laurak63
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Mildew in compost pile.

So I just went out and started turning over my compost pile. About halfway down, everything is dry and covered with powdery mildew. Why did this happen and what do i do about it?
Thanks!

treehopper
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...was there rust on your fork???
I started a compost pile, because I gardened. Now I find myself gardening, so I have someplace for my compost!!

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rainbowgardener
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The ashy looking kind of stuff? Not sure it is powdery mildew, though I do think it is some kind of fungus. I have had that happen a couple times. For me it seems to happen when the pile really heats up (which mine often does not). I think at that point the heat dries it out more and you get that fungus which seems to like the hotter, drier conditions.

But yes, turn and dampen and it will be fine....
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laurak63
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Thanks! Yes, at first I thought it was ashes, but it was too pervasive. Have the pile nicely turned and everythings moist once again. Thanks for your answers!

larrynearpdx
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I read in this forum that 'epazote' is a mold. It is used in Mexican et al cooking, but is not a mold. It is a very common pungent herb often added to beans as it has the reputation of reducing flatulence.

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!potatoes!
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not sure where you read that, but agreed. epazote is an herb, same genus as lamb's quarters. huitlacoche, aka corn smut, is a fungal infection of corn. both are used in mexican cuisine.

neither of which are compost related, apologies.

toxcrusadr
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Epazote should not be smoked, nor should it be confused with peyote, which happens more often than you think. :lol:
Tox

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!potatoes!
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^ i hope not to the point where people are crumbling up peyote to add to their bean-cooking water.

toxcrusadr
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That would make for a trippy soup! 8)
Tox

PhillyGardener
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I'm so glad I ran across this thread! I have two rats that I feed a 100% vegetarian diet. I use Yesterday's News litter made from recycled newspaper. I somehow never thought about composting their bedding. Duh! I just hope it doesn't smell...their urine has a fairly strong odor (blech).
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Kisal
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Domestic rats are nice folks. I've kept a few as pets off and on over the years. Unlike most rodents, domestic rats are disinclined to bite, unless they are actually hurt or severely frightened. I had a friend who used to have many, many, many rats, which she bred to produce new color patterns. :)

The litter and paper should be fine in your compost.

If you're so inclined, you could give your ratties a little smooch from me. :)
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rainbowgardener
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I had pet rats when I was a kid; they are very nice and like to be petted. As Kisal said their bedding should be fine in your compost. Just cover it with weeds/leaves when you dump it in and there shouldn't be any noticeable odor. The urine will break down fast and add lots of nitrogen.
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PhillyGardener
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Yep, they do make great pets. I sort of stumbled into rat ownership. I got my three girls from a friend who used to breed fancy rats and won all kinds of awards (who knew there were awards?!), then decided to "retire" and needed a spot for some of his remaining adult rats. Anyway, I'm thrilled to get some more browns (recycled newspaper pellets) out of this!

I have another question about composting animal litter but will pose it in a related thread since this one has gotten pretty far away from the original topic.
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