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My New Compost Source

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:37 am
by Lucius_Junius
I'm very excited about composting this year. Last year's endeavour was fruitful, but as I had mostly browns (the majority of my organic matter was straw from my chicken coop) it took a very, very long time to break down. This year, however, I've tapped into a nearly unlimitted source of greens - I work for a lawn-care company, and I've been bringing home a crate of grass clippings every day. I mix this in layers with pine needles and other yard waste I raked up a couple months ago (I have a very large pile of this), sprinkling liberally with lime to balance the acidity of the needles. Whereas before I had only a dull heap of straw, chicken droppings, and kitchen waste, I now have a very warm pile of rapidly-composting matter. By mixing the lawn clippings with the yard waste I should be able to produce a huge volume of compost this year.

Of course, I have a question; can anyone see a problem with having lawn clippings as my almost-only green matter? There is also kitchen-waste and the occassional urination, but that's nearly it.

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:02 am
by rainbowgardener
Well, we generally say it is better if no more than 10% of your pile is one ingredient. That way your compost is balanced, contains all the needed nutrients including micro nutrients, trace minerals, etc.

But my bigger concern would be that grass clippings from a lawn care company almost definitely come with a bunch of chemicals - insecticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers. Personally I wouldn't want to put any of that stuff in my compost pile, much less a whole ton of it.

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 4:29 pm
by Lucius_Junius
The lawn clippings I'm using are from lawns where only lime is applied, so this is not a worry. I'm interested in the 10% idea, however, which I will look into immediately.

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:37 am
by rainbowgardener
It's a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. Grass clippings count as one ingredient. Kitchen waste is a whole bunch of ingredients -- egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, etc etc. Yard waste is probably at least several ingredients, different varieties of leaves, weeds, trimmings, pine needles etc. The point is just that balance and diversity is important and you don't want to just overwhelm you compost pile with grass.

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 9:22 pm
by Lucius_Junius
Marlingardener, your idea is very intriguing. We currently buy either staw or shavings for our chickens, but I'm always interested in utilising what's available instead. Does the grass not begin to compost in the coop? Do you mix it with dry bedding, or use it all on its own?