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32

The short answer: your compost will be finished in six months to a year. It will finish faster if you turn it, slower if you don't. (A picky correction to your question: compost will turn into humus, not actually soil.) Rumor is that compost can be finished in as little as a few weeks, under ideal conditions. (I've never seen it.) Folks who do ...


24

The composting process depends on a complex chain of organisms -- which can include ants -- to consume and thus break down the food in your compost pile. See this page from the University of Illinois extension service, which comments on ants in compost: Ants - Ants feed on a variety of materials including fungi, seeds, sweets and other insects. They help ...


24

Why do you have to buy compost resources? Are you not able to make it yourself? You need greens and browns, microbes will enter the process for free. There are many posts about how to make compost, for example here. If you have space for compost heaps I would just start gathering greens and browns yourself.


24

The way i was taught composting is, fence off a piece of soil, and just chuck stuff in. Nature will do the rest. Worms, bacteria, insects will do all the needed eating of biggies, sugars, etc.. and convert it to sweet stuff for plants. Dig it up, mash it around once a week to properly mix everything and you have a nice compost stewing. Stuff will decompose ...


23

The paper ones? Sure - they're just like blotting paper and break down quickly. The usual things that can make some papers questionable should not be present (plastic coatings, metal and/or oil based inks) - or if they are present, you need to quickly change your filter brand! What I would probably do if possible, is to try and tear the paper a little so ...


21

If you manage your compost pile perfectly, it will heat up and kill the seeds. I've never managed my pile perfectly and there are always some seeds. Occasionally it's a happy thing -- last year we got a bunch of pumpkins from volunteer plants. Often it's a real pain: raspberry seeds left over from making jam are terrible; we don't put raspberry leftovers ...


21

No, in your lifetime, normal amounts of pine needles will not measurably acidify your soil. They are somewhat acidic, and acidify soil over long periods of time, unless the soil base is extremely alkaline. They don't acidify soil more than other deciduous tree leaves, and oak leaves in particular (they have a pH of 4.5 to 4.7). Rain does leach the acid out, ...


21

Absolutely no worry at all. Moldy vegetables are already in the process of decomposition. Make sure you turn your compost regularly, moisten when necessary and add nitrogen. There used to be a kitty litter made from alfalfa pellets. SUPER nitrogen source and cheap. NO MEAT, no poop from omnivores or carnivores only herbivores, mix green stuff and ...


17

If you add enough carbon, then you can't really put too many grounds in. Coffee grounds are 20 carbon to 1 nitrogen or 20/1. A good ratio is 30/1 for aerobic composting, So lets say you use leaves to compost the grounds with. leaves are 50/1, so a mix of 66.67% coffee grounds to 33.33% leaves would be a good mix. Remember that this is by weight, so ...


16

I have never purchased a ready-made compost bin, but I have made many cubic yards of compost by one of three approaches: Make a big pile (very roughly: 4-5' high by 5-6' diameter). (Yes, it's that simple.) This is obviously the cheapest and simplest approach, though if you need to keep a very tidy appearance it may not be an option. The other problem is ...


16

I think in general, most people stick to using produce scraps, tea leaves and coffee grounds for their pile. There are a few concerns with other types of scraps: Some scraps will attract vermin (meat, dairy, fats, breads, processed foods) Some scraps could carry pathogens that are unlikely to be killed during the composting process (meats, food from the ...


16

Moss is just fine in your compost! Moss is one of the great opportunists in the plant world. Moss is not hurting your lawn. The presence of moss is telling us your lawn is not vigorous enough, you are watering too often and too shallowly, you are probably mowing too short and you've possibly got shade involved. The cool thing about moss is that if there ...


15

Slaymore contains bromadiolone, an anticoagulant that is toxic to rodents and other mammals, as well as poultry and fish. A data sheet on bromadiolone claims that it will not be taken up by plants in case of spillage. It also talks briefly about cleaning up spills. Even with this information, I'd be hesitant to apply that compost to anything I'm going to ...


15

The point of aerating your pile is to get oxygen to the microbes that break down the organic matter. I haven't used those compost aerators, but the theory seems sound -- it will "fluff" up the pile, undoing any compaction that has happened and letting the microbes breathe. On the other hand, if you've already got a pitchfork and you're willing to do a ...


15

Pumpkins are easy to compost. If they were used for crafts/decoration, it's possible that they contain inorganic matter such as paint, ribbon, candle wax, plastic twine, foil, etc. Make sure all such material (if any) is removed. The seeds will survive all but the hottest compost heaps, and can be a nuisance later. I don't usually worry about it, and pull ...


14

I wouldn't use the compost anywhere I was going to grow food or walk barefoot, or where children might play. The primary dangers of cat feces would be: Toxoplasma gondii Fecal Coliforms Roundworm (Toxocara cati or related species), which can cause visceral larva migrans aka Toxocariasis, the symptoms of which sound unpleasant. Even though you say you're ...


14

You should compost them before dumping them in soil. The food waste is not degraded and bacteria/bugs in soil will try to degraded some while releasing bad smell. Also it doesn't look good and require a long time to degrade too. I should warn you, there will be plenty of bugs if you just dump the food to the soil. Learn how to compost, you can search up ...


14

Yes, peanut shells are a fine high-carbon addition to your compost pile. Adding peanut shells to your compost will probably tend to dry it out, so make sure you either add water or use enough high-moisture ingredients (e.g. most kitchen scraps or coffee grounds). Also, if you're lacking in high-nitrogen ingredients, then they will take longer to compost.


14

As for paper, this has come up before a few times. There is also a lot of very old (decades old) advice hanging around - passed by word of mouth mainly. Basically inks are far better now than they were even 10 years ago. Also consider the quantities - even a few sheets of "bad" paper are not going to harm things - but half a ton of glossy mags with high ...


14

I wouldn't worry too much about what exactly you've got. If you've got larvae inside your compost, they're eating your compost, which is what you want. The problem will be when they mature and you have a bunch of flies. Your first proposal is good -- add paper, dry leaves, sawdust/wood shavings, or other carbon-containing materials. I wouldn't add anything ...


14

What's done is done, but in future years, as others suggest, collect up the leaves and compost them separately, either in a contained heap or in binliner bags with holes in the bottom. Leaves should be wet, crammed in a binliner, the tops tied shut, holes poked in the bottom, then left in a corner somewhere to rot down over a year or so, by which time they ...


13

Ants in compost heaps usually means the heap's too dry. The absence of obvious brandlings and other worms should confirm that. Add water and continue turning it.


13

Totally agree with "bstpierre" answer. Personally I wouldn't waste your or my money on a ready made compost bin (tumbler). Here is what I did: Picked a location in the garden. Cleared that area. Bought 4 (cheap) light-duty steel fence posts. Bought a small roll of Garden/Fence hardware cloth eg ½inch (12.5mm) spaced galvanized wire. Had some spare ...


13

You don't need to purchase microbes in order to compost stuff (the purchased products look like they're just supposed to speed up the process). Microbes are naturally on the vegetable scraps you put in the compost, in the air, in the soil, and all over other stuff. If there were no microbes, the food wouldn't rot. Just look up how to compost stuff online. I'...


12

The liquid that comes out of the bottom of your composter is more properly called "compost leachate". It may be nutrient rich, but may also be loaded with whatever pathogens were present in the feedstock. Use with care (probably not on edibles). "Compost tea" is the product created by soaking finished compost in water for a period of time. There are various ...


12

If it has a sour smell, you've probably got: Too much nitrogen, not enough carbon -- add more cardboard & leaves. Avoid adding food scraps, lawn clippings, etc until the problem is fixed. Not enough air -- turn it. Too much water -- don't add any more water. (This also contributes to "not enough air" -- when it's too wet, the bacteria can't breathe.) ...


12

Yes, peanut shells can be compostable, but be sure that there is no salt on them. Often peanut shells have been salted, and these should not be added to compost because the salt will stay in the soil and damage plants.


12

After a bit of googling, it looks like coffee grounds are close to neutral pH, so I wouldn't worry about acidity there. If you have too much "browns" and not enough "greens", you could take a different approach: instead of adding your dead leaves to the compost pile, make a dedicated leaf mold pile. This will take a long time (up to two years) to break down,...


12

Not really, an indoor plant does not have the same ecosystem in the soil that an outdoor plant does. Hopefully you do not have worms, slugs and snails in the soil of your plant. These are the agents of recycling outside. You are better off to pick up the dead stuff and apply a dilute fertilizer to replace the nutrients lost.


12

Sawdust for Composting First I would make sure the wood has not been chemically treated. Check a cross section of the wood for the distinctive ring of green color around the first half inch or so. If it has been chemically treated, it will contain chemicals like arsenic, chromium, and copper — not suitable for composting. Make sure sawdust (and ...


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