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Old 04-08-2012, 01:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by taxlady

???

It would help if we knew more about where you live. Is it rural? Is it suburban? Urban? How big is your yard/balcony? What's the wildlife like where you live? Do you get raccoons? Skunks? Bears?

What will you use the compost for? Growing food or just for decorative plants?
We live in a rural area in SC. We have a little over 5 acres. There used to be racoons here & there but haven't seen one in ten years. Now we have rabbits, brown bears, Bobcats & coyotes.
We will use the compost for growing food.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:12 PM   #12
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We live in a rural area in SC. We have a little over 5 acres. There used to be racoons here & there but haven't seen one in ten years. Now we have rabbits, brown bears, Bobcats & coyotes.
We will use the compost for growing food.
You could just make a pile for compost. I wouldn't use metal for a composter, but I'm not sure why You are supposed to balance "greens" (kitchen waste) and "browns" (yard waste). I just sort of try to alternate. There are websites that can give you ratios.

With bears and bobcats, etc. I would leave out any animal waste (meat, fish, dairy). Egg shells should still be okay.

Since you will be using the compost for growing food, I wouldn't put paper towels in the compost, since most of them are made of bleached paper which will have unpleasant residues.

When I put coffee filters in the compost, I make sure that cone ones are torn open and basket ones are open. Otherwise they tend to make a lump that takes forever to compost. Open, they vanish in no time. I also tear teabags open - same reason as for the coffee filters.
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Old 04-08-2012, 03:29 PM   #13
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We have piles of compost, one from 2 years ago (ready to go in the garden now), last years (also ready to go) and one we just started this winter.

We put yard waste like leaves and weeds and tree pods in it with the kitchen waste--no meats though. I keep a nice sized container on the counter in the kitchen for waste while I'm cooking. They go from being 6 feet tall to being less than 3 feet tall through decomposition.

During the summer the piles get moved (aerating them) to the left, tossing them well. As the piles on the left get put back in the garden, it makes room for the newer stuff on the right to be moved to the left successively over the summer. I guess our compost is more of a successive filing system.

We have raccoons, cats, skunks, possums which don't bother the compost and the only people I see eating from the compost are the sandhill cranes and they don't make a mess.
We do trap the wild furry animals so they don't become a nuisance.
We put our neighbors leaves on our one garden, and straw over the rest of them and the soil is beautiful and moist. I've never had better gardens since we started composting and putting the leaves and straw on them.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:09 PM   #14
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Turning compost piles is just too much work for me. I just mulch my garden heavily and put vegetable peels and stuff under the mulch.

All by itself, with a little help from friendly earthworms, the vegetable debris, the leaves, and the hay I use as mulch become compost.

Since I keep the garden heavily mulched all year round, I have not had to put a plow, hoe, rototiller, or a cultivator to my garden beds for the entire 3 years I have had this garden.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:32 AM   #15
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I have a composting team working for me--the girls in the chicken yard. All kitchen waste (except bones) goes right over the fence to the girls, as well as all the leaves I can find. They eat what they want, and scratch up and poop over the rest. About the only things that go into the garbage are bones I don't want the dogs to be tempted by--don't need anyone digging under the fence for a snack.

The girls even compost the layer of paper that I use to line the compost bucket, tea bags and coffee filters, orange rinds, egg shells, pineapple tops--you name it.

My chicken yard is on a slight slope above the garden, so the compost quite naturally sifts thru the fence, and I can rake it out over the garden. (You would think that I planned it that way, and I will let you think that, so you will admire my amazing mind. )

This info probably won't help you, FluffyAngel--so try this:G6956 Making and Using Compost | University of Missouri Extension

Don't get too caught up the finer details. A pile composed solely of leaves will compost over time--bury your kitchen waste in the pile as you produce it, move it around when you get the inclination, and sooner or later you will have compost.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:40 AM   #16
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Why no leaves or hay?
I should have said try different leaves in moderation. Some don't break down well. And hay I find tends to just not break down nearly quickly enough, which is not unexpected, as it's cured with the intent that it last well. If I had a convenient way to grind it, it would probably do better.

If you do use hay and find it works, try to check the original source to see which, if any, herbicides were used, so you can see if they tend to carry over into the compost. It's difficult to predict the time it takes to break down the herbicides commonly used on hay fields. If it happens to take longer than the compost cycle takes in your case, a number of vegetables are sensitive to them.

Of course, this also goes for hay used as mulch. I recycle the hay that's been used in the chicken house, but I know my local hay producer uses nothing on their hay field.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:15 AM   #17
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Thanks GLC. I was thinking of straw bale gardening and I completely forgot to think of herbicides and pesticides. Yuck.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:47 AM   #18
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Thanks GLC. I was thinking of straw bale gardening and I completely forgot to think of herbicides and pesticides. Yuck.
Actually this is regulated in Canada, here is a document from Health Canada.
Regulatory Directive: Pre-harvest Intervals for Grazing and Cutting for Hay of Immature Crops Treated with Pesticides (DIR93-18, October 28, 1993) [Health Canada, 1993]

To me, it looks like hay would be labeled, not for use for feeding cattle if it was immature hay treated with pesticides. I would think if it was healthy to feed cattle, it could be used for hay bale gardening. (all paraphrased)

Opinions?
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:56 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by blissful View Post
Actually this is regulated in Canada, here is a document from Health Canada.
Regulatory Directive: Pre-harvest Intervals for Grazing and Cutting for Hay of Immature Crops Treated with Pesticides (DIR93-18, October 28, 1993) [Health Canada, 1993]

To me, it looks like hay would be labeled, not for use for feeding cattle if it was immature hay treated with pesticides. I would think if it was healthy to feed cattle, it could be used for hay bale gardening. (all paraphrased)

Opinions?
Probably, but I would want organic.

And, it's straw bale gardening. Hay is full of nutritious seeds that sprout.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:05 PM   #20
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Probably, but I would want organic.

And, it's straw bale gardening. Hay is full of nutritious seeds that sprout.
It's just that I couldn't find as much information on hay versus straw. We use straw too.
Here's an article from Ohio state University--and not necessarily the opinion of the US Dept of Agriculture regarding pesticide use in compost.
Clopyralid and Other Pesticides in Composts, AEX-714-03

I wonder if you could get certified organic straw? I'd be asking the farmer the questions.
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