Composting milestone

Hi,
As of this month I've been composting kitchen scraps and brown paper products for roughly 4 years. At an average of 500 lbs per year I've saved over one ton of trash from being wasted in the landfill :) I hope everyone else is having as much success.
Dan
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On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 00:29:47 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@adsfgh.com (dstvns) wrote:

been incorporated into the kitchen scraps worked out for brown material for the layering? Has it broken down adequately? And when do you have finished compost for your garden to use?
I've often thought of getting a little cheap shredder at Wally world to shred the paper that is generated here at the house to use as my compost heap's dry product. And even more so this year since I haven't gone scrounging for bags of leaves. I finally tackled the pile of paperwork on my computer desk and was shocked at the amount of paper that had accumulated and kept kicking myself at the idea of how much shredded dry stuff this would have provided my pile. (I am not growing vegetables so the flowers wouldn't be affected by inks or dyes)
This year in my original compost pile I have done an experiment with the grassy stuff that overgrew in the back of my house. It pulled up so easily that I just jumped in and ripped it up since raking it was a bit too much and I wound up having two piles over three foot deep. Once I got it into a wad, I threw the whole thing into the older compost pile and watered it down some. Now the kitchen scraps wind up on top (I do a very lazy pile. I alternate the green with whatever I have handy and I have never turned it. I let it take it's time breaking down) and I'll hopefully have almost finished compost by late spring to steal and distribute. So you've been doing this for four years? Or have you been composting for longer? I've insisted on saving compostable things now for so long I've "ruined" Squire. When he was out on the road he called one night to tell me I'd completely messed him up. He was up that morning making coffee in the hotel room coffee pot and was looking for the compost can to put the grounds and filter...LOL
madgardener up on the ridge, back in a rather cold and windy fairy holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36 where the wind chills tonight are promising to be at least zero!
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wrote:

I used to shred the paper, but realized it was a waste of electricity most times (phone books being the exception heh). I would tear apart grocery bags along the creases. Then I would tear them into strips lengthwise and dig them under in single layers in the fall or spring. I would then poke the garden fork into the dirt, so water seeped through and around the paper. It is labor-intensive but within a few weeks they would be gone. By the way, I think I forgot to mention that it's only veggie and fruit scraps...no meat or bones or other animal scraps except maybe occasional bad milk or eggshells.
I used to have an "official" compost pile, but realized putting it directly into the garden wasn't too bad, especially in the off-seasons, or in spots that were in-transition (ie going from spring to summer crops, the garlic being pulled out in late July, etc.). The "official" pile would also get overrun by weeds, and I said to myself "Im not doing this for THEM". So I simply dig the compost under in late fall or early spring and cover with a layer of dirt or shredded leaves. The worms can be merciless heheh. All that's left in a couple weeks (in summer) is a piece of packing tape or plastic that somehow got slipped into the compost bag.

I compost a little white paper, but not much. Usually I just tear the plastic address cover off and compost the rest of the envelope.

The weeds here are an extremely difficult, non-native lady's thumb. Tiny pink flowers on a long weedy stem. I can pull a thousand plants out in late summer and they'll be a foot tall _again_ within 2 weeks...and it profusely re-seeds itself. The only solution is a 2-3 layer of newspaper or other mulch around established plants. My entire carrot crop was wiped out by weeds this year and it's not going to happen again next year. They were foot-tall, vibrant carrots and within a month in August they were stifled and killed by these damn weeds.
Pulling weeds out is futile, because you're also taking away valuable water and nutrients for the desired plants, not to mention the root distrubtion caused by the pulling. ALWAYS use mulch; if you're pulling weeds then you're already losing the battle and getting weaker crops.

heheh nice. Yes only 4 years.

Sounds like a perfect wind turbine location.
Dan
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(dstvns) wrote:

I just turned my compost heap from mid-September which had nothing but green to start with. So, I used the leaf bags themselves and torn newspaper for brown and they are completely broken down. I was expecting paper bits and I didn't shred; just soaked them in water and wadded them up. I just "collected" a couple dozen bags of leaves, so I didn't need any brown and used soaked rabbit food for green. Then, I happened upon a friendly neighbour who was mowing a grassy lot and got a dozen bags of mulch-mowed grass clippings. It was perfect timing. The heap is 10 ft. round and 5 ft. deep and already steaming. Now I wish I would have thrown the leaf bags in, as well. But, I'll never hesitate to do so in the future.
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I don't necessarily have a milestone. For years, I've gathered 150-200 sacks of leaves every fall and use a chipper shredder to grind them down and let them sit till late spring, early summer. Good leaf mold. A year ago I started a landscaping company and I ran out of storage space as I carry inventory of trees, shrubs and perennials. Last December, the guy who introduced me to composting 11 years ago and who was a major player in what I'm doing today, bought the house next door. He had it moved off the lot in March and the empty is a vicorty garden/native plant/pond site "green" area. I collect leaves and clippings throughout the year and give him a good amount. Last Sunday we went out and collected 120 bags and shredded them down to a 10' wide and 4' tall mound. Would have gone today but I had a presentation and we had our first rain in 2 months. We'll go another 2 times and that will do for fall. I'm fortunate that he has some vacant land. Now, if I could just find a cheap warehouse....
J. Kolenovsky
dstvns wrote:

--

Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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