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What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin? Toplef10What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin? 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.

What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin? I22gcj10What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin? 14dhcg10

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What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin?

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CapeCoddess
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What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin? Empty What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin?

Post  No_Such_Reality 5/12/2016, 12:09 pm

Thought I'd start a little hindsight thread.  Short of out right killing off your worm bin what is the biggest pain the back side thing you've added to either a worm bin or compost bin in hindsight.

I have Magnolias and Scheffleras  in my yard.  Without shredding, neither one will decompose leaves, but that's not my biggest pain in the backside.

My worst thing I'm still dealing with in my worm bin and compost bin.   Worms love coffee right?  Yep!  I love my keurig, I do my own coffee in the ez-cup reuseable filter with the EZ-cup 2 filters.  You know, these guys What's the worst thing you've added to your compost or worm bin? MjqugqniASMvPPGx9BAZEkA

Proudly claiming 100% biodegradable.  

Yea, not so much. The old EZ-cup (apparently 1.0), were pretty standard paper coffee filters,  worms loved them almost as much as the coffee grounds.

The new filters, not so much, and they don't break down.  When separating the worms and compost, they've all turned into this tangled spun thread like stuff. Not a little either each one turns into it's own little mass of muck.

Make the mistake of putting the compost in the SFG and they eventually float to the surface like cotton balls in water but tangled in everything.
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Post  landarch 5/12/2016, 3:21 pm

I find that coffee filters and old pairs of cotton underwear don't really break down as well as expected.

One year I composted largemouth bass after filleting...let them compost at the bottom for a few months and everything completely broke down...except for one part.  When running the compost through the screen something kept cutting my fingers...gill plates did not break down and were still relatively sharp.
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Post  Kelejan 5/12/2016, 3:30 pm

landarch, largemouth bass gill plates are certainly unusual.  At least you know what not to put in next time.
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Post  sanderson 5/12/2016, 9:47 pm

Raw peanuts. I cracked them first but the shells were still present after 2 years of cycling through warm composts. Not hot Berkeley but over 100*F. Which then gave me the idea of using crushed shells in lieu of peat moss in other countries.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 5/12/2016, 10:01 pm

Sunflower stalks.....
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Post  Yardslave 5/13/2016, 12:57 pm

Wine corks and Corn cobs seem like they magically reappear in my garden after I turn the soil. I won't use these ever in my SFG beds, but they are more of a novelty item in my rose garden. The one item that keeps getting returned to the compost bin unfinished is the MacDonald's "biodegradable" spoons- they are still intact after 7 years!
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Post  CapeCoddess 5/13/2016, 4:02 pm

This is a great thread.  We can learn from each others mistakes. 

My mom put a hard boiled egg in my compost pile once unbeknownst to me.  When I dug in one day I must have hit it and the stench almost made me upchuck! 
pale
Also, the first time I mixed in lobster bodies and shells, the very next morning they were all over the neighborhood. 
Rolling Eyes 
Now I make sure they are at least under 1+ foot of compost.

CC
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Post  Turan 5/13/2016, 4:21 pm

The very worst thing was manure from my animals after a winter of feeding them certified weed free hay.  Unknown to me it had been sprayed with a systemic herbicide that persists through manure and composting.  It killed one side (50x20) of my old row garden.  That was a total bummer.  It takes 3-5 years to breakdown.  I only grow grass in that area now.

Irritating with how looooong it takes to compost is wool from skirting fleeces after shearing.  It is not good mulch either, the quack grass loves to grow through it.  Probably similar to the action of the fibery kuerig filters.

My fishing son was intrigued to learn about bass gills.
And I will be sure to avoid biodegradable spoons. Very Happy

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Post  yolos 5/13/2016, 5:56 pm

Pumpkin seeds.  They never decompose.  Also, Lantana branches (or any other branches of bushes or trees) that were not shredded.  I had to sift the whole pile because of all the uncomposted branches.  I broke them up into 2-3 inch pieces but still they did not compost yet.  Some day I am sure they will be decomposed but now I have to sift my pile everytime until they are gone.
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Post  sanderson 5/13/2016, 8:28 pm

Woods chips. Yep, they take a long time to decompose. Great for mulch or isles.

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Post  No_Such_Reality 5/15/2016, 11:34 am

Wow, sorry to hear about the systemic herbicide.  What a nightmare.

What was the issue with the sunflowers?  The stalks just too fibrous and branch like so that they require shredding?
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Post  Kelejan 5/15/2016, 11:58 am

CapeCoddess wrote:This is a great thread.  We can learn from each others mistakes. 

My mom put a hard boiled egg in my compost pile once unbeknownst to me.  When I dug in one day I must have hit it and the stench almost made me upchuck! 
pale
Also, the first time I mixed in lobster bodies and shells, the very next morning they were all over the neighborhood. 
Rolling Eyes 

Now I make sure they are at least under 1+ foot of compost.

CC

I guess they found their legs. 
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Post  CapeCoddess 5/15/2016, 12:27 pm

lol!
More likely they hitched a ride in the mouths of foxes and coyotes.
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Post  Turan 5/15/2016, 12:40 pm

No_Such_Reality wrote:Wow, sorry to hear about the systemic herbicide.  What a nightmare.
I keep reminding people of this story because it is still so relevant.  Some one I know this spring tryed a straw bale garden, the straw had been sprayed with tordon and when the plants grew past her compost band and into the straw they died.  It gets into commercial potting soils every once in a while.

Here is an article in Organic Gardening about this, and how to check ones own compost.  If you collect hay, manure, grass from others you should be aware and cautious about this.  http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/do-you-need-test-your-compost-contaminants

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Post  Scorpio Rising 5/15/2016, 12:57 pm

No_Such_Reality wrote:
What was the issue with the sunflowers?  The stalks just too fibrous and branch like so that they require shredding?

Yep. Still out there, not breaking down, and I had the same thing with lantana stalk attached tomrootbound dirt all from a container. Just take For. Ev. Er.
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Post  jimmy cee 5/15/2016, 2:37 pm

landarch wrote:I find that coffee filters and old pairs of cotton underwear don't really break down as well as expected.

One year I composted largemouth bass after filleting...let them compost at the bottom for a few months and everything completely broke down...except for one part.  When running the compost through the screen something kept cutting my fingers...gill plates did not break down and were still relatively sharp.
At one time I fished Lake Erie streams for steelheads, they averaged about 10 to 15 lbs. Three of us would go and a limit of 3 fish was in force. Easily caught when they were running we brought them home and filleted them....what to do with remains...I did have raised beds at the time so digging 2 slots on each side of 4 beds I llaid remains as deep as I could, about 10 inches. This was in October when gardening then was all over for me after tomato's were gone. About 6 months later May. I roto tilled the beds, the carcasses had decomposed, however, there lingered a decayed odor for a while until air dissipated it. . I did have barriers on top to keep raccoons and such off..
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Post  ralitaco 5/15/2016, 2:56 pm

The worst thing I added to my 18 day Berkeley Hot Pile was my impatience, my ignorance and not enough manure...but let me tell you about my Cold Compost Pile Very Happy
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Post  CapeCoddess 5/15/2016, 4:02 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:
No_Such_Reality wrote:
What was the issue with the sunflowers?  The stalks just too fibrous and branch like so that they require shredding?

Yep.  Still out there, not breaking down, and I had the same thing with lantana stalk attached tomrootbound dirt all from a container.  Just take For. Ev. Er.

I was out at my compost pile earlier today and realized how many little necks / clam shells are laying around from last year's pile. I was filling pots for flowers so I stuck a bunch off the shells in the bottoms of the pots to cover the holes and then put the compost on top of them. Maybe you could do that with your stalks?

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Post  sanderson 5/15/2016, 4:54 pm

ralitaco wrote:The worst thing I added to my 18 day Berkeley Hot Pile was my impatience, my ignorance and not enough manure...but let me tell you about my Cold Compost Pile Very Happy
rofl  Love your good humor.

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