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Hello Guest!
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types of compost in Mel's Mix

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Post  christinetarifa 10/24/2018, 6:20 am

Hi, I have a question reg. the different types of compost since I'm having a hard time finding them here in Spain.

Would horse manure compost and vermicompost based on horse manure be the same type of compost or different types? 

All I can find here is cow and horse manure compost, maybe I'm lucky and can get hold of goats compost, since there's a lot of goats around here but I haven't found anything yet.

So if I end up with only horse manure compost, meaning I have only 1 type, can I use that to make up for 1/3 of the soil mix and then use fertilizer to make up for the missing variety??

I am planning of getting a vermicomposter. If I add vegetable kitchen scraps, egg shells, as well as leaves, seaweed from the beach and maybe some bat poop if I can find it (there's bats around here, so they must poop somewhere, right), would the resulting compost count as 5 different types since I've used all those different ingredients?

Thanks for any clarification!
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Post  OhioGardener 10/24/2018, 11:07 am

Welcome to the SFG Forums, christinetarifa!  Horse Manure Compost and Vermicompost (worm castings) are not the same and can be used as part of Mel's Mix as two different sources. The important thing when looking at manure compost is what they used to produce it - is it "forest products", or hay/straw, or is it pure manure? Some bags of things such as "cow manure compost" are very deceptive when you look at the ingredients, and are not really compost at all.

You don't want to add chemical fertilizer as that kills the microbes/fungi in the compost, and destroys most of the benefits of using it.  Organic fertilizer would be okay, but should not be necessary if you have good quality composts.

Have you considered having your own compost bin, in addition to the vermicomposting, so that you can add compost to your beds over time? 

To make a long story short, use as many different types of compost as you can acquire locally to make up 1/3rd of the MM, but don't get overly concerned if there are only 2 or 3 different types instead of 5.  Go with what is available, and you'll be okay.

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Post  trolleydriver 10/24/2018, 11:50 am

Also, if the store bought compost contains peat moss filler you will need to reduce the amount of pure peat moss you use in Mel's Mix to keep the ratios correct.
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Post  sanderson 10/24/2018, 6:05 pm

Christine, Welcome to the Forum from California, US! glad you\'re here Just do the best you can with finding different "sources" of compost. Think of a source as the original product before nature composts it. All manures count as one source. Leaves, bedding straw, and produce culls are 3 more "sources" that can be used to make compost.

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Post  christinetarifa 10/25/2018, 5:10 am

Thank you everybody, that helps :-)

OhioGardener, I don't really have space for a compost bin in addition to a vermicompost and I also don't like the work that comes with it lol ;-) I have 2 square foot garden setups on my rooftop terrace with 12 squares each and some extra pots, if I add the vermicompost, there's no more room.

Any input reg. adding different types of material to the vermicompost, does that then count as 1 type compost or 5 types (if I added 5 different sources) ?
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Post  sanderson 10/25/2018, 4:20 pm

No, vermicompost is just worm poop, regardless of what the worms eat. While worm poop is not considered a true compost, it still counts as one "compost". You may have to buy bagged composts of other sources and store the bags in a 33 gallon garbage can (however that translates). Carrying one tidy bag upstairs is easier than hauling raw ingredients upstairs.

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Post  christinetarifa 10/26/2018, 2:53 am

sanderson wrote:No, vermicompost is just worm poop, regardless of what the worms eat.  While worm poop is not considered a true compost, it still counts as one "compost". 
Ah ok thank you!
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Post  sanderson 10/26/2018, 3:32 am

You are welcome. Very Happy

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Post  christinetarifa 10/26/2018, 8:45 am

OhioGardener wrote:You don't want to add chemical fertilizer as that kills the microbes/fungi in the compost, and destroys most of the benefits of using it.  Organic fertilizer would be okay, but should not be necessary if you have good quality composts.
I was thinking of guano as a fertilizer, I could get one made of marine bird poop:
"GuanoForte is a slow-releasing fertilizer that contains a high quantity of nutrients which makes it perfect for plants in all stages to absorb. [...] It is a 100% natural compound that comes from marine bird excrement extracts, making it one of the most versatile biological fertilizers around; it will give your plants the necessary nutrients for almost their entire life cycle."
So could I add this to my soil mix instead of another type of compost??
So I'd have compost of horse poop, goat poop, vermicompost of horse + chicken poop and thenthe guano of marine bird poop. That's a lot of poop in my soil  Laughing Laughing Laughing but I can't find any other compost to buy that's not poop ....
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Post  sanderson 10/26/2018, 5:50 pm

No, skip the bat quano and sea bird poop. Just stick with the Zoo Gro and vermicompost. Keep it simple.

Regarding bat guano, I'm not sure it is all harvested in a manner that does not interfere with bat life. Bats are such important pollinators in some areas.

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Post  jdwheeler42 11/11/2018, 5:04 pm

If you put up a bat house, they will deposit their guano underneath automatically.
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Post  Dan in Ct 11/12/2018, 10:36 am

I believe there is some confusion as to what vermicompost is and what worm castings are. Worm castings are indeed worm poop and worm castings are an ingredient in vermicompost. I would like to see the reference to where vermicompost is not a compost when there is and has to be microbial activity in the making all compost. If I had well made and cured compost and well made and cured vermicompost, I would chose the superior vermicompost because of its known benefits. You can add too much of either to your mix, so I would use within given parameters. The other thing is to be sustainable learn to use local ingredients and what can be substituted for what. Learn the difference between leaf mold and composted leaves. Rutgers did an analysis of composted municipal leaves which it seems contains many if not all of the needed trace elements.
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Post  plantoid 11/14/2018, 5:17 pm

Have a look in the composting 101  thread ( Pinkish bobbles on the LH side of the home page )  there is a wealth of information as to what we've used in our composts all over the world .

 Re the dung based composts with their urine soaked bedding of  paper , straw , shavings , sawdust , hemp waste , torn up card board . as well as all our garden waste & uncooked kitchen waste . 

 If it has grass hay in it or the animals have grass hay  for food  try and avoid it  .
  I had something like nine  different species  providing  the major component of the compost element for my original home made  compost that I made into Mel's Mix & initially filed my  36 inch deep beds with .
 My only regret was that I used horse much and stale cleanings  which contained zillions of dormant weed seeds as the horses digestive system does not kill them off like a pig, cows, bullocks , steers & bulls  chicken, goose, duck turkeys , sheep, goat , llama .rabbit  etc. does .  
Guano  from sea birds is a fantastic source for trace elements .

 Bat crap has zillions of digested high protein insects in it and also has a fantastic amount of valuable trace elements in it  .

 As with all dung based manure composts always wear  leak proof nitrile or rubber gloves when handling it and wash your hand arms and face well afterwards  . Having an anti tetanus jab before hand if you use it is advisable too especially as you get older ..
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