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TxBuilder 09-29-2006 03:08 AM

Compost Pile
Let's hear about your compost piles.

Do you add anything special to yours to get it breaking down real good?

Any plant life you don't add to it?

Square Eye 09-29-2006 09:35 AM

Never put food scraps in unless they are fresh vegetables. The grease from cooking and the fat from meat and dairy will cause an ugly stinking mess.
Leaves and grass, keep the dog stuff out too!

Turning the compost is about as important as anything, got to keep it from laying too long and drying out on top. A compost heap is actually a bit of work. I usually just rake mine all up and burn it.

mechanicalmonster 10-01-2006 01:39 PM

My compost is starting in my animal pen. I have woodmulch for my bedding material. I get the woodmulch free from a local firewood dealer. I feed all my vegetable scraps and old bread to the chickens and ducks. The rabbits get a few veggy scraps too. Don't worry the rabbits are in hanging cages in the shed so they are not exposed to the chicken litter. The animals in turn leave good nitrogen filled lets say stuff in the woodmulch. I turn the mulch from time to time with a pitchfork so that the animals have a cleanplace to step plus flies and odors are not a problem. When the woodmulch gets too its capacity with that nitrogen filled stuff I move my pen. (my pen is easy to move it is a ten by ten dog kennel with an 8x10 metal shed in the place of the back panel) I then pile the old litter into a bin made from three large pallets wire tied together to finish it up and keep it turned or sometimes just rake it out and till it under. My wife does drink alot of coffee and obviously animals do not eat coffee grounds. Not a problem those are great to add directly to a garden or to put in with the finishing litter. The way I move my pen around fertilizes alot of space plus before you put in the mulch the chickens will clear alot of weed seeds. The method I use not only will it get alot of your property very fertile but you will have more compost than you can use very quickly. Not a problem many folks will be glad to take it off your hands and will even pay for it. A word of caution if you do not let chicken litter break down awhile before you use it and till it in very well it will burn your plants as it is very high in nitrogen.

Square Eye 10-01-2006 03:37 PM

The bacterial growth from compost supplimented with poop can make you sick. Be careful when using poop in compost, it needs to be washed off of your skin ASAP! I just can't recommend using poop. :)

mechanicalmonster 10-01-2006 08:02 PM

You really have to be selective about what poop you use. No doggy human or kitty stuff. Plus I would suggest anyone turn their compost pile just before they take a shower poop or no poop. I have seen severely mismanaged compost piles with and without poop. When people overload it with nitrogen materials and do not have enough carbon materials it can be downright scary. Bacteria can and will grow in any mismanaged heap. I have farmtype animals so I have to dispose of their waste somehow so composting is the way. If I had dogs or cats that stuff would go to the trashcan. My greatgrandparents used farm animal byproducts in their gardens she lived to 106 he lived to 98. You just have to use common sense dealing with it is all.

I do not suggest getting farm animals just for the fertilizer value but if you do have them please set them up some kind of carbon based bedding. Your neighbors will thank you.

bethany14 10-06-2006 02:59 PM

We have two composting methods. One is a just a pile of brush, leaves, and the occasional pumpkin or tomato. The other is a composting tumbler, that's where all our kitchen veggie scraps go. We add leaves, water and such to keep it healthy. It has a cool drip pan beneath it and you can water your house plants with it for a yummy treat. Doggie-doo goes far far away from either ;)

inspectorD 10-06-2006 05:24 PM

Are you Kidding?????
I go away and you guy's start discussing fecal matter.

I po po the idea.....had to.:rolleyes:

Just remember all that spinach in the news the next time you compost the dew dew.

E-coli is no joke.

True organic farmers have no po in their stuff, fish is the limit.
I have to go with Square Eye on this one.
Should we do an anonymous poll?....all the politicians are!!!!:D

Ours will mean more in the long run.:eek:

mechanicalmonster 10-06-2006 07:16 PM

I don't disagree with the opinions about using poo. I would not personally import poo. I just have to compost it because with the reality of me having about 15 head of farm animals and growing it is there. I can not just load it in the truck and take it to the dump because it is considered a yard waste. If I did not compost it I would literally be knee deep in poo.:eek: I would not grow a vegetable garden on it the first year I incorporated it into the ground even if it were totally broken down. Ornamentals and trees are fair game though.

Square Eye 10-06-2006 08:02 PM

Farmers have scattered crap for years over fields. In that application, I'm sure that's fine. I'm over 40 and am sure that I have eaten plenty of farm field fresh produce that was fertilized with poop.

But this, for the most part is a Home Improvement Forum, not a farmer's discussion of highest yielding fertilizer for the buck. Most homeowners wouldn't know how to take care of one cow, much less a herd 40 -400. We're not trying to make you look like a fool. But dogs eat meat and when that excrement hits the compost heap, bacterial growth will accelerate rapidly. Herbivore's excrement scattered on a bare farm field in the rain and the sun will not breed bacteria like a compost heap in a back yard that may or may not get used right away. Every post in this forum has to be considered for what it's worth to the average homeowner, we need to consider the liability of our replies if someone takes what we say out of context. This is the reason I can't recommend poop in any compost heap. Consider this, two kids playing ball in the back yard. The ball gets in the compost.. Which kid goes in after the ball, and how long will they continue to pass the ball back and forth? Will they take the ball in and let the toddler sister play with it? We can't suggest/recommend poop in compost here.

So, that said, consumer beware, wash your vegetables!


ALPS 10-07-2006 04:19 PM

I put all I can into the compost, I'd rather see stuff be "recyled" than thrown in the trash. All kitcken scraps (exept meat and dairy) go in, as well as paper towels, dryer lint, and floor sweepings. I've even composted cotton t-shirts, socks and towels. Cardboard is also good. From the yard I find all the organic material I can: grass clippings, leaves, garden waste, old mulch, straw, annual plants in the fall. I agree that dog and cat poop should be left out, but horse, cow, rabbit, and chicken manure all quite safe to add.

I just pulled up all the old plants from the garden today and threw those in. These alone filled up two of the three bins. Along with these I layered in straw and leaves to avoid a stinky mess later on. Once these settle a bit, I'll combine them in the third bin with shreaded leaves mixed in and I'll water it well every few layers. When the pile is complete,I have a 5' length of rebar with a point ground on one end that I use to create air holes. This gets the pile HOT. Sometimes too hot.

My "secrets" are to keep the pile moist, aerated and turned when it cools off. I can generate a lot of black gold in one summer.

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