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One of the best things you can do to start out your foray into organic gardening, is to start a compost bin. Forget what you think about them. If eaven done CLOSE to right, they will not stink, and they are not an eyesore. A few simple tips for you..

You want about a 50/50 mix of greens, and browns. [just as an example fall leaves,and paper are a brown, and plants, coffee grounds, fresh cut grass are greens]

You also realy want it to be at least 3'x3'x3' in size. Much smaller then that, and it will not generate the heat needed to speed things up.

Keep it moist, but not wet.

mix it up once in a wile.


Many more tips, and any one jump in with more ideas, to help the people just starting out.
 

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More tips...

With compost, there is realy no WRONG way to do it. Anything will rot down after a wile. The best tip I can give is try it. Your not going to mess it up, I garrantee!!!!!


Nothing like that one time you go to turn a pile, and poke your fork in there, and see this big ol' pile of the darkest, richest dirt you ever seen looking out at you!!!!!!
 

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Household waste

At my house it goes right in the manure pile. One thing to remember "Do not add dog dropping" they are not good for the garden unless all you grow is flowers.
 

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Some talk about composting coming up, figure I would bump this up.

What are you all doing for/with your compost? This is one thing we all can do for our lawn, and garden that will help it grow its best, and you know what? It's FREE!!!!
 

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Well - I mostly give the table scraps to the chickens, then clean the chicken house and spread it onto the garden! ROF
My wife wants me to make one of those "rolling barrel" type composter for next spring. I don't rake leaves or bag my grass, so I don't have any of that kind of stuff.
 

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i'm trying it this year. a neighbor used to hold everything in an old truck bedliner so thats what i'm going to do also i have a chipper\shreader setup to really grind the stuff up. but my question is do i need to keep it covered and the coffee grounds\scraps do they just go on top or do i mix them in? thanks for any help. bernie.
 

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I know I don't do it the way you're supposed to, but I usually just bury everything in the 25 X 30 area I use for a garden. I use the mow n vac and get at least 10 loads or more of leaves and then spread it over the garden and then run the tiller over it. If there is more free time before snow fall I will use the mow n vac again and repeat the process. Wind up with some real nice "black" dirt come spring with worms the size of small garter snakes.
 

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With the animals an over abundence of compost is my problem. I keep my horses at home and pile the manure. The wife throws all kitchen waste right in the pile. Twice a year , spring and fall I add it to the gardens here and at the farm. Woodchips from my stump grinder I spread over the ground about one foot thick and when the weeds grow through it I add another foot. Both the chips and the manure make nice humus and surely upgrade my soil. I worried about th Ph using wood chips, but a nursery man explained it to me. Fully composted woodchips are nuteral, thay are only acid when they are not rotted. My mother-in-law lives in the city and bought a thing called an Earth Machine to put all her compostable material in and it works well. Basically just a garbage can open on the bottom with vents and a door cut into it, about 4 feet across and 4 feet tall.
 

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Hope I'm not out of place, but we have this monster garden, and I was able to trade some vegies for horse manure. I had to load and haul it,and I know everyone don't have equip. to do a large amount like we do but get what you can handle to start with. Today we bagged leaves with the dixon 4421 mower. Went to several peoples yards and got 2 -18' trailer loads. Dumped them next to the pile and got the case 580 backhoe out and mixed manure, sod from township roads, leaves, garden cleanings, a few old wood chips that I had left from 2 years ago. I made my pile close to where I plan on using the compost. As was stated earlier keep it mixed, moist, and stir often. thanks!! sonny
 

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I just compost leaves in the fall. I do it by dumping them in this wire fence ring. It is about 5' tall and ~8' in diameter. In a year or two I have a mound of black gold. (click pictures for larger versions, and then click on the "all sizes" button for more sizes)

Here is this year's pile:


Here is last year's pile:


All that compost, and I haven't found a use for it. I'd like to start a garden. I figure in a couple of years, I'll have enough to get a good base laid and start from there.
 

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sixchows said:
I know I don't do it the way you're supposed to, but I usually just bury everything in the 25 X 30 area I use for a garden.
That's the way old farmers have been doing it for many a year. Anytime you get lots of earthworms, you have pretty viable soil.
 

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I've always shredded and burried the leaves and grass in the garden in the fall. By Spring planting it is all gone. Seems to work faster when covered in soil. Hardest part is finding a dry spell to rototill it all in.
 

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dirtybernie said:
i'm trying it this year. a neighbor used to hold everything in an old truck bedliner so thats what i'm going to do also i have a chipper\shreader setup to really grind the stuff up. but my question is do i need to keep it covered and the coffee grounds\scraps do they just go on top or do i mix them in? thanks for any help. bernie.
You dont realy have to cover it. A little watter is good for it. Now as for the bed liner. the compost realy likes to be on the ground. That was all the werms, and micro organisims can get to it. I think thats the probalem with those tumblers also. You have to add starters, or old compost to get them to work.
 

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The bare ground does seem to work better, as the worms will go way up in the pile and help you. shredding is even better if you have one. it speeds up the process and gets a higher heat going in the pile. sonny
 

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Here is the small pile we are working on this year! It's only about 1 semi in size, and we could use about 10 more just like it!! If weather holds ,we will have most of this one mixed in this fall. I use the IH 404 and the72" tiller for this after deep ripping first.thanks; sonny
 

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Does sawdust and planer shaving have any good use for composting? One guy tells me that it does but you need to add a lot of Nitrogen to break it down and another says he has been doing it for years without adding anything...just tills it under. I have a bunch of sawdust and shavings and so far I'm just using it for cleaning up oil spots in the shop.
 

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I too, just till it in ,or usually run it through the compost pile and have not had any problems that I can tell. Spread it in thin layers and get lots of dirt mixed with it is the main thing. thanks; sonny
 

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Chips, and dust do make good compost. They are a pretty brown brown though[hows THAT for a tech term?:D] you will need a bit more "greens" to compost them. As for tilling them in? They will help the soil, only thing is they will grab a lot of the nitreon in the soil till they brake down. You will get it back when they do, but it takes some time. They still help the soil though.
 

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John Deere Addict said:
Does sawdust and planer shaving have any good use for composting? One guy tells me that it does but you need to add a lot of Nitrogen to break it down and another says he has been doing it for years without adding anything...just tills it under. I have a bunch of sawdust and shavings and so far I'm just using it for cleaning up oil spots in the shop.
If your going to plant in it the following year it could compete for available nitrogen.
 
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