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MINDFL1 SparkPoints: (2,721)
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4/10/14 9:12 A

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this is always something I always wanted to try since I don't use any chemicals in my garden. I am exited to learn from all of you!

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4/7/14 8:16 A

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We sure do all year round.

Live*Love* Laugh


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3/26/14 2:00 P

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I just got my composter back from my dad who was holding it for me until I got back into a house w/a yard and I'm ready to start building my pile up. There were lots of great tips in this thread so thank you for that! I'm going to head down to the local worm farm this weekend to get some yummy dirt and get it going. :)

Eat, drink & be merry, for tomorrow we'll die. - DMB


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3/24/14 2:31 P

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I do and love adding to its richness because what it gives back to me and to my gardens.

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Just Get Started!


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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (83,299)
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3/13/14 12:57 P

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A Beginner's Guide to Composting
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutriti
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_articles.asp?id=1323


-Cathy
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If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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HEALTHY4LIFE2 Posts: 202
1/3/14 8:53 P

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I do. My husband built me a spin barrel and is going to make me a second this spring so I can always have a barrel to add to while the other one is composting.

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CKTALL's Photo CKTALL Posts: 386
11/29/13 3:41 P

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Do but not religious about it

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LITTLEDUTCH's Photo LITTLEDUTCH Posts: 123
11/25/13 4:12 P

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I do, although I ignore it most of the time. I have a spin composter and a large pile that just keeps getting larger. Since I'm having a rat invasion, I probably do like someone else here is doing and start using the spin composter for all the kitchen scraps and leave the large open pile for leaves.

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LIBERTYGIRLFLA's Photo LIBERTYGIRLFLA SparkPoints: (20,195)
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11/17/13 3:09 P

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Definitely do. I have a spin composter that I use mainly for food waste (keeps the critters out), plus I have a big compost pile on the side of the yard for leaves, weeds, garden waste and larger volume materials.

Lib

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11/17/13 9:48 A
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Hello sparkfamily! Please visit my page to see the teams that I lead as all of them will not fit here! I am looking forward to seeing you there! Remember to keep HEALTHY at the top of your daily list! You can do it! Hugs, Rose:))


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TSISQUAUSDI's Photo TSISQUAUSDI Posts: 1,584
11/9/13 7:59 P

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I definitely do! I have a "Spin Bin Compost Tumbler" that I bought from Arbico Organics ( www.arbico-organics.com ). It has a 60 lb capacity for $129.50. It does a pretty good job, too, but my garden is about 30' x 40', and in Central Florida, the soil is very sandy, so I need a lot of organic material to amend it. The composter that I want is much more expensive: A Mantis Compost T-Twin that costs $499.00. It will be a good while before I can save up for that one, LOL, but it has two bins. This can compost up to 10 bushels in each chamber, and makes compost in about 14 days to a month, so you can "stagger" your composting efforts and have a continuous supply. Mantis also has smaller ones and I love their products, so save I must! In the meantime, my little "Spin Bin" is doing a good job! I have a Worx leaf blower/vac/mulcher thing that I use to mulch the leaves and stuff before I put them in the composter, and the compost that it produces is great! It also is completely contained, so it doesn't attract pests, and animals can't get in it.

So until I can get a bigger composter, I am taking a trip with my handyman and his pickup truck on Monday to a mushroom farm that's about a 45 minute drive from Sanford. They sell the most wonderful organic mushroom compost by the back-hoe scoop for $10.00! That will definitely amend my soil and give me a "jump-start" on the composting.

Edited by: TSISQUAUSDI at: 11/9/2013 (20:00)
Until we meet again - Peace.

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9/29/13 6:47 P

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I do--not sure how you would have a successful organic garden without good compost.

This year I gardened for the first time in many years (had been living close to the ocean with high winds and sand for soil) after moving and I had to buy all of my compost to get started--it's expensive and the quality is not nearly as good.

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 9/29/2013 (18:54)
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9/27/13 11:17 P

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You are so welcome sweetie and welcome to the Organic Gardners team. Happy Gardening!
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9/26/13 10:57 P

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SURVIVOR61 - Thanks! I saved all of that in a notepad so I will always know where it is to make references back to.

Life is so uncertain; eat dessert first!


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9/26/13 7:55 P

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www.vegetablegardener.com

www.finegardening.com
These are just a couple of links to try, you can also try the Farmer's almanac...

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9/26/13 7:44 P

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JITTERBUGJOY welcome to the joys of gardening and composting :-) I posted some guidelines on composting and a couple of links for those who need it. I also recommend keeping a journal for what works and what don't work in your garden. It becomes very useful for the next growing season. You can find many more helpful articles on youtube and any online browser. Good luck and we're difinitely here for you.

I hope this article helps...

Making Compost - Black Gold for Your Organic Garden
The best and most refined of organic matters is compost, which is organic matter and/or manures that have decomposed until they resemble loamy soil. Thoroughly decomposed compost contains lots of humus — the beneficial, soil-improving material your plants need. Whether the original source was grass clippings, sawdust, animal manure, or vegetable scraps from your kitchen, all organic matter eventually becomes compost.

Making your own compost is probably the simplest way to ensure high quality compost and save some money. It's really not as complicated as you may think: The many commercial composting bins and containers on the market make it a mess-free and hassle-free process.

A well-constructed compost pile — built with the proper dimensions and maintained correctly — heats up fast; decomposes uniformly and quickly; kills many diseases, insects, and weed seeds; doesn't smell; and is easy to turn and maintain. Conversely, a pile just thrown together rarely heats up and, therefore, takes longer to decompose. This type of cold composting doesn't kill any diseases, insects, or weed seeds; may smell bad; and definitely looks messy.

Containing your compost pile makes it look neater, helps you maintain the correct moisture, and prevents animals from getting into it. You can build your own, as shown in Figure 1, or buy a commercial home composting unit. The advantages of a commercial composter include the availability of a wide range of attractive sizes and shapes and ease of use. Choose from box-shaped plastic and wooden bins and barrels or elevated and easy-to-turn tumblers, as shown in Figure 2. Store-bought bins are costly, however, and produce only small quantities of compost at a time, especially compared to a homemade bin that's built from scrap lumber or wire.



Figure 1: Build a simple wooden bin to hold your compost pile.





Figure 2: Commercial composters help you make compost yourself.


Here's what you need to know to build a good compost pile:

1. Choose a shady location, out of the way, but still within view so that you don't forget about the pile.

The soil under it should be well drained.

2. Make a bin.

Create a wire cylinder that's 3- to 4-feet in diameter or build a three-sided box (similar to the one in Figure 1), that's 4 to 5-feet high and wide.

3. Add brown materials.

Add a 6-inch layer of "brown" organic matter — such as hay, straw, old leaves, and sawdust — to the bottom of the container.

4. Add green materials.

Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of "green" organic matter, such as green grass clippings, manure, table scraps, or even high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as cottonseed meal, on top of the brown layer.

5. Repeat these layers, watering each one as you go, until the pile is 4 to 5-feet tall and fills the bin.

A smaller pile won't heat up well and a larger pile can be difficult to manage.

6. Within two days, mix the layers together thoroughly.

Particle size should be varied, smaller particles hasten decomposition.

7. Cover the pile with a tarp to keep rain away and preserve moisture.

If the pile gets too soggy or too dry, it won't heat up.

Not all organic matter is good for the compost pile. Following is a look at what to add to a pile, what not to add, and in what ratios to add it:
What to add to the pile or composter: What you put in the compost pile is up to you — just remember that it needs to be from an organic material. Here's a short list of possibilities:
• Hay, straw, pine needles

• Leaves

• Kitchen scraps (egg shells, old bread, vegetable and fruit scraps)

• Animal manure, except for dog, cat, pig, or human

• Old vegetables, flowers, or trimmings from trees and shrubs

• Sawdust

• Wood chips

• Weeds

• Shredded black and white newspaper. (In the past, color printing used heavy metals in the ink. Most color printing now uses soy-based inks, but it's better to avoid them in the garden altogether to be on the safe side.)

What not to add: Some items don't belong in your compost pile. While hot compost piles can kill off many diseases, weed seeds, and insects, it's not a sure thing, and some of these unpleasant guests may survive to invade your garden again. Certain materials can also invite unwanted wildlife to the pile or spread human diseases. Avoid adding the following to your compost bin:
• Kitchen scraps like meats, oils, fish, dairy products, and bones. They attract unwanted animals, such as rats and raccoons, to the pile.

• Weeds that have gone to seed or that spread by their roots, such as quackgrass

• Diseased or insect-infested vegetable or flower plants

• Herbicide-treated grass clippings or weeds

• Dog, cat, or pig feces.

Let's talk ratios: In composting corners, you often hear about the C/N ratio or carbon to nitrogen ratio. Basically, all organic matter can be divided into carbon-rich (brown stuff) and nitrogen-rich (green stuff) materials. Using the right mixture of brown to green stuff when building a compost pile encourages the pile to heat up and decompose efficiently. Although nearly any combination of organic materials eventually decomposes, for the fastest and most efficient compost pile in town, strike the correct balance (C/N ratio) between the two types of material — usually 25 to 1 (that is, 25 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen).
Table 1 shows which common compost materials are high in carbon and which materials are high in nitrogen. Notice that the softer materials, such as fresh grass clippings, tend to be higher in nitrogen than hard materials, such as sawdust. Mix these together to form a pile with an average C/N ratio of 25-to-1 to 30-to-1, and you'll be well on your way to beautiful compost. Use the following ratios as guidelines. Actual ratios vary depending on the sources of the materials and other factors. And speaking of sources — be sure that your compost materials haven't been contaminated with pesticides or other chemicals.
Table 1: Carbon/Nitrogen Ratios of Various Materials

Material and C/N Ratio

Table scraps, 15:1

Grass clippings, 19:1

Old manure, 20:1

Fresh alfalfa hay, 12:1

Fruit waste, 25:1

Corn stalks, 60:1

Old leaves, 80:1

Straw, 80:1

Paper, 170:1

Sawdust, 500:1

Wood, 700:1


Quick and easy compost recipes
To make the most compost in the shortest amount of time, try some of these proven recipes. For each recipe, mix the ingredients thoroughly and follow the directions in the next section, "Keeping your pile happy." Depending on weather and compost ingredients, you should have finished compost within one to two months.

Recipe #1: Four parts kitchen scraps from fruits and vegetables, 2 parts chicken or cow manure, 1 part shredded newspaper (black ink only), and 1 part shredded dry leaves.
Recipe #2: Two parts kitchen scraps, 1 part chicken manure, and 1 part shredded leaves.
Recipe #3: Two parts grass clippings, 1 part chicken manure, and 1 part shredded leaves.
Keeping your pile happy
A hot pile is a happy pile. If you follow the method of just throwing everything together, the pile will rarely heat up. If you follow the method of building the pile carefully with a balanced C/N ratio, the pile will start to cook within a week. Now you need to keep it cooking. Here's the procedure:

1. Keep the pile moist by periodically watering it.

Dig into the pile about 1 foot to see if it's moist. If not, water the pile thoroughly, but not so that it's soggy. The pile needs air, too, and adding too much water removes air spaces. If you built the pile with moist ingredients, such as kitchen scraps, it won't need watering at first.

2. Turn the pile when it cools down.

Using a garden fork, remove the outside layers and put them aside. Remove the inside layers into another pile and then switch. Place the outside layers in the center of the new pile and the inside layers along the outside of the new pile.

3. Let it cook again.

How hot it gets and how long it cooks depends on the ratio of C/N materials in the pile and whether you have the correct moisture levels.

4. When it's cool, turn it again.

You should have finished compost after two to three turnings. The finished product should be cool, crumbly, dark colored, and earthy smelling.

Sometimes, a compost pile never heats up, smells bad, or contains pieces of undecomposed materials. Chances are that one of the following conditions occurred:

The pile was too wet or dry.
You added too many carbon materials and not enough nitrogen materials.
The pieces of material were too big or packed together. Shred leaves, branches, and pieces of wood to decompose more quickly.
The pile was too small.
You can find lots of compost aids on the market. Bioactivators — packages of concentrated microbes — are one of the most popular because they can speed the decomposition process. These microbes occur naturally, however, and many are already present in a well-constructed compost pile. Save your money and use microbe-rich compost materials instead.


Edited by: SURVIVOR61 at: 9/26/2013 (19:46)
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9/26/13 6:12 P

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Composting is something I have been wanting to do for some time now but was unable to because of where I lived for the past several years. Our landlords where we lived in town wouldn't even let me have a small garden! Now that we have moved into a rural area and our current landlords are all for us gardening and farming I am super excited to get started but not 100% sure of where I should be starting.

Any basic beginner ideas for composting?

Life is so uncertain; eat dessert first!


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9/25/13 3:07 P

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If your into pickling and canning, there is a great recipe for pickled watermelon rind...it's great you should try it!!

Pickled Watermelon Rind


Ingredients
1 pound watermelon rind (from a 3-pound piece watermelon) 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 tablespoons pickling spice
Directions
Step 1Using a vegetable peeler, peel outer skin and tough green layer from watermelon rind; cut rind into 2-by- 1/2-inch strips.

Step 2In a medium saucepan, combine 5 cups water with 3 tablespoons salt; bring to a boil. Add rind. Cook at a rapid simmer over medium-high until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a heatproof bowl (reserve saucepan).

Step 3In reserved saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, remaining teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt; pour hot liquid into bowl with rind. Use a small plate to submerge rind into liquid. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container; cover and refrigerate in liquid at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.



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PATTISWIMMER's Photo PATTISWIMMER Posts: 4,763
9/25/13 12:23 A

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the compost likes the water melon rind... If I am digging after a rain and find worms they always go in the composter

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PATTISWIMMER's Photo PATTISWIMMER Posts: 4,763
9/25/13 12:21 A

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my city sells the composters I have 4.... definitely more than I need but only paid for one... they are plastic..the last one is very small and came with the house I just bought... the others are 3 times the size... I also have some big slow composters mostly leaves.. 4 feet by 4 feet about a hundred feet from the house

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9/24/13 5:50 P

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There are fenceing with smaller holes than chicken wire, but if you are in deed in need of a new composting bin. Here is a suggestion and is one of the cheapest and most affordable. There is a website on using wooden pallets to create a composte bin and sometimes you can get free wooden pallets from some local stores. All you do is have to ask for them. Same with coffee grounds for composing, if you have a starbucks near by you can ask for their daily coffee grounds that they dispose of. Good luck : here is the Link for the compost bin!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmacDrosrcg

Edited by: SURVIVOR61 at: 9/24/2013 (17:53)
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9/24/13 12:01 P

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I do! If I ever get a new composter I want to get the tumbling kind

Made it to my maintenance weight of 125 pounds.

Eat what you like and if someone comments, eat them too

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The shrews are mouse size rodents that tunnelled underneath, or went in when an access door fell off (the composter is getting old and about ready to be replaced). They could easily fit through the holes of chicken wire, even if I put that on the bottom. They're gone now, so next year I'm going to look into getting more worms and maybe a new compost bin.

-Cathy
Central Standard Time Zone

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PATTISWIMMER's Photo PATTISWIMMER Posts: 4,763
9/24/13 10:46 A

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I have a lot of volunteers coming up now because of my compost.... like butternut squash... I only put one kind of squash in composter in case this happens,, no cross polinated unknown squash that way emoticon

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9/23/13 11:42 A

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I started using a compost tumbler about 3 weeks ago and I think it's about full of material now. It's supposed to make lovely compost in 4 to 6 weeks... we shall see.

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9/23/13 12:50 A

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Try making a wire top for a cover for your compost bin, to keep out the unwanted pests.

Jill "survivor61"
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9/22/13 12:21 A

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I miss my worms. I used to have lots of worms after adding half a bucket of composted horse manure from the local stables that was loaded with earthworms. Unfortunately some shrews decided to take up residence in my compost bin several years ago and have managed to eat all the earthworms. Shrews are no longer taking up residence so time to try and re-establish my earthworms.

-Cathy
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If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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9/18/13 8:39 P

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Yes, ma'am. I add two containers of night crawlers when I first set up my compost bins, Also if done right, you can harvest a tea from your compost that is excellent for your seedlings and flowers. I recommend reading up on it on line for your zones.
I forgot to say, the worms help break down the rotting food, and speed up the composting process by aerating the soil. make sure to add plenty of coffee grounds and keep the black gold moist and turned.

Edited by: SURVIVOR61 at: 9/18/2013 (20:44)
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9/17/13 1:27 A

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And try to have two parts "browns" for every one part "green" or kitchen waste.

Any one use worms?

Janey

Elementary Resource Specialist

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9/8/13 4:21 P

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emoticon Just don't throw in meats and you'll be fine....

Jill "survivor61"
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Holy moly I accidentally composted in the kitchen counter. My DH is so unhappy with me.

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I hope this article helps...

Making Compost - Black Gold for Your Organic Garden
The best and most refined of organic matters is compost, which is organic matter and/or manures that have decomposed until they resemble loamy soil. Thoroughly decomposed compost contains lots of humus — the beneficial, soil-improving material your plants need. Whether the original source was grass clippings, sawdust, animal manure, or vegetable scraps from your kitchen, all organic matter eventually becomes compost.

Making your own compost is probably the simplest way to ensure high quality compost and save some money. It's really not as complicated as you may think: The many commercial composting bins and containers on the market make it a mess-free and hassle-free process.

A well-constructed compost pile — built with the proper dimensions and maintained correctly — heats up fast; decomposes uniformly and quickly; kills many diseases, insects, and weed seeds; doesn't smell; and is easy to turn and maintain. Conversely, a pile just thrown together rarely heats up and, therefore, takes longer to decompose. This type of cold composting doesn't kill any diseases, insects, or weed seeds; may smell bad; and definitely looks messy.

Containing your compost pile makes it look neater, helps you maintain the correct moisture, and prevents animals from getting into it. You can build your own, as shown in Figure 1, or buy a commercial home composting unit. The advantages of a commercial composter include the availability of a wide range of attractive sizes and shapes and ease of use. Choose from box-shaped plastic and wooden bins and barrels or elevated and easy-to-turn tumblers, as shown in Figure 2. Store-bought bins are costly, however, and produce only small quantities of compost at a time, especially compared to a homemade bin that's built from scrap lumber or wire.



Figure 1: Build a simple wooden bin to hold your compost pile.





Figure 2: Commercial composters help you make compost yourself.


Here's what you need to know to build a good compost pile:

1. Choose a shady location, out of the way, but still within view so that you don't forget about the pile.

The soil under it should be well drained.

2. Make a bin.

Create a wire cylinder that's 3- to 4-feet in diameter or build a three-sided box (similar to the one in Figure 1), that's 4 to 5-feet high and wide.

3. Add brown materials.

Add a 6-inch layer of "brown" organic matter — such as hay, straw, old leaves, and sawdust — to the bottom of the container.

4. Add green materials.

Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of "green" organic matter, such as green grass clippings, manure, table scraps, or even high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as cottonseed meal, on top of the brown layer.

5. Repeat these layers, watering each one as you go, until the pile is 4 to 5-feet tall and fills the bin.

A smaller pile won't heat up well and a larger pile can be difficult to manage.

6. Within two days, mix the layers together thoroughly.

Particle size should be varied, smaller particles hasten decomposition.

7. Cover the pile with a tarp to keep rain away and preserve moisture.

If the pile gets too soggy or too dry, it won't heat up.

Not all organic matter is good for the compost pile. Following is a look at what to add to a pile, what not to add, and in what ratios to add it:
What to add to the pile or composter: What you put in the compost pile is up to you — just remember that it needs to be from an organic material. Here's a short list of possibilities:
• Hay, straw, pine needles

• Leaves

• Kitchen scraps (egg shells, old bread, vegetable and fruit scraps)

• Animal manure, except for dog, cat, pig, or human

• Old vegetables, flowers, or trimmings from trees and shrubs

• Sawdust

• Wood chips

• Weeds

• Shredded black and white newspaper. (In the past, color printing used heavy metals in the ink. Most color printing now uses soy-based inks, but it's better to avoid them in the garden altogether to be on the safe side.)

What not to add: Some items don't belong in your compost pile. While hot compost piles can kill off many diseases, weed seeds, and insects, it's not a sure thing, and some of these unpleasant guests may survive to invade your garden again. Certain materials can also invite unwanted wildlife to the pile or spread human diseases. Avoid adding the following to your compost bin:
• Kitchen scraps like meats, oils, fish, dairy products, and bones. They attract unwanted animals, such as rats and raccoons, to the pile.

• Weeds that have gone to seed or that spread by their roots, such as quackgrass

• Diseased or insect-infested vegetable or flower plants

• Herbicide-treated grass clippings or weeds

• Dog, cat, or pig feces.

Let's talk ratios: In composting corners, you often hear about the C/N ratio or carbon to nitrogen ratio. Basically, all organic matter can be divided into carbon-rich (brown stuff) and nitrogen-rich (green stuff) materials. Using the right mixture of brown to green stuff when building a compost pile encourages the pile to heat up and decompose efficiently. Although nearly any combination of organic materials eventually decomposes, for the fastest and most efficient compost pile in town, strike the correct balance (C/N ratio) between the two types of material — usually 25 to 1 (that is, 25 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen).
Table 1 shows which common compost materials are high in carbon and which materials are high in nitrogen. Notice that the softer materials, such as fresh grass clippings, tend to be higher in nitrogen than hard materials, such as sawdust. Mix these together to form a pile with an average C/N ratio of 25-to-1 to 30-to-1, and you'll be well on your way to beautiful compost. Use the following ratios as guidelines. Actual ratios vary depending on the sources of the materials and other factors. And speaking of sources — be sure that your compost materials haven't been contaminated with pesticides or other chemicals.
Table 1: Carbon/Nitrogen Ratios of Various Materials

Material and C/N Ratio

Table scraps, 15:1

Grass clippings, 19:1

Old manure, 20:1

Fresh alfalfa hay, 12:1

Fruit waste, 25:1

Corn stalks, 60:1

Old leaves, 80:1

Straw, 80:1

Paper, 170:1

Sawdust, 500:1

Wood, 700:1


Quick and easy compost recipes
To make the most compost in the shortest amount of time, try some of these proven recipes. For each recipe, mix the ingredients thoroughly and follow the directions in the next section, "Keeping your pile happy." Depending on weather and compost ingredients, you should have finished compost within one to two months.

Recipe #1: Four parts kitchen scraps from fruits and vegetables, 2 parts chicken or cow manure, 1 part shredded newspaper (black ink only), and 1 part shredded dry leaves.
Recipe #2: Two parts kitchen scraps, 1 part chicken manure, and 1 part shredded leaves.
Recipe #3: Two parts grass clippings, 1 part chicken manure, and 1 part shredded leaves.
Keeping your pile happy
A hot pile is a happy pile. If you follow the method of just throwing everything together, the pile will rarely heat up. If you follow the method of building the pile carefully with a balanced C/N ratio, the pile will start to cook within a week. Now you need to keep it cooking. Here's the procedure:

1. Keep the pile moist by periodically watering it.

Dig into the pile about 1 foot to see if it's moist. If not, water the pile thoroughly, but not so that it's soggy. The pile needs air, too, and adding too much water removes air spaces. If you built the pile with moist ingredients, such as kitchen scraps, it won't need watering at first.

2. Turn the pile when it cools down.

Using a garden fork, remove the outside layers and put them aside. Remove the inside layers into another pile and then switch. Place the outside layers in the center of the new pile and the inside layers along the outside of the new pile.

3. Let it cook again.

How hot it gets and how long it cooks depends on the ratio of C/N materials in the pile and whether you have the correct moisture levels.

4. When it's cool, turn it again.

You should have finished compost after two to three turnings. The finished product should be cool, crumbly, dark colored, and earthy smelling.

Sometimes, a compost pile never heats up, smells bad, or contains pieces of undecomposed materials. Chances are that one of the following conditions occurred:

The pile was too wet or dry.
You added too many carbon materials and not enough nitrogen materials.
The pieces of material were too big or packed together. Shred leaves, branches, and pieces of wood to decompose more quickly.
The pile was too small.
You can find lots of compost aids on the market. Bioactivators — packages of concentrated microbes — are one of the most popular because they can speed the decomposition process. These microbes occur naturally, however, and many are already present in a well-constructed compost pile. Save your money and use microbe-rich compost materials instead.


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Absolutely, also newspaper...I run it through the office shredder. Just don't put the shiny inserts in the compost. Also all your paper shreddings as long as there are no plastic or shiny material in the bin. Anything that can decomposte is game for composting, just make sure you break it down before putting it in your bin. emoticon

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I watched a composting video on a gardening website and the guy put paper towels, napkins, toilet paper rolls, etc. in his compost bin... I hadn't thought of that. Do any of you put those things in yours?


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Yes I love composting and all the benefits that come along with it. emoticon

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I started last year and think it is great.

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We are just beginning to compost again (lived in an apartment for some years) and just bought a tumbling composter. We shall see how it performs!


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8/22/13 2:16 A

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I've been making compost since 1977. Even if you didn't use it (I use it), it is the right thing to do to keep decomposable materials out of the landfills.

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Yes, I make my own compost in a barrel as well as in a pile

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definitely make my own compost...have a barrel and a box for composting!!

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Yes, I compost. I have used compost and manure as my garden's sole fertilizer for several years. I don't use commercial fertilizers. I have a double barrel composter. They work good, but just not as fast as advertised. I think my veggies do better with the compost than they did when I used to use the commercial fertilizers.

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Yes, I have for a few years...just last week my son built me a double bin... so cool, the first bin is already full and decomposing...

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My compost pile is just a pile behind our storage shed where I throw kitchen peelings, leaves, shredded papers, etc.

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Last fall hubby threw our pumpkins in the compost and we had the longest vines that came back in the spring. We gave them to my parents to plant. They were huge!

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I compost

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 3/28/2013 (21:21)
Made it to my maintenance weight of 125 pounds.

Eat what you like and if someone comments, eat them too

Please read my blog

http://erinwroteablogyall.blogspot.com/201
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MANDIETERRIER1's Photo MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 13,718
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I compost

Made it to my maintenance weight of 125 pounds.

Eat what you like and if someone comments, eat them too

Please read my blog

http://erinwroteablogyall.blogspot.com/201
4/11/adventures-at-olive-bar.html


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Our compost is not a hole or a barrel or a bin. We just have a gigantic area behind a shed where we pile everything. It's fenced in, but otherwise completely open. It's a spot big enough to park a car in. We put everything in there -- leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps, old plants from the garden (corn stalks, tomato plants, sweet potato vines, etc). It's a huge pile, full of worms, and has really rich dirt (and some volunteer plants) in it. We have a scrap bucket outside our back door, and when it gets full we go dump it on the compost pile. We love our compost :-)

She woke up one morning and threw away all her excuses...
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We do something like that sometimes, especially when all our bins are full. The wormies go slower in the winter and the regular compost bin of course breaks down slower too so after a bit we just collect a bit and then bring it outside, make a depression in one of the raised beds, then throw in kitchen scraps and cover.
We actually did this once with a fish that a friend had caught for us (we didn't trust it, it smelled really OLD!) so we buried it in the tomato bed before the tomatoes were planted. One of the best years we had with tomatoes!

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Even with the frozen winters here near Chicago, my compost bin never got completely full. Seems that there was some activity going on in the center of the bin, so the scraps still were breaking down somewhat. Just added a bunch more scraps but I've still got another 6" until I reach the top.

If you don't have a compost bin, you can always compost directly into the ground. I read about this somewhere. A woman would just dig a hole behind a bush or between the plants in her garden (corn rows are a great way to hide it, plus corn is a heavy feeder so benefits from the added nutrients). Leave the pile of soil. When you have scraps, throw them in the hole and cover with a bit of soil. Once the hole is filled, cover it with the rest of the soil and just dig a new one. If you want to continue to do this over winter, you have to pre-dig several holes in the fall before the ground freezes, then fill them one at a time, until you can dig fresh ones in the spring. Scraps don't go to waste, and as the organic matter breaks down it provides food for nearby plants. If you do this in a vegetable garden, then when you dig the bed you are mixing in the compost as well.

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I absolutely compost. In fact we do both regular composting and vermicomposting.
This has really helped to ammend our soil using organic methods and not chemical methods.
If you have healthy soil you have healthy plants.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved." ~Helen Keller

"That which does not kill me, makes me stronger" ~
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I don't, but I WILL once the greenhouse is built and get some space back in my yard. emoticon

I'm blessed that I have Veteran Compost nearby where I get all the "organic" (not certified by I know it is) compost I need. Because I use Square Foot Gardening our soil-less growing medium is 1/3 blended compost and we use compost instead of fertilizer.

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January.

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Hey! Good to see you Dietsafari. How are you? I had a worm bin but I've been thinking of setting up a outdoor worm bin. Thinking of :) making some bigger drainage holes on the Trashcans to allow worms invite themselves for all the good stuff. I also saw a interesting setup of a FB friend who had made a platform that allows him to collect compost tea from his setup while growing plants which i wanted to do as well.

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Hallo SUMITH!
I have not run into you for such a long time. Good to see you!
I love my red wrigglers. They turn scraps into compost very quickly, and they seem to keep the flies at bay. Everything that I have planted into the wriggler's compost bin grew like crazy. No N stealing there.
Have a great day, team!
Happy Composting

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I do. I had 2 trashcans that were 80% full and i got a little tired of throwing my kitchen scraps to have flies fly in my face. So this is what i did - filled the container rest of the way and planted some left over Peppers and eggplants that i did not want to discard. It will be interesting to see if the unfinished compost will steal nitrogen from the soil while the seedlings are growing.

I uploaded the photo here to show you what they look like.

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I added to my compost pile most of the winter, but now there is too much snow to be able to reach the pile! I add strips of torn newspaper for the "brown" matter when I don't have access to leaves. Last year it worked really well and I turned the pile in the spring I had lots of nice black compost to use in my flower beds. My hosta plants are mainly in sandy soil and the compost really helps them.

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Reminds me of when we made fire starters in my daughter's Girl Scouts out of dryer lint and melted paraffin in egg cartons. You break off a section to start a fire, works like a charm. It was supposed to be natural fiber lint since synthetic melts. I like the idea of stuffing it in a paper towel roll too. I do compost my dryer lint, maybe I should worry about natural fibers but I don't.

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Thanks for the coop link, SHARJOPAUL. I am loving the idea of drier lint for fire starter. I wash my clothes by fiber, since I use different detergents on vegetable fibers than on proteins or synthetics, so I put the vegetable fiber lint in the compost and have been putting the other in the trash. I know that wool used to be used for flame retardant blankets and coats for firefighters before we had modern Nomex, so I'm wondering if my wool/ silk drier lint would be good for starting fires. ???


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I save dryer lint for fire starter. :-)

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3/14/13 10:58 P

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dryer lint is a maybe. It depends on the material of the clothing that was being dried. If it is cotton, it would break down just fine in a compost bin. If synthetic, then it won't.
On the other hand, you can always stuff dryer lint in an empty TP tube and it makes an excellent fire starter for a fireplace or outdoor firepit. And the ashes for those are also fine for the compost bin or even sprinkled directly on the garden (after they've cooled down, of course).

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Is dryer lint a yes or no for compost? I have usually thrown mine in when I remembered, but the city green waste said no lint in their collection.

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the chickens are quieter than small yappy dogs and go to sleep as soon as the sun starts to set, so there is no night time noise from them. Roosters I would be worried about. If you keep the coop clean, there is no smell, at least with a small amount of birds.

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I'd love to have chickens, but our town doesn't allow them. You don't need a rooster to get eggs, unless you want fertilized eggs or want to hatch chicks (some towns only allow raising chickens for eggs, not meat - which is what a neighboring town allows). The roosters are what cause most of the complaints, as they do want to crow very early every morning!
My in-laws had chickens. Feeding them the peelings, in addition to their regular food, was another way to compost the scraps and you got the eggs in return. Chicken manure can be added to the compost pile. It is considered to be hot, so you definitely don't want to put it on your garden until it has decomposed for quite awhile, or it could burn your plants. I don't remember it smelling that much, but of course the chickens on the farm had an enclosed yard to roam in, and the hen house itself also had dirt floors, not cement, which made a difference, as the bacteria in the soil helped the wastes break down naturally.

When my hubby retires, we will be moving back to the farm, and will be raising our own chickens and maybe even cattle (gonna have to learn how to milk a cow if we do that!). Plus there is already a small orchard there, though it's been neglected, and we plan to plant more fruit trees. I'm looking forward to being able to raise more of our own food than I can where we currently live!

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Our city just passed a law allowing one rooster and up to 5 chicken. (We live in town). My husband is ready to build a coop and go get some chickens but I would rather wait until we move to the country. I'm not sure I would want to live next to chickens in town.

But the eggs would be nice!

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3/13/13 3:37 P

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GREBJACK's Photo GREBJACK Posts: 3,696
3/11/13 1:08 A

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Loving this discussion. My city doesn't allow chickens either. My neighbors over the back fence had some when they first moved in anyway, and I used to throw grubs over the fence and watch them all come running and clucking. But they had a couple of roosters and one of the neighbors turned them in.

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3/10/13 8:13 A

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Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

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thanks for those newsletters

I don't know anyone who has done that. They filter an awful lot of water each day so I don't know how many toxins would be left in the shells. It might be worth taking a scoop of shells somewhere to be tested. But other than that, the calcium wouldn't be much different. They would be finer than oyster shells, which come pretty chunky.

try backyard chickens.com
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3/9/13 11:08 A

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GREBJACK, & EEVEE1
I have been getting newsletters from.Mother Earth News,. Grit, and Community Chicken for sometime. They all have articles on chickens and Mother Earth news and Grit also have articles on a number of other green topics. They may be of interest to both of you. I think I started out getting Mother Earth News and got offers from them for the other 2 newsletters, all 3 are from Mother Earth.

Anyway, here is a link to the Community Chickens newsletter.
ipost.com/communitychickens/prefs

One thing I have seen on there is info that if you like your eggs to have that deep gold yolk, feed them weeds. Sounds like a good thing to do with those weeds and grass clippings that have started to go to seed.

By the way I am looking for some info, I know that a lot of people who have chickens feed them ground oyster shells during the laying seasons for the calcium. Since the lake I live has been invaded by zebra mussels, I am wondering if I collect the mussels and crush them, can they be fed to chickens:? If you know of any reliable information on this, please let me know.

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3/9/13 6:49 A

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GREBJACK, because we are in the city and my chickens aren't technically allowed, I haven't let them walk around free yet, but the hay, wood chips and straw in their run get torn up pretty well and I do give them bugs and worms from the garden in the summer and they LOVE them. I would think they would only be a problem eating all of your bugs if you have a really hot dry summer. Last summer we had a pretty decent drought and all of the ground bugs and worms were hiding pretty deep. I saw a you tube video not too long ago of an American (I think) city that use chickens to break down compost piles.

Definately raccoon proof first.

Edited by: EEVEE1 at: 3/9/2013 (06:50)
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3/9/13 3:32 A

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EEVEE1, do you let your chickens pick over the compost pile itself, or will they eat too many of the bugs you want to break the pile down? I'm a fellow city girl looking forward to her first chickens this spring, and trying to figure out how this is all going to work. Gotta get the raccoon-proof coop done first...

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3/8/13 12:25 P

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Late fall I pick up all my leaves with the mower and cover my garden with them. All winter long I throw food scraps in amongst the leaves to let them break down. The rest of the year I have a wire cage that I use as a compost bin, and throw my scraps in there.

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I compost all year round and even in winter the worms are busy and it still retains heat even though one bin is not in the sun through winter months.
I use all my kitchen vegetable and fruit waste and pond weeds when I clear the pond. We have no lawn so no grass clippings, but plenty of herbs and flowers.
I compost my leaves in a separate bin with pine needles. It takes a long time about 10 months to a year, but well worth it. I had never thought of mowing the leaves to chop them. I will try that with the old flymo. Or would a strimmer work?
emoticon for the tip.

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In winter, if my bin is full or I have leftover leaves, I just enclose an area over my veggie garden with chicken wire, then just put the material there - leaves, vegetable scraps, you name it. In the spring I can either spread it over the entire garden and dig it in, or else put some of it in the compost bin after I've emptied it.

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I compost all of my vegetable scraps, plant trimmings and bedding from my chicken coop. Since haveing the chickens, the bins fill up fast, so for the winter this year I am just putting all of this into the cities green waste pick up. This summer I will have to get another bin so I have enough room for the whole year.

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ANCHEN2
Depending on how you look at it, good soil does grow on trees. All those leaves, composted and added to existing soil makes good soil. ;)


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I get at least 60 gallons of compost from my one compost bin a year, and that is without adding grass clippings or leaves. In addition, I empty out the large flower pots I have into a wheel barrow in the fall (one at a time), then add a bit of the old soil into the bottom of the pot. Then I add layers of chopped up leaves and more old soil, mixing them together and packing them down a bit, until I get to the top. I finish with a few inches of soil and let the whole thing settle over the winter. Any remaining dirt left over goes into the vegetable garden.
In the spring I will add some finished compost or soil to the top depending on how much it settles over the winter, then I plant. This way I've also created new dirt which is loaded with nutrients. As the roots push deeper into the pot, they reach more new soil. I don't have to feed the plants in the planters during the growing season, other than top dressing with more compost as the soil levels continue to settle.
I use one half to a full bag of leaves for each pot.

We rent garden plots from the park district. We always get the same plots every year. Hubby gets bags of leaves from the neighbors and friends to put over the plots (but I won't let him take our leaves. I'm using those in our yard!). He'll add a bunch and till them all in, then add more. And in the spring after the ground is plowed, you can see how much darker the soil is in the plots that we use compared to the ones around us. Here in northern ILL, the soil has lots of clay, but instead of being orangish brown, our plots are black, and the plants are always strong and healthy. Needless to say, we've sold the other gardeners there on the benefits of composting, even passive composting like we do at the plots!

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3/4/13 9:23 A

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Absolutely! Soil maintenance isn't just for farmers. :) Healthy dirt is the key to a successful garden, no matter what you're growing.

NGCHILD, you said "So many people I know think it's a waste of time to compost..." Gaaaah! That is completely bewildering to me. What do they think good dirt just grows on trees? emoticon

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Yes, I compost.

Karen

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The past year I've used two plastic buckets with tight fitting lids, I drilled a lot of holes in them for air circulation; when one is full I start adding to the other and when that one's full I use the compost from the first bucket. I compost food from the kitchen that I keep in a pail and also everything from the vacuum cleaner and the dryer lint. I don't have a lot of leaves so I compost my junkmail torn into bits, straw, and trimmings and leftover plants. I turn it and water it regularly, don't know if it gets truly "hot" enough but it works, everything decomposes. Next year I'd like to start a good sized leaf pile to take from for the compost but I'll have to get that going from neighbors' leaf bags.

Jan







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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,282
3/2/13 10:42 A

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Absolutely!
Aside from yard trimmings and veggies & fruit scraps, since the lake I live at has gotten zebra mussels, a lot more water weeds have been growing up around my dock. I have been using my leaf rake to harvest those and toss them in my compost pile, I've also told a few neighborts about this and that they could add any they harvest to my pile. I occassionaly go out and find some new lake weeds on the top of my pile. After I clear out my veggie bed in the fall, I top it off with a few inches of shredded leaves and a little blood meal and leave it for the winter. In spring I turn this into the soil along with compost from my pile. It keeps my raised beds in wonderful condition and many of my neighbors comment on how great my garden is doing compared to theirs.

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3/2/13 2:06 A

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Absolutely. I am a totally unengaged gardener - if plants don't do well with absolutely no attention from me, I choose a different plant for that spot the next year. The ONLY gift I give to my seedlings is the compost. I figure if I feed the soil, it'll do the rest of the work for me. And I enjoy the fact that, in the fall, the neighbors see me on trash day running all up and down the street at 5 in the morning, stealing the leaf bags from the yards that don't treat their lawns and dumping those leaves in my compost pile. I probably get 15 or 20 cubic yards of bagged leaves on each of three mornings, and the next spring my garden thanks me for it. Compost is treasure!

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I compost year round. Vegetable scraps, egg shells, you name it. Even in winter, the compost still seems to break down somewhat. I empty it twice a year, sifting it and returning the unfinished compost to the bin, but spreading the finished compost on the perennial flower beds.

Rarely add grass to the bin though, as we usually leave the grass clippings on the lawn. If there are lots, we may mow first with a mulching mower, then bag the excess when doing a 2nd pass with the mower going cross wise, but we put the clippings on the garden between the plants to help keep the weeds down and help the soil keep moisture in.
With leaves, we also mow them first and then bag them, and dig whatever we can into the garden in the fall. We also use the chopped leaves as mulch in the flower beds.

-Cathy
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I do, mostly leaves and grass clippings.

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We compost all fruit and vegetable scraps. We also compost leaves and mowed grass. I even started a compost bucket at work, and everyone gives me their scraps.

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3/1/13 7:41 P

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We compost spring/summer/fall. It is so exciting to add our pile to our garden and till it in for spring planting. So many people I know think it's a waste of time to compost but until you have done it, I guess you don't understand the rewards.

Anyone else compost?

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