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Thread: A really interesting compost video

  1. #1

    Default A really interesting compost video

    Has anyone seen this video on composting? I'd like peoples opinions on what he says. His recommendation is to use ONLY shredded leaves and coffee grounds. Any food waste rots away but does not turn to compost. He does not mention grass. Opinions?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9OhxKlrWwc


  2. #2
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Food scraps are fine for composting. Avoiding plastics, metals and paper with a lot of dyes on them are not.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I don't agree with "one way, or no way" composting.....and sorry I can't watch 17 minutes on a vid that doesn't ring true after 50+ years of experience.

    Composting does several things.
    Makes soil amendments, ......to increase tilth, (softness), break up clay soil, add organic matter to sandy soil or poor soil, hold water, provide service area for good bacteria to grow and break down the material.

    The other advantages, gets rid of yard waste with less effort, keeping it out of land fills, as well as kitchen scraps.

    Moderation in all things, .....greens, browns....food scraps, considered greens (no bone of meat), moisture... all need to be mixed evenly so as to not to over load.

    Shredded leaves are good......starts the process with less nitrogen.
    Too many grass clipping with turn into something that looks cow manure if not mixed well.
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    Senior Member ClayPick's Avatar
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    All compostable materials arenít created equal. At the end of it all the humus has quite a range of fertility. My yard waste and kitchen scraps work great but it doesnít hold a candle to leaf mold I can collect from the hardwoods.

  5. #5

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    I also disagree with some of the video, for reasons already mentioned.

    A lot of the composting experts talk about some sort of scientific proportions of green materials, brown materials, ashes, etc., to create compost piles. The problem is that this is just not practical in the real world for most folks. Realistically, it is best to create piles with what is on hand. This always creates a useful compost.

    A few observations: hunter63 is right, bones or meat or even food cooked in meat sauce into a pile. Bones can take years to decompose and they attract critters: bears and coyotes at my place. I agree with the rest of hunter's comments as well.

    To reduce the amount of salts building up in the compost pile, we avoid salt while cooking vegetables and pastas. Each diner seasons the food on their plate at the table. The leftovers don't add salt to our piles.

    Lots of books suggest adding ashes into compost piles. Back East where acidic soils are common, this is OK. Out West, where alkaline soils predominate, ashes are a poor idea.

    Herbivore manures are a good source for compost ingredients in ranch country. A lot of ranchers are delighted to give permission for gardeners to "harvest" the brown stuff for composting. However, horse have only 1 stomach, which means that weed seeds eaten in hay or pastures survive the trip through the digestive process to the end result. Weed seeds do not usually survive a trip through the multiple stomachs of a cow. BTW, "composted cow manure" in bags at the garden center is usually full of salt, because the manure is bulldozed out of cattle feeding lots and the cattle in feedlots are usually given heavy doses of salts to make them gain weight for market.

    I know an experienced gardener who composted all of his lawn clippings and spread the compost in his vegetable garden. He used one of those "weed and feed" products on his lawn. Everything was OK for a couple of years, but then he began to see declining yields in the gardens. Extension office folks traced the problem back to his clippings. If you use these products, consider whether the clippings should be included in compost bins.

    SS, gardening in Zone 2b and cold composting.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Good point on the weed and feed.......feed is OK and have used the heavy nitrogen to "spike the pile" a few times, but mostly rely on a good mix, moisture and turning a few times.

    In a way, many of the "This is the way to do it are responsible for folks to back off....they are afraid to "do it wrong", of agonize over "Not having the right stuff" or the perfect mix, and just all sorts of details.

    The fact is most everything is gonna rot, but will vary on amount of time needed.

    And yeah, richness is gonna vary, but no matter what, it's better than nothing, and can help reduce chemicals, water use. and land fill.

    I do mine in bins (2 this time) made from untreated wood clean pallets....3 pallets screwed together, with a forth held on by screen door hooks.
    Yes, the do rot, but many times lasting at least 10 years or more.

    I do not compost my tomatoes and pepper plants in the fall, any longer, as we had a serious blight problem.......but most all else is shredded and composted.
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    Member Roel's Avatar
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    I think it's not true, although the man gives a nice performance. We never put leaves in it and every year we have the most beautyful compost.

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    Default YT TED video good ideas but not only way

    IMO video and presenter made some good points, but bottom line there are may ways to compost. I don't like to tell someone their method is wrong only that they may be able to improve on it. He briefly mentioned that a high quality leaf vacuum is best. Years ago I purchased a cheap one with plastic impellers that got jammed up with little twigs constantly. Best to pick up as many sticks by hand as is reasonable then buy a powerful gas powered model with sharp steel impellers and remove twigs stuck in it often. Throw sticks/twigs onto pile to add air pockets, effectiveness is debatable. I also agree about using your own coffee grounds I throw these from my French press into disposable plastic cup they start to mold naturally before cup is half full and I have time to scatter on ground or in c-pile.

    Vermiculture is much simpler than most people make it out to be in articles and books etc not recommended inside your home or you may be squishing them with your toes. Kids may enjoy this however. Almost any bin that can be vented should work, worms will migrate to next with fresh nitrogen by themselves and almost any organic matter will work. Some are obviously better than others. "Red wigglers" may be most efficient at prime age but any "earthworms" will work if you are not a "commercial" operation. If you have young kids you may want some "Canadian Nightcrawlers" and crickets for fishing. I don't know how cricket castings compare but they sure do poop a lot. If you ever had reptile pets and tried to raise crickets you will know what I am referring to.

    In my very personal opinion it is much better to encourage people to compost when possible though gardening clubs and county extension services etc. not bully them with silly laws or threaten to send the garbage police to inspect their trash like in Washington State. OMG the foolishness.

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/artic...sh-5983805.php

    There is a better chance of Sharia Law passing in Texas than that Washington foolishness. No wonder I see so many people from the NW moving down here. "Those people be tripping." OH they made WHAT herb legal?
    Last edited by TXyakr; 01-14-2015 at 01:52 PM. Reason: typos

  9. #9
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Good points.....moderation, moderation, moderation......and it....(most anything) will rot....just some faster than others.

    To much is made on "doing it right"....Gardening is supposed to be fun.
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  10. #10
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    Default Weed seed, slow release fertilizer

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunset Sam View Post
    Herbivore manures are a good source for compost ingredients in ranch country. A lot of ranchers are delighted to give permission for gardeners to "harvest" the brown stuff for composting. However, horse have only 1 stomach, which means that weed seeds eaten in hay or pastures survive the trip through the digestive process to the end result. Weed seeds do not usually survive a trip through the multiple stomachs of a cow. BTW, "composted cow manure" in bags at the garden center is usually full of salt, because the manure is bulldozed out of cattle feeding lots and the cattle in feedlots are usually given heavy doses of salts to make them gain weight for market.
    You bring up a good point some of the best advice on composting is from local gardening clubs and your county's agriculture or horticulture agent (or the trained Master Gardeners that assist Her/Him). Theoretically the weed seeds in animal manure will be neutralize by the 120 to 160F of the compost process but often there is some on the outer edges that is not turned in and is not, so this is a problem (also true of various toxins and pathogens, pet waste etc.). All the slide shows, articles, videos I have seen on composting here in Texas strongly warn against Weed and Feed fertilizers but they remain very popular, the "crack" of popular gardening. Slow release fertilizers are often encouraged especially in late summer and early fall (not as much in spring) but compost spread over lawn and everywhere is effectively slow release nitrogen.

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    Default Leaf "mulcher" most homeowners already own

    Obvious method to mulch down leaves and twigs for most people is with a lawnmower. With or without mulching blade and catch bag it is not a big deal. However, advisable to sharpen the blade before grass starts to grow in the spring because a dull blade damages the tips of the grass leaves and makes them more susceptible to disease and fungus etc (according to lawn experts, lectures by a PhD "grass" Pathologist etc that I attended and mostly stayed awake for.)

    So after the fall/winter winds have blown most of the leaves from my very large oak trees into the street down sewers into ditches or just into my neighbor's yards and they are no longer speaking to me, I will eventually… Rake, blow, kick the what is left out from the garden, flower beds into the open areas, i.e. dirt, lawn, sidewalk, driveway etc and run over these leaves and debris with my lawnmower.

    Then use an extra large scoop shovel (like used to clean/muck out livestock pens) to scrape up piles into wheelbarrow, bucket, or bags and dump onto compost pile. Blow, rake or sweep remainder onto lawn or flower/garden bed area. This extra "fine" organic material in the lawn in fall improves its ability to survive the cold winter and come back strong in the spring. Come to think of it I should practice what I preach and not be so lazy and tick off my nice neighbors. LOL
    Last edited by TXyakr; 01-15-2015 at 07:42 PM. Reason: typos

  12. #12

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    There are some good points, but disagree with the statement against composting kitchen waste. My pile around 80% kitchen waste, mostly citrus fruit waste, 20% leaves. All compost quickly and I see great results with the compost.
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  13. #13

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    I spent 8 yrs
    Composting everything from grass to turkey skeleton's. Small dead animals and all of my9 kitchen waste including grease. ( No running water or septic. ) my humanure composting system turned it all into nice brown humis. The pine shavings i used for cover material looked like pipe tobacco after 2 yrs. When it was ready to use.

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