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Questions tagged [compost]

Compost is organic material which has undergone decomposition by microorganisms and is used as a soil amendment.

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92
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4answers
10k views

Can weeds be put into compost, or will they grow again when the compost is used?

I usually discard weeds but it occurred to me that they would probably be good for compost. Are there any steps I can take to use them in compost without having them grow again when I use the compost?...
42
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3answers
6k views

How hot can my compost get?

I went to stir my compost pile the other day, and to my surprise, when I dug into the center of the pile, I found that it was hot. As in, really hot. Once I removed the top layer steam was literally ...
40
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5answers
11k views

How often do you need to turn the compost heap?

If you have a compost heap, how often should you turn it? Does it make a difference if it's a simple heap (a mound on the ground) or in a tumbler? Alternately, is it even necessary to turn the heap?
39
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2answers
1k views

Does unused compost keep on getting better and better?

We have a compost bin to which I've been adding kitchen scraps (and some garden waste) over several years. I have never used the resulting compost (mainly because I have a ready supply of horse manure ...
38
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9answers
4k views

How should I speed up the decomposition of sickly sweet smelling giant compost heap?

I have created a monster of a compost heap on my property (3 meters, by 2 meters, by almost 2 meters tall) next to an old granite rock wall. Anyway, I mostly put all my grass clippings (primary ...
30
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4answers
24k views

How do I compost a large pile of branches and heavy shrub clippings?

This Spring, I pruned all my shrubs and pulled out a few pine stumps. My first thought was just to pile them all up on their own. I have never had good luck trying to compost such material with the ...
30
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1answer
48k views

How long does it take for the compost to ripen?

I’ve got a compost bin (a big plastic box with air holes) that’s used by two or three families. We have been putting kitchen scraps and stuff into the composter for about a year now (mostly vegetables)...
29
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5answers
24k views

Ant colony in my compost bin: are they beneficial?

I've got a smallish black plastic compost bin in my garden and I recently noticed that an ant colony has taken up residence. This has happened a couple of times in the past, but they tend to move on ...
26
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5answers
841 views

What is “Compost Tea” good for?

I have read that you can get a tumbler type of composter and collect the "juices" from the composter. This is referred to as "compost tea". Does anyone know what the real usage of this is? Some ...
24
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1answer
845 views

How can I keep my compost wet?

During summer my compost bin dries out considerably and slows down. We have hot dry summers. What should I do to keep the compost moist? Should I add water or will this rinse nutrients away?
23
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2answers
6k views

What actually occurs for manure to become considered “well-rotted”?

I know that you shouldn't use raw manure on plants because it's bad for them, but I don't understand why. I know you should stack manure before using it (i.e. literally stack it into a big cone), and ...
22
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4answers
11k views

Should I stop adding fruit and vegetable seeds to my compost

I put all my fruit and vegatable scraps in my compost including seeds. This spring is my first time adding my own compost to my garden. Now all those seeds are germinating. I got a good chuckle but ...
21
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4answers
4k views

Why is it a problem to use manure as a fertilizing amendment over the long term?

I had my soil tested last fall. As part of the submission I checked the box that said I use manure as a soil amendment / fertilizer. In the results from the lab, they included a note that said that ...
21
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10answers
39k views

Can I put coffee filters into my compost?

I've heard that coffee grounds are a good "green"(nitrogen rich) to put in your compost, but I was wondering if I could throw the filter in there as well? They are the standard "accordion side" white ...
21
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3answers
476 views

Should I insulate my compost heap?

I understand that compost heaps have an ideal temperature for the bacteria to decompose the material into compost. Living in the changeable Great Britain, the weather can be windy, rainy, sunny and ...
20
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2answers
2k views

Rats have transferred poison into my compost. Is the compost usable on vegetables?

Delighted to observe that the rat poison we put down was disappearing. Less delighted to find some weeks later that they had moved it all to a larder in the compost. The poison is Slaymore (as far ...
19
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4answers
892 views

Composting Bins - DIY vs Bought

I want to start composting. I live in a house of 2, and a fairly large garden, in Australia, and I am renting (therefore do not want to spend a lot of money on something that I can't take with me). ...
19
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3answers
15k views

Is it OK to put moldy fruits and vegetables in the compost heap?

One of my frequent sources of material in my compost heap (I'm just getting into it lately) is kitchen scraps. My wife, bless her, has good intentions for eating more fruits and vegetables, but iffy ...
19
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5answers
38k views

Should I add water to my compost heap?

I have a 1m x 1m x 0.6m compost heap. I was turning the heap yesterday and was surprised to find that most of the heap hadn't really decomposed, and was in fact quite dry. Should I be regularly ...
18
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10answers
26k views

What can you do with oak leaves within a garden? Are they compostable?

We have a lot of oak trees on our property. Is there anything we can do with the oak leaves? They never really seem to break down, and because of that, I am afraid to try and add them to a compost. ...
18
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10answers
6k views

Is there an easier way to aerate my compost besides turning it?

I want to be a good composter, but turning my pile is backbreaking work. I was looking through a gardening magazine today and I saw a contraption that was basically a three foot long pole that had ...
18
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4answers
9k views

How many coffee grounds are too many coffee grounds for composting?

I have a pretty steady access to about 4 pots of coffee worth of coffee grounds each day. I have heard coffee grounds are great for a compost pile, but I am wondering how much is too much? Is there a ...
17
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3answers
6k views

What's the best way to increase the carbon content of compost heap in a grassy garden?

I've a small compost heap (1.2m x 1.2m x 0.8m), which is mostly formed of grass clippings. Thanks to this answer to another composting question, I now understand the C:N ratio. Unfortunately, there ...
17
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5answers
3k views

How do I keep red wiggler worms alive overwinter in the Northeastern USA?

I'm going to be moving into my first house soon in Westchester County, NY. I've done a lot of container and patio/balcony gardening and am looking forward to having a real backyard garden. I want to ...
17
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3answers
1k views

Can kitchen waste be used as manure?

Can kitchen wastes (like potato peels, onion skins, orange rinds, egg shells, tea inside tea bags etc) be used as manure? If so, how to use them?  Right now, I'm just dumping them in soil, which I ...
17
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5answers
1k views

Do's and Don't's for a backyard compost?

We have a backyard compost bin for our vegetable garden and a few flower beds. Forgive me for being a total noob on this, but can someone offer me couple of good resources on what's ok and not ok to ...
16
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4answers
12k views

Should peanut shells be composted?

I have read that one shouldn't compost nuts or peanut butter because of their high oil and fat content. I am wondering if the same thing goes for peanut shells? I have a lot of peanut shells and I ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Is there any reason not to add commercially produced flowers to compost?

Is there any reason to avoid putting flowers purchased from the florist in compost? The flowers were gifts but are now wilting. Would florists or growers use anything on the flowers to preserve them ...
16
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1answer
11k views

Does a pine needle mulch make your soil acidic?

This article from Colorado State University states that alkaline soils resist change but several years of heavy pine needle applications would create a somewhat more acid soil. This article ...
16
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2answers
274 views

Is it okay to pile compost on to the base of a tomato plant?

In previous years, I've noticed my tomatoes have root-like buds towards the base of the stem, but haven't wanted to experiment in case I wreck them. Anybody had any experience of this? Is it worth it?...
15
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7answers
5k views

Is there a way to avoid the recurring cost of microbes when composting at home?

I am planning to start a terrace garden and to generate compost for it. I found two sellers Seller1 and Seller2 in my city. Seller1 has "patented microbes" and Seller2 has microbes, saw dust, dry ...
15
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5answers
13k views

What procedure should I follow to compost bones, fat, and rotten cooked food?

I have read that composting things like bones and fat should be avoided as it can get smelly and attract pests. However, I expect that there are a lot of nutrients that I am wasting if I threw these ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Is Mike McGrath correct when he says vegetable scraps shouldn't be added to compost?

I'm composting for the first time this year, in a back-yard composter. I have some leaves in there, and I regularly throw in my coffee grounds. I also occasionally throw in vegetable and fruit scraps. ...
15
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between compost tea, manure tea, compost leachate and herbal tea?

We have seen several questions recently about compost tea. We have also seen questions about manure tea and at least one question that referred to compost leachate as "compost tea." What are the ...
15
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1answer
348 views

What is the risk of soil contamination via leaf mulch/compost?

Soil in the city I live in is quite often contaminated with nasty things like arsenic and lead. Levels are sometimes twice or more what's considered acceptable. For this reason, people usually ...
14
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8answers
13k views

Is spent cat litter an appropriate source of nitrogen for compost?

Is spent cat litter an appropriate source of nitrogen for compost? The cat litter used is made of recycled paper pellets so is rich in carbon. It doesn't contain the cat faeces because that is fished ...
14
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2answers
6k views

Should I return dead houseplant leaves to the pot?

I have a hippeastrum which is about 4 years old. When the flowers and leaves die, I've been cutting them off and putting them back into the pot on top of the soil. This is in the hope that they rot ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Is this mushroom going to make my black radish taste weird or be poisonous?

It is still cold nowadays (mid-April) in east-France, so I started my vegetables inside a winter garden. I planted some tomatoes seeds in a large pot of mine, which I had previously filled with ...
14
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1answer
3k views

My composter has developed a sour smell and a lot of bugs. What am I doing wrong?

I set up a 7 cu ft rolling composter in my garden about 3 weeks ago and filled it about halfway with 1/3 food scraps and 2/3 cardboard/leaves/finished compost. My kids added more food scraps, so it's ...
14
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1answer
566 views

Wormery failure in mass worm die-off … any advice?

Last fall our household of two people invested in a small, 3-tiered, commercially-available wormery that came with all components (bedding, lime, worms). All seemed to be going well until we brought ...
13
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3answers
942 views

Can these non-food items be composted?

I've seen discussions here and elsewhere, about composting news paper, cardboard, etc. But I'm wondering what considerations to consider when composting some specific non-food items. Some of the ...
13
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3answers
4k views

How can I tell if my compost is ready

I just started composting a month back and have some basic questions. I have been putting garden and kitchen waste in my compost bin every week. I have been turning the pile every week to mix up the ...
12
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3answers
823 views

What are good sources for large quantities of “greens” for my compost?

I have a compost pile that has a lot of "browns" in it, dead leaves and wood shavings mostly. Can anyone recommend sources for large quantities of "greens"? I've been putting in my kitchen scraps but ...
12
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2answers
710 views

Compost has larva or maggots?

Inside of my compost which is only like five gallons I see hundreds of maggots or larvae. Is there a way I can dissect them and tell which species they are? I see some reports online that Black ...
12
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2answers
3k views

How dangerous are the roots of brassicas (cabbage, broccoli etc)?

I've read that putting the roots of brassicas in the compost is a bad idea because of the risk of disease. I've also read that you shouldn't even plant them in the same spot for three years! What ...
12
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1answer
717 views

How do I compost lots of grass clippings?

I find that grass clippings tend not to compost well on their own, however we have lots of grass clippings to compost – so what do we do?
11
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11answers
29k views

Should I have added dead leaves directly to my garden?

With all the fallen leaves that were on our field I picked them up with my lawnmower with the pouch and them put that in my garden and worked the rototiller afterwards. I thought it would be good for ...
11
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5answers
34k views

What can I use sawdust for in a garden?

After sawing a lot of wood, we're left with quite a lot of sawdust. I have been using it during composting to ensure that the compost doesn't get too green and wet, but is there something else I can ...
11
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5answers
2k views

Would turning the compost actually slow down compost decomposition?

I watched this timelapse of litter decomposition. This makes me wonder if turning the compost actually slow down composting by discouraging detritivores and burrowers to live in the compost. I would ...
11
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3answers
805 views

How to Keep Compost “Hot” in Winter?

I live in Pittsburgh (i.e., Zone 6) and I started a compost bin in the 2nd week in October. (I know, I should have started earlier...) It has a lot of kitchen scraps, maybe 60-70%, but I've also been ...