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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Sifting Compost for Newbies Toplef10Sifting Compost for Newbies 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.

Sifting Compost for Newbies I22gcj10Sifting Compost for Newbies 14dhcg10

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Sifting Compost for Newbies

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Sifting Compost for Newbies Empty Sifting Compost for Newbies

Post  danieggert 3/18/2023, 12:33 pm

Hi all,

Getting everything ready to make my 1st ever Mel's Mix.

On the advice of other posts from this site, I decided to sift my compost through a 1/4" hardware cloth.

I mixed the bags up as I sifted so that they were already somewhat blended..

OMG  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.   My compost which looked somewhat crappy as I removed from the bag is now like fine, fine topsoil after being sifted.

So glad I took the time and effort to do this.

Dani from Burr Ridge
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Post  OhioGardener 3/18/2023, 2:19 pm

Any pictures of the compost before and after sifting?

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Post  danieggert 3/18/2023, 4:04 pm

HI Everyone,

Sorry about my last post where I was yelling about my sifting results.  I was just so darn excited.

I had about 15 bags, so a lot of sifting but oh so worth it.

Tomorrow I will take pictures of the compost 'rejects'.  Mostly not composted twigs, some rocks and oddly, some green paper Easter grass.  I will also show the sifted end product.  It is amazing.  I would do today, but my back is killing from the awkward position I was sitting in to sift.

I have save all of the composable rejects to add to my newly created compost bin to further break down. It will probably be fine for next year.

Next step, fluffing the peat.

Dani from Burr Ridge
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Post  OhioGardener 3/18/2023, 4:48 pm

danieggert wrote:Tomorrow I will take pictures of the compost 'rejects'.  Mostly not composted twigs, some rocks and oddly, some green paper Easter grass.  I will also show the sifted end product.  It is amazing. 

Amazing the things that show up in compost, isn't it?  LOL

A few year's ago I bought some compost that was on sale, called "Nature's Best", and it had more junk in it than compost. I found things such as bottle caps, gum wrappers, plastic tea bag tags, and lots of rocks.  I contacted the company with pictures of the compost, and get a full refund for the bags of junk.

Next step, fluffing the peat.

Fortunately, that is the easy part! Peat almost fluffs itself when it gets released from the confining plastic bag. Very Happy

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Sifting Compost for Newbies Empty Before and after sifting compost

Post  danieggert 3/19/2023, 11:35 am

Hi,

Yesterday I posted a comment on the wonderful results of the sifting of my bags of compost.  15 bagsSifting Compost for Newbies 20230310
Sifting Compost for Newbies 20230311

Here are before and after pictures.  The third picture shows my homemade sifter (very easy) over the bin I was sifting into

The first picture shows the twigs, etc., left after the sifting.  They will go in my compost bin for next year.  In addition, there were many many balls and chucks of compost that are fine to use but needed to be broken up.  I doubt that I could have broken them down simply by combining them with the peat and vermiculite.  I would have a lumpy mixture

The second picture shows the end result of the sifting.  Perfect, like fine top soil.  I can pick up a handful and it runs through my fingers.

Please don't skip this step.  I am a newbie and am hoping to pass this along to someone else just starting.

I plan to fluff my peat the same way

Dani from Burr Ridge
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Post  sanderson 3/20/2023, 3:47 am

Dani, Beautiful photos of the sifted-out material and the finished fine compost. It is so worth screening all composts.

I found only one that is as beautiful as your sifted material, Malibu Bu's Blend Compost. It's $20 a bag and in a way, is worth it. If it didn't also contain a significant amount of cow manure, I would use just it because of the convenience. The worm castings were also delightful but those have to be limited also.

PS: Your photo of the sifter did not post.

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