Kickingwing
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What is the most effective composting method?

I have read about dozens of composting methods, and a lot that have good results. I was wondering what you personally consider the best method that yields the greatest 1 time result with the most beautiful healthy plants. Have you tested many of these methods? Do you only use one?

I'm just looking for opinions, scientific fact would only be a bonus :D
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rainbowgardener
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The most effective composting method is the one that works best for you, that is easy and manageable and you will use consistently.

Otherwise you would have to specify best for what. If you want compost that really heats up, that would be different method than if you want a pile that you can throw anything you have into it, as it comes along.

Worm composting is great for producing very concentrated, very fine textured compost and liquid compost leachate that can be used in water you water with. It is also nice for having somewhere to put kitchen scraps without having to go outdoors in winter.

If you want to do composting in a very small footprint, some of the plastic earth bins are nice.

Personally I do lazy gardener composting. I have one of the large ventilated plastic bins and a wire grid bin. I throw everything into the plastic bin as it comes along, just being sure to layer greens and browns.
If it is dry enough to water my garden, I water the compost pile also. I don't turn it, but every couple months (except in winter) I turn it over, move all the finished or almost finished compost to the wire bin, but the rest back in the plastic bin, most recent first so everything is mixed.

Haven't really tried enough different things to know if it makes any difference in the end results of the plants you grow. It would be a difficult kind of experiment to do, unless you were doing several different kinds of compost at once, because otherwise year to year and month to month there are so many other variables at work.

I had a worm bin one winter and I think I will start one again for this winter. Another reason for that is that putting some of the leachate from the worm bins in the water, gave me some of the best indoor seedlings ever.
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DoubleDogFarm
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The most effective composting method is the one that works best for you, that is easy and manageable and you will use consistently.
I agree.
Personally I do lazy gardener composting. I have one of the large ventilated plastic bins and a wire grid bin. I throw everything into the plastic bin as it comes along, just being sure to layer greens and browns.
If it is dry enough to water my garden, I water the compost pile also. I don't turn it, but every couple months (except in winter) I turn it over, move all the finished or almost finished compost to the wire bin, but the rest back in the plastic bin, most recent first so everything is mixed.
I wouldn't call this lazy, sounds like work to me. :wink:

I do sheet mulching, cut and drop, or cut and shred. Apply all compostables directly to the beds. I don't need the added work of hauling out the debris, piling up, turning and hauling it back.

The traditional way is to just till it in. Even less work.

Eric

Kickingwing
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:
The most effective composting method is the one that works best for you, that is easy and manageable and you will use consistently.
I wouldn't call this lazy, sounds like work to me. :wink:

I do sheet mulching, cut and drop, or cut and shred. Apply all compostables directly to the beds. I don't need the added work of hauling out the debris, piling up, turning and hauling it back.

The traditional way is to just till it in. Even less work.

Eric
So in your opinion, using compost and mixing it with whatever else for drainage would supply the most diverse nutrient list in plausible concentrates to grow anything?

I have thousands of worms in my garden box, with those guys in there, do they recompost the soil on their own?
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rainbowgardener
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So in your opinion, using compost and mixing it with whatever else for drainage would supply the most diverse nutrient list in plausible concentrates to grow anything?

I have thousands of worms in my garden box, with those guys in there, do they recompost the soil on their own?
Yes and yes.


I don't really add anything else "for drainage," the compost helps with that too, but you could.

The earthworms break down the nutrients in the soil into forms the plants can use and they help break down your much into nutrients as well.

I don't use any fertilizers, just compost and mulch.
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LA47
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DDF, your method sounds the easiest but how do you do it when veggy's or flowers are growing in the ground and you have a large quanity of chipped wood (or grass, etc) given to you? Do you just pile the shredded material around the growing plants? If so, how deep and how close to the plants? I can understand tilling shredded leaves, wood chips, etc. in the soil in the fall. What about the weed seeds? Do you use cooked green kitchen waste? So many questions in my mind.
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DoubleDogFarm
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LA47 wrote:DDF, your method sounds the easiest but how do you do it when veggy's or flowers are growing in the ground and you have a large quanity of chipped wood (or grass, etc) given to you? Do you just pile the shredded material around the growing plants? If so, how deep and how close to the plants? I can understand tilling shredded leaves, wood chips, etc. in the soil in the fall. What about the weed seeds? Do you use cooked green kitchen waste? So many questions in my mind.
No cooked anything goes into the garden beds. I have two of these, the cooked leftovers go through. I'm only cooking for myself, so not a lot of leftovers anyway.
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20Pepper%20Jacob%20and%20Kirby/KirbyandPepepereatingbroccoli002_zpsbf3468a7.jpg[/img]

If you grow your vegetables on a mat system instead of rows, it makes it more difficult to mulch. I still like to cover the aisle with cardboard and mulch.
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/VegetableGardenJuly32012005.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/DoubleDogFarmGardenexpansion009-1.jpg[/img]

Larger plants. I either cover the bed first, with mulch, then transplant into them or spread mulch around the plants as the material becomes available. I like deep mulch, 4" or more. Keep it away from the stem if you have bugs and slug issues. I have ducks. :wink:
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/DSC03405.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/BCSTractor005.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/BCSTractor.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/GardenJune22nd2011012.jpg[/img]

In the fall I like to add horse manure / bedding. It does have weed seed, but not to bad. Keep everything mulched to suppress.
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/HorsemanureDec11th2011009.jpg[/img]

Feed the soil web and it will feed you.
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/YukonGoldpotatoesAugust22012006.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/VegetableGardenOct10th2012006_zps6b177336.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/GarlicCuringJuly27th2012005.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/YukonGoldpotatoesAugust22012004.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20%20Garden%20Vegetables/GardenJuly12th2012022.jpg[/img]


Sorry about thoroughly trashing this post with pictures. :)

Eric

Kickingwing
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DoubleDogFarm wrote: Sorry about thoroughly trashing this post with pictures. :)

Eric
Man your land looks great! So much room for vegies and fruits. One day I'll have a place like that.

Haha! So, have you ever tried the artificial nutrients?
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DoubleDogFarm
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Kickingwing wrote:
DoubleDogFarm wrote: Sorry about thoroughly trashing this post with pictures. :)

Eric
Man your land looks great! So much room for vegies and fruits. One day I'll have a place like that.

Haha! So, have you ever tried the artificial nutrients?
No, but I have used hydrolyzed fish fertilizer and ACT. This year I will be using more comfrey tea.

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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Nice photo essay!
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Kickingwing
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:
No, but I have used hydrolyzed fish fertilizer and ACT. This year I will be using more comfrey tea.

Eric
Ok, so, I don't really get this whole idea of tea compost. Is that an additive to the compost for it to be even more effective or is it a completely different idea?
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LA47
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That answers many questions. Thank you for taking the time to explain and especially for all the photos. "One picture is worth a hundred words." I will be showing this to DH as he wasn't too keen on compost piles, corrals. etc. I think, even in our much smaller garden and closely planted plants, we could still benefit from this method.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Kickingwing wrote:
DoubleDogFarm wrote:
No, but I have used hydrolyzed fish fertilizer and ACT. This year I will be using more comfrey tea.

Eric
Ok, so, I don't really get this whole idea of tea compost. Is that an additive to the compost for it to be even more effective or is it a completely different idea?
First, here is a 34 page stinky on ACT ( Aerated Compost Tea ) Pull up a comfy chair and a pour yourself a favorite drink. Dig in. :shock:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17097

I use it more as a foliar spray, but it's also a soil drench.


Thank You Rainbow. What site or program did we use to make our slideshows? Also have we fixed your front entrance yet. When do we start? :wink: :)

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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Glad you reminded me about the slideshow. It is at animoto.com

Took me some research to get back to it, since where I posted the link here is buried in the black hole of threads the search function won't access, between June 2010 and summer 2012.


But here's the link to my slideshow "The Seasons of Our Garden" :

https://animoto.com/play/QlRaXvKzF3Jy6ekVNTdHBA?autostart=true
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Green Mantis
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Very Nice. Interesting to see the seasons. 8)

I can't wait until spring, got ahold of someone not far from us, they are willing to deliver "very" cheaply, about 15 year old Organic Rotted Horse Manure. The Manure is FREE....Just cheap hauling fee. YAY.

We are going to load up with that. The more I can get in here the better, the soil is terrible.

They said some is virtually soil now. Can't wait. :D

But will be doing some sheet composting over this winter too. :D

toxcrusadr
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Asking what's the best way to compost is like asking what's the best form of transportation to get from one place to another. You'll get answers varying from jogging to supersonic aircraft and everything in between. All depends on your desired parameters.

DogFarm: Great typo in your post: "Here is a 34-page stinky on ACT..." Sure you meant 'sticky'. It's not supposed to stink. :lol:
Tox

DoubleDogFarm
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toxcrusadr wrote:Asking what's the best way to compost is like asking what's the best form of transportation to get from one place to another. You'll get answers varying from jogging to supersonic aircraft and everything in between. All depends on your desired parameters.

DogFarm: Great typo in your post: "Here is a 34-page stinky on ACT..." Sure you meant 'sticky'. It's not supposed to stink. :lol:
I prefer projection through a black hole, oh - maybe that's time travel. :?

I typed Stinky on purpose, but you are right, it's more on the sweet side.

Eric

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LA47
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I have learned a lot from your comments and the sites you posted. read a lot of them and bookmarked the others to read later. The aireated compost tea is something that I'm really interested in (now that I know what it is). After reading a lot of the information it sounds like you can just make it with mainly compost and molassis or add a lot of different elements to it. I'd sure like to hear what you use in yours.
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WrightSam
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Wow that is a great garden! A garden like that takes many years of maintenance, caring, and love. :)

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