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Post  Kate888 on 3/26/2018, 9:49 pm

I didn't garden last year at all.  In 2016 I left a lot of stuff in the compost bin - kitchen waste, the chicken coop pine bedding with manure, the rabbit bedding with their manure, grass and leaves.  At this point it is sort of half finished.  I can still see the pine bedding some, there's a couple of egg shells and pieces of paper.  My question is, how can I best get this finished up quickly?   I have done fast composting before, layering, wetting and turning daily.  Should I just layer some along with what is there and try to get it started?  I'm not sure if that will work at all, but it seems I would have to add something to it to get it really going again.  Thoughts?
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Post  sanderson on 3/26/2018, 10:26 pm

Blood meal?

I think egg shells take years to fully break down.

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Post  plantoid on 3/27/2018, 5:05 pm

If you're fit & able , turn & water it lightly adding a sprinkling of blood meal on the first turning . Give it three more turnings at three day intervals . Check the temp if you have a gauge age . Keep the heap covered to retain the moisture , generated gases &heat that beneficial bacteria use .

If not so fit  use a pointed bar to push holes in if from top to bottom , sprinkle some dried blood over it & down the holes then give it a sprinkle of water .  Three  days later make holes in at different places and spray lightly , do the same again  three more times . Then start digging into the pile to see how it has turned out .
Again keep the heap covered whilst it's " cooking " .
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Post  Kate888 on 3/28/2018, 2:23 am

@sanderson wrote:Blood meal?

I think egg shells take years to fully break down.
Yes, I remembered adding blood meal once before when it just wouldn't get hot enough.  Thanks!
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Post  Kate888 on 3/28/2018, 2:25 am

@plantoid wrote:If you're fit & able , turn & water it lightly adding a sprinkling of blood meal on the first turning . Give it three more turnings at three day intervals . Check the temp if you have a gauge age . Keep the heap covered to retain the moisture , generated gases &heat that beneficial bacteria use .

If not so fit  use a pointed bar to push holes in if from top to bottom , sprinkle some dried blood over it & down the holes then give it a sprinkle of water .  Three  days later make holes in at different places and spray lightly , do the same again  three more times . Then start digging into the pile to see how it has turned out .
Again keep the heap covered whilst it's " cooking " .
Thanks, Plantoid.  It depends on the day whether I am fit and able. Smile   I will try that.
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Post  sanderson on 3/28/2018, 3:12 am

Blood meal, turning for aeration and watering. Thanks, Plantoid.

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Post  SQWIB on 3/28/2018, 8:00 am

I'm not sure how your garden is setup and also not sure if this goes against SFG methods but have you thought about direct composting?
I have been doing this with a lot of my veggie only scraps in my planters and raised beds.
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Post  plantoid on 3/28/2018, 5:32 pm

@SQWIB wrote:I'm not sure how your garden is setup and also not sure if this goes against SFG methods but have you thought about direct composting?
I have been doing this with a lot of my veggie only scraps in my planters and raised beds.

I like your enquiring mind and progressive experiments there are however some big drawbacks to what you are doing .
 With direct composting you have to accept that having reasonably new material freshly rotting away in a bed / planter may attract all manner of pests that you associate with plants you used to get your waste from .
Such pests can then live in the soil  to attack formerly healthy new plants you put in the  bed . 

Mel Bartholomew our deceased mentor & originator of ANSFG  was very much against direct composting for that very reason . The system he designed over the years was the result of almost 40 years of problem solving research & real time testing done by many people all over the world . So be careful not to try and invent the wheel .

Correct composting away from the bed  gives you high temperatures needed that kill most pests & pest eggs .  Plus it generates beneficial  gases such as ammonia that turn into nitrogen , that is absorbed by the compost . Some beneficial fungi also breed in the working compost heap , these in turn work on rotting matter to give you liquid humus that is absorbed by the drying out compost matter  .  Having a large number of well rotted materials in the compost will ensure that the final blend of compost will have a tremendous number of nutrients & trace elements in every fork full of compost .... that will not always  be the case with direct composting even it you've been doing it for donkeys years. .
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Post  SQWIB on 3/28/2018, 9:27 pm

Interesting. I haven't ever had a problem with direct composting of veggie scraps.
During the garden season I'll also trim back plants and shove the trimmings directly into the soil.

I would think it would be as safe as chop and drop in the garden or even turning under a cover crop.
The only negative I can see is seeds sprouting.

So you are saying passive composting isn't a correct way to compost? Really!

And it's not reinventing the wheel, it's merely another method of gardening/composting similar to what was used by the American Indians.

And as I said I'm not sure if this goes against SFG methods but figured the poster would appreciate any input
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Post  Kate888 on 3/28/2018, 9:42 pm

Thanks for all the input.  I know my mother never had a compost pile, she just put grass clippings, coffee grounds and egg shells and similar on her garden (near, but not too close to the plants).  At this point with a pile already in the bin, I'd rather just finish it there.
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Post  Turan on 3/28/2018, 10:10 pm

Mulching with half finished compost works very nicely.

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Post  sanderson on 3/30/2018, 3:22 am

@Turan wrote:Mulching with half finished compost works very nicely.
Turan, you're right. half finished compost is a good mulch. I forgot about that.

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Post  trolleydriver on 3/30/2018, 8:40 am

@sanderson wrote:
@Turan wrote:Mulching with half finished compost works very nicely.
Turan, you're right.  half finished compost is a good mulch.  I forgot about that.
+1
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Post  Kelejan on 4/1/2018, 9:52 pm

@Kate888 wrote:Thanks for all the input.  I know my mother never had a compost pile, she just put grass clippings, coffee grounds and egg shells and similar on her garden (near, but not too close to the plants).  At this point with a pile already in the bin, I'd rather just finish it there.

Your mother instinctively did it right. Perhaps it did not look pretty, but I am sure the plants and the worms etc were not fussy about the looks.
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Post  cyclonegardener on 11/14/2018, 10:33 pm

If I want to finish the compost, I add a pile of cut green grass. It gets it hot and breaks it down within a couple of weeks. That's how I finish off my leaves that are almost done composting and I am getting impatient.
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Post  Dan in Ct on 11/15/2018, 8:53 am

Composting in nothing more than what nature does naturally in the decomposition of organic materials. If we rush nature we do not necessarily have better compost. Composting has many different methods and they all work just as there are many different methods to gardening. If you want to get good compost as a final product then you are probably stewarding or managing the microbiology properly. I have one basic rule of composting to keep pests away, smells to a minimum and that is I add fresh carbon to cover anything I add to pile or bin, here it is leaves outside, shredded paper products inside whether I am composting or vermicomposting. Sheet composting is a component of lasagna gardening. I would use leaves as a mulch and either pull back the mulch and then recover or just add more leaves. Here leaves are corralled in a couple of 2" x 4" x 3' welded wire fencing to be used throughout the year. I don't think there is a better sustainable source of trace elements than tree leaves.

The important thing is to compost utilizing as many different and diverse ingredients as possible and learn to do it well. There seems to be an abundance of misinformation out there. I also don't seem to fear weeds as much as most people do. Weeds can tell you much about your mix/soil plus they have become a vital ingredient in my weed teas that I use in my fertilizing schedule. Don't believe everything you read, not even this, verify.
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