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Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Nov 2, 2015.
I am fairly new to composting and am always interested in how other people do it. Currently, I have dirt, foliage from old garden plants, and have my eye on the dead leaves under my shrubs. Those leaves will be the next layer that I add.
With that, you can turn around your compost a lot quicker than I can, but I deposit everything compostable from what would otherwise go in the trash, as well as leaves and tree trimmings.
Quite an impressive compost heap there Ken. I imagine you must have a major, killer garden. I actually have a composting bin here on the property, but the only thing I have ever really put in it is grass clippings and leaves. It is a long walk from the house. One time, when we had the tornado, that I talked about on here before...the top of it, blew off. and actually the whole thing blew into the woods on the vacant lot next door. The bin probably weighed 50 pounds,,so you can get an idea of the strength of the storm.
No, as I explained earlier, I don't use my compost for gardening. Here in Millinocket, most of the houses were built on wet ground that was filled in by coal ash from the paper mill that was built here before the town. There was once a pond where my house is and, before the town was built, the mill dumped its coal ash, which was a byproduct of the mill procedures, to form the land that the old part of town was built. Then the dumped a little bit of soil on top of that and built houses. Because of this, if I dig down only a few inches into the soil, I hit coal ash. Some trees are able to root through the coal ash, but some aren't. I can't grow root crops, like potatoes or celery, unless I build raised gardens. So, what I am using my compost for is to build up the height of the ground in my yard. Because I'm not using it in gardens, and because I have enough space to let it compost for three years, I compost everything, including cat litter and meat scraps. As you probably know, it take a whole lot of scraps to yield a small amount of compost.
A couple of weeks ago, I added several tree branches that I had trimmed from my trees and that's holding the pile up right now. Although I cut them into small pieces, it's keeping the pile from dropping down. Before too long, I think that weight of the stuff added later will compress it, though. Also, I must have missed a large section of styrofoam from one of the boxes that I added, because I see that in there, near the bottom, now that the box has composted around it. Once things settle a bit, I'll try to dig that out.
Although it hardly looks like a well manicured lawn, this spring I was faced with rust-colored moss all over my lawn. Last year, it was green moss and looked pretty okay so I didn't do anything with it, but this year it was ugly. I pulled up as much of that as I could and re-seeded. Then I made the mistake of adding fertilizer and, where in spots where I added too much of it, I had dead spots, so I dug up the soil from these spots, replacing it with a mixture of top soil and compost, and re-seeded them. This about all the lawn maintenance I plan on doing this summer, other than mowing and watering. Next spring, I'll see what I have. I might have to pull up more of the moss and the soil around it, and do some more seeding. I don't look for perfection but I wasn't exactly looking for butt ugly either.
I am going to quit putting peanuts out for the squirrels though. Although I'll continue to feed them other types of squirrel food, they keep digging holes in my lawn and gardens to bury the peanuts that I give them.
I hope I'm not overworking my worms this summer. I've added the brush from the trees that I have cut down over the past few days.
The worms are doing a pretty good job, considering that every bit of my compostable materials have been added to this pile.
I like all of your Fall leaves! It is still pretty green around here, with no nice color. We have some yellows but alot of the leaves are just turning brown and falling off. We haven't really had enough rain to get good color, nor have we had a freeze yet, but some of the areas just North of here will. Keep it up worms! I keep thinking I should leaf rake and put it in my composter, but I am lazy..! I just used the leaf blower on the deck!
It fascinates me that I have added everything compostable from our house (food wastes, junk mail, boxes, paper towels), as well as three bales of straw, the leaves from four trees that I cut down and, of course, the ones that I've raked up from the yard since last fall, yet the pile never gets much bigger than it is now, at least not for long. When I do heap it, everything is composed down to about this level in a short time.
Just a quick note on composting..
We have in our back yard, way out from the house, one of those black composters.. The one that has a screw top and is anchored to the ground with spikes..
We keep on putting food scraps, dried dead leaves (mostly birch and maple) some dried up cut grass and some bags of good black earth.. I mix it up often enough and I also add water to it so it isn't too dry..
Well, a black Bear smelled what was inside and wanted the food scraps even though they were all mixed up.. It knocked over the composter, made the biggest mess you have ever seen, got to nibble on some food scraps and left, but not before giving us one of the biggest drop of bear poop you can imagine.. I mean this was a mound...
I put back the composter as best I could and put everything back inside as much as I could, put the locking lid back on and it is there for now..
Yes, I also put the poop in the composter and mixed it up...
@Steve North. That bear just left it's mark by your composter so it other bears know that it's claimed territory. I suspect it will be back.