1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

compost set up continued:

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DeepGreenLawn, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    OK, so I took a break from my compost, kind of shut it down in a way, to get a "sure thing" ready for next year as we are expecting a large influx of customers many times more than we currently have.

    Here is where I left off...

    I had found a horse farm with REALLY good old aged horse manure, years old that is, well finished, very fine(?). The best stuff I have seen, I will put it that way. It still seemed to have some carbon in it so I took some of my left over N from the compost center from previous attempts and mixed it in hoping it would finish itself pretty quickly... if nothing else to help off set the carbon that was possibly there and still have N for the lawn if I were to put it down. I have not used it yet... just kind of mixed it and left it sitting.

    NOW... I am back at it again... I will try to break it down into different sections...

    OK, so unofficially I still have this larger horse farm that I have a small pile going on and access to much larger piles. I don't really like the idea of doing all my work on their site as they could at any time ask me to stop and leave. Then I would be out a place to work in the middle of the season with my luck. SO I want to find me a lot somewhere, maybe an acre? and then not only can I have a great open place to make my compost but can also start taking green waste to incorporate it into my compost. Especially with leaf season around the corner. So that will be brought up with the next business meeting.

    The last time I put down a compost I did it using a wheel barrel and scoop shovel, it did all right, took me a minute to get that right "fling" of the wrist... no scratch that, the whole body, to get the compost to fly out and scatter properly, it took a while and I was wooped by the time I got done. That is when I stopped and told myself I had better work on a backup plan before next spring when we expect to take off. So off to the drawing board I went and came up with a bagged product to use in the mean time. Now, after some conversing with friends I was pointed to a spreader that I really like the looks of, watched a video or two of it and I like it's potential and the price isn't something that will set me back too far. Still have to bring it all up in the next meeting.

    So that is where I am currently, need a place to make my compost and a way of spreading it evenly and uniformly, OH, and need a good dump trailer too... but that can wait as well...


    Next thing to do is work on finding a peice of land to make the compost. I have a feeling it may be a little out of town but I wouldn't mind, then again there may be a place in town, maybe a horse farm that is struggling and can give me an acre to rent from them so I don't have to travel too far. Then I can advertise it as a dumping ground for landscapers and watch the money flow in. At first I will do a majority of the work by hand, maybe rent a bobcat on the weekends to turn the piles and save my money to buy one myself. Then a dump trailer to transport things around both on site and to the job sites.

    Got to get a spreader, I think they are about $6000? So not too bad considering... the dump trailer... I don't know, I may go small, maybe I can find a landscaper I can work a deal with to let me borrow until I can afford my own? I don't know how that would work, maybe during the winter but next spring I would definitely need my own.

    I have a lot of the smaller stuff to make a smaller screen, 55 gal drums, screens, need a motor and frame, that will come in time... then after I get my small one up and running and make a few bucks off the dumping? Then I can take a trip to a place where I believe some larger scale screens are available.

    After that what is left? Hmmm... OOOO my favorite I think... WORMS!

    Here is the plan, kind of in the process as well of getting this up and running, start small, just large enough to get enough to get my CT up and running. Start with 45 gal storage boxes from HD? Then go from there?

    CT(Compost Tea):
    On the list, kind of a little itemidated with this one, but I think all the stuff I am reading is more of an overkill. I am sure I will be paying a consulting fee on this one, LOL, probably on everything:dizzy:... but this one for sure...

    Any thing else?

    OH right, CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! I hear there is money in this! I am also starting to work on this as well, I am bringing in a buddy to help with this as my electrical skills/ contracting skills are limited. You ask me to wire something straight up and... well, I won't do it... but you show me and I got it. I just can't compute wiring especially for some reason. So I thankfully know my limitations...

    Wow... thats a lot of stuff to do...

    OH yeah... one more update... FINALLY got my scheduling down and under control, there are still a few little bugers that don't want to stay on the schedule in the computer for some reason but the good thing is I am small enough to be going down the road and think... OH there is one there thats not on the list... or like last night lying there trying to sleep and "CRAP, I missed one!" Just glad I got this under wraps now and not next spring... :wall

    THANKYOU JENNIFER! (she's who I brought on to get my books under control)

    Life is so much easier now!
  2. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    deep that small screen we have is for worms, it takes all day to do a small bed, look for some thing that will screen with a bob cat loading...................
  3. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I think I might know where I can find something like that... Wood-tech has a monster down the street... but I doubt they would be willing to just let me borrow it for a few days... you know, shut down their whole operation and all to help out their competition...
  4. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

  5. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    yeah, I think that last one is the way to go... a truck load would take me what? A few years to get going?
  6. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    why do you think the show off of show offs has not tipped her hand about the screen???? 350 tons??? maybe I have messed around long enough to find a idea that works?? and also it takes 2 sheets of metal for one unit, this has to move!!! time is money!!! lets see 6 minutes per ton on 300 tons, that means we savedx$ just on the correct setup.
  7. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    the brewer was the same, we F'ed around with barrels and this and that, what a waste for a real operation, so one day we set to work on a good solid plan, no try this and that just real planing!! then we ordered the parts and tank, put it together and ran it, yes the tinkering with the small ones was real fun and educational, and we support the diy crowd, we are the founders it seems. but there comes a time and place for tinkering and a time for getting it correct.

    a tractor is going to be your cheapest way to go about you manure operation, pto and all. with tha you can you a tiller, chipper and whatever you want!!!

    new mantra from the tree, do it the correct way the first time, new facility, new needs and the realization that small is not what i want. I almost wish I had the first year back from the past, we started so small that every leap forward was a step up, ned size next machine so on an so fourth. now tha we have set up another carbon copy of the current operation, and seen how smooth it went, wow.

    no cuts on drums and burns from welding, no 4 motors to get the size we needed, no 6 bins of spent pvc from all the brewer experiments( aka the disaster years). we even have dumped the idea of the plastic tubes(if it ain't 50 yards its just playing in the mud!). we hit the wall so many times, ply wood worm beds and barrels, the barrels are a joke for 200 lawns, what was i thinking!!!! small pumps and small regen blowers, what just to get 2 or more to do what a 30% more costly unit would do to begin with.

    let me tell you about last year 07 woke up one morning to the sound of lips being smacked, WTF??, it was the sound of the worms. the small brewer was a day and night thing to run, (finish , clean, re start) 24/7/365. we had a hit and miss supply of compost, mostly miss. and we did not know how to get past the limits of our operation, so we took the jump into the large bays, financing to the hips!! and dangerous ground!!! we almost got hit hard. that is past us now. and i made a killing.

    now today, more refined.

    larger space closer to cows and horses. cheaper cost to operate( larger volume ) and a lot less stress, we have assigned task to different people, at different places. not a one man/gal band. no more trying to do it all my self( Bill hit it on the head about the 20 hours of sleep) the machine work and welding for the new screens is farmed out, to a machine shop. the tea brewers are all by them self's in town. the compost spreading we have added machines to do the work, yes 6K more or less, although we are trying to get a machine spec-ed out for less( application specific to organics).

    the point of this all is better planing will save some cash in the long run....you almost got me jealous about the ease you are getting your operation together. and you are wise to take your time, just don't wait till spring and hit the wall.
  8. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766


    when will your web site be up? i really want to see what you guys are offering
    let me know.
  9. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    all this happened a few months ago, we found a pic of one of the largest organic company's in the us, it was of the founder standing over a tub/HD tote making compost tea, like 45 gallons or something, anywho, now this same guy is extracting 3500 gallons per day in the first part of the morning. that's what sent me into over drive. that and we lost our cheap labor here, so no more pay some dude all day to screen compost( it still only cost 6$ per yard)now we are going to hit a button and watch it flow into the dump trailer.

    you keep saying 300, that's just were we hit the wall.......
  10. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    the site goes on line sep 1, it will be real neat, one side for the home owner and one side for the pros. the Estore will come sept 20

Share This Page