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Compost is an amazing process :) Empty Compost is an amazing process :)

Post  HPartin on 5/23/2011, 2:49 pm

I am amazed to how fast my compost is composting after adding alfalfa to it.

I had a very dead compost pile with oak leaves and kitchen scraps. I kept adding kitchen scraps but the compost would never heat up. I would stir it and talk to it but nothing every happened. So, I decided to re-do it. I have a black bin to put it in. I emptied it out and restarted it by layering what I already had with composted horse manure (which I thought would benefit from some heating to kill weed seeds), and alfalfa hay which I bought compressed at a feed store and straw. I also threw about 50 spent pansy plants which I had pulled out of a bed. The pile was 140 degrees 24 hours later.

I poked it with a composting tool (stick with wings on the end) every day for two weeks.

Today I slipped off the bin and placed it beside the pile to add it all back in and my goodness. It is almost all composted! Still a little hot so still working but I am so happy. I couldn't find any pansy plants, vegetables, eggs, sticks, or anything. I could still make out the straw and alfalfa in some spots because it had gotten compressed. But in a few weeks I think it will be done and useable. I am excited. No more searching for the "right" compost at the nursery! Now I have to go buy a vegetable stacker to screen it Smile.

Heidi
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Post  Furbalsmom on 5/23/2011, 4:48 pm

Heidi,

Congratulations! Sounds like the alfalfa hay, straw and pansy plants did it for you. Of course, pulling it all out of the composter and re-doing the pile probably helped too. It is amazing how fast a working pile composts.

Did your oak leaves compost that quickly too?
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Post  HPartin on 5/23/2011, 6:00 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:Did your oak leaves compost that quickly too?


Yes! I had no way to chop them up so they have been sitting in the bin since the fall and hadn't composted AT ALL. I was so frustrated. My oak leaves are from a willow oak which has a very thin, thick leaf. They had turned black but that's it. Today I saw very few cheers ! I even had a few magnolia seed pods that are really thick similiar to a pine cone. They hadn't composted completely but they had gotten really soft. That surprised me.

For the next set of leaves, I am going to chop them with my new mother's day present: a leaf blower than vacuums and mulches! I can' t wait to try it out!

Heidi
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Post  WardinWake on 5/23/2011, 8:16 pm

@HPartin wrote:
@Furbalsmom wrote:Did your oak leaves compost that quickly too?


Yes! I had no way to chop them up so they have been sitting in the bin since the fall and hadn't composted AT ALL. I was so frustrated. My oak leaves are from a willow oak which has a very thin, thick leaf. They had turned black but that's it. Today I saw very few cheers ! I even had a few magnolia seed pods that are really thick similiar to a pine cone. They hadn't composted completely but they had gotten really soft. That surprised me.

For the next set of leaves, I am going to chop them with my new mother's day present: a leaf blower than vacuums and mulches! I can' t wait to try it out!

Heidi

Howdy Heidi:

You know you ae a Square Foot Gardener when you get a leaf blower/mulcher for Mother's Day and it was what you wanted!


God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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