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Gary350
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I am tired of making my own compost

I raked the whole yard I had a pile of leaves 5ft deep 5 ft wide, 20 ft long. After 2 years of composting I had two 5 gallon buckets of compost. It seems like a waste of time for such a small amount of compost.

One year I put 1 year old leaf compost in the garden all the plants turned yellow. I had to feed the plants lots of nitrogen all summer. I discovered the best way to make leaf compost in 1 year is mix in a lot of nitrogen during the compost process.

I got a pickup truck load of cow manure one year it was basically a truck load of weed seeds. It caused me the worse problem with weeds I ever had. Compost was fine but it was totally composted away after the first summer.

I hauled a pickup truck load of rabbit manure one year that stuff was easy to deal with. But it composted away to absolutely nothing very fast. I couldn't tell it had much compost value.

I got a truck load of horse manure one year. It was a problem to deal with and there were no weed seeds like I had with cow manure. It had to compost 1 year before I could use it then the volume was only about two 5 gallon buckets of compost. A lot of work for nothing.

For the past several years I have bought 4 or 5 bales of 3.8 cu ft peat mose and tilled it into the whole garden. I'm not sure this has much compost value but it sure does make the dirt easy to work.

This year I am going to buy composted cow manure in bags. $3 per 50 lb bag is an ok price. I used bag cow manure many years ago it worked pretty good. This year I will put this in each hole and use Legumes Nitrogen Fixation for the beans.
Last edited by Gary350 on Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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applestar
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:?: Something sure isn't adding up :?:
The amount of material I have available is a mere fraction of what you've described, but I sure end up with more than 2 5 gal buckets of compost out of them, and I use up my compost before a full year's up -- even when I wasn't turning the pile at all (well, maybe 3 or 4 times during the year). I guess I raid the pile twice a year -- spring and fall -- sifting out whatever is still too big and returning them to the pile. I sometimes also make minor raids to the pile throughout the growing season when I do complete pile turns, gathering up what's on the bottom of the pile.

If you are looking for organic matter to incorporate into the soil, you could just mulch with that huge pile of leaves in the fall~as late as 2 months before planting, maybe layered with manure (I usually just end up using alfalfa meal/pellets and some compost as it takes more effort to procure manure).

Really good compost is more of an inoculant -- kind of like yeast in bread dough or a yogurt starter, so you don't need a whole lot. To stretch what you have, you can make [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17097]Aerated Compost Tea[/url] out of it.

I have to say, using peat moss is just not environmentally friendly, and there are many other alternatives. It also lowers the pH of the soil and will require proper adjustment when using in vegetable garden soil (whereas a pH neutral substitute -- ugh! let's say "CHOICE" ... "substitute" makes it sound like peat moss is the primary substance -- let's get away from that notion, shall we? :wink: -- would not).

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if you are going to cart stuff, have you checked to see if your municipality sells compost? For the community garden, we started with a whole bunch of city compost. It will be a while before that garden can produce all its own. We compost the scraps, but it's not enough.
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Ozark Lady
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I agree. I hate making compost. Lots of work and little or no return on my efforts.

I do two things... one I bag up the leaves and just let them set until they turn into dirt, all by themselves... You know it is ready, when you try to move the bag and it falls apart.

The second is I sheet compost... I just pile the leaves on the beds for the winter. Come spring, I simply remove them, to the compost bin... which is really just a bin of leaves. I let the weeds grow, and plant around them for awhile, the weeds tell me when the soil is warm.

Then when I need to remove the weeds, I put them into the compost bin. Once all is growing, I go to the compost bin, and get some leaves for mulch.

Oh maybe three things, I also let the manure and bedding in the barn set until it breaks down, on its own and then simply use it. I rotate stalls for the animals.

I don't make compost... I tried it, I didn't like it... too much like work, for too little return. Nope, I won't compost either... not the usual way at least.
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I raked up my small yard, added in weeds Ipulled nd made compost with it. I ended up with a pile 3 foot wide, 3 foot deep and 2.5 feet tall. And I didn't start out with a pile that much bigger. I think you're composting it too long. Either that, you're adding way too much nitrogen and the bacteria/bugs are over enjoying eating away your compost. I go for about 75% browns and 25% greens and I get great compost. My flowers grown with compost last year were very impressive, and the ones I started earlier before teh compost were dissapointing. You also gotta remember, compost takes a couple years to improve your soil, it's not a quick fix, but once it's done its work it's the best thing you can do.
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gixxerific
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You don't have to stop composting, but getting some from a local source isn't bad. You could use you own compost, well for one thing to get rid of your waste in a ecologically friendly manner, but also just as a top dressing or in planting holes.

I wonder what happened to the seedy cow manure. That just doesn't make sense. The way cow's digest their food the seeds don't make it through, now horse manure that is another story yet you didn't have weeds in that so......HUH! :?

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Ozark Lady
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The horses might have been fed ground grains, or chopped up... so it couldn't sprout... only whole grains would sprout.
The cow manure, almost had to include bedding, in order to get the weed seeds.
If the bedding was manure and urine soaked and aged to a teak color, it would be hard to tell if it was bedding, or manure.
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rainbowgardener
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I love making compost!

I agree with applestar and a0bc. I have a compost pile 3'X3'X3'. I don't turn it except when I want to use the compost, so about 3 times a year. Turn it over so the top part becomes the bottom of a new pile and use the finished compost. In the meantime I just keep adding to it. It's never full, because about the time it is, it composts down some more.

It has nothing but leaves, garden remains and kitchen scraps in it.

Three times a year, I pull 2 or 3 (or more!) 2 gallon buckets of finished compost out of it.

Agree with a0bc, you are leaving it too long, and/ or using too much nitrogen. Making it harder than it needs to be.

To me, it is like a miracle, I just keep throwing garbage, weeds on the pile and at the end I pull out wonderful, dark, rich, crumbly, earthy soil. I love my compost almost as much as I love my plants!

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fungus among us?

..

Yeah, I might chuck it too after that.

Did your humongous leaf pile go fungal? I had a big bin, well big for me, 4 x 4 x 3. It had a bunch of junk in it. It would fill up and reduce and I'd fill it up again. After feeding if for like six months I just watered. I got mushrooms after a few months and figured: good, somethings happening. I kind of let it go and it reduced down to about nothing.

I've heard of others going for that leaf mold stuff but I haven't tried it. A single material shouldn't return a great many nutrients I figure.

Leaves are more carbon than green wet stuff. Mix up a bunch of other stuff. Try grass clippings for a complimentary ingredient. Apply after 6 months max. Avoid the rush and spread it sooner than later. Spread on the ground in the fall and soil will be happy in spring.

From time to time I find it necessary to just go over the basics. Refresh your technique at a good easy to read site:

https://www.compostinfo.com/

to sense

..

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Ozark Lady
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I re-read this whole thread. I think that I may have hit on something.
I noticed that folks who like to compost and have good luck composting have 25% green matter.
I don't have a lawn to mow. I didn't notice any grass clippings in the original post either. That may be the secret ingredient.
I have planted a lawn, over and over... no go.
I live in the forest, so leaves are very abundant.... weeds that I can cut green to add to the leaf bin is about 1%... Consequently compost does not work for me.
Leaves from outside the garden are bagged and laid inside the garden fence, they set there and compost in the bags.
Leaves within the garden, are piled on the beds for the winter.
So, how would you compost without grass clippings?
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Farmer Dave
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compost instructions

Greetings
I love to compost and get a lot more compost than you do out of my piles. Try these instructions. Let me know how they work for you.

These composting instructions are for a hot compost pile. I have more comprehensive directions and explanations on cold piles, sheet composting earthworm compost and tumblers if you need it.

Your pile will need a mixture of brown and green material C/N (carbon and nitrogen) approximately 30:1 ratio by weight. By mass
it is approximately 12 inches of browns to 4 inches of greens.
What to use and what not to use in your compost:

* Browns:Leaves
* Dry grasses
* Straw
* Garden refuse
* Corn stalks
* Egg shells
* Ashes
* Wood chips or sawdust



* Greens:Manure
* grass clippings
* Alfalfa hay
* Sea weed
* Coffee grounds
* Green Manure



* What not to use:Chemically treated wood products
* Diseased plants
* Human waste
* Pet wastes
* Meat, bones
* Fatty food
* Pernicious weeds



1. Location for pile or bins
Choose a location near a water source as you will need to add
water as you make your pile. You should also have enough
room for two piles, as you will need to turn them and an area
for stacking up materials before they go into the pile. An area
approximately 10ft X 10ft should be large enough.

2. Pile Size
All hot piles should be at least 1 cubic yard which is
3ft tall and 3 ft on each side. They can be larger but if you get
above 2 cubic yards they will be very hard to turn by hand. The
size is needed for insulation and to provide enough materials
for the heat generating microbes to work efficiently.

3. Materials
Gather your materials and stack them up next to where you will
build your pile. For a hot pile it is important to build your pile
at one time so if you don’t have enough materials it is best to
stack them up in a holding area and wait until you have enough
for your pile. Make a separate pile of greens and browns. Make sure to shred or at least cut up tough garden refuse like corn stalks.

Kitchen waste
If you want to use kitchen waste it is not a good idea to just stock pile this as it is very stinky and attracts animals. If you want to incorporate kitchen waste in your piles you can make a cold pile layering your kitchen waste with browns and greens so that the waste is well covered. Using a bin with a tight lid is also a good idea. Build your pile slowly adding greens and browns each time you dump your kitchen waste. These piles are especially condusive to using earthworms to turn your pile. Here are some earthworm composting instructions . You can get Red Wigglers, the best worms for your compost piles at the "Organic Worm Farm".

For a hot pile that you will turn every two weeks or so it is best to build it in a flat spot directly on the earth. Bins also work well they are a little harder to turn.
1. Start with a clear area or bins about 4 ft sq and build your pile 3 ft sq. at its base and 3-5 ft tall.
2. First make an 8â€
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Ozark Lady
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But Dave, every item in your green list, except for the manure.... I would have to go to the store and buy!
Why not cut out the middle man and buy finished compost?
We don't have grass clippings, sea weed... from the sea? I would have to buy that.
We don't brew coffee.... should I buy grounds and just add them from the can?
All the browns would be easy to get, I save egg shells and ashes from the woodstove for the garden anyhow.

One caution... potato peels. I had always heard to never feed potato peels to hogs... the old wives tale was they would not breed.
Well, one odd day... my goats managed to get into the house... don't even ask... 4 little boys is enough explanation.
Anyhow, they got into the potato bin. There were bites out of several potatoes. A few days later, I had sick goats... I took them to the vet, they had pneumonia... I mentioned them getting into the house and eating the potato episode... the vet... lit up... They got the pneumonia from bacteria on the potatoes! The vet then knew how to treat them, and they all quickly recovered. Needless to say... if a goat can get sick, pneumonia from eating, plain old store bought potatoes... they were not homegrown with garden dirt on them...
I am more cautious of potato peelings than I am fresh manure!
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rainbowgardener
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Well you don't have to buy coffee grounds, they are free for the asking from Starbucks type places, gas stations that serve coffee, etc. I bring them home from work where there is always coffee going.

But the other "green" that isn't on the list is the kitchen scraps. I do save all my kitchen scraps in a tightly covered bucket. When the bucket is full, it goes on the pile and then gets covered with lots of leaves, weeds, or whatever else I have handy (and maybe a small handful of garden dirt, when the ground isn't frozen).

Also Farmer Dave put "garden refuse" under browns. Woody stuff maybe, but I would think most pulled weeds are greens. I don't know about you, but my garden produces plenty of weeds during the growing season! My problem then is to balance it out with enough brown, since by summer the fall leaves will be all used up (even though I did bring 8 bags of them home! :) )

Here's the basic ingredients of my pile:

Green: kitchen scraps, pulled weeds, coffee grounds (sometimes duck weed skimmed from the big pond at the bottom of our hill-- it's a big messy job skimming and then hauling it up the hill and I don't often do it, but it is great stuff in the compost pile when I get it together!)

Brown: fall leaves, paper towels, coffee filters, shredded grocery and yard waste bags, occasional cardboard, some branches and brush run through the chipper/shredder, when the fall leaves run out.

It's what I have and it works for me.

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gixxerific
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Another thing OL if looking for greens like grass, you can get others grass if you don't have any. Maybe your friends neighbors bag their grass that would be beneficial to you and them to compost. Even raiding strangers piled up bag of grass, don't laugh it happens here on this forum.

So many ways to do it, just how far do you want to go is the final question.

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applestar
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But Ozark Lady, you got the manure. Us cookie cutter suburbanites use grass clippings and kitchen scraps because we CAN'T easily get manure and we don't have goats and chickens/ducks to feed the scraps to.

Any green shrubbery is GREEN. In your case, you don't need a chipper/shredder -- you got goats! (who will make manure out of them) :lol:

Even if you don't feed them to goats, those locust seedlings/saplings, for example (or do the goats eat that to?) green leaves = green compost ingredient, though tree leaves might be a bit higher in C than forb leaves. I let a lot of my weeds grow up a bit so they add more nutrient to the compost pile. Depends on where they're growing.

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Ozark Lady
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The goats will not eat locust... nothing eats locust... I wish they would.

You hit the nail on the head. When I pull weeds, I always take them to the goat pen, and they gobble them up. I didn't even think about that. That is exactly what I do... when I cut brush, it is straight on my garden cart, when full, straight to the goats.. and only what they won't eat, goes to the compost heap. I honestly forgot about that... I do add mint, nettles and locust to the compost because goats don't eat that. But, the brambles, the basic weeds, the small trees, goats love all those. The goats have 3 acres of woods and brush to roam and eat, but when they see me in the garden, they stand at the fence and holler for treats or petting.

My brain just woke up... I cleared an entire bed, that had weeds taller than me... It went on two carts... one to the goats, and one to the leaf bin.. the leaf bin was items that I already know goats don't like. When I was done, there was alot of green in that bin, within hours, it was a handful. The wilting down, made it not much. I have never run out of leaves, if I did, it is simple to step into the woods that aren't cleared and gather a garden cart or two full, without disturbing much. I live in the forest!

I thought about the bagged up lawn stuff, but so many folks use pesticides, and herbicides and other chemicals, I am concerned about using them. I do feel that normally tree leaves are safe to pick up curbside, but I have so many that more is too many. And I did accept leaves from my daughter-in-laws dad and grandfather who live in town and are always looking for a way to get rid of lawn and leaf waste, and they don't spray. But, my son is now gardening too, so he uses them.

For instance, the power company came through last year, I was in town, and they sprayed all my weeds and saplings with herbicides, so I can't use them as goat feed, mulch, nor compost, they aren't even safe to burn... now I have to bag it up and put it into a land fil. I have made a major protest of that action! What a waste! I would rather they had just cut them and left them lay! They sprayed my elderberries, and they never get tall enough to bother the electric lines... grrrr. They sent men who knew nothing of plants... They sprayed anything and everything that was under their powerline without regard to how tall it would get, or what it was! grrr!

I rarely get to town. In fact, once a week is about my limit to going anywhere... It is great, now that I don't punch the timeclock anymore.
I can't imagine getting my hubby to stop for coffee grounds!

So, if I use manure as my green is it still 25%, even though the manure is in bedding?
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Farmer Dave
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cover crops for compost

Hi Ozark lady and all
Sounds like some good suggestions which almost rounded out my list, good point on the garden refuse including weeds, I usually think of garden refuse being the plants I clean up in the fall.

I wanted to add that you can grow your greens as in green manure or alfalfa or clover. This is a very good thing to do. In the fall or February if I don't get around to it earlier, I plant vetch and oats in my garden areas and then a month before planting I till them in. If they are too tall I cut them down and use the tops for compost and till in the bottoms.

Each summer I leave some of my beds for cover crops and plant soy beans and buckwheat. I use the cover crops to till in and for compost. I also grow alfalfa which is on a 4-5 year rotation with my vegetable beds. I cut the alfalfa and mostly feed it to our cow and horse but I also use it for compost when I need more greens. Alfalfa has a lot of nitrogen, cellulose and growth enhancing enzymes. One of the best things for compost, multch or animal feed. Not everyone has enough room or the right soil and weather conditons for alfalfa. But there are some kind of cover crops that will work for you if you have the space. I also want to add that if you don't have enough browns you can cut your greens and leave them to dry before raking them into piles and they turn into browns.

It does sound like you don't enjoy making compost in which case you can just buy it or just use manure instead. I have gone many years just using sheet composting methods for my fall crops and using manure for my beds. But the last few years I am back to composting. I don't usually have enough for everything so still use a lot of manure. I also always cover crop or use very thick sheet composting methods with lots of manure.

"Feed your soil - it feeds you"
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Ozark Lady
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Actually, other than the fact that I have animal manures, I am more of the Ruth Stout type... Sheet compost right on the beds.
But, unlike Ruth, I do remove all the mulch in the spring to let the beds dry, warm, and air out just a bit. When I don't do that, the slug population explodes and no plant is safe.

How bad are slugs here? Last summer, I was using diatomaceous earth, to get rid of them... I left the bag on my table in the garden... Next day, I had a damp bag, from the dew, and there was a huge slug in it, and several little ones, not sure if the big one had the little ones or what. But, slugs in my bug killer bag... great! Okay, I know once it is wet it is not effective at cutting up bugs... So, I increased the egg shells, I beg everyone for their egg shells... slice those little monsters up... wet or dry!
Crazy thing is: My neighbor sells strawberries commercially, in a you pick or we pick deal.. no slug issues. Grrr.

I think, like most things, if you start out overwhelmed it leaves a bad memory. So, I am going to start small, compost just a small amount, for my mushrooms!!! (Your fault guys and gals...) I am going to build one shelf into a mushroom area, and properly layer compost into it, let it heat and turn it... to grow mushrooms later. But, this will be a small area. Perhaps if I start smaller, it will work better.

You know, funny thought... I have read that compost will heat up and you can even cook with it. I believe it. Problem is... I have never, I mean never seen compost piles heat up... nor even manure piles heat. I know that it should happen. I just have never seen it happen.
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gixxerific
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Not sure if you knew this or not but DT Earth will regain it's effectivness after drying out. :wink:

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Ozark Lady
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I wondered about that Gixx. Thanks for the info. I did add the DT to my garden soil, it still contains minerals for the soil, whether wet or dry, slug infested or not... minerals are minerals.
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rainbowgardener
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My no-turn, no-manure compost pile does not usually heat up very much. But last season for awhile it was really cooking, actually gave off steam when I dug into it a little. I think the difference was two things: I had started adding more fall leaves so I had a better balance of greens and browns and it rained a lot last season, so it was staying moister. Has to stay damp to work well.

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Ozark Lady
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That could very well be right. I have never had alot of excess water so that I could use it on compost. It only got stuff that needed dumping, like mosquito wrigglers growing in something... dump on compost. Or water in things after a rain, that needed to be emptied... Yep, it got the leftovers, even in water.
I have always saved the water for the plants.
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Gary350
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How does everyone here use your compost???

I love compost but I just can't get enough of it. I have 1 compost pile that is a 5 ft circle about 3 ft deep. I filled it all summer sprinkled on some dirt and water, grass clippings, old plants, bean plants, squash plants, tomatoes, corn, etc. During summer it goes down pretty fast I just keep filling it up. When the weather finally turned cold I had it piled up 3 ft above the container now it is down about 6" below the container. About May when I plant the garden I will remove the bottom part and it won't be much maybe 2 large buckets full compacted tight in the buckets. I also had a mountain of leaves that is now only 1 ft tall those won't be completely composted until next summer.

2 buckets of compost doesn't go very far. I use it for planning seed, and herb seeds in pots. I dig flower pot size holes for tomato plants and I throw most of the good compost in the 30 holes for the tomatoes. It doesn't go far enough as far as I am concerned. I would like to have a large dump truck load of compost every year. The compost I use this summer will be complete gone next summer so I need an endless supply of compost.

I also like to till 4 or 5 large 3.8 cu ft bales of peat moss into the whole garden.

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rainbowgardener
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Well, I could usually use more compost than I have, too. But someone else also wrote in recently about not getting much compost out of their compost pile. It sounded like in common with you, they leave their compost sit a looooong time. You were filling that pile all summer, by fall you could have pulled buckets of finished compost from the bottom, probably more than you usually get in the spring. Then keep filling it through fall and winter and in spring still have more than you usually get.

If you leave it sit, it keeps on composting down and down and down.....

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AS, green leaves from a tree are still pretty brown, green needles are definitely still a brown. Sourcing is more important than color. Brown grass is still pretty much a green.

I think OL and rot have hit the nail on the head with the bacterially focused inclusion of greens, and the fungally active high carbon leaves. G350 has not really had a well balancesd compost yet; it has either been pretty bacterial or really fungal. The high carbon inputs would break down quickly in a fungally based system; the veggies would hate that and go yellow. The manures would help balance that back and the veggies would improve. Bouncing back and forth...

Kitchen scraps are a great green; just me and the DW are about a gallon a week of coffee grinds, peelings, stems, tea bags, eggshells, y'know. Grass clippings when mowing starts gives me more greens and I get short on browns; I beg leaf piles off of people, much to their amusement. Shredded paper works too...

But it is always a balancing act. Bouncing back and forth isn't great; better to figure out the mix. Farmer Dave has given a pretty sound roadmap (VERY nice post, sir... :D )

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gixxerific
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Gary are you keeping you leaf pile and green pile separate? if so you should add them together, and like HG said if you don't have the leaves shred paper. My wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday today I told her a paper shredder. I'm tired of borrowing my MIL. I have a few trash bags of shredded paper and another pile waiting to be shredded for my compost since I don't have many leaves here.

And get your neighbors leaves and grass if you don't have enough. They will probably thank you for it, and maybe laugh when you leave but your garden won't be laughing.

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applestar
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AS, green leaves from a tree are still pretty brown, green needles are definitely still a brown. Sourcing is more important than color. Brown grass is still pretty much a green.
OK, maybe it just works because I'm doing this in the summer and there are already a lot of greens from weeds and stuff, then. I did say, "tree leaves might be a bit higher in C than forb leaves" Let's just say I was too lazy to get into the specifics. :oops:

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I know, believe me I do AS. :) Not to worry...

But I think we are on to G350's issue to be sure. Composting is more fun when you are getting it right. We can help...

HG
Scott Reil

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Gary350
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I have about 30 trees in my yard I could fill a large dump truck 3 times with leaves. I put leaves and green kitchen scraps in the main compost but I also have a pile that is leaves only.

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gixxerific
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Gary350 wrote:I have about 30 trees in my yard I could fill a large dump truck 3 times with leaves. I put leaves and green kitchen scraps in the main compost but I also have a pile that is leaves only.
What you need is a dump truck of manure and a front end loader to go big time then. Then build a large screening device. Yeah I know that may be out of reach but highly doable. I wish I cold post pics from off this forum. There is a guy I know that has a small commercial size compost pile or 3 and he is in Alaska. He really has it down to a science and works great for him.

I only wish I had your problem with all the leaves.

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Just kichen scraps is probably not sufficient to do your leaves. Where can we find you some more nitrogen?

Urine would be a good, sterile source of nitrogen (urea), not to mention decent amounts of potassium and phosphate. Start saving and stop flushing (saves on water too :mrgreen: ).

The coffee grounds suggestion is sound and it's not just Starbucks. Lot's of places need to get rid of the grounds.

Grass clippings and leaves are like carrots and peas; they just go together. Save your own, see if there are other folks in the neighborhood that don't use chems who would part with theirs. Good stuff.

Or chuck it. Just purchase from a good source (but I get the complaints about finding a good source, and it ain't easy; they often go about making their own). There are a lot of us here who do think it's worth it and would kill for your leaves. But if they are dissappearing quickly and to so little detritus, and you don't want to do this, then pile them and forget them...

If it doesn't work for you, find what does... :wink:

HG
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When I was young I had enough energy to rake all these leaves but not any more. I use the lawn mower in the front yard to blow all the leaves to the street and the city vacuum truck sucks them up.

I use the lawn mower in the back yard to blow all the leaves to the garden. Leaves are probably 95% air after being mulched by the lawn mower the volume gets smaller but still a lot of air. I had a pile of leaves 3 ft deep 20 ft long in the fall, now it is 1 ft deep.

My neighbor brings me all his grass clippings every Saturday. He has a riding mower with a grass catcher. I get about 40 gallons of grass clippings every weekend. I put grass, leaves, some dirt all together in my main composter. The compost goes down about 6" every week but I keep filling it up about 3 ft every week with new organic material. The stuff on the bottom looks like compost in the spring when I get ready to plant the garden. Not much good stuff there just a couple 5 gallon buckets full. I get a couple more buckets of compost about July and 2 more in Sept but that is hardly anything compaired to what I really need.

One year I used the compost too early it turned all the plants in the garden yellow. I had to feed the plants with nitrogen to fix the problem. It seems like too much work for what I get.

rot
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Leave it alone?

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Geez. Leaves without a bunch of sticks. Don't I wish.

Yeah oodles of compost would be cool. I started out to make oodles of compost. Then the time and energy factors kicked in. Now I'm content to digest whatever I can and the resulting compost is gravy.

With that many leaves I'd be looking at just mulching with leaves. Out here in dry country I end up with a lot of avocado leaves. I let them dry out and then when they're all nice and crunchy, I crunch them through a milk crate and use the result for leaf mulch where ever the wind won't come up and blow it all away.

Starbucks tends to leave out the coffee filters in their give-away grounds. You can mulch directly with the grounds - worms dig it - and then, leaf mulch on top of that to mitigate the crusting effect.

Could be a low energy effort and save you from using so much water.

to sense
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The Helpful Gardener
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Good thoughts, rot...

Fukuoka-sensei did a little compost for the kitchen garden, but simply returned straw to his grain fields with a little chicken poop. Anything else was too much work; too much effort with too little return.

Seems this is where Gary is; seeing too much effort with too little return. My friend Mike Nadeau, a real organic pioneer, simply fits mulching blades to his lawn tractor and retuirns those leaves right back into the lawn, Think of the mix of chopped leaves and grass as a ready made sheet compost. I think Mike drags a chain loop behind the tractor to help work them in past the crowns.

Perhaps the best method for Gary has yet to be discovered, and while the conversation here is loaded with good information, Gary is likely the best arbiter of what will work for Gary. :wink:
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I have come to the conclusion that composting is like eating your vegetables....

Those who love them, really love them...
Those who hate them, really hate them...
And then there are those who manage to acquire a taste for them, by sampling again!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

rot
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what works best

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Yes HG good point, what works best is what works for you. Don't bend so much to make compost or whatever scheme your using but bend it to how you live and work. Make it serve you and not the other way around and you'll find it will stick. If the process isn't working, change the process.

I'll mulch leaves into the lawn when grass cycling too.

I will also rake leaves on to the grass before mowing so the mower will munch and mix the leaves and grass clippings for my bin when I don't grass cycle.

I'm just playing the game of getting the mostess organics into the ground the fastest I can with the leastess energy. Otherwise you can just call me lazy.

to sense

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The Helpful Gardener
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I don't think there ever was a lazy man in this world. Every man has some sort of gift, and he prizes that gift beyond all others. He may be a professional billiard-player, or a Paderewski, or a poet--I don't care what it is. But whatever it is, he takes a native delight in exploiting that gift, and you will find it is difficult to beguile him away from it. Well, there are thousands of other interests occupying other men, but those interests don't appeal to the special tastes of the billiard champion or Paderewski. They are set down, therefore, as too lazy to do that or do this--to do, in short what they have no taste or inclination to do. In that sense, then I am phenomenally lazy. But when it comes to writing a book--I am not lazy. My family find it difficult to dig me out of my chair.
Mark Twain- quoted in Sydney Morning Herald, 9/17/1895
Scott Reil

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The older I get

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The older I get the smarter that Mark Twain guy gets.

thanks

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