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Compost Question...

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by sandman23, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. sandman23

    sandman23 LawnSite Member
    from GA
    Posts: 212

    What is the best way to manage a compost pile? I am accumulating a lot of clippings and need to know if there is a way to speed up the decomposing process. I blow the pile frequently but thats all. Is there anything that I can add to the pile or spray on the pile?
  2. super1

    super1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

  3. sandman23

    sandman23 LawnSite Member
    from GA
    Posts: 212

    That was a good read. Thanks super1.
  4. huh

    huh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lubbock
    Posts: 251

    you need a nitrogen source like chicken, pig, cow crap, or food waste, urea (urine) ect. or you will never compost anything

    you need to keep it moist and turn it every so often getting it to 140 degrees plus or it is not composting.....you can test it for nitorgen levels and I believe carbon content as well to seel how it is coming along

    chicken crap needs to be monitored for phosphorus content and pig waste is especially "hot" with nitrogen so you need to makes sure it compost throughly so as not to burn plants

    bark and bark ash will help with some bulk and keep it "airy" instead of like a hard rock or a musshy pile of crap and clippings so try and chip some trees and brush into it too when you add your nitrogen source

    keeping it moist and keeping it properly turned is where most fail.....that is the only way for a consistant useable product VS something that has not composted on the top of the heap and is over composted, rotten mush below
  5. steve5966

    steve5966 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 210

    Here is what I do. End of season, pile all leaves, perennial cut backs and clippings. Sit and stare at it. Add water if it's dry. After a month turn the pile, add more water. If it gets too cold I'll cover it with black plastic. It should release a lot of steam when you turn it. I don't have a lot of time to work the pile so I try to turn it once a month. By april I have about thirty yards of decent compost. Not great but good enough to mix with soil for berms.
    In the spring I start a new pile out of clippings and tear out materials. The compost we get out of it is not nearly as valuable as the savings from dumping fees.
  6. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,460

    If you have any horse stables near you check out their bedding material they clean out of the stalls. It should be a great addition to your pile, having straw, wood shavings, urea and manure. Coffee grounds are also a good ingredient and can be had for free from all the coffee shops. You can grab a bag every time you get a coffee. If you have any nut or cocoa processors in the area see if they give out the shells. If you have a chipper/shredder run your branches and shrub trimmings through them for quicker breakdown.

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