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Old 08-24-2009, 06:53 PM   #21
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My parents, although aging, planted a 4 meter by 6 meter vegetable garden several seasons ago. The problem they had was that it over produced, and they couldn't use or give away all that they grew! With that, they never grew another.

Unless you enjoy canning, careful and realistic planning in the types and numbers of produce is most important.

For myself, no vegetable garden can have enough bush peas!

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:55 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
I've been a long-time organic gardener (& thus automatically a composter) for over 30 years now. Never bothered with tumblers or compost starters - totally unnecessary & really just one way for garden companies to jump on the bandwagon & make some $$. But it does/can help those folks who don't have large yards & thus don't want to go the route of a regular compost pile.

Back in NY I had 3 side-by-side bins made from discarded wooden pallets. They worked GREAT! The slats allowed for aeration, & it was easy to transfer the compost from one bin to the next. Bin 1 was for new stuff. When that started reaching semi-decompostion, it was forked over into Bin 2 to continue "cooking". Then finished compost was forked over into Bin 3 for use. Back then I was raising chickens, so my compost consisted of chicken manure & used henhouse bedding, lawn/garden scraps/clippings, & kitchen vegetable/fruit scraps. NO meat, dairy, fat/grease, or leftover cooked food unless it was completely unseasoned.

These days, now that I have 22 acres to play with here in Virginia, I compost large piles of pure horse manure (with 6 horses I have plenty to play with - lol!), & maintain a kitchen compost pile consisting of a simple welded-wire "ring" into which I layer horse manure, & garden & kitchen scraps (still maintaining the above-referenced restrictions). Every so often I just lift off the ring, move it over a few feet, & fork the original pile back over. Then move/fork back again a couple of weeks later. After a few months - voila! Finished compost.

I also do winter composting by simply depositing my horse manure & soiled bedding directly into my garden in late fall. I stop mid-winter, & by spring everything has composted down beautifully. I end up with terrific rich soil with very little work in the long run.
I use a similar three bin system defined by old railroad ties back in the woods. I don't bother to move materiel from one to the other, but when one bin gets filled up, I move to the next. One interesting result. I have a herd of deer, somewhere between 10 and 20 most days, which take up residency in or near the bins in the winter. I can only guess that the temperature is higher around the bins and a more comfy place for the deer to sleep.

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Old 10-10-2009, 07:27 AM   #23
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Been composting since I was a kid. Dear God that is 40 years of composting Did it back then to get an easy source for worms to go fishing. I compost everything from the yard. It is just one big pile but I do a layering method. lay a raft of thicker branches up to 2" diameter on the ground it can be 8" thick. On top of that a mattres of twigs from 8 to 12" thick. This pile is free form about 6x6' there now is enough loose stuff to have aeration. The next layer is the green manure or the leaves grass clippings and weeds. that gets about 12-18" thick then a 2 to 4" layer of soil to put to good microbs to work in the pile. When it starts to shrink or I have more to add the next layer on top is back to branches laid at right angle to the starter raft and not more than 4" thick. I can keep repeating the strata and the pile stays pretty square and 6' high. I'll even throw a log on top to help compress the pile. When I want to turn it I use a shale bar under a raft of branches and it moves it a lot. Well there is mare to it but it is fun and it can rot even my christmas trees. Can't seem to get pictures to attach. to busy gardening to learn this computer stuff LOL
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:56 AM   #24
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Our city just started collecting composting this summer. We have a green bin with a lid that we wheel to the curb every week with the garbage. It's a terrific idea - we have one less bag of garbage a week.

They take things that you can't put in a normal composter.. like meat, all kinds of food.. paper towel...
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Old 10-10-2009, 11:31 AM   #25
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be careful using old railroad ties, they can leech poison (because they've been treated) into whatever it's touching. If one goes to the trouble of have great compost, then I would think one wouldn't want the toxins leaching into it from the railroad ties.

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Old 10-10-2009, 11:52 AM   #26
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The ties I used were at least 50 years old, and had mostly done their leaching long ago. I would not use newer ties.
Also, I suspect that the reason that animal waste is not recommended in home compoosting is that it attracts unwanted critters. A raccoon can, and will, get into almost anything. An open system with animal waste is definitely out.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:11 PM   #27
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So why no meats or dairy? I could see where the salts from seasoned table scraps would mess with the soil quality but im in the dark about the meat scraps and dairy.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:20 PM   #28
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I tried when I first moved here, but there really wasn't a place sunny enough to work without having a compost heap withing vision and smell of our entertaining area. So we gave up.

Trust me, you do not want to encourage raccoons to move into your yard.

A woman we once rented from did compost meat (she'd throw a pot of leftover beef stew out there, right under trees in the yard, not on a compost heap). This had some pretty odd results. One being that my dog went out and chowed down and had living maggots in her. The vet said he'd not seen anything quite like it.

This was in Florida, we'd just moved there, and didn't really know about the very real rabies danger from raccoons and other critters coming in for supper.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:21 PM   #29
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It has nothing to do with the soil quality. Adding meat scraps & dairy products to compost piles - even if you bury them well - is HIGHLY attractive to vermin. Around here that means mice, rats, skunk, raccoons, opossums, fox, coytoe, & bear - none of which I'm interested in setting up a buffet table for.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:51 PM   #30
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I had figured the meat had to do with animals digging it up but wanted to make sure. and wouldn't spiced stuff with salt in it affect the ph of the soil as well?

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