newbie composting question

Is there any known problem with composting Bald Cypress 'leaves'(needles?).
Eggshells?
I've heard a rumor that pine needles are undesirable. If it is just a matter of pH I think doses of ashes from my BBQ pit will help balance that issue.
tia
Carl
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'leaves'(needles?).
Evergreen needles are acidic, which could pose a problem if you don/t add lime or wood ash to counteract its pH-lowering fx.
Eggshells make for good compost material, altho they are slow to breakdown, but good gardeners are not usually in a big hurry. Eggshells, like seashells are made of calcium, which acts to raise pH.
BBQ ashes are OK, as long as they/re not coming from Kingsford-type charcoal brickettes. There/s coal them there brickettes, which t'aint' no good for your dirt. If you burn real wood in your smoker, then you/re good to go. Wood ash is a good source of K and has the added benefit of sweetin' sour soil.
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TQ wrote:

Thanx TQ, I think I may try SOME cypress this fall - I get tons of it, and I suppose I could just test teh pH. I just didn't know if there were other components that might be toxic or undesirable. Yes, I use lump charcoal and no petroleum distillates for lighting either.
thanx again
Carl
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You don't have to worry much about the pH of herbaceous waste that you compost. Compost ends up with a close-to-neutral pH no matter how it starts. However, I'd also consider using the cypress leaves as mulch. As you know, a cypress is not an evergreen, if that's relevant. I'd also consider using the leaves for mulch. I work as a garden volunteer at a place that has a number of bald cypresses and dawn redwoods. The gardeners fight over the leaves. They break down very quickly. As to ashes, I would not put them in an active (i.e., hot) compost pile. It will cause a lot of nitrogen to leave as ammonia. I put ashes around plants that like a higher pH and if I have any left over, I add it to compost piles that are nearly finished. _________________ John Henry Wheeler Washington, DC USDA Zone 7
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It's usually recommended that you not put any non-vegetable matter in your compost because it can attract various critters who have an excellent sense of smell. In some towns, this can also attract the attention of whiners who'll call the property upkeep police to annoy you. If rats are the problem, this is justified. However, the scent can also draw attention to your garden, from critters who would otherwise not be interested. People who think "Oh my - I'd never own a gun" will suddenly become quite bloodthirsty when half their garden is decimated by woodchucks & raccoons.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote
It's usually recommended that you not put any non-vegetable matter in your compost because it can attract various critters who have an excellent sense of smell. In some towns, this can also attract the attention of whiners who'll call the property upkeep police to annoy you.
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I have never phoned the police over a neighbor's compost pile, but I have complained a few times when moron's dump animal products into their compost pile and/or they dump 90% lawn clippings and fail to ever turn the pile. Fortunately, they have all responded favorably to friendly requests.
Not everybody is so lucky.
One neighbor located a "compost pile" (aka, rotting garbage pile) at the property line. They were too lazy or too dumb to manage it properly. It was located upwind and 10' from the closest edge of their next-door neighbor's patio. Like you, they thought that the neighbors were "whiners." They failed to comply with friendly requests to relocate the compost pile or to maintain it better. They circumvented the eventual legal requests as much as possible, with a moronic "it's our property" attitude.
The resolution of the issue was ugly. After many years, the offenders left for a week's vacation one summer and returned to discover that a liberal dose of 2-4-D had been applied at 3:00am to their entire veggie garden, plus their raspberry and blueberry plants. The compost pile was moved shortly thereafter.
I don't approve of such vigilante actions, but I do believe that all of us should respect the laws and civilities of the municipality in which we live. If you don't like the rules, then work to change them or move to an open area without zoning.
I enjoy our gardening and I'd have a difficult time living without our compost piles. But I respect the rights of my neighbors more. On the rare occasions when some of our compost gets a bit "too ripe", I always apologize to the neighbors and reassure them that I'm aware of the issue and working to mitigate any smell ASAP. Nobody in an urban area should have to suffer due to somebody else's hobbies.
Gideon
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