ljcoolj
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Compost accelerator

Does anybody use it and is it worth it????

2cents
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lj,
I am near the town they call The Sweetheart of Ohio, old suburban lot.

It depends on the type of compost you are going for.
I understand it helps if you need things done really fast.
I called the local Ag Extension and they seem to believe the fungii spores and bacteria are already in the air we breathe and on the organic material you are putting in the compost. So an accelerant isn't truely necessary. They say a hand full of dirt in the compost pile doesn't hurt. But, too much dirt will smother a hot compost. If you are going with a cold compost(you can still use too much dirt) the dirt won't hurt the process, you will just end up with a heavier mix when ready to use.

Best of luck.

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Gary350
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I have never used compost Accelerator, I did not know there is such a thing. Take a look at the container and see if it contains a lot of nitrogen. I know nitrogen will speed up the compost very fast especially when the temperture is very hot. I do a lot of compost in 30 gallon trash cans with nitrogen and water in the sun, it works great only takes about 30 days when the temperature outside is in the 90s. and 100s.

Last summer I had a lot of apples I pick up a lot of the wormy apples on the ground and put them in a 30 gallon plastic garbage can. I filled about 1/3 full with apples then half full with water then poured in a bag of yeast. The sugar in the apples got the fermentation process going real quick. The next day I filled the 30 gallon container with lots of dry dead plant material and in 6 days it was totally composted. The yeast eats the organic material and digests it. It is best to keep the mixture at 70 degrees if it gets too hot the yeast gets to active it will use up all the sugar and not digest the organic material. The water that came out of my garden hose was 68 degrees the mixture temperature only went up 2 degrees per day. When the yeast finished the solids settled to the bottom and I drained off the water then I dumped the sludge in the garden. The sludge was dry in a few days and I tilled it in. I just happen to have a package of Sherry Wine Yeast that is what I used. Bakers yeast might work too. I know sherry wine yeast will used up all the sugar down to absolute zero percent not sure if bakers yeast will do that. You could do this with a 5 lb bag of sugar too if you have no fruit laying on the ground that you can use.

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smokensqueal
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Yep I use it but I call mine cow manure. :lol: When my compost seems to be working a bit slow I'll go get a 5 gallon bucket from the in laws farm.

Seriously though you really don't need it unless you are trying to compost a whole lot of leaves. Even then many will say just leave the leaves pilled up and get some good leaf mold from it. Other alternatives to accelerator is anything with high nitrogen content in a granular type form. Something like blood meal might be cheaper then special accelerator.

rot
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Buy something to compost?

 
I just can't see buying anything to throw in a compost bin, tumbler, pile, whatever. If I don't have enough compost when I want it it's just poor planning on my part.

I will pee in a bin to stimulate things. Some folks insist that it should be diluted. I guess that would spread the urea about further but I'm not only cheap, I'm lazy.

Look at the price of the accelerant and consider throwing that much in paper money, rounded down if you must, into a compost bin. Then calculate how much that accelerant is really worth.

Now if I could just get a line on cow manure.
 

Charlie MV
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Rot, I think a step ladder will increase the range. The neighbors will probably get a kick out of it too.

I don't use a store bought starter either. I tried it years ago and couldn't tell much difference. A good green/brown mix works well for me and it's cheaper.

TZ -OH6
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A good/the best for activating/inoculating compost is the black soil and debris from under decaying leaves (aka forest duff), because it has the necessary living fungi.


2cents, are you near Centerburg?

2cents
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Rot I like Charlie's idea of a step ladder, on a windy day you will increase the coverage area, a rainy day and it will be an outmatic diffuser. :lol:

ljcoolj, you can tell we are all talking about urea(high in nitrogen)...try it, it may speed the process....and its free, sort'a

TZ, We are all near Centerburg, you are the mipoint to my understanding, or should we call you the axis and we all orbit around the good folks there.
Have a buddy's wife was from Centerburg(Michele???). An old buddy in Pataskala, I vist couple times a year. Grew up in Akron/Canton and travel up 71 regularly.
Now, I am in SW, outside Cincy, "Loveland the Sweetheart of Ohio". More wedding invitations are mailed from that post office than any in the country, my wife did that and we didn't live here then.
What kind of set up do you have?
I grew up country and now live on 1/2 acre suburbia, doing the raised bed/square foot thing.

rot
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outstanding

 
I'll stick with the milk crate. Safety first.
 

The Helpful Gardener
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"Compost Accelerator" is usually different strains of bacteria and fungii that might fill voids in your biological matrix you have not yet, so depending on how good they are, they can be very beneficial...

Starting your compost with compost from a good pile, or better yet, from several good piles, is key to getting the best results. Biodiversity is not just about rainforests; it's a good thing in compost piles too. Certain manures or plants have certain strains that are associated with them, and by bringing new innoculants to the party you only make your compost (the result of an entire food chain of organisms feeding on detritus) better. SO don't dismiss "accelerators" too quickly, despite the stupid name... they are innoculants...think about compost swapping parties, where everyone gets a little bit of everyone elses compost (Making sure you trust everyone. Trust but verify...)

A quick note on urea; it is 40% water soluable, sort of like chemical fertilizers, and with the same problems to water tables. I would use it very sparingly. Corn gluten, alafalfa, soybean meal, kitchen scraps; there are other greener ways to get more nitrogen in there... Smoke's cow poop is a fine example... :)

HG
Scott Reil

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HG must be refering to the mycorrhizae or do you just add this to the hole the plant goes in?
Which other specific fungii and bacteria help break down woody material?

lj, what else are you trying to break down?
IMHO

The Helpful Gardener
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Not just woody material, and not just mycorrhizae...

Bacteria put their hands on most nitrogen from detritus right away(cuz there's a lot of them), and they are stingy with it, having the low, low C/N ratio of 5:1. They won't give it up to plants with that kind of attitude. So plants pull a fast one, they exude polysaccharide root exudates (Dr. Ingham calls it "cake and cookies") and bacteria can not get enough of the sugar, so they swarm the area right around the root, called the rhizosphere.

Now think of this as an rhizosphere as an ecosystem, say like Africa. Bacteria are the mast food source, like wildebeest; tons of them. They are all collected around the root like wildebeest around the watering hole. What happens then?. The predators show up, right? Hyenas and cheetahs and leopards...except in our rhizosphere these are protozoas; hyenas are flagellates, cheetahs are ciliates and leopards are amoebas. These guys have a higher C/N ratio and they eat bacteria like champs, 10,000 a day. With their C/N of 30 to 1, that means for every 6 bacteria they eat, they have to lose 5 parts of nitrogen. Plant food the way Mother Nature intended...what happens to hyenas and cheetahs? Sooner or later the lions show up, as nematodes and soil mites and even they have a predator, right? Dr. Ingham calls this the poop loop, and it is how Nature recycles energy from the sun (stored as sugars during photosynthesis) through plants, to animals, to detritus, to TINY animals and back to more plants to catch more sunlight...

There are bacteria that solubilize phosphorus, bacteria that attack insects, bacteria that can eat oil slicks, bacteria that prepare wood so fungii can eat it and bacteria that eat fungii. Long story short, the baseline of composting is little critters, and there are different ones for as many different jobs as we have. There is a little spiral shaped fungii I only see in cow manure composts, and there are specific bacteria that live in the little nodules on clover and fix nitrogen and clover does not do well without that bacteria. And yes 2cents, there are mycorrhizal fungii, some entirely plant specific, that occupy composts, as well as dozens, even hundreds of other species. In a teaspoon of good compost there are about as many organisms as there are people in my state; 6.5 million. And miles of fungal hyphae. This is what compost brings to the table...

Which is why I don't use chemical fertilizers, because they kill a lot of these organisms I just told you about. As do the pesticides; these are single cell or simple organisms and they don't tolerate dessication, which is what the ammonia salts in blue goo do to them. Fungus first (including those mycorrhizae that were helping the plant) then our cheetahs and hyenas, leaving a smattering of bacteria (who stinge out with the nitrogen they do put their hands on , but theres not as many, so some free nitrogen gets through, except it is water soluble (unlike our organic stuff which was carbon based; try and dissolve charcoal sometime. Good luck), so it runs past the rootzoone really fast. This not only accounts for why they need such big NPK numbers for chemical fertilizers, but for a lot of the non-point source pollution creating Dead Zones in coastal areas around the world. Our Connecticut Dead Zone is the Western Long Island Sound (still seasonal, but a little bigger every year), but even you inland folks contribute, as all water runs to the sea somewhere; the biggest Dead Zone (NOT seasonal) is in the Gulf of Mexico, fed by the entire Mississippi watershed.

So what we do in our yards can have great effect, either negative or positive. You will not sequester enough carbon to offset yourself in your yard with composts and organic culture, but here's the thing, you will not be contributing to the problem like you do with chemical culture. Those wildebeest, hyenas and lions store a good deal of carbon; tens of tons an acre. The method for making chemical fertilizer burns 4 gallons of fuel to make 50 lbs. of blue stuff. Compost won't save the world, but it won't hurt it...
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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HG,
Thanks for taking the time, this is one of the reasons I come back to this site, just what you've taken the time to write.
Of course many of us learned this cycle, let's say many years ago. But, we forget what was taught and of course science understands the cycle in better depth than 30 years ago.

Naturally, I would like to know more, wanting to be more efficient, in what I put into the garden... ie. How the coffee grounds and their nitrogen is released....I understand it is 3 different types of bacteria, fungus or processes that do that work......There is the readily available nitrogen(not understanding that cycle with any precision), some that needs a short term composting and then What is the longer term that releases the nitrogen(is this from some harder lignin reduction)?
Of course I don't even know if I have the launguage/vocabulary correct when asking some questions.
These may also be outsid eof the spirit and intent of this forum, but if you have a mind to share, I would be asking questions till the cows come home.
Perhaps I should stop in at the library.
:idea:

I hope others are reading your post and over and over again till we gain greater insight. Thanks again

rot
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accelerated

 
Thank you, Mr Moderator, The Helpful Gardener, Scott Reil.

I appreciate the time and effort to explain things in such a way a schmuck like myself can follow.

While I may consider inoculating things in the future with old compost, where I would not before, I will not be buying things to rot in my bio-remediation experiments. Nor will I add soil to my bio-remediation operations since the same micro herd should largely, if not totally, be present in all the local ingredients I digest.

Since I have reason to believe my own personal accelerant never touches ground when I pee in the bin, I will continue to contribute thusly without polluting any drinking water.

I got the bio-diversity message some time ago and persue diversity of ingredients from tea bags to starbucks cast-offs to hair to blue jeans to shredded office paper (per Xerox, the paper will break down but the toner, a non-toxic plastic as I understand, will not) to the endless sticks, the ceremonial peach pits that get transfered from batch to batch, the grass clippings, eggshells, paper towels, leaves, coffee filters, old bread, finger nails and, of course, vegetable kitchen scraps.

I would appreciate any information on the contribution of worms in terms of both efficacy and pathogen mitigation.

Please continue to share as time permits. Don't rush on my account.

Thanks in advance
 

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The long term release of nitrogen in the soil is the poop loop... :lol:

If our soil is healthy and alive, then it is full of creatures. They store carbon in exactly the same place they store nitrogen; in proteins. And carbon can combine with phosphorus to make fats, like the phospholipids necessary for permeable cell walls. They may be single cells or very simple creatures, but there are a LOT of them, and even if we can't see them, they makes up a huge chunk of our biomass almost everywhere we go.

We have been trained to think about chemicals when we talk about plants, but we need to shift paradigm to talk about biology. When you get a soil test, does your state send organic recommendations? Not mine; not most peoples (Massachussetts has started, I know). They have not been taught this way, nobody has, 2C, so they do a Melich III strong acid test which tells you what you have in the soil, but not what plants can actually get at, because they do not mention biology or the role it plays in releasing soil bound elements. A Melich I weak acid test would be much more valuable in telling what the weak acid response from micropredation (read poop loop) will release from the soil. And there is a key point; without biology we do not release the full chemical potential of the soil.

BUT if we store most of our nitrogen in animals (really little ones), store most of our phosphorus in organic matter (where phosphorus solubilizing bacteria, or PSBs, release it slowly to plants) and let potassium and other elements be etched slowly out of parent material by weak acid action, we are doing it just like Mother Nature...

Or we could do chemicals, but if you are just going to kill all the creatures there isn't much point in compost, is there? But see, here's the thing; somewhere between 50 to 70% (depending on crop) of chemical fertilizer goes off target, and due to its water soluble nature, it simply becomes pollution. That's wasteful, especially when you have put so much fossil fuel into making the stuff. Yeah sure it's cheap, but if you are throwing away half the box every time, and that lost half is damaging the environment, how cheap is it really?

THAT's why I'm organic...and THAT's why I use compost...Mother sez so.

HG
Scott Reil

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Nice post Rot! :lol:

Personal accelerant in the bio-remediation bin is completely cool; pee is sterile. The Lakota used to clean wounds with it...lots of trace minerals too; very good for stone fruits in particular, I hear (contributing to the cermonial peach pit as it were...)

Can't speak to pathogen reduction, but worms just put another stack in the trophic chain, another loop in the poop. More nitrogen building, but also huge improvements in soil structure like increased aggregation, aeration (and unlike our aeration with pluggers, that are half filled by the end of the day, worm holes can hold up for months, even years) and nutrient consolidation (which is why you sometimes see wormcasts as fertilizers). I like worms...

HG
Scott Reil

rot
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Once upon a midnight dreary

 
While I pondered weak and weary.

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly came a beeping.

T'is some spam on my email nothing more.

Good. Good. Tell me more.

Yes, we've been told a lot about chemicals and fertilizers but really it's a little more basic than that isn't it? After all fertilizers are, well, fertile. That's why they're called fertilizers. We couldn't call them fertilizers otherwise could we?

So half of fertilizers not only go to waste but do damage. I knew things like miracle grow and the like were killing things in the soil but 50 percent waste is another reason to remain cheap and just pour starbucks coffee ground on the ground if nothing else.

Won't buy pesticides either. Save money and since we moved in here we have fewer aphids and more pollinators. But my observations are unscientific and cheap.

I believe worms are my friends and I like to feed them with coffee grounds from starbucks. I mulch the coffee grounds with grass clippings to keep them fresh. Worms dig it. I hope they leave lots of worm holes.

We're getting the house tented for termites, sulphuryl flouride, this coming week but effectively, pesticides in this landscape, are nevermore.

 

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Ewww, fluoride... (and nice Poe spoof, Rot. :lol: )

Another chemical we've been convinced we need (usually comes from stack rinse from zinc smelting or , topically enough, phosphate production). Horrible stuff, nearly wiped out the town of Donora, PA.

[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donora_Smog_Museum[/url]

The causal agent that was killing people was hydrofluorosalicic acid; the exact same stuff we put in our drinking water... :shock:

And now it's not just chlorine in the drinking water, but chloromine, that won't off gas like the chlorine (if you city folk let water sit for a day, no more chlorine, but still some chloromine and fluoride, which both set back biology...)

If we keep talking about the realities, and hold peoples noses in their worst behaviors (in the nicest possible way, mind you), we can effect great change. If we decide it's all too hard and we keep on keeping on, bad things are gonna happen. Are happening. Have happened.

Let's garden...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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THIS is why I have to keep reading EVERY thread! I wasn't interested in compost accelerator since I decided long ago that I wouldn't spend the money, and so had let this thread slide by for a while.

Today, I suddenly wondered if tossing in a handful of raw brown sugar might contribute to the compost pile if molasses in compost tea is a key ingredient as HG mentioned elsewhere, decided to find this thread and it was two pages long with TONS of info! 8)

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Better off putting it in a liquid solution AS, and putting it on that way...

Try this thread; I give an impromputu recipe for accelerant from the pantry....

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13025[/url]

HG
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Ok, not only have ya'll made me laugh out loud here at work...you've also given me a lot of useful information. Thanks to all of you!

I did buy some accelerator, which really did hurt to do, but well...let me explain my compost bin a little. We started it last fall with mostly kitchen scraps a bits of yard waste. My hubby asks me one day if he should put some dirt it in to help it along. I said 'sure'. Next time I see my compost bin, it was basically a mud pile. WAY too much dirt. I couldn't even get it turned and mixed. I explained to my hubby that it was way too much dirt and I'll let him know if and when we ever need more. So, we have emptied some of it out but things just don't seem to be breaking down. I know that I need to add some more brown but don't have much at the moment. So, I bought some organic accelerator. Its only been on for a week but I will be sure to keep you's posted. However, I won't really know for sure if its the accelerator or just getting my bin right, know what I mean? Oh well, live and learn.

Thanks again! I absolutely LOVE this forum! And 2cents....you're just down the road from me, I'm in Fairfield!!

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applestar
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ljcoolj good luck with your compost pile -- once the weather warms up a bit with some actually sunny hot days your pile should get and extra boost that way too. Check out the sticky on greens and browns - there are all kinds of household browns you can use. As for greens, I no longer have "weeds" -- I have GREENS that are accumulating nutrients until I "harvest" them for the compost pile. They are starting to grow nicely too. :lol:

HG -- I remember that thread! I'll go back and read it more thoroughly. Thanks!

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AS, drowning those weeds in a bucket of water (covered from mosquitoes, mind you) is a good way to make sure they are dead before they go into the pile, and it makes a "green" tea that stimulates the pile all the way through (as liquids help the mechanical distribution)...

And LJ? It's all about the turns, dear. Fast compost is hot is aerobic compost. Light and fluffy. DH means well but needs direction. (We all do. Ask my wife... :roll:). And soil is a good compost accelerator most of the time, just not so much (no more than 1 part soil to twenty of compostables). Mother Nature makes compost accelerator custom tailored to your individual location and soils! How cool is that? :mrgreen:

But Smokes bucket of cow poop works too... :flower:

HG
Scott Reil

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lj,
nice to meet a fellow forum addict from the hood.
I would be careful letting the DH add dirt, I would keep dirt to a minimum, don't really need it, or just a cup or 2, those little critters multiply fast with the right mix of green & brown.

There are lots of browns available if you are savvy. Landscapers are looking for places to get rid of raked up yard debri(old leaves, decorative grasses, etc..). If you have a lawn, and a grass catcher, dry the clippings in the driveway before adding to the compost. Try old paper, shredded. There is always plenty of grade school teacher looking for excuses or ways to recycle old papers. Any twigs you find(take a walk in the woods bring home a couple of sticks). Pizza boxes, McDonald's bags, cardboard boxes, old bills paid or unpaid, envelopes, junk mail,. I hope your able to get that pile heated up, summer sun helps.

Next time you need an accelerator, go down the road to Winton Woods Park, Parky's Farm(Daly Rd, Miles Rd and Southshore Dr will get you there)[Hamilton Ave S. Left on Mill, Rt on Miles], free horse poo, couple 5 gallon buckets or find the guy on the front end loader and he'll give you a truck load, free....

Good luck with the composting, and good gardening.

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Yeah, I'm really hoping that this warmer weather will speed things along too. I've also been turning it more frequently and I think getting a lot of that dirt out there, it has helped it quite a bit.

2cents, nice tip on Winton Woods. I may try there but we also have a couple of horse farms near our house and I may have to stop in and introduce myself soon. ;)

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Drown weeds and add to compost -- check!
I'm combining several suggestions HG made recently. I went slug hunting this morning after a rather nasty overnight thunderstorm. Started out with a small bowl of lime to put the captives in, but soon had to upgrade to something bigger. Only bucket handy was a 5-gal. So, now I had some soapy water in the bottom of 5 gal bucket to drown the slugs in and I had a light bulb moment :idea: -- I'll just keep adding weeds and more water to this bucket (after the slugs are sufficiently expired), then I'll have that drowned weed tea to add to my compost. Just have to dig up the folded piece of burlap I use for compost tea and a bit of haybale string to tie it on for mosquito guard. :wink:

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Collecting slugs...I like it! The other day after a rain, I was rescuing earthworms off the sidewalk and putting them into my compost bin. My neighbors think I've lost it. LOL!

ljcoolj
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Just to give ya'll an update...my compost bin is doing GREAT! Just as I predicted, I have no idea if it was the accelerator or the warm weather/adding more browns. I think its the warm weather and getting the bin 'right. I've been shredding toilet paper rolls/paper towel rolls/newspaper and adding them to the pile. I also grabbed some mulched leaves from my sister to dump in when needed. Its getting nice and fluffy and I can't tell what things were anymore. Gonna be some good stuff to put on the garden this fall!! Thanks for all of your tips and help!!

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:clap:
Sounds like a job well done.
Now that you know the secret, don't forget to share it with the next gardener.
Good luck and don't forget about Parky's Farm, if you need some poo.

rot
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non sequitur

 
Dried grass clippings are still greens.

Out here in sunny so cal we dry the weeds on the drive way instead of drowning. 'Round here, whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.

Thanks for the update ljcoolj.
 

ljcoolj
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Re: non sequitur

rot wrote: 
Dried grass clippings are still greens.

Out here in sunny so cal we dry the weeds on the drive way instead of drowning. 'Round here, whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.

Thanks for the update ljcoolj.
 
LOL!! Glad to know you're still drinking the whiskey! I knew that about the grass clippings, but I never have any anyway. We mulch those right back into our yard.

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This is the 4th time I have read this thread, after being linked here from https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17097 which as usually ends in about a 2 hour read with all the links that link to other links.

Good stuff though so...

BUMP

I started a thread myself today not thinking about this thread about using Kelp extract in my compost bin. It said on the label that it can be used directly on compost. I believe Stella said about 30 min ago in reading "I have learned more this summer than I have learned my whole gardening career" Or something like that. Thanks everyone.

If you have read this post or the above post you will understand why I took a break to pee on my compost and hunt for slugs after tons of rain. :o :)

I still believe that this thread and the above thread should be stickied at least temporarily.

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I know this post is old but I was linked here from another thread and just had to comment........ Scott when you decide to teach a class or write a book I'll be first in line!!!!!

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