What do I compost?

sunnychooks

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Could someone start of list of things that can be composted? Besides chicken litter, sheep and goat poop and coffee grounds I'm not sure what else I should add (Between chickens, goats and sheep I don't have any kitchen scraps left except for potato peels). Thanks!
 

patandchickens

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Anything that stands still long enough, comes in (or can be chopped into) little pieces, and is not a public health or critter-attracting hazard.

:)

(edited to add: and any weeds that have not gone to seed. Perennial weeds need to dry out thoroughly in the sun first)

You can get all sciencey about C:N ratios and such, if you like that sort of thing and/or want your compost as fast as possible; or you can just make a big pile of various stuff (few things do well in large amounts alone) and forget about it for a few years.

Pat
 

poppycat

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Grass clippings
Leaves
Weeds that haven't gone to seed
Newspaper
Shrub prunings (cut into smallish pieces)

The only yard-debris stuff I don't like in my compost is needles and cones. They take forever to decompose and they lower the pH too much, plus Douglas Fir cones look just like dog poop after they've been in the compost for a while.

All the manure you're composting will really help get your pile going. I've also composted some of the supposed no-no's with no ill effects. I won't say which ones, lest someone wants to try it at home.
 

LisaJean

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My rule has been, if it once grew in the Earth, it can be composted.

The weed thing made me do a double take. I haven't done much with weeds. I usually give any weeds I pull up to the chickens.

Oh, make a run past your local Spendbucks coffee houses, because often they will leave bags of used coffee grounds outside the door for gardeners. If they don't you can ask them to save you some. Coffee grounds are good in compost.

I have a big black drum on a wooden rack, that lets me spin it. It saves me having to mess with a heap and a pitchfork. In addition, the drum has an easy screw off top on one end, and on the other end, a piece of PVC pipe has been inserted diwn through the center of the drum, with little holes in it. That's to add liquid to the mix, and the holesmake sure it is distributed evenly.

I am training my barely-3-years-old niece not to throw her banana peels in the trash. Instead, when she has something like that to discard, she goes outside with auntie to "feed the earth!"

"We feed earth now, auntie?"

I'm also working on her to not want to kill spiders the moment she sees them. :)
 

digitS'

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My little rule of thumb is that nothing that's been cooked goes in the compost. The second thumb is that meat can't go in there even if it hasn't been cooked - yuck!!

I've had a little problem with mice in the compost even using these rules. If I was to put cooked food out there, the compost gods only know what horrible things I'd attract to the pile!!

The material is always left to decompose for at least 18 months. A pile sits thru one year with nothing added while I toss stuff in the bin beside it. The only thing I do with it during that year is keep it watered when it's dry and pull the weeds off the top of the pile. By 18 months, it still isn't entirely composted but that's okay with me. I mean, after gardening for 40 seasons, I could have waited so long that there'd only be dust, I suppose. But, my idea was only not to be in any hurry about composting so I didnt need to turn the darn stuff over once or twice. Older than dirt . . .

Steve
 

sunnychooks

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digitS' said:
The material is always left to decompose for at least 18 months. A pile sits thru one year with nothing added while I toss stuff in the bin beside it.
Tell me if I understand you correctly. In other words, do you mean that you have two compost piles? So you would be building one for a year, and letting the other sit? Do you continue to turn both, or just the one you're building?
 

digitS'

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Sunnychooks, actually - I don't turn either one. But yes, I've got 2 bins in one of the gardens that are made out of stacked concrete blocks and filled right now with "stuff" that's composting.

They are side-by-side. Everything from 2006 is layered in one. Everything from 2007 is in the other. Next Spring, I will completely empty the one from 2006 and work that material into the garden.

Truth be known - I will plant some things on the 2007 pile. The top layer is more-or-less soil. Squash and eggplants have worked well growing on top the compost. I've had basil the last couple of years. These things do better up there than elsewhere in the garden but I have had some problems with pests. Along with mice, earwigs like hanging out in the bins. Still, I haven't seen any signs of mice the last few years and the earwigs don't always cause much damage.

I've also built compost piles after digging out a bed in the garden. So, there is this long, narrow pile of stuff sometimes right in the middle of everything. Haven't been doing this the last few years and have just kept the composting in the bins.

Steve
 

Southern Gardener

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I put just about everything in the compost. I had a big green tumbler composter that sat on a rack that you spin, but stupid me I gave it away last year - sure wish I had it back! :barnie Now I have a square iron something or other that came from one of our stores - it's a pain having to turn the compost.
 

Buff Shallots

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I must say that my compost bin did suffer loss after we got the chickens. So much veggie matter ended up going into their little gullets!
 

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