I need a rapid way to break this down...

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by oOTurfmanoO, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. oOTurfmanoO

    oOTurfmanoO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245

    I've been learning about compost for the last 2 or so years. I made my first batch simply by adding ingredients an keeping it turned/flipped with a front-end loader on no specific time schedule. The original pile was huge and it naturally broke down into something of value (which was the goal).

    As soon as I saw what I could do, I began a second batch with the 1st sitting idle. What i'm looking for is a way to break it down FAST either naturally or mechanically into something FINE to the extent that if you were to topdress a lawn the majority would fall into the canopy.

    I've included a few pics of what I'm working with.This is relatively new to me and I'm open to suggestions,questons and advice.

    Picture 1 is a simple image after it was turned...
    Picture 2 and 3 are of last years batch. One is obvously dried and the other still wet.
    Picture 4 is great profile shot of the the pile.

    As you can see, there is some "larger than desireable" material. Again,my goal is to break it down fast, either smash, crush, tumble, worms, etc.

    Your thoughts......


    IMG_20110327_161909 (2).jpg


    IMG_20110327_163020 (3).jpg
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,161

    Since you're in PA, i suggest you contact http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/
  3. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

  4. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,161

    And of course, Tim is a great resource! :)
  5. oOTurfmanoO

    oOTurfmanoO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245

    phasthound, awesome and in depth website. I've actually heard of this a while back. Some of its contents are part of my learning literature!

    Thank you sir.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    keeping it loose and full of air is the trick
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Yeah, and after lunch every afternoon have all the guys walk over & pee on it.
    Urine accelerates the decomposition processes.
  8. oOTurfmanoO

    oOTurfmanoO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245

    To date, that's exactly what I've been doing.

    I'd like to find a way to do it faster and better (like most Americans). My goal is to break it down so all material would fall into the canopy vs. having to rake the lawn after a topdressing app. There are still lots of larger pieces in there that are breaking down much slower i.e. older mulch.
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Find a local Ag dealer who can sell you liquid dark molasses in bulk. For composting purposes dilute the molasses approx 1:1 with water. Spray compost just before turning & then once again afterward.
    Dark molasses derived from alcohol refining has a fertilizer analysis of approx 1-0-5, but it's not the N here that helps to kick in thermophilic decomposition into a higher gear, it's molasses' invert sugar.
    Steer far clear of liquid molasses that has had vitamin supplements added for the benefit of livestock!

    Of course, in further diluted rates, molasses is also often used as a component in compost teas.
    We found it to be quite instrumental last fall as a 'shot of K' during drought-recovery non-renovation efforts.
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Sounds like you need to screen it. Probably double screen.

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