My compost moisture curiosity made me do it

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by JDUtah, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    So, I know I said I was going to be silent, but maybe a middle ground would be best. :) I will always have questions, and you great folks in this forum are too valuable a resource for me not to ask. So expect questions, but maybe not my long winded opinions on things, at least on this site... :dancing:


    The first compost questions...

    1- How do you determine moisture % in a compost? (yourself or lab tested with nutrients?)

    2- If lab tested, what lab do you use? Is their % by weight, or some other number?

    3- If meter tested, what are the meter results telling you- moisture by field capacity? By wieght still??? Or other means????

    Thanks
     
  2. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    Squeeze a handful. If it forms a clump that stays a clump, its pretty wet. If I were paying by the ton, I'd complain and it is sure to give you problems in all but the most sophisticated spreaders. If it forms a clump that holds for a few seconds and then crumbles with even slight pressure, it's kinda wet. I would look cross-eyed at the scale man if I were paying by the ton, and if the word "topdresser" is in the name of your spreader, you should be OK. If it won't form a clump at all, thank God you're paying by the ton instead of the yard and you can spread it with just about anything.


    Anything more complicated than that would be a waste of mental energy, in my opinion.
     
  3. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    hey buddy glad your still around, try a micro wave and a scale, or a fruit dehydrator................
     
  4. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Thanks Tree.

    Jeff,
    Thanks for the quick field tests. Normally they would apply, but I'm working out a system that will make it esay to control a compost 'fertilizer' application. You need to know moisture % at one point. I'm not going to reveal the process that makes it easy and not a 'waste of mental energy' but I can apply 1 lb of Nitrogen per 1,000 sqft for only $2.50 to $4.00 per 1,000 with a compost that cost $20/yard. + minimal labor.

    Moisture % makes the percent by wieght number highly variable, so at one point you need to have an accurate moisture reading. I know I know, I make this organic thing too difficult. :) Lies.
     
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

  6. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Great stuff Kiril. That's exactly what I needed. Thank you.
     
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    OK, maybe I am not understanding the title right.. In that article to find soil water content it tells you to...

    Soil water content (g/g) = (weight of moist soil - weight of oven dry soil) /
    weight of oven dry soil

    Is soil water content not percent moisture? If not, how/where do you use that number?

    to get the moisture percent wouldn't you do this?

    Soil moisture percent = (weight of moist soil - weight of oven dry soil) /
    weight of moist soil

    And times that by 100?

    I'm 99.99999% sure.. but just wanna run it by.

    Thanks.
     
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    JD, the USDA site has more information than you could shake a stick at, or beat a person over the head with :hammerhead::hammerhead:

    For what you are doing they have statistics up the whazoooooooo
     
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    ok looks like i'll crawl their site some more tomorrow. Thanks Bill.
     

Share This Page