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Tabasco
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Things You Should Not Mulch/Compost?

As I dig and clear the undeveloped land on my lot, I'm going to shred mostly leaves.
But I am also getting a lot of vines and weeds, of course.
Poison ivy, oak, and sand spurs, are obviously things I will avoid, but other than that, can it all go into the compost pile?

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Things You Should Not Mulch/Compost?

I don't like to compost my spent tomato and pepper plants. Mainly because, in SC, I have lots of blight, and I'm afraid my heap wont get hot enough to kill it.

I also let weeds that I pull dry out on the ground before I put them in.
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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grrlgeek
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Re: Things You Should Not Mulch/Compost?

Soft moist vines will break down quickly. Woody stems will take longer. Not that the latter shouldn't be added, and you can always screen your finished compost and send the larger chunks back for another cycle. It's good to have some airy materials like twiggy branches at the bottom of the pile - it helps keep the pile from becoming too compressed. Compost needs air and moisture to get the organisms working. Try to avoid putting seed heads in compost (and especially avoid them for mulch). If you can't separate and discard the seed heads, it is probably best to pass on that material. As Lindsaylew82 noted, do not use diseased plant materials at all. If in doubt, trash it anyway.

"Mostly leaves" will not break down very fast if that is all that is in the compost pile. If your goal is just to make mulch, then shredding leaves to put on top of the soil is a fantastic plan and you can use only leaves for that if you want to. I use a mix of leaves, grass, hay, and straw, all run over by the lawnmower for my mulch. If the leaves are a compost input, be sure to balance it with "greens" like grass clippings, fresh soft vines, used coffee grounds, manure, kitchen scraps, and the like. Check out the composting forum: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=35 for a wealth of information on making a balanced compost pile.
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Tabasco
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Location: Zone 9a, 50 miles North of Tampa Fl

Re: Things You Should Not Mulch/Compost?

Thanks folks.

Holy smokes! I didn't know there was a composting forum.
I've got to get out more :D

tomc
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Re: Things You Should Not Mulch/Compost?

As poison ivy-poison oak composts they break down the oil that is toxic. What I for sure would not do is burn poison oak-ivy. The smoke will be toxic.

if you are fearful that your litter pile will not get hot enough, sprinkle on a little urea.
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evtubbergh
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Re: Things You Should Not Mulch/Compost?

I would put everything in. The only things not to include are meat, milk products, fats and oils, paper with ink and dog poo.

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ElizabethB
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Re: Things You Should Not Mulch/Compost?

My thoughts based on my own experience - no cooked foods, oils or animal by products other than egg shells - rinsed and crushed. Coffee grounds, cleaned egg shells and all raw kitchen scraps go in the bins. I do cut larger pieces into smaller pieces. When melons are in season I remove the seeds and cut up the rinds. Same with citrus - we use a lot of lemon, lime and orange.

I have had some really bad experiences with poison ivy - as in emergency room for cortisone shots. The toxic oils remain in the wood for as long as 3 years. I don't want it in my compost. When I weed it usually goes in the yard waste bin which is brought to a compost facility. I am not as attentive of my compost as I should be - don't turn as frequently as I should and don't give it enough water in dry periods. Consequently it does not always get as hot as it should to kill weed seeds (sometimes it does). I just don't want the hassle of weed seeds germinating in the compost. The same with fruit and vegetable seeds. I take the seeds out of the kitchen scraps before adding to the bins.

I enjoy composting and love the lovely material that I get. No expert - just a Plain Jane home composter. I know what I like in my bins - others may disagree. Not a problem. I am :twisted: with myself because my bins were neglected since late last summer. No cooked compost this spring. I did get back on tract in March when the live oak shed it's leaves. Layers of leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps. I need a few more days of sunshine before I toss it the adjacent bin and start layering again.

What I love about composting is that it is always an experiment. Some things work, some things don't. Live and learn. You will get lots of good information from this forum. Take what you like and leave the rest. You will eventually find out what works best for you.

Be patient. Do not expect immediate success. There is a learning curve.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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