Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by JTS Landscaping lawn, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. GreenN'Clean

    GreenN'Clean LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,512

    Its much easier to take the clippings/brush to the place i get my mulch. They have the equipment to make it into mulch and its alot less hassle for me
  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I will give you mine if you want to come and get it.

    Making compost that has value is not as easy as it may sound, like everything else in life. I say this as I am on day four of what I though was to be a 1 day wood working project.

    Anyway, first of all you have to have equal parts of nitrogen (grass) and carbon (wood chips) and you need a consistent moisture level. The pile needs to be turned on a consistent basis so the bacteria can breathe. The interior temps have to reach something like 170 or so to cook all the weed seed. If it gets too hot it can catch fire, big liability issues.

    Just because compost looks "done" does not mean it is. If it is not completely composted the nitrogen will not be available and will have the opposite effect of what you are wanting. Rather than providing nutrients to your plants it will actually rob the soil of nitrogen to complete the composting process.

    Then there is the salt issue. Probably not a problem for those of you in the east but out here we have PH in the 8's for our soil and water. So if the compost has been watered with affluent water and the PH of the compost can come out in the 8'S or higher. That is of no value either.

    The compost tumbler takes some work too. You have to do everything mentioned above, all the tumbler does is turn the pile easily. It gets too hot here for it to work most of the year. You also have to be consistent about turning the thing. Maybe if you hooked it up to an electric motor and timer and it turned itself every 2-3 days and you were in a more hospitable climate.

    There was a big composting outfit here and it caught fire and burned for almost a week. Needless to say he is out of business.

    I get my compost from one supplier and I have it checked by a lab from time to time to be sure that I am actually improving things not making them worse.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Earthworms won't help much with the composting you need "red wigglers" I think they are called, they speed things up a bit. Nothing is ever as simple as you think it is going to be.

    Can you tell Il ove compost. I am a Geek :waving:
  4. twwlawn

    twwlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 283

    I have two of the big compost tumblers and make compost from April thru Oct every year and sell it to existing customers that have gardens and landscaping area's. Plus at my place also. Makes a big difference for plants. Great stuff.
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    I have looked at the tumblers too. Seem too small to do much with.

    I am not so worried about the market for the mulch because if you are organic, you could top dress the lawns with it the compost.

    I am more worried about the space and time needed plus the fire issues. More input would be great.
  6. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    I was thinkin about tryin this too and people though I was nuts...Like the one guy said, the liquid that comes from the compost process is supposed to be a really good fertilizer spray for plants.
  7. newtex

    newtex LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    You have to aerate compost tea. It needs to be fresh, and your method will contain plenty of pathogens instead of the beneficials. For compost tea you need one part finished compost and one part water. Aerate the mixture with an aquarium pump. You can add molassas or liquid seaweed to boost your tea. After 24-48 hours, strain and spray. The mixture should not smell like sewer or something dead.

    EDIT: After ^ you have concentrated compost tea. I usually dilute it by 1/2 so the ornamentals and flowers do not get burned. Never spray in direct sunlight.
  8. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    Thanks for the caution Newtex. I never read that in my research and it woulda been horrible if I ended up sprayin someone's flowers with bad tea and then killing them consequently. I'm just gonna do more thorough research before I mess around with any application of any sort.
  9. newtex

    newtex LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46 is an excellent resource for organics. That is where I learned most of my information from.
    For my own compost pile, I use leaves, dead seasonal plants, and grass clippings. To heat up and cook the pile, I add molasses, sugar, tablescrapes, manure, or coffee grounds. I get free coffee grounds from Starbucks.

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