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Old 03-22-2010, 09:24 PM
cuttin-to-the-Max cuttin-to-the-Max is offline
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Do you Cover a Compost/leaf pile

Well i started a leaf pile that will hopefully turn into compost over time and i was wondering if i should tarp it to keep most of the rain/snow out of it??? or does it matter??

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Old 03-22-2010, 09:44 PM
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clean_cut clean_cut is offline
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I wouldn't tarp it, it does need some water, I'm not a pro or anything but I don't cover my pile
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:50 PM
rain man rain man is offline
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Agree with previous post. Some of the gardening sites have a lot of ideas on composting but its usually dealing with smaller amounts.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:00 PM
adamA&JLLC adamA&JLLC is offline
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We try to let nature do its deed on ours but we do turn it over half way through the yea about every six months or so. Good luck!
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:26 PM
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CH3ROK33 CH3ROK33 is offline
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My experience is with hot compost piles here in Florida at a county landfill. Decomposition is accomplished by the microbiology contained in the material. The microbes depend on the right mix of air, moisture and temperature in order to feed on the material. The compost needs the right amount of water and air to produce the right temperature (about 120 - 150 degrees F). Introducing air to the compost can be done in two ways, mixing and/or by adding a bulking agent (straw, fiber, sawdust). Moisture can be added by grass clippings or rain and irrigation. Cycle the product between wet and dry to speed things up. The mix is perfect if you see pockets of steam when you turn it and you'll definitely know by the odor. If the internal temperature gets much over 150F, the microbes begin to die. If the temperature falls below 120F they refuse to eat and become dormant or die. Hot composting is the fastest way to a finished product, weeks instead of months. You can still compost naturally at lower temperatures and depend on insects and worms to do most of the work, but it will be much slower and you won't achieve the heat needed to kill most weed seeds and pathogens. In your case, I think a tarp would only help if you are trying to hot compost and retain the heat when the outside temperature drops. Barring a twenty five year storm event, you should not have to worry about to much moisture from rain or snow. There is a lot of information online about composting and your best source would probably your local extension agent. If you stick with mulching only leaves, think about adding nitrogen. The best source of nitrogen is grass clippings. By the way, the compost in your picture looks like it ready to be a soil amendment now. Mixing in the leaf mulch would improve water infiltration and drainage characteristics to any clay type soil. If you are working a sandy soil type, don't apply it until the rainy season is over. Otherwise, it will turn into a bog at first until it finishes mixing with the soil. Good Luck...

Last edited by CH3ROK33; 03-22-2010 at 10:30 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:47 PM
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mowerbrad mowerbrad is offline
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A compost pile will need moisture like rain and snow. To get good compost, there are a few things you will need to do. Make sure that you have a loader or someway to "mix" or "turn" the pile. Do that a every so often, move the outsides in and the insides out. Make sure the pile gets plenty of water/moisture, whether the water is from a hose or from rain/snow. To help get the best results, try mixing the material you put in there. We have found that having a good mix of grass and leaves makes the pile decompose the best.
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