Hi totally new to composting - we are down in the tropics of sout
america (actually got a write up in the Guardian
http://tinyurl.com/348e99 ) where they seem to do a very poor compos
pile with limestone?
The food we grow tastes great - but I think I can help make the garde
even better with a good compost made up of all the organic veggi
scraps we generate here at the hotel.
Their pile seems a bit shallow and spread out for the heat we have her
- this I can fix.
They also put limestone in with the waste?
My question is if limestone is some sort of activator that they kno
about and I don't? (something like alfalfa?) Or is it just doin
nothing and we should use some other activator -- in th
A follow-up would be - what activator to use if limestone is no
available -- something that would be readily available in such a
Limestone has the tendency to raise the pH. I guess if your raw
material is acidic, adding limestone dust makes sense. Compost is
usually neutral. No special "activator" is really needed to make
compost--bacteria is plentiful. I found that piles resting on the
bare ground allows insects, bacteria, and worms to quickly enter the
compost pile. I have never added lime or "whiting" to a compost pile,
and our soils are naturally acidic.
Living in the hill country of Central Texas, am very familiar with
limestone. That's the basis of the ground we live on out here. May be on
the surface, varying topsoil on hillsides at an inch to a foot or more
topsoil on bottom land. Very few plants can survive on it directly, the
local trees plow through it to get to water. A similar calcium compound,
caliche, is also abundant. Both caliche and limestone are alkali in nature
The only reason I can see to use powdered limestone is the plants in the
ground like a less acid soil than what is common in your region.
My guess is they are using the limestone to kill fly larva or some
other insect/bug. I'd never put limestone in my compost pile because
it will also kill those little "buggers" that are doing the
Thank you all--
will experiment with different things -- I think the main thing is that
they are doing a wide flat pile instead of a tall enclosed one. This
leaves everything really dry and the resulting soil looks super
blanched and non-nutritious.
appreciate it all - and if we can stay and play longer I'll be asking
One thing I read and tried about composting--a 1 cubic yard of
material mounded works best. If the pile is spread out, it may dry
out and halt bacteria action. If you peel back the top of an active
compost pile, steam and heat will rise out of it. Guideline: No
smell means too dry; sour or rotten smell means too wet; earthy smell
is just right! I now have 3 rabbit-wire compost rings--simple, low
cost, low profile, easy to build, easy to move. My chicken-wire rings
lasted about 8 years before they finally fell apart. There are many
benefits to composting.
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