Approved EPA Compost Instruction

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by purecajn, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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  2. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Oh my....

    I disagree about the no eggs.

    I think today I will start the compost pile a la the Soils dvd from PRI.
     
  3. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    I don't fully agree with a few of the 'what not to put in' items.

    walnut branches and leaves, charcoal (and a little ash), dairy products,
    diseased plants (pathogens are killed if corect temps are reached in hot heaps),
    fats, meat and bones.
    these can all be composted successfully and are valuable inputs.
    However, as with anything in compost , don't go overboard with any one thing.

    That said , any of these inputs require a bit more skill and knowledge
    to handle without running into trouble with composting.

    Excluding the things on the list will ensure an easy to manage pile
    for first time composters to succeed with it and be discouraged by a first time failure.

    the simpler it is for people to do and the more people who do it the better .
     
  4. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    I don't agree with ANY of their "what not to compost."

    Every single thing organic -- the chemistry definition -- containing carbon -- will decay. Anything that will decay will compost, and that includes chemical biocides. Just remember that the more complex the molecule, the more difficult to break down. More complex organic structures require more complex organisms.

    Bacteria will break down your grass clippings. Earthworms have a limit... but mycelium fungus are nearly unstoppable. Check out some of Paul Stamets's work on cleaning up Superfund sites with fungus.

    I have to really laugh about the meat & bones one. See Geoff Lawton talking about composting an entire goat, without of a trace of it left -- in two weeks. I've put bones in compost for 20 years now; never found a trace of one in the finished pile. So here's all these gullible people out there throwing their bones in the city trash, and buying sacks of bone meal at the garden center.

    Even chemicals that don't easily break down can be tied up in organic material and made effectively inert. Cattails will gobble up DDT, for example. Agent Orange has been cleaned from the soil with other plants. Those plants can be composted. I'm not by any means suggesting that it's okay to use biocides, but if we ever get around to banning them, we can clean them up in a jiffy.

    Maybe there's a level of experience involved. I don't think I'd tell a new gardener how to compost used motor oil, but I've done it.
     
  5. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    Yeah, I hear ya DirtSurgeon.

    any organic matter going to landfill decomposes anaerobically and produces very strong and complex
    organic acids able to solublize heavy metals = potentially very toxic leachate.

    I often say to people asking 'what can be composted'?,
    anything that was once living....
    all the way back to petrochemicals, though for the average beginner at composting
    don't get too adventurous too soon.


    I often use fungi for breaking stuff down.
    rubbish (garden trash and weeds)in big heaps stacked on top of fungi inoculated
    woodchip beds that I make around the garden and leave for 6-12mths.

    They work wonders for building soil insitu and breaking down OM and give rise to
    all sorts of life from invertabrates to birds and reptiles.
    anything in these piles can dissapear
     
  6. Woz

    Woz Junior Member

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    "compost used motor oil"

    I'd be interested in hearing about that one.
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I put a whole recently deceased chicken into a pile just before Christmas last year. I turned the pile over last week. There are a few recognisable bones but apart from that - no sign of the body. It was faintly odiferous for a few days (not enough for the neighbours to complain) when first constructed, and no dogs came and went crazy over my heap.

    I'd rather put everything I can into my soils (via some form of composting process) than expend fossil fuel getting it off my land, and more fossil fuel bringing on fertiliser.
     
  8. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    I think I started a thread about it at permies.com. I pretty much got a mixture of resistance and incredulity. Maybe I'll track it down and copy it here.
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    It IS organic after all - plants and dinosaurs.
     
  10. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    Now that could open another can of worms. Always wondered how plants and dinosaurs all managed to die 5,000 feet under the ocean floor or 12,000 feet under South Dakota or Saudi Arabia. And in such quantities! Just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.


    There's a growing theory that oil is abiotic. But for purposes of this discussion, it's still biodegradeable hydrocarbons.
     
  11. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    Hmm. I didn't find anything specific or detailed... just mentioned it in passing. So I guess I'll do it here. :)

    First off, when I started, I couldn't find a darn thing about it online. I'd guess if you Google it now you'll find my forum posts. But there was precedent -- one short mention in Acres USA magazine about a municipal recycling program that was experimenting with it, successfully.

    I built a pile with leaves, crop residue, manure, food waste... typical stuff. Mixed in about 4 gallons of old oil. That was enough to thoroughly wet the whole pile, maybe a bit less than half a cubic meter. Made it sticky, gooey, and after a couple days, really stinky. In future, I'd use about half as much oil per volume. I don't generate that much used oil, but had some stacked up.

    After a few initial turnings in the first several weeks, I just left it. It was still a bit smelly, but everything appeared to be decomposing more or less properly. (Normally, I can cook a pile in 2-3 weeks, so bear that in mind.) Made it in August, probably turned last around October. Left it alone over the winter... snow covers everything.

    Anyway, long story short, come spring, that pile was growing lots of weeds, and had worms and grubs in it. Smelled just like any other compost -- clean, earthy. Not oily. Not a trace.

    Someone told me once that rain probably washed it out. It doesn't rain here in August. The ground underneath still grows weeds and worms.

    So there ya have it. I would love to have some other people try it, report their results here.
     
  12. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day TDS

    Ya jokin', right? Oh well, just in case your are not, here's the drill (pardon the pun) in pictures and text:

    USDOE (no date) The Origin of Oil and Gas - Poster

    Cheerio, Marko
     
  13. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    Marko... I expect this from people a lot dumber than you. Well, you write like a brainy guy, anyway.

    Weren't we just having a discussion about science? Has anyone replicated this creation of oil? No? Then it's a theory. That doesn't mean I don't believe it, but I'm keeping an open mind.

    That's the true meaning of skepticism -- it's not automatic disbelief. It's open-mindedness.

    When it comes down to it, I don't really need to know where the oil came from. I know it's there. I know what it is. I know what it can do. Does it really matter that we all... believe... in its origin? ;)

    Oh, and cheerio!
     
  14. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Put oyster mushrooms spores on the oil with cedar shavings, compost the mushrooms. It was used in a SF Bay Oil spill I witnessed and took photos of.
     
  15. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Interesting, in the Soils DVD from PRI Geoff puts roadkill in the compost pile that was liquified in the some water with other material in it... I believe his comment about the smell was, "WICKED!"

    18 days later, useable compost.
     
  16. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    When you're not high, Paka, you're pretty smart. :D
     
  17. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day TDS

    Actually, I would go a little further and say, that not only is it (the origin of oil, as evidenced in above-linked resource) a very old scientific theory, it is indeed today considered by the mainstream scientific community to be, a scientific fact.

    For a good, simple definition of 'scientific fact' (as opposed to 'scientific theory'), may I again direct your good self to the following paper:

    Siepmann (1999) What is Science

    Furthermore, and as anyone who would claim to be familiar with the scientific method would tell us, until such time as a theory counter to the fact is produced (with an accompanying and valid evidence base, of course) then the original scientific fact (as accepted by the mainstream scientific community, and defined above) must prevail.

    Cheerio, Markos.
     
  18. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    Ah, yes. Good paper. I read it the moment you posted it on the other thread. :)

    And I agree. Most wholeheartedly. Oddly enough, I find that it supports my position quite well.


    Oh, dear. That wasn't in the paper at all.

    Not even a little bit.

    As I recall, it went something like this:

    So fair dinkum, biotic oil is science. It is an attempt to describe and understand.

    But so is abiotic oil.

    I am open to either side. I really, truly am. But you are not, apparently.



    Cheerio.
     
  19. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    It would be a pretty long observational study wouldn't it?
     
  20. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    Yes it would. But much shorter than the one that could prove the Big Bang. :D

    Now. Dear eco...

    Go make some motor oil compost! 6 months, tops.
     

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