Noob compost brag.

Ridgerunner

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According to everything I've read and the class I took on composting, piles that are 140 or higher for a week or so will kill the seeds. Is that not the case? My piles were all in the 145-160 range for at least a month.

It will kill the seeds in the hot portion of the pile but seeds outside the hot part won't get cooked. That's one reason to turn it, get as many seeds as you can in that hot portion but it is really hard to get them all unless you are using a barrel composter.
 

catjac1975

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It's not an ordinance. It's the HOA's rule. Chickens are legal here. I have friends inside Greensboro city limits who have had them for years. The issue--I'm willing to bet--is that I live in a nice suburban area that was just developed 20-25 years ago in a part of town that used to be considered "the country," and is still quite near it. (There are multiple working farms within 2 miles of my house, and on the 8-minute drive to preschool my youngest daughter delighted in counting how many cows and horses she would see at a particular one.) My guess is that the saddity yuppie-fied folks who moved out here originally wanted to establish the area as "suburban" and not "country." Pfft. I grew up in the 'hood and can handle a few freakin' chickens, people. @majorcatfish, are you familiar with my area (generally around The Cardinal...in the Fleming/Inman/Pleasant Ridge area,) and if so, am I characterizing it correctly?
Everybody loves the country. As long as they don't see, hear or smell anything.
 

ducks4you

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According to everything I've read and the class I took on composting, piles that are 140 or higher for a week or so will kill the seeds. Is that not the case? My piles were all in the 145-160 range for at least a month.
I watch Mid American Gardener weekly PBS program out of the University of Illinois. Many panel members are Ag Dept Professor Emeritis's and they recommend that you don't put ANY weeds in ANY condition in a compost pile. Not MY advice. Do as you wish.
 

majorcatfish

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It's not an ordinance. It's the HOA's rule. Chickens are legal here. I have friends inside Greensboro city limits who have had them for years. The issue--I'm willing to bet--is that I live in a nice suburban area that was just developed 20-25 years ago in a part of town that used to be considered "the country," and is still quite near it. (There are multiple working farms within 2 miles of my house, and on the 8-minute drive to preschool my youngest daughter delighted in counting how many cows and horses she would see at a particular one.) My guess is that the saddity yuppie-fied folks who moved out here originally wanted to establish the area as "suburban" and not "country." Pfft. I grew up in the 'hood and even *I* can handle a few freakin' chickens, people. GET WITH IT!!! :D @majorcatfish, are you familiar with my area (generally around The Cardinal...in the Fleming/Inman/Pleasant Ridge area,) and if so, am I characterizing it correctly?

know the area quite well, used to be forest and pastures, now most of thats gone and turned into <the new american cash crop> subdivisions..homes starting at 250k +subdivisions sprouting up all over gso...

farmers pass away the kids dont want anything to do with farming sell off the land..with in weeks bam a new subdivision...
 

Ridgerunner

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According to everything I've read and the class I took on composting, piles that are 140 or higher for a week or so will kill the seeds. Is that not the case? My piles were all in the 145-160 range for at least a month.

Ben you've probably read this but I'll repeat it anyway. There are several things the experts say to not put into your compost. Some of them are because of imperfect turning/mixing not everything gets cooked though there are different reasons for some if it.

1. Noxious weeds - If they don't get cooked seeds or maybe even bits of root may survive and sprout in your garden. Some things need to be burned or go to the landfill, roots, rhizomes, bulbs, and seeds of Johnson Grass and Canada Thistle for example.

2. Diseased plants, especially from your garden - You might wind up putting spores or something else back in the garden that could infect you plants.

3. Plants infested with pests - It helps to know the life cycle of the pest but it's possible to put eggs, cocoons, or such back in your garden.

4. Grease, oil, or meat products - These can attract vermin like flies, mice, rats, raccoons, possum, skunks, dogs, coyotes, and who knows what else. Mice and rats can attract snakes. These can also go anaerobic and really stink. I don't follow this one entirely. I've been known to bury chicken butchering by products and dead rabbits and rats in the bottom of my compost pile when I'm starting a new one. As long as they are well sealed in so the small cannot escape I don't have a problem. If the smell can escape coyotes, dogs, and raccoons will dig them out.

5. Dog, cat, and other carnivore poop - The concern is that they might harbor certain pathogens that can get you sick. I don't stay awake at night worrying if a bit finds its way in but if you are scooping a cat litter box or cleaning up after a dog I would not dispose of that quantity in my compost pile.

Of course I violate all of these to some degree, I'm not that meticulous. But I do try to follow most of these as much as I reasonably can.
 

flowerbug

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Hehehe. We'll see. I attended a composting class with the extension service, and they spent maybe 20% of the time on vermicomposting, so I feel like I have a solid base of information to try it, but my initial reaction to it was that it doesn't generate enough material for my tastes. (Well, unless I'm willing to spend hundreds of dollars on tons of worms, but a big part of my motivation for composting myself is so I don't *have* to spend hundreds of dollars amending my soil...)

That said, once I get the 1,000-ish square feet of soil I'd like to use in better shape, I might be up for generating smaller amounts for targeted plants. But for now, I've got a large swath of crappy soil to improve.

that is what i've been doing for years. i just target the gardens that have the heaviest feeding plants going in and then rotate plant for the next few years into that space with other vegetables until i get back to it with the worms/worm compost.

it took me less than $20-30 to get going with the worm composting system i use now. it is very simple and inexpensive. the worms cost me about $10 total and eventually i released the night-crawlers because they need a much larger burrow and more stability than what a 5 gallon bucket provides. note that i do not use an exclusive population of red wrigglers but a mix of worm species including native earth worms. because i not only use the worms to break down paper and food scraps but i also use them to restore poor garden soil. so when i go out to the garden to put the worms/worm compost in i'm also switching out some of the existing garden soil so it can be recharged with worm poo/worm pee/processed food scraps, etc.

the other expense was some fine mesh material so that fruit flies and fungus gnats could not get in and out. the rubber rings in the lids make perfect rings to go around the outside of the bucket to hold these pieces of material. and yes i do know how to sew so i went around the edge with the zig-zag stitch to keep them from unravelling. make sure you leave plenty of edge so you can fold it over a bit when sewing and also to have it easy to put the rubber rings on...

you need a cover for worm bins to keep animals out, but also to keep the worms in, they can wander at night... :)

i keep between 60,000 - 200,000 worms right here in my room. they're great pets. :) never complain about what i feed 'em, never make too much noise, and their poop even smells good. normally don't smell them at all unless i'm digging in the buckets to put stuff in. i only take stuff out once a year when i take the whole bucket out to the garden and i don't bother to separate the worms from the compost. they all go in the garden. i just keep enough back to restart the buckets each spring, they do reproduce rapidly enough to be ready again by the next year.
 

flowerbug

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Yea I think that is crazy.

meep too. dry them out in the sun and they won't recover. worried about seeds get the plants out before they go to seed. if they do, dig a deep enough hole, scrape the surface layer of the soil into that hole and put some newspapers in the bottom and fill it back in. you won't see those seeds sprout again as long as you don't disturb that area that deeply ever again. and even if you do. just repeat weed scraping, etc. it's just not that big a deal. i have spent some days happy to sit in the garden and pull leaves off plantains to leave behind for the worms and then the rest of the plant goes onto the weed pile which the birds like to peck in for the seeds. the weed pile gets about 1% of what i pull for weeds, everything else gets smothered, buried, dried out and reused. all that is free energy and nutrients from the sun.

considering i never use commercial fertilizers and the gardens keep gradually improving things are working out pretty well IMO.

our biggest import of materials are the wood chips which we use as mulches in our perennial gardens that eventually turn into humus and some friends bring by extra scraps and chunks of bark or other rotting wood from wood cutting and leaves they rake. we give them garden goodies in return. :) i like how that works out...

and as far as cost goes the food scraps are worth reusing instead of throwing away and the worms do that for me instead of composting in a pile or drum. those are quite an expense, i can't believe people just throw that away... along with the paper scraps nothing organic here gets wasted if possible. bones too if we get them.
 

digitS'

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Everybody loves the country. As long as they don't see, hear or smell anything.

There you have it ... but, as soon as they move there, they have changed things, a lot!

Worm composting advantage that might get me into it is the expense of worm castings. I think of that compost ingredient as THE BEST thing in my soil mix. I'd be happy to buy some ingredients separately, like peat moss and Perlite. But, worm castings are expensive!! Keeping the costs down buying by the truckload must be the only way that the companies like Sun Gro can be profitable but ... I'd only need a few 5 gallon buckets each year.

One problem would be the need to have the worms in the basement or a warmer indoor location. DW wasn't all that happy about me having mushrooms down there that once ... until I had mushrooms for the kitchen ;). I think DW would veto the worm castings enterprise.

Steve
 

baymule

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I never put anything in the compost pile that I never want to see again. I put it on the burn pile. There is plenty of compost materials without using weeds, their seeds or roots.
 
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