I'm thinking of using my weeds as compost. But my gardener told me to forget
about it. He argues that its pointless placing the weeds into the compost
bin and then using them as mulch (in three months time or so) because the
seeds often don't die - and you end up seeding your garden with the darn
weed seeds. He now insists that only lawn grass clippings get placed into
the compost bin.... well that's another story.
In the ancient past I'd put the weeds into a concrete compost oven and cook
and bake the darn things - then use it. But we are not allowed to do that
now - due to council by-laws.
I thought of placing the weeds into a special big plastic tub in a far
corner of the backyard- and then letting them soak in crappy water and some
manure for a month or so. Would that help to kill the weed seeds?
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common
On Sun, 22 Aug 2004 18:39:30 GMT, "Crimson Castle"
Maybe, maybe not. Some weed seeds are exceptionally tough. I agree
with your gardener. I leave my grass clippings on the lawn, with a
mulching mower it quickly returns nitrogen for a healthier greener
It is pointless unless the heat created by your compost reaches above 60
degs celsius as that is usually what's required to kill seeds.
As for grass clippings. Well they do heat up, but not all seeds in the
clippings will die.
Though there is no harm in having a bin purely for clippings then using them
as mulch when they are well rotted.
Nothing that's 100% certain. Just bag them up and throw them out. You may be
able to soak them in water and make weed juice, but careful to filter it
properly to avoid any seeds getting through.
The compost is a closed black bin with a lid. Its in an area that gets full
sun but the earthworms hate it. I don't know about winter conditions but in
Summer the ordinary temperature reaches 40C - it should be considerably
hotter in the compost bin.
As for bagging the seeds etc.. I don't intent to keep seeds but when you
place the copious amounts of weeds into the containers - it is simply too
hard to sieve their seeds out.
Anyhow, I'll place them into plastic containers and let them rot in them in
some obscure part of the garden for 3 months or so.... Otherwise, whenever I
am digging a deep trench or something deep - I'll throw them in where they
will prove to be of no use to anyone except the humble earthworm.
I think there may be a little misunderstanding here. When people speak
of compost getting hot, the heat being referred to comes from the
decomposition, not from external sources.
A pile of material with the right composition of carbon vs. nitrogen
will get hot even if it's not in a container. On the other hand, if the
ratio isn't close to right, decomposition will be slower, and not as hot
even if you have it in a dark container in the sun. (Actually, if you
have proper ventilation, the temperature inside a dark container won't
be significantly hotter anyway.)
While it certainly is easier to get a hot pile when the ambient
temperature is higher, you can still get a hot pile in the middle of
And you're not going to see worms in a hot compost pile. They'd be
baked. Worm composting is a whole different method. If you're trying to
attract worms to a typical backyard composting bin, you'll be
You need a bigger bin. A 1 metre cube usually improves the composting
far better than those plastic bins. The bigger mass can generate and
keep more heat to kill the seeds.
And I have the same problem with grass seeds from grass clippings.
Other things you can fiddle with are;
moisture level (you may need to add water)
bit of lime (especially if you put in gum leaves)
nitrogen (dynamic lifter is relatively cheap - add water).
It is interesting that when a compost pile becomes 1 cubic yard, it
begins to "cook," but before it becomes that large it just does not
want to heat up. I use 4-foot diameter bins made from 4' high rabbit
fencing--works great. Strange to see steam pouring out of it in the
middle of winter.
My father always burned bones before he add to our piles. Which we have
had for awhile. Seems he thought it made the nutrients more available.
Guess a lot like adding wood ashes etc.
Death and destruction is a way of describing the way we garden.
PS Got any fresh killed tree chips you want to dump on my yard?
Zone 5 S Jersey USA Shade Earth sometimes.
There is atleast one word misspelled deliberately in the above post. ;))
No chips, although the old lady across the street from my new house is
trying to have her perfectly good sycamore murdered, in case you'd like to
come to Rochester NY with a dump truck. One by one, I'm meeting the new
neighbors. This one hobbled out yesterday to say hello. The first thing out
her mouth: "Lemme tell ya about this damned tree. This has been the WORST
year for it throwin' all that bark down & nobody can figure out what disease
it is that's causin' it. And the town's no damn help! It's on their
easement, and they won't come out & look at it". I tried to explain that the
bark falls off those trees when they grow, like lobsters molting, and that
the excessive shedding could be connected with the fact that we've had WAY
more rain than usual this year. But no. Her tree is sick.
Toss the seedy weeds in the lawn and mulch them up with the lawn mower.
Garden weeds don't compete very well with healthy lawn grass. If some
of them do sprout, they won't survive getting mowed down a couple of times.
You put grass clippings in the garden; it seems turnabout is only fair...
On Sun, 22 Aug 2004 18:39:30 GMT, "Crimson Castle"
I take a long-term view of things, and know that I will defeat the weeds
eventually. It's just a matter of persistence. I enjoy spending time in the
garden, even time spent weeding. That doesn't mean I'll deliberately waste time
weeding, but I do use weeded material in the compost. Once I even gathered up a
pile of thistles(complete with seed heads), shredded them, and made compost from
just thistles as an experiment. I watched the beds I used that compost on to see
if any thistles sprouted there. None did. The compost did cook pretty good for
the first few days after I ran it through the shredder.
from don' email@example.com (The Watcher) contains these words:
Once I even gathered up a
There are many weeds which are particularly GOOD for composting
because of the minerals they contain, and that includes thistles. Others
are comfrey, bracken, nettles, seaweed and yarrow.
If you have a good source of them growing wild close by, it's worth
harvesting them to add to the compostheap.
Given that you have a black plastic bin, the bin should heat the seeds up
enough to kill them. Secondly, consider how much work we are talking about
here. Are the weeds you're gettign difficult to remove? If yes, then avoid
composting the seeds (or letting the plants seed). Weeds that don't have
seeds on should be fine to go into the compost.
THings that you really should NOT put into compost are thorny branches (the
thorns don't break down) and anything showing signs of fungal disease.
Chookie -- Sydney, Australia
(Replace "foulspambegone" with "optushome" to reply)
Nope its just the usually dandylion stuff, and a wierd weed that has a white
flower, has small "branches" that become pods and disintegrate, spraying the
seeds everywhere, when you pluck them from the ground when the pods are
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