Compost Pile - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-28-2006, 02:55 AM
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Im starting a garden and I have a ton of things already growing but I am really amateur at everything. Can anyone help me out with the simplest way to make a compost pile for my garden

I even subscribed to organic gardening magazine so Im trying. Im just new at this
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#2 Old 07-28-2006, 05:00 AM
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It might help if you go to a library and check out some books, that's how I learned the basics. Then you can see what to do with the materials you have, because there's a ton of ways to compost with different methods, and different materials.
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#3 Old 07-28-2006, 04:27 PM
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#4 Old 07-29-2006, 05:02 PM
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I just do it the old fashioned way and dump all plant material into a pile surrounded by chicken wire to keep it all in bounds.

Never have done the closed /hot pile method but it seems to be all the rage these days, but my grandma just tossed it all in a pile and so do I.

It breaks down fine and I have no issues with insects or anything I do however get interesting plants growing out of it here and there not weeds just plants from the seeds that get dumped in there, everything from tomatos to melons can sprout out of there.

The only thing you havbe to do to prevent problems seems to be making sure you have a good amount of leaves in the pile as well as the everyday stuff from your food.
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#5 Old 07-29-2006, 07:02 PM
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The hot pile method actually loses more nutrients which flash off as methane and carbon dioxide - cold pile/slow composting is better for retaining nutrients. Plus good for us lazy types!
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#6 Old 07-29-2006, 10:48 PM
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I want to start a compost pile with pulp leftover from juicing, but a friend told me to make sure not to add too much citrus/fruit pulp - that green pulp is better for deterring unwanted pests. Is this true? If so, why?
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#7 Old 07-30-2006, 12:03 PM
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Citrus rinds are often used to deter pests - I'm not sure how well they work, I've never used them (I sort of don't believe in "pests"). As far as how much pulp to put in a pile, unless you're making applejuice on a commercial scale, or all you have to put in the pile is pulp, I don't think a lot of pulp would be a problem, as long as you add in dry ingredients such as dry leaves or dry grass. You mainly want to avoid a thick solid layer of pulp, which could compact into a slimey mess.
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#8 Old 07-31-2006, 04:06 PM
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I have heard of using lemon juice and other high-acid foods/juices as a "natural" way to keep bugs out of your garden, so I can see why that might be a problem with a compost pile. Also, my dad's had a compost my whole life, and he was always careful not to put too much high-acid food in the pile. I don't know the science behind it, but I think there must be something true about what your friend said. I can't imagine there's a problem though - if you feel like you may be putting too much high-acid food into your compost, you could always make a smaller pile for it?
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#9 Old 08-01-2006, 06:56 AM
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"Can anyone help me out with the simplest way to make a compost pile for my garden"

Put ANY kind of plant matter in a big pile. You will have only about 1/20th or less (by volume) the amount of compost relative to the amount of plant matter you start with, so start with LOTS. Let it sit for a few weeks, keeping it nice and moist (but not TOO moist). Turn and mix with a pitch fork. After it composts for another few weeks you will need a (stronger) garden fork to turn and mix it.

I just transfer the whole pile to another spot next to the first pile, making a "secon" pile out the the material of the first pile. That seems to involve enough "mixing." Start with the top of the first pile and put it on the bottom of a new pile, then work your way down until the bottom of the first pile is on top of the new pile. Then a few weeks later transfer the second pile back to where the "first" pile was.

While chicken wire or welded wire is nice, to keep things from blowing away, you can also simply dump soil or finished compost, or partially finished compost, on top of your wind-susceptible stuff, to keep it from blowing away. Withing a few weeks, it will be broken down enough so that it won't blow away in normal winds.

While ANY kind of plant matter will do, it is best to have a mix -- the ratio is not extremely important -- of browns and greens. Greens have more nitrogen, browns help the texture I think, and prevent the pile from developing an unpleasant smell. Don't use excessive amounts of juicy fruit. For example apple cores. Melon rinds. Whole peaches. Modest amounts of canteloupe rinds are fine. Leave out peach pits. Apple peelings should be fine. Banana peels are Excellent.
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#10 Old 08-03-2006, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for the great info, I too am new to composting and just throw it in a pile next to my garden surrounded by chx wire, the dogs think it is a buffet when we water the plants! How often do i need to mix, and stir the fresh scraps on top and water it? And if I have sprouts from the composted seeds would these be o.k. to replant or to let grow? I was hoping a peach or cherry sprout may pop up, is this wishful thinking?
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#11 Old 08-03-2006, 07:44 PM
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You don't need to mix it if you don't want to, but it helps if you water it a little every now and then so it stays as moist as a squeezed sponge. Nothing wrong with letting volunteers grow, thought the baby plants might not be much like the parents. This is especially true of fruit trees, which rarely come true from seed. But that doesn't necessarily mean they will be bad, just different.
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