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What's in your compost pile? Toplef10What's in your compost pile? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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What's in your compost pile? I22gcj10What's in your compost pile? 14dhcg10

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What's in your compost pile?

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Post  The Cat's Other Mother 10/11/2010, 12:16 am

When I first started thinking about composting, I was somewhat intimidated by how complicated some sources made it out to be, with their detailed formulas for brown and green and turning, etc., but once I got a bin set up, I came to the conclusion that unless I was a perfectionist or in a hurry, I couldn't really mess it up too badly. I just save up a bucket of kitchen scraps during the week, dump it in my SoilSaver Classic, cover it with lawn and garden trimmings and soak. I intend to build a leaf cage next to it and layer those between in the winter.

My compost ingredients include:
peels from melons, potatoes, carrots, carrot tops, celery tops, coffee grounds, egg shells, dead flowers, grass trimmings, weeds, pine needles, bunny poop & compostable litter.

So, what's in your pile, and what are you piling it in?
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Post  Chopper 10/11/2010, 12:21 am

I came to the same conclusion. Compost happens. I add everything except meat essentially. Grass clippings are some garden refuse, although I never include tomatoes or squash stuff. I just put it into a trash can and let it stew. I have two trash cans. Eventually they will get there. Compost piles teach patience if nothing else.
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Post  Old Hippie 10/11/2010, 1:10 am

I do and have pretty much the same as both of you. No meat scraps for my compost but any kitchen fruit and vegetable waste goes in it along with coffee grounds, tea leaves, tea bags, shredded newspaper, contents from the shredder at home and at work, sawdust from my husband's work shop, leaves, grass clippings and the stuff from all my planters. I also scrounge the neighbours' grass clippings if they don't use any weed and feed and their leaves in the fall. Keeping it damp and turning it often got it heated up good especially after the addition of the grass clippings. My husband likes to monitor the heat in the center of the pile and turns it regularly to keep it cooking for as long as possible to kill weeds and any diseases that might be lurking. This year we were a lot more successful with it than we have ever been. We didn't have a problem with flies or smell at all this year, and I think it was because we kept it hotter but I was also very careful to dig a hole to dump the contents of my kitchen bucket and then covered it up well with grass clippings and/or a bit of soil.

GK
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Post  LaFee 10/11/2010, 4:08 am

we've finally gotten some dry weather...I'm going out this afternoon to sweep up the dry leaves on the sidewalk and in the street (the neighbours will either love me or think I'm insane, or both)...I'm going to bag up some nice dry browns to save for later!
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Post  bettyd_z7_va 10/11/2010, 11:57 am

Mostly veggie/fruit peels,coffee grounds,egg shells,etc.

Before I retired I would drop off empty 5 gal buckets at the local convience store and pick up the ones full of coffee grounds every few days.

I live too far from town to make it financially feasible with gas prices these days.

When I could borrow a pick-up truck I got a few loads of leaves from the compost site at our local landfill. Awesome stuff!

Betty
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Post  dstubbs 10/11/2010, 12:59 pm

I'm new at composting, having just started this summer with a worm composter in my kitchen. I put a variety of kitchen scraps in it, mostly uncooked veggie peelings and trimmings and some produce that went off in the fridge. I alternate that with shredded paper and cardboard, and when I have egg shells, I crush those and sprinkle on top. I don't put any animal products (dairy, meat or fish) in the composter for obvious reasons, and I'm told to avoid any kind of vegetable oil, or too much grain products and citrus. When I started my last tray I used some fallen leaves. The first tray had coir fibres in it instead (it came with the kit). I've had some fruit flies but they're not out of control and otherwise all's going well. I look forward to using the finished compost in the spring. It should produce enough for my SFG, but wouldn't be efficient for a big garden.

I've never composted outside before. I'm thinking of starting a little compost pile for leaves in the driveway this fall. We have municpal compost compost collection so my really yucky stuff (used cat littler -- it's made of recycled newspapers so I'm told it's ok -- , bones, and table scrapings) goes in that.

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Post  trustinhart 10/11/2010, 1:16 pm

Alpaca poo!!!!! Smile
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Post  Garden Angel 10/11/2010, 1:49 pm

The usual kitchen scraps, a bag of manure when we first started, plus we pick up leaves at the park , and my nieghbor gives me his grass clippings, and my friend gives me BBQ wood ashes from his bussiness.
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Post  CarolynPhillips 10/16/2010, 11:14 pm

Used cat litter?
"Used" means ---has poo and pee?


Grass clippings
shredded leaves
chicken manure
horse manure
cow manure
(no meat) kitchen scraps--chopped.
coffee grounds/tea bags
garden debris- chopped minus tomato, squash , and cukes.
cotton seed meal (extra nitro to heat it up)
bone meal

never add peat moss cause it will absorb the moisture needed to compost.

elevated Tumbler


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Post  The Cat's Other Mother 10/17/2010, 8:01 am

Why no tomato, cuke or squash stuff? I've been throwing bits of that in as kitchen scraps. What I've been leaving out is citrus, garlic and onion.
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Post  Megan 10/17/2010, 8:13 am

Is it safe to put cat litter in compost? I thought you weren't supposed to use litter from animals that eat meat? Just askin'. Smile
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Post  Icemaiden 10/17/2010, 9:08 am

I just put in some broccoli plants, all the dried stems left over from the spring tidy, and two big buckets of fallen leaves. I don't suppose for one second that any of it will compost over the winter but the garden is a lot tidier now and in the spring I plan on tipping it all out and mixing it up properly. It is bound to break down eventually.... Smile
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Post  camprn 10/17/2010, 9:35 am

I do not put cat litter into the compost pile, eww, cat poo. affraid I also do not want to add all that clay to my soil. Here is my list:
All kitchen food scraps and left overs including eggshell, cooked eggs, dairy & citrus (but no chunks of meat, fat or grease), coffee grounds & filters, tea leaves and bags, shredded office paper (not a lot), garden foliage that has no apparent disease (cut up into small pieces), a bit of native soil, grass clippings, chopped leaves (lawnmower), bits of newspaper, composted dairy/horse barn manure & shavings, coffee bean chaff when I can get it, dried blood to heat up the pile & water.
What's in your compost pile? Jul_0121
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Post  Old Hippie 10/17/2010, 1:30 pm

Those old pallets make wonderful compost bins don't they. That is what we used too. FREE for the taking! LOL! And like you I have a double bin. Sometimes I think it isn't enough. I put lattice on the outside of mine and plant sweetpeas and sunflowers around it to since it is visible from the street and the house.

According to "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide" cat and dog poo are NOT recommended in the normal compost bins. A good rule of thumb is if the animal is mostly a plant eater, yes. Manure from animals that eat meat...no.

I throw all plant material in my compost bin, including tomato and cucumber plants unless it is diseased or pest laden. But even the diseased stuff can be composted separately in a "hospital heap" that is designed to kill bacteria and then later. As long as I make sure to get the heat up in the compost and keep it there for a week or so, I don't have too much trouble with the seeds of tomatoes sprouting on me.

GK
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Post  ander217 10/18/2010, 8:08 am

What seems to be in mine mostly are dogs, skunks, and 'possums. I really HAVE to get some type of bin made for my open pile.

This is my first year ever to compost - we've always raised farm animals and we fed the scraps to them in return for manure to spread on the garden which we rototilled in. Since we stopped row gardening we need finished compost so I tried a compost pile for the first time this year but I haven't been very successful because all the critters keep scattering it and eating the scraps. I first built a pile next to our back fence but the sheep put their heads through the fence and ate everything. So I moved the pile away from the fence but the other critters keep digging through it. (Even my dogs eat some of the veggies.)

We have such ingrained habits of just tossing the scraps over the fence to the animals that it has been hard for us to change gears and feed a compost pile instead. And it's also hard for me to explain to the sheep who are watching me put their favorite fruits and veggies in a pile where they can't reach them, why I'm no longer giving them their daily treats. I think Freckles, my favorite ewe, thinks I'm punishing her for some reason. I usually end up sneaking her a few treats through the fence anyway, and then I feel bad and give some to the other three ewes, and their babies, and of course Rambo the big daddy...

I'm thinking I may have to put the compost pile inside the garden fence. Does anyone else do that? But then, I don't want to invite skunks to dig under the fence...I don't know. Nothing's working very well at this point. That's all I know. Anyone have suggestions?
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Post  LaFee 10/18/2010, 9:05 am

What seems to be in mine mostly are dogs, skunks, and 'possums.

darn funny
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Post  Old Hippie 10/18/2010, 1:04 pm

Well, if I had animals that ate the kitchen scraps I would let them have the stuff too. You can always compost grass, leaves, etc. and mix in some manure and let that compost. Wouldn't keep it too close to the house though.

The reason I compost is to make use of things that would feed the soil rather than dump it in the landfill. It doesn't make sense to throw away compostable stuff and then turn around and buy something to feed my garden. However, if your animals are eating it, then you are already making use of it. I would gladly give the treats to the sheep in exchange for their manure.

GK
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Post  camprn 10/18/2010, 1:13 pm

@Old Hippie wrote:Well, if I had animals that ate the kitchen scraps I would let them have the stuff too. You can always compost grass, leaves, etc. and mix in some manure and let that compost. Wouldn't keep it too close to the house though.

The reason I compost is to make use of things that would feed the soil rather than dump it in the landfill. It doesn't make sense to throw away compostable stuff and then turn around and buy something to feed my garden. However, if your animals are eating it, then you are already making use of it. I would gladly give the treats to the sheep in exchange for their manure.

GK
+1
Yard and garden debris is the main bulk of my compost pile. I would (and have in the past) still feed the scrap food to the critters who are used to the treats. And it would probably keep out the extra critters.
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Post  ander217 10/18/2010, 5:31 pm

Good points, Old Hippie and Camprn. I should have thought of that. I am definitely a compost newbie.

Thanks.

(And Freckles thanks you, too, I'm sure.)
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Post  LaFee 10/18/2010, 6:16 pm

Me, too....she and her girls are giving you milk and wool...she earns her treats!

Incidentally, it was a good thing I went out and did my crazy-lady-sweeping-up-the-leaves yesterday...the city came and swept up all the rest of them!

(But there's more still on the trees than they swept up...so I'll fill those bags yet!)
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Post  ander217 10/18/2010, 6:51 pm

We raise Katahdin sheep which lose their wool naturally - no shearing. (Unless one has many sheep it isn't worth the trouble of trying to sell the wool.) The birds love it, though. They pick up the tufts of wool after the sheep rub them off on fences and fallen limbs. We see many wool-lined bird nests in our trees and shrubs.

Glad you got your leaves. Does the city make them available as compost?
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Post  Megan 10/18/2010, 7:42 pm

@ander217 wrote:What seems to be in mine mostly are dogs, skunks, and 'possums. I really HAVE to get some type of bin made for my open pile.
lol!

I'm thinking I may have to put the compost pile inside the garden fence. Does anyone else do that? But then, I don't want to invite skunks to dig under the fence...I don't know. Nothing's working very well at this point. That's all I know. Anyone have suggestions?

I don't remember who it was, but someone this year described having a compost pile in their garden, and it turned out to be a bunny magnet... so if you already have a skunk issue, it would probably compound the problem. Just guessing.
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Post  Old Hippie 10/18/2010, 7:55 pm

@LaFee wrote:Me, too....she and her girls are giving you milk and wool...she earns her treats!

Incidentally, it was a good thing I went out and did my crazy-lady-sweeping-up-the-leaves yesterday...the city came and swept up all the rest of them!

(But there's more still on the trees than they swept up...so I'll fill those bags yet!)

Maybe your name should be La Feuille (did I spell that right?) instead of LaFee. I know what you mean about needing more. Hope you get them. I keep raking up leaves too and begging for the bags of leaves the neighbours have sitting by the curb.

Today I shredded three huge bags of leaves. That filled my plastic composter that I use for making leaf mold about 3/4 full. I already used about 6 big bags in the flower beds and compost bins but I need more for wintering the roses.

GK
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Post  laurainwinona 10/18/2010, 11:56 pm

I use two cylinders of green fencing about 4 ft in diameter, and fill them with leaves (my kids have fun jumping in them which shreds most of them pretty well), grass clippings, garden debris, plant-based kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and a bag of manure from the store. To turn the piles, I simply lift the fencing, move it over, and scoop the pile back in. By the middle of summer, I have nice, dark compost. The only pests I have are flies, but that's only if I don't cover the kitchen scraps with debris from the pile when I dump them. I had thought of maybe putting my bird feeder there so that the seed shells and bird droppings would fall into the piles, but on another thread it was pointed out that there is a small risk of disease from wild bird droppings, so I guess I won't be doing that!
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Post  camprn 10/22/2010, 11:32 am

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