-4 extra course grade) and Peat Moss 2 cu. ft. for $7.97 at Menards.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/5/2015, 11:41 pm

coffee grounds, eggshells, various manures, leaves, grass, straw, seaweed, garden waste, yard trimmings (chip them or cut them as small as possible) as well as kitchen waste.
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Post  sanderson 3/6/2015, 4:01 am

Just puttering on the computer. Home Depot in WI has Ecoscraps, 1.5 c. f. for $5.97 and Earthgrow steer manure, 1 c. f. for $$1.37. Menards has Mushroom compost 0.75 c. f. for $3.97. On Craig's list, some one has compost worms and sells a mix of worm castings and biochar. Maybe he would sell some plain worm castings without the biochar.

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Post  jimmy cee 3/6/2015, 3:18 pm

Local horse stables for manure.
Local grocery stores for perishable's they discard.
Dairy farmers for manure.
Coffee shops for used grinds
Falls leaves.
Lakes for water growth.
Poultry farms for manures.
Farmers for straw.
Cheese Mfg's for material.
Recycle centers for free over wintered compost

May be other materials suited to your area..Good Luck
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Post  AtlantaMarie 3/6/2015, 3:51 pm

If you're looking for ground up trees for mulch, you might check your local DOT offices for all the trees that came down over the winter.
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Post  llama momma 3/6/2015, 4:43 pm

More compost ingredients:

-Halloween pumpkins
-corn stalks
-nearby winery?  Make friends with them for the spent grapes or grape pomace. I buy a bottle or two of wine from my source, make it a win-win situation.
-aged kitchen spices can be tossed into the compost instead of the trash can.
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Post  jimmy cee 3/6/2015, 9:15 pm

YEAHHHH Halloween pumpkins
I forgot all about them, after Halloween they are everywhere, and I hear their great for composting
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Post  llama momma 3/8/2015, 9:33 am

Forgot I put large cut pieces of 100% white cotton shirts in the compost pile and months later. Gone. Not a shred left.  
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Post  Triciasgarden 3/9/2015, 7:40 pm

On CL I searched for rabbit breeders and found one that was only about three blocks from me.  Rabbit poo galore for the shoveling!
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Post  Triciasgarden 4/30/2015, 6:14 pm

I have to tell you this because I got so excited. A man was riding his horse on the sidewalk and leading a horse behind, I think yesterday. Today my grand kids told me that there was horse poo on the sidewalk. I got all excited and grabbed my flat shovel and a smaller one to sweep it into the larger shovel. I then dumped it into my compost pile. I do need to rebuild and water the compost pile, but for now at least it is basically where it belongs. Had to share with someone.
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Post  sanderson 5/1/2015, 3:19 am

Only a gardener would think this was perfectly normal behavior. lol!

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Post  Triciasgarden 5/1/2015, 10:10 pm

For sure! My grand kids are getting some lessons on what "normal" gardening behavior is, lol. They are so cute about getting excited when I get excited.
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Post  jimmy cee 5/2/2015, 7:35 am

Here's some of what is great..If your respectful and persistent in your local grocery stores it can be a benefit.
I had to move to another store in town because the Mgr of the last one did not want to be bothered., since the fellow who was helping me left the store for another job.
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Post  Weedless_ 5/2/2015, 8:47 am

Creative sources:
Check your local Waste Management - they might have composting program, which means free plant based compost.
Also, if you are anywhere near a military base, they may have composting programs as well, and will give compost for free.
In my area there is a man who makes compost for living, it's based on saw dust and fish carcasses from fisheries. Charges 100 bucks per truck load, but that's a ton of compost for the money, and it's the best kind. Plants love fish.
Check local farms for spoiled hay, it's awesome for gardening
If you don't have enough fallen leaves for your compost pile, collect neighbors' bags (or ask permission to get them).
Check local farmers markets and health food stores. Depending on where you are, they might have composting program as well. I got my first ever compost from one of the Atlanta's farmer markets -- it was just sitting there in their parking lot innocently with a small sign "free plant compost", and it was gold, I tell ya!
For my first boxes I mixed bags of black cow manure, chicken manure, mushroom compost and some local store plant organic compost varieties, since I didn't have any compost of my own yet. The mix was lacking in nitrogen, all of my beans were yellow, but I fish-washed them, and it helped immediately.
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Post  Roseinarosecity 5/2/2015, 12:33 pm

Leaves.  Leaves from my avocado tree, leaves when I see my neighbors raking up and dumping, leaves I have collected during the fall season, leaves when I trim a bush, leaves when I trim my garden tomatoes, leaves of weeds I see coming up, and when I'm brave and desperate and if I get my husband to come with me, I collect the leaves outside the local high school.
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Post  sanderson 5/2/2015, 7:36 pm

Jimmy, You did it again!

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Post  jimmy cee 5/2/2015, 11:10 pm

sanderson wrote:Jimmy,  You did it again!

Yep, I was getting so much of this stuff I just couldn't keep up so I went to once a week.
I think that should do me.
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Post  ralitaco 5/2/2015, 11:51 pm

jimmy cee wrote:Here's some of what is great..If your respectful and persistent in your local grocery stores it can be a benefit.
I had to move to another store in town because the Mgr of the last one did not want to be bothered., since the fellow who was helping me left the store for another job.
Best Compost Ingredients Compos15Best Compost Ingredients Compos16

I am wondering how long does it take for those items to break down and become compost?
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Post  Kelejan 5/3/2015, 2:04 am

Yesterday I started collecting COMFREY from a city patch of land just a couple of hundred yards from me.  There are twenty-three plants there growing like crazy.
I harvested two plants to start with and got a garbage bag full, brought them home and further sliced them up with scissors, they were so soft.

Then I spread them on top of my wood chips. I will repeat until I have harvested all 23 and I think by then the first ones may be ready for harvesting again.

For those who do not know about comfrey, they have deep roots and bring up lots of minerals from where most plants cannot access.
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Post  jimmy cee 5/3/2015, 7:35 am

Read some very good info about comfrey
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Post  yolos 5/3/2015, 9:38 am

Comfrey is on my list of "I want".
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Post  Goosegirl 5/3/2015, 9:40 am

I am envious of those who have access to comfrey.  I will try again this year, but a few years ago I scattered a full packet of comfrey seeds and not a one sprouted!
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