So little compost, so much land

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Mungbeans, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself, having just constructed my first compost heap. Then dear hubby points out, not unreasonably IMHO, that it will only produce a little compost, while we have five acres to tend.

    A soil analysis from a year or so ago reads thus:

    [​IMG]

    We have been able to get a barrow load of chook poo out of the chook house and will be cleaning it out weekly from now on, but this is the only on-site source of phosphorus that I know of. The chemist who did the test recommended suflate of potash at 100kg/ha and soft rock phosphate at 400 kg/ha to correct the potassium and phosphorus deficiencies.

    What is the best use of the compost we are making? How much should we producing for a 5 acre property? What is the best way to correct the slight acidity of the soil and the potassium and phosphorus deficiencies?
     
  2. Alex M

    Alex M Junior Member

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  3. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Heaps of Blood and Bone mixed with whatever compost you have will increase the available Phosphorous.
     
  4. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Aerated compost tea sound great. I'll get hubby working on the acquarian pump and setup etc. Nothing like gadgets to get him excited!

    I also have a source of organic blood and bone so that will be the next off site 'input' on the list.
     
  5. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    So little compost, such a big planet
    The bad news is that the soil "wee beasties" will eat that pile for dinner.
    Compost making is for ever. There are a lot of hungry critters down there

    Is your iron level high?
    Looks like you could ship it to China?

    Phosporus
    i save all my banana skins!

    There are 'wee beasties' that make phosphorus.
    https://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=21309961
    You probably have some of these already in you soil.

    This is a N American list of P sources:-
    [​IMG]
    Remember
    https://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=21309961

    Just doing what you are doing, will help make P available to your plants.
    https://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/content/ ... /35/6/2342
    I would add a little charcoal to reduce the risk of P run-off.
    You might like to grow some chick peas, perhaps as a green manure?
    https://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:wE ... en&ct=clnk
     
  6. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    We have rich red volcanic soil here. It is one of the most fertile areas in Australia. The top soil here is 12 meters deep in some places.

    The downside is that water just drains away. The upside is we are in a high rainfall area.

    A few went into the last compost pile, along with heaps of chicken manure.

    Plenty of that around. The last owner was a bit of a fire bug.
     
  7. Burra Maluca

    Burra Maluca Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    We have exactly the same problem of too much land and not enough compost!

    We make as much compost as we can, but we're very careful where we put it so it doesn't get spread too thin. We've found it's best to put plenty of compost in *some* areas only, mostly the areas where we want to grow the main veg supply for the house. We also use some to help establish any fruit trees we plant. For the rest, we rely on mulch. It takes ages to rot down, but in the meantime it aids in moisture retention and stops the soil baking dry and compacting over the summer, and it will gradually rot down and help feed the soil. It's less time consuming and back breaking than composting, so it's easy to do it in addition to your composting efforts. I use straw for mulching, even though I have to pay for it, as it's about the only thing I can get hold of in bulk. I also save as much urine as I can and after rain, when the mulch already wet, I give the mulch a quick nitrogen fix with the watering can to encourage it to break down a little faster. In the summer I find that the urine just evaportates off too quickly to do any good, so I add it to the compost heaps instead, which I keep moist and covered all summer.
     
  8. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Mungbeans,
    If you are game to try then I can tell you how to make a homoeopathic compost biodynamically that will cover large areas. But only if you promise to keep it to yourself.
    regards
     
  9. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Mark, I'll consider all suggestions.

    The organic certification rules about inputs are causing some problems for us at the moment. I can understand the need to limit pesticides, herbicides etc, but it does make sourcing compostable material difficult and expensive so we really need to try for as much bang for our buck as possible.
     
  10. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    G'day Mungbeans

    That soil report looks relatively good. Concerning compost: we only have .41ha (1acre) here, so we can make more than enough for our intensive beds, and for the other applications (e.g. orchard) we make and use weed tea.

    I can not scientifically link increased production with biodynamics (only because I have not done the work), but what I can say is that I have seen a hell of a lot of 'before and afters' where BD principles have been applied, and to my novice eye, the results can be everything form marginal to stunning. So, if I were you, I would seriously consider Mark's kind offer.

    Cheerio, Marko.
     
  11. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    With that amount of land, why not sow cover crops? Clover, buckwheat, fava beans, etc. I would start with what is likely to grow best/most easily. You must gave some source of local information and advice. Plant something that grows fairly fast in the weather you have now, then once it's well up, mow it and sow something else in the mulch you just created. Keep doing it, and continue to rotate the cover crops, don't grow the same thing all the time. Each crop will bring up certain nutrients (if they're available), some will produce a lot of root growth, some produce a lot of top growth.

    When you had your soil test, did they make any recommendations? If you need to add some rock dust or sulfur or boron, add it while you are growing the cover crops. Many nutrients will wash away if they're just sitting in the soil, but if they've been incorporated into the cover crop, they are more likely to stay available.

    Sue
     
  12. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Thanks for the advice. I would like to plant a lucerne/alfalfa cover crop soonish. We don't have a rotary hoe so I'm wondering how much I could actually do.

    I'm also holding off making any major changes until I have done up the farm design. So much reading and planning to do first!

    The chemist recommended we add suflate of potash at 100kg/ha, soft rock phosphate at 400kg/ha and an organic form of boron at label rates.
     
  13. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    "We don't have a rotary hoe so I'm wondering how much I could actually do."

    I don't, either. What I am going to do is broadcast an easy-grow cover crop like buckwheat over the top of the soil, then spread some straw over the seed. Then I will mow the buckwheat and some some more, which will fall into the mowed material.

    I intended to do it this spring, but I got started too late (buckwheat needs warmth to grow well). We shall see how it goes next year.

    You might try a patch this way and see if it works there for you. If it does, just get going on it, and let it grow while you make your farm plans. Try to use a variety of cover crops, as they often mine different nutrients out of the soil and bring them up.

    Also, keep in mind that nutrients will often wash out of the topsoil. The best way to keep them near the surface is to have them 'held' in cover crops.

    Sue
     
  14. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Are there any cover crops that are particularly good at crowding out grass?
     
  15. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    (Jumping in fast before Michaelangelica gets the chance) CHOKO!
     
  16. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    [groan]
     
  17. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    ROFLMAO :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
     
  18. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Nasturtium
    Pumpkins
    Peas (as ground cover)
     
  19. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: So little compost, so much land

    Buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum.
     

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