rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Not really a carbon in my mind

..
HG,

Anything I might put in my compost pile has carbon in it. Saying something has a 20:1 C:N ratio has carbon in it, like grass clippings, seems to me misleading.

Absurdo ad reductum, I should be adding liquid nitrogen to my piles and to my soil.

to sense
..

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Indeed. The most commonly wasted liquid nitrogen source in the western world would be urine. Sterile, plentiful, and you can make your own! It's easy (and fun if you use beer as a raw material...)

I understand your point on carbon, but as I said, it ain't just carbon and nitrogen. Add some coal to your pile, pee on it, and let me know how that turns out... :lol:

HG
Scott Reil

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Maybe if I'm bad enough for Christmas

..
Already pee in the pile.

I have no idea where to get coal.

Maybe I should pee on the driveway.
..

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

:lol:
Scott Reil

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: MO

You people are out of control. 8)



On a more serious note, for anyone else reading, it's important to distinguish C:N ratio from brown:green ratio. An ideal compost mix has a C:N of 30:1, or so I've heard. So grounds would be slightly on the green side. I always thought fresh grass clippings were more like 10:1 or even lower, i.e. very high N.
Tox

MamaLlaura
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:35 pm
Location: Valdosta, GA

Will Starbucks UCG fix my mess?!

Please help!

I haven't consistently used my compost pile all winter...mostly, I add to it in the spring/summer/fall, then cover it with leaves & shredded newsprint in the fall & leave it alone til spring. It's a covered affair--looks like a cellar door that I can open & close to keep critters out of the compost. It's REALLY more of a worm bed than a compost pile...

So I went out today & noticed a foul odor...it smelled like something had crawled up in the compost pile & died. I couldn't think of what it could be--it was the most wretched smell I have encountered in a long time. I finally realized tonight that I dumped some expired powdered protein shake mix in there about a month ago...I didn't even think about it being whey protein...yuck!

So, the only thing I can think of to do is to cover it up with coffee grounds, mix it in really well, & hope that it'll compost? Or should I just hold my nose & dig the mess out of there? It's centralized on one end of the bin, but it honestly smells terrible.

Please send all the help you can offer!!
thanks in advance,

MamaLlaura

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28225
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Since protein would mean a lot of nitrogen/GREEN, I would add and thoroughly mix in a lot of something high carbon/BROWN like fall leaves if you have them/can get to them. Look at the Browns and Greens sticky at the top of the Composting Forum for other high carbon material. Then cover the pile with additional leaves or straw. I like using strawbales broken up into "flakes" as mulch, insulation and odor suppressant. If you have the room, use entire strawbales.

Mixing up fresh UCG into the outer layer carbon material would perhaps help mask the odor. :wink:

MamaLlaura
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:35 pm
Location: Valdosta, GA

Thanks!

That's very helpful--I had no idea whether whey protein would be considered green or brown.

And yes, I was thinking that Starbucks would smell a heck of a lot better than rotting nastiness by my laundryroom door.

The roofers who are coming Monday to replace our roof are going to think we're hiding a body somewhere...

:)

Thanks so much!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Also, between being covered with newsprint and then your cellar-door-thing, it sounds like maybe there's not a lot of air circulation. Anaerobic decompostion gets very stinky. It will probably help just to open every thing up, air it out, and turn it to get air mixed in through it.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Baby it's cold outside

..
Umm. Didn't Georgia just endure record low temperatures? Did I hear snow in Atlanta? I think a freeze just zapped things. Seems to me you'd need an awful lot of powdered protein and something severe to smother the oxygen. I'm betting a freeze could be enough to kill a lot of activity and limit the oxygen

Yeah a layer of starbucks will help the smell. I bet if you just turned the sucker, as gruesome as that might be, and left a layer of starbucks on top you'd be fine especially as the temperatures return to normal. If you see a lot of clotted soggy stuff when you turn, you'll need some dry carbons.

Tell the roofers that's where you bury the lousy plumbers.

two cents
..

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28225
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Tell the roofers that's where you bury the lousy plumbers.
:lol:

MamaLlaura
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:35 pm
Location: Valdosta, GA

Many Thanks

Great tips--

I gritted my teeth & got out there yesterday...it wasn't as bad as it was the first day I tried to mess with it, so that tells me it did need some air. I turned it, crumpled up some dry sycamore leaves, mixed those in, and covered it with some more. Two bags of coffee grounds sprinkled on top & it barely smells rank anymore. I think you're right about it needing oxygen and right about it being a cold winter here. We're 18 miles from the GA/FL state line, so we haven't had any snow this year...but it has still be very cold. Definitely warming up this week...so hopefully everything will get kick started again!

And that's exactly what my husband said about the body cache...he said to tell them that's where the last roofer ended up. :)

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

When we get stink we have committed the the composting sin of anaerobia. Virtually any bad smell in compost is directly attributable to not turning...

Now I know it has been cold, and for some of us, snowish. Very snowish. Such times try mens souls, but they try our compost heaps aeration even more so...

So let those without sin cast the first stone! I thought so; not a lot a rocks flying, because we are all sinners, all of us guilty at some point of not turning, of letting the pile go untended. I too have sinned!

But fear not! For this sin can be readily forgiven! All you need to do is turn over a new leaf. Turn your heap over, and let the light shine in! Turn your heap and let the goodness of oxygen redeem your wayward compost! Add the true organic goodness of more carbon and turn, turn, turn your stinking miasma back into black gold!
How can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs, roots,
orchards, grains?
Are they not continually putting distemper'd corpses
Within you?
Is not every continent work'd over and overwith sour
dead?

Walt Whitman, from This Compost, from Leaves of Grass
Yes Walt! It's true! The best of soil is dead things rotting! It is not the rotting but how it is rotted that is good or bad...
And there is nothing either good nor bad but thinking makes it so

Will Shakespeare, from Hamlet
OK Will, I hear ya, and even anaerobic culture can produce good stuff (Kombucha? Saurkraut? Kim Chee, anyone? Bokashi is still good compost, right)?
"In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."

Eleanor Roosevelt
Umm, okay Eleanor... so choosing the specific organisms makes us responsible for the outcomes, be it cole slaw or hydrogen sulfide stenches. I can own that. I think you know Walt; Will, Eleanor...Eleanor, Will.
"Purely untutored humanity, it is true, inteferes comparitively little with the arrangements of nature, and the destructive agency of man becomes more and more energetic and unsparing as he advances in civilization, until the impoverishment, with which his exhaustion of the natural resources of the soil is threatening him, at last awakens him to the necessity of preserving what is left, if not of restoring what has been wantonly wasted."
George Perkins Marsh, from Man and Nature
Right George right (a bit wordy, but absolutely correct; Talk to Will about brevity, he's really good. And I think you know Walt. This is Eleanor; Eleanor, George). Same proto-farming hunter/gatherer societies in New Guinea for six or seven thousand years with no eco-damage to speak of, we have been here two hundred years and we have Love Canal, Three Mile Island, and the Mecondo well on our record. Which is civilized?

But on the same token, George if we start deciding exactly how to compost by choosing and picking biologies, aren't we curtailing biodiversity? By being completely aerobic we are curtailing the bad guys (yes Will, good nor bad, got it) like E.coli and fecal coliforms, too is that so bad?

So maybe a compost gone anaerobic but brought back to aerobic is the way of the world? Perhaps that's how nature does? Certainly smelled that way last low tide... :evil: Sulfur and brimstone? Work of the devil or anaerobic decomposition?

So I say bring it back alive. A compost that conquers the evils of anaerobia will likely stay that way easier (it's got it's shots, basically). It will take all those corpses Walt is always going one about. Even the roofers and plumbers... :wink:
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant
that you will not live to harvest
Say that the leaves are harvested
When they have rotted into the mold
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every two thousand years
Listen to carrion--put your ear
close and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come

Wendell Berry, from Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front from The Country Of Marriage

Wendell, glad you could make it, I want you to meet some folks... 8)

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28225
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

:shock: ... 8) ... :) :D :lol: LMFAO

I HEARD you've been getting snowed in up there, HG! :wink:

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Wonderful! and of course Wendell Berry is one of my absolute heros!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28225
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Yes... no... (getting off the floor and wiping eyes).... :>
Sorry about that. Your post IS great, HG! I just couldn't help reacting that way. (I guess I've been snowed in too long too.... Knee-high snow everywhere.... :roll:)

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Mojo ain't workin

..
I just haven't been able to put together the poetic chops to respond suitably to HG's post.

Nicely done

to sense
..

MamaLlaura
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:35 pm
Location: Valdosta, GA

I, too, have been too overwhelmed to respond...

Although, I do think my worms got saved there at the beginning...

Oops, I'm not supposed to post anything religious...I just read that in the "rules" that I so dutifully memorized before posting on this forum.

(I hope I get brownie points from a moderator.)

:)

Oh, by the way, the roofers showed up at 7:30 Tuesday morning and did an incredible job--but they covered the whole worm bed up with a tarp...and the dumb coffee grounds molded! I opened the "cellar door" & am letting the whole business air out now...but I do think we're on the road to recovery. Thanks to all you fun composting friends...

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: MO

No worries on the moldy grounds...they're just decomposing!

Loved that Wendell Berry quote! I'm posting that at my shop in the woods...
Tox

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Quoth the raven

  
With apologies to Mr. Poe and everyone else.
..
Once upon a morning weary, while I turned a pile so dreary,
Over many a stick and curious rinds of forgotten score –
While I lobbed, nearly plodding, suddenly it came gripping,
As of some grass clipping, wafting up gripping my nose now sore.
“It’s some rodent now poor,â€

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

:D :D :clap: :clap:
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28225
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

:shock: I'm impressed, rot! 8)
"poetic chops" indeed! :mrgreen: :flower:

2cents
Green Thumb
Posts: 616
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:04 am
Location: Ohio

Sounds like something one of Rot's plumbers may have told him :lol: :P

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

paraphrase the rave

..
Thanks guys.

The poem started out as something about an HG rapping on my head but then it took a dark turn all on its own. I'm reminded of how Mark Train left an afterword in the back of the copy of Puddin'head Wilson I had. He explained that he started to write about a couple of brothers coming into town pretending to be European royalty and how one fell in love with a lady and then there was a jealous local and the next thing he knew all the principals were throwing each other down the well until he finally tore the whole thing up and wrote Puddin'head Wilson.

About the only thing I remember the plumber telling me was to get out of the way. There was some other word or two but I was busy getting out of the way.
..

NHGardener
Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: New Hampshire

So what about Dunkin Donuts? Are they as good a source of UCGs as Starbucks?

2cents
Green Thumb
Posts: 616
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:04 am
Location: Ohio

A local Duncan Donuts here will give coffee grounds, if I supply the bucket.
The Starbuck's puts them in plastic garbage bags 3 times a day on schedule on their back stoop/entrance.



Return to “Composting Forum”