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Old September 26, 2016   #1
Rajun Gardener
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Default I need a good compost recipe

I have 500 cubic yards of 80% dried grass clippings from 2 acres of bush hogging a few days ago and I should be able to get half that much again in 2 weeks. 2 loads of wood chips from last year that are about 70% composted with nice dark compost full of worms and I just bought a lawn sweeper to use for the grass clippings and now I'm using it for leaves. I have about 20 trees on 3 acres and more on the fence line. I shouldn't have a shortage of leaves. I did a sweep today with hardly any leaves on the ground and I'm surprised from the amount I picked up along with grass clippings when I mowed 5 days ago.

I plan on sweeping all the leaves, run them over with the mower to shred them and layer grass, leaves, grass, leaves then top it with chips.

I started building raised beds this year because of the floods/heavy rains here in Louisiana and the weeds are so much easier to maintain. With that said I can compost in beds, rows, part of the garden or in a pile.

So how would you use this to make a compost I can use next spring?
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Old September 26, 2016   #2
dmforcier
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You can't. Not with wood chips. They take too long to compost, and if you use them partially composted, then the continuing rotting will suck the nitrogen out of the soil.

Layering is good. IMO turning or stirring the pile to aerate will make it rot down more quickly, but I'm not an exert at this so will watch for better replies.
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Old September 27, 2016   #3
Worth1
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Put the 70% composted wood chips in first with the worms put the rest of the stuff on top and dont try to make it cook let it rot naturally.
The worms will will eat the fresh stuff and deposit nitrogen in the soil as they move.
One thing you can do to keep the worms around is to spread out good old cheap cornmeal.
NOT a fan of hot composting.

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Old September 27, 2016   #4
KarenO
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For this volume of material, I think a big pile will be necessary. 500 cubic yards? Also a bobcat to push it around and re-pile it now and again. Will take time. Manure added would help speed up the process.
Give it the time to fully compost and you will have black gold there.
I think time is the key. Time and turning your pile.
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Old September 27, 2016   #5
TC_Manhattan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Put the 70% composted wood chips in first with the worms put the rest of the stuff on top and dont try to make it cook let it rot naturally.
The worms will will eat the fresh stuff and deposit nitrogen in the soil as they move.
One thing you can do to keep the worms around is to spread out good old cheap cornmeal.
NOT a fan of hot composting.

Worth
Worth, would corn gluten work as well to feed the earthworms?
I know I can get that from the farm co-op in 50# sacks for cheap.
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Old September 27, 2016   #6
Worth1
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Originally Posted by TC_Manhattan View Post
Worth, would corn gluten work as well to feed the earthworms?
I know I can get that from the farm co-op in 50# sacks for cheap.
I have no idea we just used to feed ours corn meal and table scraps.

Worth
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Old September 27, 2016   #7
brownrexx
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I would just make a really big pile and turn it as often as possible. Hubby does this for me with his garden tractor that has a bucket and it really speeds up the composting process. I do not worry about layering or feeding worms. I just mix it all together. I don't really see a lot of worms in the compost but the garden is loaded with them and they find their own food since I add lots of organic matter.

Manure will also help speed the composting process. I have a small chicken coop with 6 hens but in your case with that volume, I would try to find some horse manure. It REALLY heats up a pile and breaks it down.
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