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Boy I would LOVE some leaves like that to make a compost pile. All I have are pine trees. I bet that makes some great compost! I hope you have a FEL for that pile!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, but I think a FEL would be more practical. In the meantime, I need to get wheel weights on my tiller to lower its centre of gravity for when I climb that pile!
 

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A few pics of my compost pile and handy compost turner. This pile was started back w/the 1st cut last March and if all goes like the previous piles, the compost will be ready to use by late spring/early summer. I've probably got one or two more leaf pickups to add to it. I turn it once a week.
 

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First, do no harm.
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I use a plastic barrel that i drilled wholes in. Just kitchen stuff in it, coffee grounds, egg shells and such. the racoons eat alot of it.
 

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Not too big.

These are the end results of aprox. 10 years of grass clippings composting. Previous owner was big on bagging. He dumped it in a line at the rear of the lawn next to wooded area.

When I was clearing out rear area I took FEL and repiled it as shown here. It would work well as an addition to some garden area. The stick is 6 feet tall.

The lawn area that produced this was maybe 2/3 of an acre. I don't bag so this may be it unless I accumulate leaves which I don't plan on doing. I'm set up to mulch with my DGS6500.

 

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ONLY once a week... with a FEL? I'd be out turning mine with the headlights on most every evening!
Spoken like a true mechanized composting Enthusiast :D
My grass, maple & walnut leaves break down pretty good, especially when we get some rain, course if I had all them pine needles I'd have to be out there every evening too :D
 

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What can I work on today?
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I thought my last pile was going to be a nice size like Volfan's, but as it composted it started to shrink to about the size HiPocket posted. Bummer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ja, they do shrink a lot. Mine's a few years old. I keep meaning to turn it but it always shrinks down to almost nothing so I just kept adding to it. Looks like there's enough to do something with now.

When I turned and harvested my previous pile in the same location, I blended in some of the black clay base it sat on which resulted in a large hole so the current pile is actually bigger than it looks because it fills the old hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I finally got around to making wheel weights for my rear tine tiller. I used two 5 lb and one 2.5 lb on each side. I didn't want to hang the weights on the outside so I mounted them on the inside.

The tiller has 1" axles and the holes in the weights are bigger so I cut a length of thinwall aluminum tubing long enough to gang all 3 weights together. The tubing OD was too big to fit the weight and the ID was a little more than an inch so I cut out a slot down the length to make it fit. It worked out perfectly, snug to the axle and snug to the weights.

I put the tiller to the compost pile and it worked much better with the lower centre of gravity. There is still frost in the centre of the pile so I didn't get to turn all of it.
 

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I don't have any pics, but my compost pile is the size of my garden.....wait, it IS my garden. Once the last vegetable is picked, all the stall cleanings (mostly wood chips and horse biscuits) start going into the garden. I pile it in the woods and fill in holes at other times. All the cornstalks, tomato vines, bean vines, etc, get spread around, and in the fall, the leaves from all my trees goes on top. Around the end of January, if the ground isn't frozen, (usually not), it all gets plowed under, along with about 750 pounds of lime. Then, around end of March, it gets tilled, and about now, tilled again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I dumped about 8 cords worth of wood ashes on the compost pile over the Winter. I wondered if the lye from the ashes would affect the composting but I think all the snow and rain would have diluted it enough.

I raked up 10 wheelbarrow loads of chainsaw cuttings from this Winter but I didn't want to add any more fresh material to this pile so I dumped it all in a mosquito bog instead. The bog is full of fallen Willow and roots so there's no harvesting what I dump there so I really need to clear another area for composting or enlarge the area I have.
 

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Ashes in the garden should be no more than the equivelent of one 5 ga. pail per 1,000 sq.ft. according to link a post this winter. It does something to deplete the nitrogen in the soil. So I guess we should inject hydrogen then?:D I stopped using it at all on any of my plants a long time ago except what goes off the driveway via the plow or snowblower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Then it's a good thing I dumped them on the compost pile and not on the garden!

When we were clearing land on the farm, we would burn the brush piles in the clearing. Later when we planted the crop, we could always see where our burn piles were because the crop was twice the size there. I'm pretty sure we exceeded the ratio of 5 gal per 1000 sq ft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I realized I left a few loose ends in this thread. For one, don't ever dump ashes onto a raw compost heap. It changed the ph enough that it killed the microbes and turned it cold. It took a lot of work to reactivate it. I had to turn the pile and layer in lots of the finished compost that I had left over from prior years. Even at that, it took another two years to finish composting.

I just today finally got done tilling the finished compost that was pictured in the start of this thread. It put me years behind. I still need to spread all of it and I'm guessing there is about 2 cu yds of it. I convinced the wife to take some of it for the vegetable garden this weekend.

All the leaves and grass clippings from last year are still sitting in another pile just the way I left it last year. I haven't turned it even once yet since I don't have room to turn it until I get rid of the finished compost pile that's beside it. Now I have no room left for this year's crop of leaves and so had to stay true to what I said about clearing another spot. Only 3 years from when I said I would.

I cleared a spot further away from the house this time so hopefully the smell of rotting compost doesn't waft over to the house. Started sweeping up leaves and dumping them in the new spot. The extra distance sure adds to the round trip times.
 
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