Speaking of composting....

I was reading the "what to do with wood chips..." posting and it brought to mind some questions I have about composting.
The village where I live makes no arrangements for yard waste. There is no pick-up day, no drop-off location, and the trash collectors refuse to take it if they can see what it is (i.e., if one puts it out in paper yard waste sacks as opposed to disguising it in black garbage bags).
Last fall, I left most (okay--all, LOL!) of the fallen leaves on the garden beds and raked them off in spring. I constructed a rudimentary composter by making a 3-foot circle with some 4-foot tall field fence out behind my garage, and these partially broken-down leaves became the first layer. Since then, I have added grass clippings, small brush clippings, and lots of weeds and ivy (someone before me r-e-a-l-l-y loved ivy). I'll probably be adding lots more bushy stuff now that I've got a new hedge trimmer.
I plan to turn the compost occasionally with a pitchfork. Other than that, I've done nothing. Since the pile is completely open and exposed, I don't add any foodstuffs (vegetable peels, etc.), since I'm concerned that would draw animals and flies.
Is there more I should do to hasten the breakdown of the yard waste I put in the pile? About how long should I expect to wait before I can remove compost and put it on my flower beds? Other tips?
Thanks in advance! Jo Ann
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Go easy on the brus clippings / busl bracches, etc. You need more green than woody brown, use lots of green bush leaves, very few stems. Brown leaves are great. Just not much woody stuff. Takes a long time to decay.
Keep it wet / damp.
Put in couple of cups of amonium sulfate every two weeks.
Turn it.
Ideally you have two identical sized bins, andwekly turn all of one bin into the other, so that you are constantly rotating the top layer to the bottom over and over.
If you can get some, add some fresh cow manure to the middle of the pile as you rotate it. Amazing stuff ( yeasts, bacteria) in a cow's gut as far as digesting green grasses, ets., and it gets carried out through the manure.
You should have use able stuff in 6 mos, good stuff in a year.
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ONe other item -- ivy -- especially "English ivy" -- its probably a bad ide t include ivy leaves and stems ib a conpost pile. You run a decided ris f propagating a whole loyt of ivy, and it already sounds like you are _not_ an ivy fan.
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I sprinkle a little dirt over each few inches of grass clippings to innoculate the pile evenly with bacteria. This helps, since I don't turn mine regularly. Otherwise, I ended up with clumps of un-composted grass in the year or two old compost.
Make sure you have enough "greens" to go with "browns" http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=composting+greens+browns
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
buy a wood chipper, it speeds composting termendously
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My compost is 95% lawn clippings - already ground up.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Regarding the ivy, until I bought this house, I thought I was an ivy fan (or at least, I didn't know any differently). A previous owner apparently got tired of working with a large flower bed next to the house and over-planted the whole thing with ivy. Now it completely covers the flower bed and the brick edging, makes every effort to cover the adjacent sidewalk and the entire side of the house, trails up the side steps, comes up through the porch floor, wraps around the porch rails...it's everywhere. I don't know if it's English ivy or what, but I do know there's entirely too much of it around my house. So, if I shouldn't throw what I cut back on the compost pile, what does it take? Dissect and bury? Flame thrower? Stake through the heart?
Jo Ann
Bob wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ivy. The folks I bought this house from liked ivy.
I don't.
Flame thrower is good. Use weekly.
Failing that, a total vegetation killer (Ortho, others) applied weekly for a month, followed by digging out the roots.
The leaves will die, and dry. The stems will die and dry. Bonfire material.
If you don't want the flower / veggie garden, go to a good nursery and look for a reasonable ground cover (vinca ?) or maybe thyme or some of the mosses or other covers sold under the "Stepables" (sp?) brand.
Its really important that you cut down the stuff growing up the house walls. Ivy destroys walls. Its especally bad on brick, despite the pictures you see o old east coast collge buildings.
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I compost ivy. I try to arrange it so that none is near the sides of my bin, so it will all get buried by lawn clippings and will be properly composted. Any at the edges will likely continue to grow.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.