Pat Kiewicz wrote:
But the volume of compost has shrunk to 1/8 of the original
I don't want to start a flamefest, but I don't think I have ever lost
anywhere near that much volume. Probably no more than 1/3 lost, 2/3 kept. I
use, almost exclusively, grass clippings and tree leaves with some kitchen
scraps for good measure. I turn perhaps twice a week (depending on what the
internal temps are), watering each time.
Does anyone have a link to a study on such shrinkage?
Perhaps 1/8 is a bit low. However, my compost regularly shrinks in volume to
less than 1/4 of the original amount. I think that is probably because of the
amount of shredded leaves that goes into each batch and the fact that the curing
pile is regularly worked by redworms. Many of my batches also contain a large
amount of chopped cornstalks. (Both of these materials really compost down
in volume a LOT.)
Here's a study using various material combinations that shows reductions in
volumes varying by mix, with yeilds as low as 17% (reduction in volume as
much as 83%):
The basic problem with highly persistant herbicides in the composting process
is that the volume reduction of the composting process equals or exceeds the
breakdown percentage of the herbicide. Thus the resulting compost is still
toxic to some plants. Clopyralid is the most problematic herbicide and is
widely used on lawns and hayfields. Picloram and triclopyr can also persist
through the composting process. Clopyralid can persist even in composted
Potatoes, tomatoes, peas and beans are the veggie garden plants most likely to
show signs of herbicide toxicity at low doses. (Which is why I brought up the
issue in this thread.)
I do not bring in any grass clippings from outside my property and avoid
using commercially made compost in my veggie garden (though I sometimes
run out of homemade compost and use bought compost on my squash beds only).
Pat in Plymouth MI
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
There it is. I don't use a curing pile. Until recently, I've not had enough
material to wait. I still don't have enough room. You are seeing further
shrinkage in the pile that I experience on the beds (but can not measure).
I try for a very hot compost pile, turned often (I watch for a temp.
plateau and turn when it drops 5 deg.), but applied immediately afterward.
This kills 'enough' of the seeds / diseases while leaving a generous
portion of 'the good stuff' in the mix.
Good link, BTW. Thanks.
I do use 'outside' grass clippings from two sources. 1) The alley that runs
behind my house and 2) neighbors whom I KNOW apply no chemicals at all to
their weedbeds, er, um, yards. This spring, venturing further down the
alley, I found the mother-lode of dandelion patches ... where the grass
grows tall, the dandelions do, too! Can you say "salad"?
On 30 Jun 2003 22:39:16 GMT, email@example.com (Jack1000) wrote:
Uh, oh! Wish I'd been as observant as you.
Maybe that was the problem, maybe not.
In any case, it's moot now, as I have pulled up most of the vines
and harveted the not-huge amount of red potatoes.
Next time, if there is one, I will use something more neutral than
Er...yeah, not Nature's most appealing creation <g>
Usually, finished compost assays out at about 1-1-1. As a fertilizer, it's
pretty lame. It's more impressive for its trace minerals and changes to the
soil structure that allow it to handle water better and for providing food
/ habitat for a number of soil denizens.
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