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Now she buys the bagged stuff from the big box stores. I think they nuke the stuff to sterilize it but I still worry about all the antibiotics and other chemicals the mega-farm operations that produce the manure use.
Tell her most of the box store bagged stuff is made with composted sewage, (which it is, except the stuff that specifically says cow manure) That will slow her down a bit!
 

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Mine's not very big, or a pile. It's my first attempt at composting.

I made a compost tumber out of a 55 gallon drum.

You can see it in the back of this photo:
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Tell her most of the box store bagged stuff is made with composted sewage, (which it is, except the stuff that specifically says cow manure) That will slow her down a bit!
Actually the stuff she buys is purported to be sheep manure. I think she buys it cuz of the cute lamb picture on the bag. Anything that cute couldn't possibly have anything bad can it?

Wasn't sheep used as feed where BSE (mad cow) got started? Now I'm not suggesting that Scrapie can pass to humans via composted sheep manure, but rather simply showing a distrust of the industry in general.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
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.
Well... she took most of it for the garden and the rest I spread around the yard. In fact she also wants a bunch of the half rotted stuff from last year too. She plans to cover the beds with it and then turn it in come Spring. We're also going to use it to mulch the raspberries.

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.
I finally got last years stuff turned. The centre of the pile was bone dry and too well preserved to turn it with the rear tine tiller so I had to do it by hand with a manure fork. I blended the half rotted stuff in with the dry so it should get going good now.

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.
This year I didn't mulch mow over the leaves before picking them up. Instead, I picked them up when they were damp with rain or dew. As a result the pile is twice as big as previous years. More work...
 

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The local recycling center usually burns the brush/leaves each year. This past year was dry and we had a burn ban, so they chipped the pile.

They put an ad in the local paper, the chips were FREE!! And they loaded it for free!!

I started a marathon of hauling with my 10 foot dump trailer. The center had scales, I weighed the truck/trailer empty/full. I hauled over 5300 pounds per load and hauled over 100 loads.

Over a half million pounds of mulch!!

My Cub Cadet got a workout spreading the mulch.

The entire 100' x 300' garden and fruit tree orchard was mulched. Also every tree in the yard.

I still have about a 100,000 pound pile waiting for next year!!
 

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I wish I had taken some pictures this weekend when I was dumping a mess of tree limbs from all the downed trees we've had this year. There's a place near me that allows free dumping of yard debris, and they chip up the bigger stuff to make mulch and grind up the smaller stuff to compost into top soil. I had to drive my Grand Cherokee with the trailer behind it into a series of canyons between a half dozen or so piles of compost and mulch, most of the piles were about 30 feet high and 50' across at the base. I don't know how much more they had further back on the property, but what I saw was pretty amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter #47

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Formerly Tractor #2
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I ran out of compost last weekend so I decided to spend today hauling organic material to the farm. I decided to take a sampling from all my sources. I try not to take too much advantage of my free sources as they are generally folks that know the value of organic material, but share a little just to be nice. I also buy a little, just because it is a little more convienient as it includes loading. Here is a picture of the organic "buffet":

From left to right
2 yards of chicken litter/carcass compost still needs a little time but sould make some black gold, cost $0
2 yards of "Designer" mulch, my guy at the sawmill misheard me and gave me the expensive stuff, he had already loaded it so I let it go, cost $15
2 yards of aged tree service chips, hand loaded, cost $0
2 yards of municipal yard waste chips, cost $5
2 yards of "rough" mulch from the sawmill, cost $10

Child labor, Cost: lunch and a bit of my sanity, but well worth it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55EvBb4fhWI

They are learning well. I can't wait until they have a little more meat on them!

Right around 10 yards total
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Now that there is a nice stash! Will probably reduce down to about half that but still, 5 yards.
 

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LOL
I grew up on a farm and that looks very much like a manure pile. Mind you, back in my day I used to shovel it by hand not with a skid-steer.
 

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LOL
I grew up on a farm and that looks very much like a manure pile. Mind you, back in my day I used to shovel it by hand not with a skid-steer.
lol manure is farmers compost!! I love it when we spread it because all the surrounding people hate it!!!
 

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About two years ago we had gotten the local garbage disposal company to dump off a whole load of leaves that they pick up along the ronds in local towns. That was a lot more of a pile than I wanted in my backyard, but it's all on the garden now.
 

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I know, this is a little late getting here but I finally got to it. Leaves have been dumped in my bin down by the garden every year. Leaves are used to cover garden each year. But we get move leaves than we can use for cover so the bin got full. I had no more room this fall so I got the FEL into the bin and dug this out. Nice stuff in left photo, Grandson sitting on new leaves on the right.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
lol manure is farmers compost!! I love it when we spread it because all the surrounding people hate it!!!
If the people are complaining, it is still too fresh to be called compost. Well composted manure doesn't stink.
 

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Re: How BIG is yours

This is why I love MTF because where else would you find a bunch of folks bragging on the size of their compost pile?
 

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About two years ago we had gotten the local garbage disposal company to dump off a whole load of leaves that they pick up along the ronds in local towns. That was a lot more of a pile than I wanted in my backyard, but it's all on the garden now.
One year I thought it would be a good to pick up bagged leaves that were left out on the curb for the town to pick up and bring them home to enhance and build my compost pile. Not a good idea. There were some leaves alright, along with dog s--t, broken glass and other trash. It was awful. Our town composts leaves and the compost available to anyone who wants it. I found a mink coat in there. Has anyone composted a mink coat? How long does that usually take?
 

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Discussion Starter #58
One year I thought it would be a good to pick up bagged leaves that were left out on the curb for the town to pick up and bring them home to enhance and build my compost pile. Not a good idea. There were some leaves alright, along with dog s--t, broken glass and other trash. It was awful...
I could just imagine. The other thing is you can never be sure what sort of pesticide residue it may contain.

Speaking of animal crap, I've been dumping used kitty litter on my compost pile all Winter and then turn it in come Spring. Now to keep it in perspective, look at the size of my piles and given that the wife scoops most of the crap out and puts it in the landfill, the percentage of crap that makes into the compost pile is small. None the less, the wife was googling around some organic gardening sites and apparently what I did is a major faux pas and sure to revoke my organic status. Supposedly there are pathogens that don't get broken down...

Now, there may be a smidgen of truth to it, but our cat is not wild. He is raised on vet prescribed food, and while he may catch mice and birds, he doesn't eat them. She countered that by saying the pathogens could pass to the cat anyway. Keep in mind that mice will build nests in my compost pile and there is a lot of bird/squirrel/mouse crap as well from all the sunflower husks she cleans up around the bird feeders and tosses on the pile. Foxes too, like to crap on top of the pile to mark their territory.

I tried to counter the argument by saying the supposedly organic sheep manure she buys probably has more bad stuff in it. I mean, those mega sheep farms feed the sheep animal by-products, bathe the sheep in pesticides, and pump them full of antibiotics. I'm still in the doghouse...

The compost pile shown at the start of this thread is long gone now but it is a recurring process with 2 other piles started since. Last year I started a new pile in a different location to give the old one time to complete. In the Fall I picked up a nice mini-cultivator and I used it and my manure fork to turn the old pile this weekend. By the end of Summer it should be about 2 cu yards of black gold. I've yet to turn the new pile I started last Fall.
 

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I could just imagine. The other thing is you can never be sure what sort of pesticide residue it may contain.

Speaking of animal crap, I've been dumping used kitty litter on my compost pile all Winter and then turn it in come Spring. Now to keep it in perspective, look at the size of my piles and given that the wife scoops most of the crap out and puts it in the landfill, the percentage of crap that makes into the compost pile is small. None the less, the wife was googling around some organic gardening sites and apparently what I did is a major faux pas and sure to revoke my organic status. Supposedly there are pathogens that don't get broken down...

Now, there may be a smidgen of truth to it, but our cat is not wild. He is raised on vet prescribed food, and while he may catch mice and birds, he doesn't eat them. She countered that by saying the pathogens could pass to the cat anyway. Keep in mind that mice will build nests in my compost pile and there is a lot of bird/squirrel/mouse crap as well from all the sunflower husks she cleans up around the bird feeders and tosses on the pile. Foxes too, like to crap on top of the pile to mark their territory.

I tried to counter the argument by saying the supposedly organic sheep manure she buys probably has more bad stuff in it. I mean, those mega sheep farms feed the sheep animal by-products, bathe the sheep in pesticides, and pump them full of antibiotics. I'm still in the doghouse...

The compost pile shown at the start of this thread is long gone now but it is a recurring process with 2 other piles started since. Last year I started a new pile in a different location to give the old one time to complete. In the Fall I picked up a nice mini-cultivator and I used it and my manure fork to turn the old pile this weekend. By the end of Summer it should be about 2 cu yards of black gold. I've yet to turn the new pile I started last Fall.
Frankly, I would avoid any carnivorous animal waste in my garden. The sheep manure you buy may be irradiated or something to kill any micro organisms,
so it might be okay. There is so much free and available plant material out there that it almost makes animal by products pointless, in my opinion. It's just not worth taking the chance, even a few of these bacteria in the right environment can multiply faster than a congressman voting himself a raise.
 

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Here is a picture of my first pile. In the past I just put the chopped leaves and grass on as a mulch to keep weeds down or tilled in in the fall, but very little decomposition happens that way so I I though i would try a more active approach.



I am going to add one or 2 more bins on to this this week as I can fill another bin immediatly.

I think I did a good job mixing this on Sunday as it is already 155F in the core on a 60f day.

I have wood chips and dried leaves for carbon and mostly grass for nitrogen, with each in about equal amounts by layer size. I also added about 40 lbs of composted cow manue to add a bit of nitrogen (1,1,1 per the bag). Only problem is i caught poisen ivy so i guess some poison ivy leaves may have blown in with my other leaves. I'll have to be more careful handling this stuff.

So how often should i stir, or do i let the teperature help determine that. Like i it goes down, I mix it into the empty bin and water as i mix it up? Or should mix on a regular schedule every 1? or 2? weeks?

thanks Pat
 
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