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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Adding dirt? Toplef10Adding dirt? 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.

Adding dirt? I22gcj10Adding dirt? 14dhcg10

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Post  scmelik 4/21/2011, 12:49 am

The area that I have my SFG is a cement pad that has kind of been over grown with weeds the past few year. It is big enough that It will be a perfect place for my compost, close to the garden(s), good sun, etc. When I was out there the other day cleaning up the pad a bit, I noticed quite a bit of dirt on top of the cement when I was raking up all the debris. Is it going to be a problem just throwing that in compost along with everything else?
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Post  westie42 4/21/2011, 12:57 am

That is the best thing you could do for the new compost pile. The best recommendation is to compost right on the ground. That way bacteria, worms etc can become a valuable part of it and add to the process. If on concrete then adding a little soil regularly would nicely enhance the process. Weeds with viable seeds attached may cause some trouble by passing along uncomposted live seeds and diseased plants too are bad for the compost pile.
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Post  WardinWake 4/21/2011, 2:16 am

@scmelik wrote:The area that I have my SFG is a cement pad that has kind of been over grown with weeds the past few year. It is big enough that It will be a perfect place for my compost, close to the garden(s), good sun, etc. When I was out there the other day cleaning up the pad a bit, I noticed quite a bit of dirt on top of the cement when I was raking up all the debris. Is it going to be a problem just throwing that in compost along with everything else?

Howdy Somelik:

As long as you have a hot compost pile (160 to 180 degrees or higher) any seeds that you import into your compost pile from the soil should be killed along with the seeds that you will have naturally in your compostable materials. A hot compost pile will have a proper mix of green, brown and moisture. See the section on composting in the "ALL NEW Square Foot Gardening" book.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  camprn 4/21/2011, 12:08 pm

@westie42 wrote:That is the best thing you could do for the new compost pile. The best recommendation is to compost right on the ground. That way bacteria, worms etc can become a valuable part of it and add to the process. If on concrete then adding a little soil regularly would nicely enhance the process. Weeds with viable seeds attached may cause some trouble by passing along uncomposted live seeds and diseased plants too are bad for the compost pile.
Nope the dirt is no problem and probably will help the pile by introducing microbes that are beneficial to the pile. There are several threads about composting on this forum that you may find helpful, with good links and lots of info. You may use the search feature to find those threads.
Not to contradict Ward, but I think that seed viability drops dramatically when temps in the pile hit 130F, the higher the temps, the less viable the seeds becomes, until it is killed.

You can read more here in Composting Basics. What a Face
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Post  dawj 4/21/2011, 7:47 pm

I use a black composter myself but i think the concrete will sure hold the heat in the summer and if you cover your pile with a dark tarp or garden size trash bags (only on the top to help with holding in the heat air is needed in the process) Remember to stir that pile everyday to speed up the process. A composter is like 100 at tractor supply and worth every penny faster than a pile and easier to roll around the yard to your SFG. Compost is really priceless think of how much people spend for it? How much do people pay for manure? The best part about YOUR compost is YOU know whats in it and you can enjoy black gold...you make friends too....your neighbors will be begging for it when they find out you have compost. Brown, green, water and most important heat and stirring the more you mix it the faster it breaks down. You might even find a used one on craigslist. I've had mine for years and it paid for itself the first season.
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