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Old 03-19-2018, 06:18 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is online now
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Originally Posted by HeavyHauler View Post
I'm not sure about the pine needles and what not. Like you, I'm absolutely surrounded by trillions upon trillions of pine trees (take a look of northern Manitoba). But we have all sorts of other plants in the undergrowth, I plan on using them as a free resource for my composting.

I checked out imgur, but wasn't sure on how to work it. I'll attempt it once again.

Read the Handbook, you may find it a worthwhile endeavour. I read it and it makes sense to do, if you do it properly. It's quite safe.

Other animals **** and **** on your soil. Worms, birds, rodents, small game/big game, etc.

The most important thing is having a renewable resource. The stuff you use for the compost and the end product. Your veggies will grow much better and it will be a great amendment to your soil.

What little soil we have, has even more clay underneath it. Compost helps bring it to bring more soil into it and making it more suitable to grow in.
Pine needles will compost just fine. I'd add some more stuff do it for variety... kitchen waste, cardboard, whatever you got. But if all you had was pine needles, they'd still work, though it might take a bit longer.


I'm a lazy composter. I don't turn it. I don't stir it. I don't even measure out 2 parts this to 1 part that. But I'm also in no hurry. I just dump out the stuff and let it compost on it's own.

The chickens will do a lot of turning in the compost piles in their area. They'll spread it around, too, which is fine because because that area can use it anyway. My other piles just sit there, and get more stuff added on top.

Ideally, I wanted to have 3 huge piles, where by the time I got done making the third pile, the first pile is ready to go. But you know how plans don't always work the way you thought, and so I just have one very long pile. But, while the stuff on the top is just beginning, most of the stuff on bottom is ready to be used.

Most of this I learn as I go.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:17 PM
PurpleKitty PurpleKitty is online now
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I used to steal bags of leaves bagged up for "trash" and bring them home to compost.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:41 PM
TxHannah TxHannah is offline
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I don't turn my compost either. But then it's not really compost. It's leaf mould, leaves from a few types of oaks, sweet gum, tupelo, ash, winged elm and some other species. I generally rake them into a long, wide pile, and as the year goes along I sometimes dump more leaves or other material on top. By springtime, what's on top is still leaves and other debris, but what's underneath is crumbly black leaf mould full of earthworms.

I use the tractor to skim off the top layer if it's very thick, and if not I just scoop it up too and then haul it all to the gardens and spread it and disk it in lightly.

I don't use grass clippings because I let them fall on the lawns. They break down in the heat quickly here and don't form thatch. It's too valuable as fertilizer right where it falls to bag it and take it to the leaf pile.
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:11 PM
Rosebud Rosebud is offline
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I make a pile of compost from kitchen scraps, garden waste and shredded thicker branches and stems like corn stalks and tree prunings. Every so often I add a layer of straw from the chook house or horse manure and a layer of soil. My chooks do a good job of mixing the top layers as they dig through it.
When the bin is full, I tip it over, let the chooks have another scratch at it, then transfer it via wheelbarrow to wherever I want it. I save the uncomposted bits to start the new pile. I do this about 2x a year.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dealfinder500 View Post
Do you use clay cat litter?
Heck no! I use cedar bedding. Clay would defeat the purpose, as my soil resembles clay, but I think it's some sort of harder mutant soil, lol - I've had to add in sand to the worst bits to offset it- and I've been fighting it since we bought this house.
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:27 AM
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Great thread tagging for later.

Well written, heck I can even understand!

Thank you Farmer John.
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:32 AM
teenahlake teenahlake is offline
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I would look at charring the pine and needles, as theseare quite acidic, but a 45 gal drum with the lid back on should give about 30# charcoal at a time. Mix that into the soil with eggshells and coffee grounds, also add peat
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teenahlake View Post
I would look at charring the pine and needles, as theseare quite acidic, but a 45 gal drum with the lid back on should give about 30# charcoal at a time. Mix that into the soil with eggshells and coffee grounds, also add peat
honestly the problem with that that i could see is your wasting alot of volume,
wood would be the way to go.
Here is the Wiki on biochar,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar

heres a great charcoal how to that is a cheap and simple charcoal kiln that can process mass quantities.

http://charcoalkiln.com/4-japanese-c...direct-method/


but bio char is a fantastic soil amendment that is like a mini coral reef for good microbes.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teenahlake View Post
I would look at charring the pine and needles, as theseare quite acidic, but a 45 gal drum with the lid back on should give about 30# charcoal at a time. Mix that into the soil with eggshells and coffee grounds, also add peat
This is a myth. A long lasting myth since even some of my gardening books written in the 60's call it out as a myth.

https://www.gardenmyths.com/pine-needles-acidify-soil/

I've tested my soil PH, (soil that has been carpeted by pine needles for hundreds of years and is probably almost entirely composed of rotted pine needles at this point) and in fact it is slightly alkaline, a common condition of western soils.

Quote:
but bio char is a fantastic soil amendment that is like a mini coral reef for good microbes.
Interesting, I will look into it.

I do not have a source of lawn clippings, leaf mulch etc, but I probably have a million cubic yards of pine needles here.
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
This is a myth. A long lasting myth since even some of my gardening books written in the 60's call it out as a myth.

https://www.gardenmyths.com/pine-needles-acidify-soil/

I've tested my soil PH, (soil that has been carpeted by pine needles for hundreds of years and is probably almost entirely composed of rotted pine needles at this point) and in fact it is slightly alkaline, a common condition of western soils.



Interesting, I will look into it.

I do not have a source of lawn clippings, leaf mulch etc, but I probably have a million cubic yards of pine needles here.
you can make two products making charcoal from the trees.
pine pitch
and charcoal.
if you had a cone shaped bottom and say a seperate bucket the pitch should boil out as its charring and collect at the bottom in your container.
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:49 PM
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Default Wood Chips.

As I posted in another thread recently - wood chips are an excellent product to source.

I just happen to be at the local gas station when a tree trimming service pulled in with 3 vehicles to top off with fuel. I simply approached them and asked. Owner was right there, asked for my address and said:

"The way I do it is dump at the closest place that wants chips according to where we are trimming trees and according to your address you'll get any job I do within 5 miles based on your address". I gave him my phone number then he called one day heading my way. He seen the place and thought that it was about the best scenario he's seen for ease of access, multiple locations, good roads "here and there" around the property to dump and said "Your place is perfect for me to dump chips, you'll be seeing a lot more come your way"....and boy did he ever. I guess I ended up with about 100 yards the first year...just what my place needed in this clay soil....and in more locations than just my garden.

Talk to the tree trimming guys, they'll hook you up if close to your location.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:44 PM
Odinsmead Odinsmead is offline
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Welcome back Farmer John, I have to admit your posts were part of what got me to join this site and I'm glad to see you back.
Thank you.
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Old 03-29-2018, 07:17 PM
benson56 benson56 is offline
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I'm spoiled with more than plenty of leaves and grass clippings. I built a tumbler out of pallets and 2 x 4's. Fill it with leaves/grass clippings and moisten it down good so it'll start cooking. I use my ATV or pickup to roll it a couple turns across the back yard every few days. It gets to 160* inside in the summertime and is done cooking in about 14 days. I put it in a 4'x4' pallet bin, where it continues to work, and start a new batch. In the fall when it gets to a certain degree of cold, the compost doesn't cook anymore and it waits until spring.
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Old 03-29-2018, 11:49 PM
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Definitely agree that compost is important. Especially here, where our soil is mostly heavy clay (alternating with layers of caliche) and VERY deficient in organic matter. While we don't have much in the way of grass clippings, we DO have plenty of manure (horse, goat, cow, and chicken) along with straw and hay. That gets composted, along with eggshells coffee grounds, etc. (most of the veggie/fruit scraps are given to the chickens, who repay us with eggs), so the cycle continues. I've already noticed a difference in the soil in the garden beds as opposed to the ground in other areas.
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