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I have a pile of about 4 bushels of spruce needles, and want to use them. Is there a way to compost them to use on garden plants? Do I have to add lime or ashes or other alkaline material? I know I will have to add a lot of nitrogen.

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    My first instinct would be to use them as mulch on acid-lovers like blueberries. – bstpierre Feb 2 '12 at 3:00
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Pine needles are only about 80:1 C:N ratio -- about the same as straw or hay. If you mixed the needles in layers with high nitrogen material it should compost reasonably well.

You're right about acidity. "The Rodale Book of Composting" suggests using the resulting compost on acid-loving plants like blueberries. If you don't have plants that would do well with acidic compost, they discuss using lime in the compost pile on p80 -- recommending adding lime to the soil when adding the compost instead of mixing it into the pile. This is especially true if you're using manure.

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