Composting in 'bulk' : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

We have poor, acidic soil and are interested in 'making' our own through composting.

We are willing to purchase bulk quantities of Hay, Manure, and whatever else is necessary to begin the process. We just aren't sure exactly what to purchase, and in what ratios to maintain proper nitrogen/carbon balance. Some books recommend things like Hair, dried blood, rabbit manure, and other items not easily purchased, so it has to be kind of basic. It seems getting nitrogen-rich materials is the main problem

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. This forum is the greatest!


-- lou (, August 06, 1999


Consider rotating in crops of legumes to enhance nitrogen. You can just plow it under if you don't need the crop.

Sounds like you are going at it right...asking questions, researching, and being willing to spend what is necessary. Personally, I just toss whatever I have (weeds, cuttings, manure, etc.) in the compost pit.

-- Mad Monk (, August 06, 1999.

"Nitrogen-rich" would either be manure or greens (like grass clippings). Use straw or saltmarsh hay instead of regular hay if you can, plain ol' hay has too many weed seeds.

The reason to try for a balanced C/N compost is that it breaks down more quickly and provides more balanced nutrients. Just nitrogen can work, but you need to control potential odor problems, and you could still use a source of carbon humus for the soil. Just carbon can also work (like shredded leaves), but it takes longer to break down and you will still need a source of nitrogen for the soil.

Acidic soil will be corrected somewhat by lots of organic material, but lime is the traditional method. If you can leave the ground fallow over the winter, then just tilling everything you have directly into the ground would be the fastest way to start improving the soil.

Other bulk options include pounding on your neighbors for their fall leaves, and shipments of sawdust (takes a lot longer to compost). Generally it depends what appropriate industries (mushroom, farms, sawmills, etc.) are near you.

Brooks, who absolutely *hates* turning compost piles, but creates piles anyway.

-- Brooks (, August 06, 1999.

Chicken tractors are recommended also. Though I haven't tried it myself. One idea was a fairly stationary pen.. add fresh straw daily or regularly. When you move the pen a few weeks later you have several inches of hay/manure in a sort of raised bed. Sprinkle a little soil on top, add seeds and water and stand back. [at least it SOUNDS good.. has anybody tried it?]

Look for information on sheet composting. I am planning on doing that in an area I am reclaiming from lawn. Took too long getting lawn out to plant this season, so am piling on manure and other goodies which should break down a lot by next spring.

-- Linda (, August 06, 1999.

You should go to the gardenweb forums. I think there is a forum on composting. Many people get very anal when giving compost advice. 15% green, 32% brown blah, blah, blah. Manure and vegetable wastes...fresh manure with the urine...(stable bedding) piled, at least a pickup load, turned twice at three weeks and six. Keep the leaves separate...they form leaf mold. The decay of manures and forbs is bacterial. The decay of leaves is fungal.

-- Sand Mueller (, August 06, 1999.

Lou- I'm basically a lazy compost maker- so I let it do it on it's own. I use wood pallets to frame the bins- tie them together to make a square- attach as many in a row as you want. Then layer stuff in- the only basic no-no's is stuff like meat basically- otherwise- if its biodegradable- toss it in. Weeds, any type of livestock poop (oh yes- no cat/dog/human poop- dangerous bugs in these). Also- leftovers, table waste, old hay, sawdustin moderation, etc also leaves- shredded if possible- otherwise- mix in layers with other stuff-

Keep the pile moist. you can let them sit- or be energetic and turn them over- fork from one bin into another

-- farmer (, August 06, 1999.

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