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Noob compost brag.

Discussion in 'Composting & Soil Building' started by Ben E Lou, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Dec 30, 2018
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    I agree that worm composting is a great way to throw away spoiled or unwanted vegetable pieces from your kitchen/garden 365 days a year, but you have to have a LOT of bins to supply your garden. Won't help @Ben E Lou much judging from his pictures.
    I try not to till in my garden much, but I DO till the piles of soiled stall bedding bc it breaks them down faster. Smells earthy and wonderful in the spring. I TRY to mix it with my garden soil instead of tilling, but sometimes I run short on time and I do till. Sometimes I marvel at how the insects will be eating on weeds in my beds and I will let them go until I see that they are starting to produce seeds and HAVE to be pulled.
    My property is 5 acres of what was a working farm and my garden areas were cow pasture with owner #2. I discovered that the dirt was compacted clay when I started working on my garden, and it destroyed the myth of "glacial loess north of where they stopped in IL." You have to remember that people have been growing on this land for decades and stripped much of the tilth out of it before you got there. When I dig in my garden I find a LOT of worms. I till and strip from my 12 x 30 ft. chicken run a couple/3x/year and use that and it is FULL of worms. Today they are getting the bone from the pork chop I had for dinner last night. They are omnivores and will strip the meat from it. When they lived in the barn I discovered a mouse nest and watched hens rip the baby mice apart. I feed them all meat exCEPT for chicken/turkey/duck, and I clean the barn floor and dump it in the run to keep them on a dry surface as much as is possible. There ARE seeds in it from my hay, which I buy later in the season to take advantage of the seeds in my pastures. The chickens eat some of the seeds and they love to rip apart a pile, so there is no need for me to spread out the pile that I dump from my wheelbarrow.
    I also hand remove weeds like bindweed that will grow back from a tiny piece left in the soil and I throw THOSE in my garbage can in the garage to get them off of the property. I keep digging with my spade until I get the last bits in a shovelful. The only plants that I want to grow from underground shoots are in my strawberry patch.
    Here are a few articles to read while in the off season:
    https://www.finegardening.com/article/tilling-is-one-chore-you-might-be-able-to-skip
    https://mantis.com/cultivating-the-soil-why-its-important-and-how-it-differs-from-tilling/
    https://www.bbbseed.com/wildflower-grass-tips/dangers-of-tilling/
    https://gilmour.com/how-to-prevent-weeds-garden
     
  2. Dec 31, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    @ducks4you says, "I agree that worm composting is a great way to throw away spoiled or unwanted vegetable pieces from your kitchen/garden 365 days a year, but you have to have a LOT of bins to supply your garden. Won't help @Ben E Lou much judging from his pictures."

    note, if you rotate plant you do not have to use worm compost on an entire garden, the existing population of worms in the soil will do plenty of that already for you. my reply stated that i only use worm compost as fertilizer for the heaviest feeding plants (tomatoes, red peppers and onions are about all i use the worm compost for) and whatever i have left goes into the worst of the rest of the gardens to improve them as much as possible. it is true i can never have enough but that is an aside from what is actually needed as a minimal expense or effort for an organic gardener. :)

    after that first application to an area i won't need any more for several years (because the worms and other added materials provide enough and rotational planting uses different nutrients from the soil).

    when starting a garden from scratch in a lawn area the first season or two your primary nutrients are likely going to be sufficient for some crops without anything else needed (for me those are things like green peppers, beans, peas, chives and garlic).
    for some garden plants too many nutrients can cause problems of their own.

    i have 12 buckets for the worms because i can easily use them up in all of our gardens, but i would not need so many buckets for just the two of us to handle our food scraps (i could probably get away with 4-6). i have 12 because Mom cooks for a lot of people several times a month so i have to have enough buckets to handle peak demand for burying scraps (melon peels have a lot of water and i don't have drainage holes so while that makes things simpler in several regards it also means i have to monitor moisture levels when adding wet scraps).


    "I try not to till in my garden much, but I DO till the piles of soiled stall bedding bc it breaks them down faster. Smells earthy and wonderful in the spring. I TRY to mix it with my garden soil instead of tilling, but sometimes I run short on time and I do till."

    perhaps our goals are different here. :) i want a minimal effort garden that provides enough nutrients to the plants. sometimes having things break down faster is not at all what i want. it takes work to move materials around and i want the organic materials in the soil to persist as long as possible and still be able to provide the needed nutrients. most of those are coming from worms and then the trace nutrients from whatever i'm recycling from weeds and what goes through the worm bins.

    there's never enough time to do everything i'd like to get done in a single season, but i'm quite happy in how things are going here for what i get in return. if a garden gets too full of weeds Mom gets upset. i'm not into getting upset. it doesn't solve any problems and just wastes emotional energy. i'm much more relaxed about this stuff than she is. :) last year was tough because of injuries. i hope i can do better this coming season to meet her expectations. i gotta get that fence up. i don't want to waste a lot of energy on a space if i can't keep the animals from eating most of it. that was the other reason last year for not putting a lot of time into a certain garden that is full of weeds. it's coming along, but not as how she would like... all asides from worms and gardens, but there are some nice worms in there and the soil is near perfect in most of it so we'll see how next season goes...
     
  3. Dec 31, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    catjac1975 said:
    "Everybody loves the country. As long as they don't see, hear or smell anything."

    IMO if you can smell it you are wasting energy/nutrients. from what i see most farmers are idiots. and yes, i do mean just that.


    @digitS' writes:
    "
    There you have it ... but, as soon as they move there, they have changed things, a lot!"

    my objections are around what the farmers do to the air, water and land and it certainly isn't in the interest of any ideas of sustainability. around here most of them are now farming subsoil and wasting a lot of what is available for free from the sun and from nature. instead they'll kill it all off and then have to compensate for their destruction via other methods which do not improve the surrounding area at all. just spreads their poisons further for others to eventually have to deal with.


    "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."

    i can't believe people are willing to pay what they are for them. at the going rate i'm paying nothing other than a 20-30 minutes a month for 150-200lbs of recharged garden soil. that is more than i need for the heaviest feeding plants so i can usually improve a few other areas too each season. people ask me if i sell the worms or worm compost but i'm not in this to make a business out of a hobby. i'm into it to enjoy the gardening as a whole and for the good exercise it provides. that i love to eat beans and all the other veggies is a bonus, that i can sort beans in the winter time is also fun. :)
     
    digitS' likes this.
  4. Dec 31, 2018
    bobm

    bobm Garden Addicted

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    Well bug... you say our US farmers are really bad, so why is it that they manage to feed much of the third world countries from the surplus food that these same farmers produce to save them from mass starvation ? :caf
     

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