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[nafex] Re: composting



Hello Compositors,

	There's black gold in them their leaves.   When I `m from 
there are a couple composting companies that get leaves from all over 
the county and they are making a fortune composting and selling the 
finished product.
	I when to a composting class that was presented by the county 
Master Gardeners.  Here's what I remembered. To keep a compost pile 
active you must have four things in place, carbon, nitrogen, moisture 
and oxygen. Carbon can be anything that has you have grown in your 
back yard and has died.  It could be fallen leaves, dry grass, or any 
other plant material in your yard that is brown.  The Plant material 
should be as small as you can get it.  Some folks own a chipper-
shredder to reduce the size of their compost materials. They work 
great but not necessary.  I use my lawn mower and it works just as 
well as a chipper-shredder. Nitrogen is needed to spark up the pile 
and makes it heat up.  Any green material fills the bill for 
nitrogen.  Grass, freshly pulled weeds and other green plant material 
works as nitrogen source.  Manure's will work also work to heat up 
the pile, but DO NOT PUT DOG OR CAT WASTE IN YOUR PILE.  Moisture is 
also required so the microorganisms in the pile can help break down 
the waste.  The pile should be as wet as a sponge that had the water 
squeezed out of it.  A pile that is to wet will not stay hot enough 
to breakdown the material in the pile.  Oxygen or air in the pile 
also is required to help keep the pile active and at the right 
moisture content.  Constant turning of the pile will aerate the pile 
to help keep the moisture down during the winter months when there is 
a lot of rain.  The pile should be covered to protect it from snow 
and rain.  A ratio of 3 to 1(3 carbon to 1 nitrogen) with frequent 
turning at the correct moisture is required to maintain an active 
pile.  You will see a lot of little critters in your pile too.  
Slugs, sow bugs, thousand leggers, and a few others will actively 
help reduce the pile.  Don't put dairy products or meats in the 
pile.  If you add food scraps, bury them in the middle of the pile.  
This way the animals won't be able to smell them.  If you pile starts 
to smell, you need to turn it to add more oxygen.  
	Don't forget, Keep those piles turned.    Mike  WA.
	

--- In nafex@egroups.com, Tom Olenio <tolenio@s...> wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> Moving the leaves with a front end loader is turning them.  But I 
think you need
> to do it at least once a month to make a lot of progress and speed 
decompostion.
> 
> I think if you added layers of old compost, to layers of new 
leaves, you would
> speed up the process.  This would make it into a large sandwich of 
sorts, with
> different layers.  Just save a pile of leave compost from the 
previous year to
> use as a "starter" for the next years leaves.
> 
> You might want to make a few piles, and shift them around  if you 
have the
> space.
> 
> Wish I had that kind of space.
> 
> Regards,
> Tom
> 
> Ed Mashburn wrote:
> 
> > At 08:37 AM 12/20/00 -0500, you wrote:
> > >   Keith: You must have mulched these leaves along with lawn  
clippings eh?
> > >Usually takes years to get stand alone leaves in a  pile to do 
anything
> > >except become wet and a forage for worms along the bottom  or 
merely a
> > >component for a good composting mix. If your outside temp is 0 
and you can
> > >see steam  eminating from your pile turn, turn, turn the pile. 
This will
> > >cook it and break it  down, cook any weed seed and give you a 
wonderful
> > >medium when done. Donna and I  are great believers in compost 
tea. I line
> > >my compost pit with a double  layer of 6 mil plastic set on top 
of concrete
> > >pads and tipped at a pitch towards  the front to one corner.  
reclaim the
> > >solution and then store it up in a big covered barrel on hand 
when  needed
> > >and use this as a fertilizer throughout the season. I might add 
kitchen
> > >waste to the "hot pile" now as  well. Egg shells, coffee grinds 
etc as
> > >you've got a very valuable situation in that  it's cooking and 
able to
> > >consume almost anything added, keep turning every  few days or 
so....
> > >Happy Holidays! Gianni
> >
> > I have been following this thread for a while and now have to get 
in.  I am
> > in a small town (Boro) in PA and the township brings me all the 
leaves that
> > they collect in the fall. This amounts to about 70 truckloads, so 
is quite
> > a pile. I have no way to turn the pile as it is as large as a 
three car
> > garage. I do try to flatten the top and let the pile sit over the 
winter
> > and collect rain and snow. I find that there are places in the 
pile that
> > decompose very well and others that remain completely dry. I use 
the pile
> > that has "rested" over the winter and start a new pile and let 
it "rest"
> > for a year.
> >
> > This has worked very well for me and the township. They are happy 
to have a
> > place to dump leaves (PA forbids that they put them in a 
landfill) Lasy
> > year they came out with a large front end loader and "repiled" 
the leaves
> > for me (that is almost like turning them). I use these leaves on 
the rows
> > of gooseberries and currants to provide mulch, conserve moisture, 
and to
> > provide some nutriants. Just seams like a "win/win" situation to 
me
> >
> >
> > Northumberland BerryWorks
> > 707 Front Street
> > Northumberland, PA  17857
> > Phone:  (570) 473-9910
> > WWW.currants.com
> > Ed@c...
> >
> 
> --
> Thomas Olenio
> Ontario, Canada
> Hardiness Zone 6a


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