Favourite Compost Recipe

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by eco4560, May 31, 2009.

  1. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I'm hoping to start a few compost heaps during winter. If I've got to do all that piling up and turning over, I might as well do it in the cooler months. I'm particularly keen to do it with the least amount of expenditure on raw materials to go in the heap.

    Anyone want to share their favourite compost recipes?

    And is it really worth the effort of all that layering and turning - or does the old whack it in and ignore it for 6 months approach work just as well?
     
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    g'day eco',

    i gave up on all that turning etc.,. as a bad joke the backs not built for it and evertime you turn you lose heat. nah forget it any material you get put direct onto the gardens or where the gardens are going to be and cover with mulch, let the worms do the turning.

    len
     
  3. Wingen_Miner

    Wingen_Miner Junior Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    I do agree with composting in-situ (in your garden), as it certainly cuts down on rehandling the finished compost back to where you want to use it, and allows all the good critters in your garden to condition the soil without the need to dig it.

    I currently mix up (in those clam shell swimming pools..... tacky i know but effective) my grass clippings, any prunings (after being run over with the mower), leaves if available, blood n bone and some cow manure or mushroom compost (mainly as an activator). Then using the watering can, add sufficent water til that of a 'damp sponge'.

    In my garden beds, i lay out layers of wet newspaper/cardboard etc onto the ground, then throw my 'compost' mixture on top, to about 5-10cm depth (10 is better, but the material doesnt go far). Throw on a layer of mulch (sugar can/ pea straw etc), and thats it. After a few weeks, you can start transplanting seedlings into it.

    I tidied up my veggie plot which had become absolutely overgrown with very tall weeds (which were all mulched up and used in the compost mix) during december, and the soil underneath the mulch was suitable for planting seeds in March.

    Now don't get me wrong, this can be hard work at the time (this young buck needs the excercise). But it can combine many of your maintenance tasks into something useful. As i increase my veggie growing space, each week i make up a batch of 'in-situ compost' with whatever materials that i have available and lay them out (as described) where the new garden is to go. Slowly but surely, my trees are being pruned, the green leaves mowered and mixed with grass clippings, fallen leaves and cow manure, and my pile of cardboard (packing boxes mainly) that is blocking the doorway is slowly depleting.

    If you have access to chickens, then the mixing and manuring step can be outsourced to them (sit their tractor on top of the area in question). simply get the moisture content right before you put on the top layer of mulch.
     
  4. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Yeah, I tend to agree with len.

    Mostly we just put everything though the chicken yard, it is amazing how quickly they can convert it. We alternate them through different runs, much like a chook tractor system, in effect each run is the compost heap for a while - then we just plant straight into where they were. Other things I will just chop and drop to breakdown on the ground, or cover them with mulch.

    Having said that I do still make a compost every now and then with things like the sawdust/chook poop mix from when I clean their shed, any thing that hasn't broken down well in the deep littler yard, rose cuttings or other odds and sods. I also resist turning if I can, the key is to make your compost big enough and moist enough from the start so that it generates enough internal heat to keep it going. I am not dedicated enough to build my heap with perfect proportions of nitrogen etc... - for me it is more about getting the 'raw edge' off the materials before I use it rather than producing a top quality fertiliser.

    The least effort is the way for me - let the chooks or the worms do most of the work.
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Gee - I'm liking this approach! Sounds like all I really need to do is put a bit of effort into tossing more stuff into my chook tractor.
    I had visions of having to hire a ute to collect raw ingredients, and a mulcher to reduce the prunings to size, and make a 3 bin system with stakes and wire, and then spend a day layering and watering.... And then a few hours every 2 weeks turning. I'm glad I asked! Now I can sit on the deck and look at the chooks and drink beer instead. :drinkers:
     
  6. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    I try to replicate nature when composting...

    I use leaves, grass clippings, old hay/straw, chips from the shredder, manure etc.

    Organic matter naturally builds up as weeds/plants die, leaves fall, wind blows, animals excrete, insects die etc. This is what i try to copy.

    I don't bother turning but i do take the top 6 - 8 inches off before using it. This top goes in the bottom of the next pile.

    Any household scraps, waste etc i keep for the worm farm.
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Can I toss a bag of manure (horse, cow) in with the chooks without fear of introducing them to something nasty?
     
  8. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    If it was well aged you could... not much different to chooks scratching around in a paddock where cattle have been. I wonder if you would need to though, since chooks have a pretty healthy supply of their own manure.

    (Horse/Cow) Manure would probably be better spread directly around the garden or added to a compost Heap.

    However, having said that, it may not be permaculturely correct :?
     
  9. ave a go

    ave a go Junior Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Hi,

    Does my signature give away my secret ingredient.
    Will add all the nitrogen that you need, no turning required but is a little longer of a process.
    Take about 2 years before you have a usable product - a year to build the heap, and year to let it age a little.
    But from then on you should have a fairly constant supply year in and year out.
    We are still in the initial year, and with only two of us not being home all the time (at our places of paid employment) I am thinking that it may take us a little of a year to get the pile to a respectible size (larger than a 1m3).
    Suggest if you haven't already you check out the Humanure Handbook.
    You can download from here https://jenkinspublishing.com/humanure_contents.html for free if you want a copy.
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Well - the past 2 days have been about as much fun as a girl can have with her clothes on! :shock:
    Mum (67 and unstoppable) and I spent Friday filling the boot of my fathers much loved Ford with compost ingredients - we piled in spent mushroom compost first, then did 3 trips in a row to the rural supplies place (there was much giggling and the chap serving us probably thought we were smoking something) to fill up with lucerne bales, and also picked up a bag of sheep poo from him. I woke up this morning knowing that I had muscles in my arms again from lugging it all out of the car and down to my garden.

    Mum turned up this morning with the car full again - and told me to consider it my birthday present. More poo! Any mother who understands her offspring well enough to know that poo is the birthday gift that keeps on giving, deserves a medal. :D Goat poo and horse stable manure. The latter was sooo good - full of worms - that you could almost sprinkle it on your oats for breakfast.

    I have spent the rest of the morning filling my 3 bins with alternating layers of dry stuff (paper shreddings, sugar cane mulch, lucerne) and wet stuff (kelp - another earlier donation from the scuba diving Mum, mushroom compost, sheep, goat and horse poo), then watered it in with diluted sea weed brew. Just for you ave a go I'm planning on a sprinkle of dilute wee later today to finish it off.

    Check in with me in a few weeks and I'll let you know if I got the recipe right and the bins are steaming.

    Now Mum just has to work out how to break the news to Dad about the smell in the car..... :lol: Almost time to crack that beer open now.
     
  11. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Hello, I'm also at the compost making at the moment because its rainy season here in south India where I am trying to get a garden goin....i'm making heaps and also direct composting to make some new beds. I use just whatever is available - weeds, veggie scraps, cow dung,fallen banana trees, and sawdust....the compost heap is a bit scary as I've seen giant scorpions and several big centipedes living there while removing compost to plant seedlings etc....as well as big black ants which hurt like hell when they bite...
    i just wondered - if we make a raised bed out of organic matter - I am trying this because my soil is so bad and I don't have a good back for loads of digging... can plants grow so well in pure compost and no soil? what will the nutriional content of the veggies be like if there aren't the type of minerals like in soil? Just wondering about those things....
    best wishes to all...
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Absolutely! Have a look at Len's website and his raised garden beds.
    lensgarden.com.au
     
  13. tombul

    tombul Junior Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Hi

    First time poster. I'm just starting my backyard vege and chicken journey.

    Built myself a wooden enclosure type compost bin. 2 bays to fill.

    I have filled it with a mix of dry browns and wet greens. Some of the stuff was old clippings that were piled in the corner and had already started to compost.

    Anyway, my question is... are ants ok in the compost pile? will they attract other good bugs?

    Cheers
    Tom
     
  14. janahn

    janahn Junior Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    i dig holes, fill with old man salt bush cuttings and cover with a flat rock. the saltbush feeds slaters that drop manure into the hole. saltbush stays moist, as the minerals and salt absorb moisture. cover and plant, move to next new hole. all part of a long garden bed system.
    Leo
     
  15. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    Rather than putting it straight in, why not introduce worms & create a food resource first?
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Favourite Compost Recipe

    The stable manure I bought recently had its own worms included for free! The chooks did rather enjoy it...

    Do you mean by starting a worm farm and feeding some of the worms to the chooks, or by composting the poo first before adding it to the chook run?
     

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