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
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
If you are interested, email me for instructions on hot, batch composting.
Pat in Plymouth MI
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
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.
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.
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
When last we left our heros, on Fri, 22 Aug 2003 15:20:33 -0800,
email@example.com (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.
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
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
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!
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.
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
Speed of decomposition isn't the only factor to consider ... unless you only
intend to use soil once.
Zone 8b (Detroit, MI)
I do not post my address to news groups.
I meant that in the organic chemistry sense, not biological sense.
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.
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
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.
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.
Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
I do not post my address to news groups.
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