Kalak
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This can't go in the compost?

We're creating a compost bin and I know some things can't go in -- meat, for instance. But can something like Russian knotweed go in? We've been cutting down a mountain of it -- all coming from a neighbour's garden and growing over the willows in a 'wild' section of our garden.

We're hoping to use the compost for next year's vegs. Does it get ready that fast? Is there anything that shouldn't go in there? For instance, if it's grown in from another garden, we don't know if they treated it with something and we're trying to be organic. Sorry for all the stupid questions, but this is my first shot at gardening.

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Allyn
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Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: This can't go in the compost?

Other folks will have a different answer for you, I'm sure. This is my rely. :)

Of course you can compost meat. You can compost any organic material including the usual "banned" ingredients -- meat, fish, milk, butter, cheese and other dairy products, bones, lard, mayonnaise, oils, peanut butter, salad dressing, sour cream, weeds with seeds, diseased plants, citrus peels, rhubarb leaves, crab grass, pet manures, and yes, even human manure. The problem with the materials on the “banned” list is that they may require thermophilic composting conditions for best results. If you cold compost them, they take a while to break down. They still get broken down, but it takes longer. The other problem with the "banned" materials is they can attract animals to your pile because it smells attractive to scavengers.
As far as pesticides go, they too break down eventually. I can't find my time/temp table for pesticides, only pathogens, but if I remember correctly, pesticides break down as fast or faster than pathogens. A healthy compost pile will break down most pathogens within 3 months.

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ElizabethB
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Re: This can't go in the compost?

Hi Kalak,

I disagree with Allyn. I use no meat products, dairy products or manure from carnivores in my compost.

I avoid seeds and large pieces of vegetables - fruit rinds, core from celery, broccoli and cauliflower, avocado skins. I cut them all into small pieces before adding to my compost bins. I also do not toss in weeds other than what is picked up with the grass clippings (bagger mower). I am not faithful about tending to my compost. I do not turn it as often as I should and during our recent drought I did not water it. Consequently my piles do not get hot enough to kill weed seeds and pathogens.

Before deciding to put weeds in your compost consider your own commitment to the work involved to obtain a "hot" compost.

Good luck

:-()

BTW - what are you using for browns?
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: This can't go in the compost?

Both Allyn and Elizabeth have their points
Animal products can be composted but besides the thermophillic requirements, these things will really stink up your pile and draw vermin like cats, dogs, mice, and any other protein eaters in the neighborhood.

Elizabeth is also correct to point out that unless your pile gets hot enough, it will not kill weed seeds, persistent weeds, or guarantee to kill all pathogens.

Unless you have the proper balance of greens and browns many home compost piles are cold compost. In cold composts you want to avoid things that take a really long time to decompose, weeds or even diseased plants because it is not going to generate enough heat to kill them.

If you want your compost faster, you need to get it hot and you need to turn it often.
https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-in ... n-18-days/
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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applestar
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Re: This can't go in the compost?

One way to compost weeds that will not die in Luke-warm composting environment is to thoroughly dry them up first -- pile them where they can't set down roots like pavement or on a tarp.

Seedy weeds and persistent weeds that will go ahead and mature seeds even after being cut or pulled from the ground can be composted after drowning and fermenting. I do this by filling up a 5 gal bucket with the weeds then adding water to cover. I make sure they are completely submerged by stepping in with my booted foot. To keep out mosquitoes and flies, I cover this with double layer of burlap tightly secured with a string.

If the bucket wasn't full, you can add more weeds and keep stepping them under. The water will turn murky green and will start to bubble and ferment. It will eventually smell like fresh horse manure -- it takes 1-2 wks I think. I never actually made note of the time it takes. I suppose it depends on temperature, etc.

I call this ""DROWNED WEEDS". Very rich in GREENS/nitrogen. I suppose weed seeds that survive digestive system of cows and horses may also survive this, but this mixture really heats up the compost pile when layered or mixed in. :()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Re: This can't go in the compost?

I finally did something similar when the weeds kept growing in the compost pile. I put the weeds in garbage bags first and piled the garbage bags into a pile. The pile sank as the weeds decomposed in the bags and after a few weeks they were a slimy rotting mess. They stank but were then safe to add to the other things in the compost pile. I buried them deep so they wouldn't stink up the pile. It did work, at least most of the weeds stopped growing in the pile. Nut weed still survived, now I bag nut sedge separately and put them in the trash. They go to an incinerator.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.



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