One Person, Garden Compost

ducks4you

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Pyg and Eva AND probably the cats, too, will dig up bones if I try to bury them, EVEN UNDERNEATH a full wheelbarrow of stall waste. I could Burn them, but the humidity and wind need to be right. Yesterday, (horrors!!!) I threw the broth waste in the trash. I have a Hard Time filling my pickup can every week.
When I get back to chickens this year I will have a place to get rid of that, again, too.
Pat yourself on the back if you do Anything to Not feed a landfill!! :hugs :hugs :hugs
 

catjac1975

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I was watching a travel show that emphasizes restaurants and cooking with local ingredients. The host visited an organic farm. I don't believe that they said how large it was but there was was an aerial view and it looked to me that it was about 5 acres.

The farmer said that they brought in between $50,000 and $70,000 worth of compost each year to fertilize the soil :oops: !!! Good Goobly Goop! Well, maybe they could afford that ...

Home Gardening. It would likely take some additional soil amendments in the first year or so. How many square feet of garden could one person keep fertile simply with his or her kitchen scraps?

I imagine that this two person household consumes more fruit and vegetables than the average American couple. I don't collect lawn clippings for the compost but some tree leaves and ornamentals from the yard are composted. I applied my compost to the front lawn once, about 20 years ago and thought "what am I doing? This stuff is much too valuable to use on grass!" Ornamental beds receive conventional fertilizer.

Because of the climate, gardening here is fairly short-term/limited production meaning that not a lot of nutrients are pulled out of the soil through each year. Frozen in place ...

My 3, 5-gallon buckets of kitchen scraps are also frozen in place. Soon, there will be 4 buckets! It's unfortunate in that way that my "stealth compost pits" aren't larger but I've also used the three garden beds, an 18' by 20' garden, for both compost placement and kitchen scraps. My approach is to try to limit that to every two years but I actually do a little better because there is "excess" compost. Imagine me making that claim! How is there excess compost ever? Well, darned if I'm putting it on the lawn grass and I sure ain't gonna haul it out to the distant garden more than a dozen miles away. It's for the fertility of those 360 square feet.

Two people and 360 square feet ???? Subtract the frost-killed flowers and tree leaves - what is that? Easily 1 person's kitchen scraps/100 square feet?

Steve
A lot more goes into compost than just kitchen scrapes. Any aged manure is also compost. We get truckloads of leaves delivered by landscapers. After a year or so, without any work, a mountain of leaves turns into a pile of rich compost.
 

ducks4you

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LEAVES, LEAVES, LEAVES!!. Cheapest and easiest brown manure to compost.
I put down 2yr chopped leaves that I had bagged from my DD's yard (Many old maples and oaks that drop on their corner lot) and I have used them to plant my blueberries last fall. I also layered them on my 2022 leek bed. As soon as I can dig again I will layer garden dirt on top.
I plan to bag up many more this fall. Our leaves blow across the st every year to the neighbors. :gig
 

digitS'

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We have some leaves in the yard and are inclined to collect pine needles from a nearby park. Zero manure these days since keeping a backyard flock of hens has passed into history.

According to several people who have written books on gardening and composting, adding cooked foods to compost is risking for attracting stray and wild critters digging it up. I don't remember ever doing it other than in an accidental way. Too bad that the hens aren't still around for some of the more nutritious kitchen wastes but I wasn't willing to lower their dietary percentage of protein by much when I had the flock. Some critters would be better than others for making good use of peelings and such and I do know that some folks essentially do their composting inside the chicken run. I never had a large enough flock of laying hens nor a large enough lot since I moved out of the country to do something like that.

Okay, the 3, 5-gallon buckets of kitchen trimmings on 12/26 has multiplied to 6 buckets of frozen material, now. There is one more place in the backyard veggie beds that had some late bok choy that I didn't dig up in the fall. That little stretch of ground received plenty of compostables before being planted in the Spring of 2021. It's also frozen and covered with snow. I'm quite willing to dump 3 or 4 buckets in there and hope it's sometime soon. That will have to be the "extent" of amending those 360 square feet until much later in 2022 ;). And hopefully, there is room in the compost pits in a few weeks - and that decomposition going on by that time.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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Pyg and Eva AND probably the cats, too, will dig up bones if I try to bury them, EVEN UNDERNEATH a full wheelbarrow of stall waste. I could Burn them, but the humidity and wind need to be right. Yesterday, (horrors!!!) I threw the broth waste in the trash. I have a Hard Time filling my pickup can every week.
When I get back to chickens this year I will have a place to get rid of that, again, too.
Pat yourself on the back if you do Anything to Not feed a landfill!! :hugs :hugs :hugs

once bones go through the worm buckets no critter has bothered them in the gardens ever. i've never found a bone dug up by a raccoon or a skunk or anything else. so there is a large difference between fresh bones and those that have had some intermediate processing. everything that comes out of the worm buckets smells like worms and dirt and not much else.

i thought at one time that by putting worms in a trench that i would be asking for moles to come along and run right along that trench and eat them all. that has never happened either. it's like the moles can't smell them either for some reason.
 

flowerbug

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@flowerbug ,

Tell us ..

. what kind of worms these are, please.

Steve

a mix of species, natives and bait store worms (if you can find them they are sometimes called Belgian Night Crawlers or European Night Crawlers. they're great composting worms, i've been keeping them for over 10 years now - they have no trouble with anything i put them in as long as they don't freeze or get fried in the heat).

the natives are whatever i could find outside, some are the organic composting worms that are commonly called Red Wrigglers, but they will not like a bucket with dirt unless you keep a layer of organic material up top.

i have at least three layers in a bucket. i can find worms throughout the entire bucket when i take it out to use it in the gardens. there are other earth worms of a few species. some are pale, others are green ones and some others are more red and get bigger. i no longer keep the common night crawlers in the buckets but some may end up in there at times because when i am putting worms out into the gardens i am also taking some garden soil back inside with me too for starting over to recharge and improve it. i also mix some humus from the decayed wood chips and some clay if the soil is sandy, etc. i try to make the buckets prime garden soil so that when they get put back out they're a big improvement. the non-natives will not survive the rest gradually will increase my worm counts as long as i have some organic material in the soil and spaces down deeper where they can hide out during the hot and colder times.
 

digitS'

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So, you maintain the non-native population in the buckets by picking some up and putting them back in the bucket?

@flowerbug , worm castings must be at the very top of the list for providing plant nutrients. It's a symbiotic relationship ...

Steve
 

flowerbug

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So, you maintain the non-native population in the buckets by picking some up and putting them back in the bucket?

i keep a few buckets in reserve and use those to restart some and i also sometimes keep a slice down through an entire bucket so i have all the layers of worms and soil community. there's often woodlice, centipedes, small spiders, springtails, etc. the once in a while click beetles aka wireworms i try to avoid but sometimes i miss a few, crickets, ants. fungus gnats are the most annoying but the small spiders i keep now take care of those.


@flowerbug , worm castings must be at the very top of the list for providing plant nutrients. It's a symbiotic relationship ...

Steve

they're a gardeners best friend, just make sure you're not introducing any species into your area that will survive if they get loose or use native species, but the natives often may not reproduce nearly as fast as a composting worm will. in a full bucket of worms i can't believe that the various species do manage to survive at all but somehow they figure it out.

when i put new veggie scraps or paper stuff in the buckets i don't normally mix down to the very bottom, it's pretty hard to do when the buckets get full. so there is a reservoir down there of undisturbed space for the more stable soil worms to be happy. the native night crawlers i rarely find in the buckets but when i do and it is summer i'll take them outside and let them go by digging up some space so they have fresh soil to make a new burrow in, but it can take them some time to do that. they are the old souls of worms. they build their burrows as they grow.
 

john

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I use leaves then cut grass then a thin layer of dirt and whatever comes out of the kitchen. I have a push mower with a bagger so if I need green I cut it if I need brown I use leaves from the pile I have. I have a black bin that I have had for years where I clean out the bottom about 4 times a summer about 2 5 gal buckets each time, could probably get 3 if I dug hard enough then punch the rest down and start over again. When I start digging the bugs go nuts and once when I started a snake came out the side where the air vents are then I went nuts, I hate snakes.
 

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