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Old 08-24-2009, 12:30 PM   #11
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Selkie, everything I have read all talked about using cardboard, paper, and things of that nature. Most things I have read actually talk about using cardboard pretty heavily. A layer of cardboard and a layer of vegetable matter then a layer of cardboard and a layer of vegetable matter. The stuff I have read said that anything that was once alive can be composted, but while staying away from meats, fats, oils.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:32 PM   #12
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I'm following my mom's lead. She has a set up of three bins, like Breezy's. One bin is for grass clippings and leaves (always has more than she needs). She rotates between the other two. When one is done, she starts a new one.

I'm actually am excited, GB. Who'da Thunk making dirt would be fun =)
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:34 PM   #13
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Hey Breezy;

You almost make me homesick for our old "farm" in MD where we composted out in the back, and often just dug our veggie waste into the ground. When we left to move out west, our soil was rich, loamy, full of worms. Here in AZ I need to have produced in my covered unit located in our back yard, is rich and good. Only thing I can't really grow here are good beefy tomatoes. Only small cherry types tolerate the heat here. Ah well, we were young'ns then and could work like beavers. Happy gardening.

Pennsy
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:35 PM   #14
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I understand what you are saying, and if you are talking about corrugated cardboard, yes, you're right, but I was meaning, and should have specified, slick, plastic coated and color printed single layer cardboard, which can be poisonous to certain plants as well as poison the soil with heavy metals. Oh, and don't forget brown paper grocery sacks can also be added! The problem comes down to the amount of time it takes for those materials (paper and cardboard) to break down. That's when you might want to consider a second composter.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:36 PM   #15
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Ahh OK yes that makes sense and also goes along with what I have read. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:42 PM   #16
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Yes - you can add "safe" paper products to compost. One thing I've learned over the years that makes a BIG difference: SHRED them first. Or at least tear them into as small pieces as possible. Remember - you WANT them to break down asap, so the more help you can initially give them, the better.

The only time I don't shred paper products is if I'm using them to break ground for a new growing bed. In that case I want them thick & flat to smother the weeds & grass.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:46 PM   #17
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Yes I have been tearing and paper or cardboard up as I throw it in. I plan on moving my shredder upstairs to help with that too.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:57 PM   #18
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Unfortunately most towns now have strict laws concerning burning in our yard, but I remember years ago, my grandmother (who was a composter, and impatient to have her pile turn black) told me that paper and cardboard best served the garden soil as ash. I now understand that she simply wanted to quickly get rid of it using the ash argument as an excuse, but if you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, that could also be a recycling task for the garden to consider.

I didn't realize until this past spring the value of wood ash...:

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/woodash.html
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Old 08-24-2009, 01:29 PM   #19
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I would love to compost, but I think I would need a commercial bin of some kind. It is an arid climate here, and piles of leaves and grass clippings just completely dry out. It is difficult to keep them wet and turned, manually. I think if I could just go give it a turn, in a container that would keep it moist(er), then I could get a good product. Right now, I use grass clippings as mulch, will chop the leaves in a mower this fall and use it to turn into the top bit of soil and to use as winter mulch.
Our community just started to recycle, but one needs to drive your stuff to "depots" where there are big bins lined up where you toss your stuff, aluminum, some plastics, newspapers, white paper, cardboard. Maybe glass.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:41 PM   #20
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I started a new lasagna garden this spring, behind the garage where it will get good sun.
Lasagna gardening is also flat sheet composting. Mine started with a layer of cardboard, then branches that were trimmed from evergreen bushes, lime, veggie trimmings, egg shells, corn cobs, coffee ground, etc from the kitchen, then it will be finished off with soil/manure, topped with wood chips. I won't plant in it until the spring. It will go from 30 inches deep down to 8 inches deep by spring planting season. Supposidly I shouldn't have to till before planting.
When I plant in it, I'll start another garden off in this method, so I have some place to go with kitchen waste.
So I'll have the 7 yard by 11 yard regular garden, my garlic and asparagus gardens, and the lasagna garden.
Here is a link to making a lasagna garden.
Lasagna Gardening
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