New to composting

Last month I built a raised garden and after reading this ng decided to make some compost. I went to a local business and got four discarded pallets, stood them upright and wired the corners so I have a bin about 5 feet square and 3 1/2 feet high. Yesterday I got four bales of moldy hay that was left in the field last year. Put about 6 inches in the bottom of the bin then started mowing lawn and bagging clippings. I moistened the hay then layered grass clippings and moldy hay until the bin was full. Grass was also moist..Appreciate any suggestions.
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Allan Matthews said:

Uh -- that pile sounds like it is short of high-carbon material and will be stinking soon. I'd knock down the pallets, then mix in some wood chips and shredded paper right away. (Maybe 10% by volume wood chips, 10% paper.) Mix it up and *then* fork it into the bin. Layering is for lasagna.
If you are interested, email me for instructions on hot, batch composting.
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Pat in Plymouth MI

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Sounds like a lot of work. I just use that sort of stuff as mulch. It will compost itself.
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73 de Bob NS9G



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On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 18:34:11 -0400, Allan Matthews

Add your (non-meat) kitchen scraps too.
Pat
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On the subject of Moldy (mouldy?) hay, I had 42 bales given to me a few years ago.A friend gave me some seed potatoes that had already been cut up so I dropped them on top of the ground across my garden and covered with about 8 inches of hay. It was the best potato crop I have ever had.
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 18:34:11 -0400, Allan Matthews

That's a really ingenious and inexpensive way to make a compost bin. Also use any vegetable or fruit kitchen scraps, plus eggshells and even brown paper grocery bags. Perhaps you could pile it all up once a week and run over / bag it with the lawn mower :)
When I first started composting it was great to see less going in the garbage...I was able to cut the weekly garbage load in half just by starting a compost bin...we are usually the only house with a half-full SINGLE can on our street on garbage day. The compost doesn't hang around for long, at least not in the warm weather....sometimes it's gone within 2-3 weeks if dug under properly. At an average of 10 lbs of scraps each week, in the past 4 years I figure we've kept a full ton of scraps from going in the landfill and staying in the garden.
Dan
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Animals spread eggshells from my neighbor's compost all over the place. I'd skip that.
Bob
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If you crush the eggshells, the critters won't spread them. I always laugh when I see a raven fly off with an eggshell in it's beak, out of my compost pile. (Ravens are *huge* egg thieves -- they steal the eggs out of birds nests. They also steal shiny things. My SO loses at least one wristwatch a year to the ravens, when he takes one off to pull a calf that's having trouble being born.)
Jan
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When last we left our heros, on Fri, 22 Aug 2003 15:20:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@xyz.net (Jan Flora) scribbled:

In the spring I crush and spread my egg shells like bread crumbs for the birds. Everything from the robins to the wrens get some.

Heh, the crows were I used to live were bad about picking up shiny bits of garbage from around the city and leaving them in my yard. I had a scuppernong arbor they liked to congregate in. One day I saw a crow drop something shiny, and went to pick up the "garbage". It was a shiny...quarter.
I still have it, it's my lucky quarter.
Pam
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I'd
laugh
compost
That's better than putting them in compost. Egg shells are not organic and don't breakdown very well. I put them in the oven after it's been used to dry them out, then when I have a lot of them, I pulverize them in a blender and put them around plants that need a higher pH (my soil is a little acid), such as asparagus, hostas, tomatoes. (Any plant that you'd add lime to the soil.)
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Compostman
Washington, DC
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I've been trying to figure out how a chicken (or any bird) could produce an inorganic shell out of her body. Eggshells are calcium and whatever else, but they're by-god organic, compostman. Get a grip, dude!
Jan
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an
Well, from a chemistry viewpoint 'organic' refers to anything deriving from carbon compounds. I suppose eggshells are more like rocks i.e. through erosion its properties leach into the soil. However, the dictionary states: "Of, relating to, or derived from living organisms." So it all depends on what viewpoint you grip onto.
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Frogleg wrote:

If I add a few eggshells every year, eventually the darned things will become available ... and there will be a steady stream of them coming available every year thereafter for many years beyond the day I stop adding them.
Speed of decomposition isn't the only factor to consider ... unless you only intend to use soil once.
Bill
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wrote

I meant that in the organic chemistry sense, not biological sense.

adding
only
I think it depends upon how one composts. I live in the city with very limited space. So I compost in bins and turn very frequently. And tear things apart with my hands or a grinder. Egg shells look like eye balls, even 6 months later. So I dry them in the oven, grind them in a blender, and put them around plants such as hostas. I certainly don't recommend throwing them away. And the birds could get them, which is another beneficial use of egg shells. -Compostman

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On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 08:58:45 GMT, "Compostman"

Do you mean that eggshells contain no carbon? What *do* you mean by this?
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On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 08:58:45 GMT, "Compostman"

Try this: rinse the eggshells, turn upside down, and let dry. Then crumble by hand and add to your compost. At least they won't look like "eyeballs," and you won't have to use your oven and blender(!) to recycle.
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On 8/21 I posted about my compost bin and started a long thread. Within 24 hours of filling the bin, the temperature 12" down in it was 140 F. There has been no objectionable odor and now the compost has settled to about 50% of its volume. I have two 39 gallon garbage cans full of very fine red oak shavings and when I mow lawn tomorrow am going to mix the shavings with the grass clippings and fill the bin again.. Due to all of the rain we are having here (southern tier of NY State) I am going to remove it from the bin next week, stir it up and put it back. Thanjs for all the info I got from the last post.
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Allan Matthews wrote:

Sounds like you are off to an excellent start. I would suggest that you mix in 1/4 (by volume) straw, 1/4 shavings and 1/2 clippings. Layer it to measure and then turn it a couple times to mix it. Add water to moisten during the final turning and you should be golden. I have found that the straw allows for good infiltration of oxygen and that this makes a difference in how long the pile is able to hold the higher temps.
Bill
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