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Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76022 by TerraKacher
Mar 5, 2007 6:00am
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I REALLY want to try to compost but haven't as of yet. There's a landfill about 20m away from us that sells compost $30 for a truckload -and it doesn't matter the size of truck!!! So, I've taken that route for now. I DO know that leaves break down very slowly and you should only use a portion in your compost -not the primary ingredient. Maybe mowing over the leaves before you add them might help the breakdown process? And you could get your neighbors to keep their grass clippings for you to get more balance in the ingredience.

As for tumblers, I found some plans that used an old trash can. What was unique about these plans were a stand made out of a broom handle and some wood. It allowed you to turn it in place just like one of those expensive models.

I've never tried my hand and this, only read on it a bunch considering... Good luck!

~QB
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76022 by TerraKacher
Mar 5, 2007 6:02am
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P.S. I've also read a suggestion to have a primary leaf compost in addition to a regular mostly clippings compost since the leaves break down so slow. You still have compost in one while you're waiting for the other.

~QB
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76042 by Queen Beeloved
Mar 5, 2007 6:08am
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And don't forget those clean egg shells. Great calcium for your compost :)
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76022 by TerraKacher
Mar 5, 2007 6:47am
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Try adding a layer of good compost. It's like a starter to get things going and turn every week. Worms are a very good sign and some people add them in with the layer of compost. Also, make sure the pile gets water.

If you want to turn up the heat on your pile, place a tarp over it so it "cooks faster".

Turn
Water
Heat

The Traveling Dudeks
One of which is a landscape designer and the other loves to garden
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76022 by TerraKacher
Mar 5, 2007 6:52am
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Definitely shred those leaves before you add them, or they will still be there 2 seasons from now. This I know from experience! Run a mower over them, and remember the smaller the pieces, the faster they break down. In warm weather you should find the whole process speeds up.

Sameera
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #75878 by Queen Beeloved
Mar 5, 2007 6:55am
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It's neat to find someone here doing SFG! I started it about 6 years ago, and it's a great way to garden for those of us with little time. I've started the broccoli and lettuce inside already, but it's going to be a long time before we put anything outside. I do have a 4 ft square folding greenhouse that I found at our local Agway last year, and that my help after the snow melts.

I wouldn't trade my snowy winters for your blistering summers, though!

Sameera
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76022 by TerraKacher
Mar 5, 2007 9:51am
Board
Quote making compost? I have two bins (oak pallets) that I have been turning my stuff in all winter,


I think that compost really needs heat (summer sun) to help heat things up I live in NW Oregon and winter compost well it is just a place to store the dead plants until summer comes. That is just my experience though I would not call myself an expert by any means.

Mystic Dreamer
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #75985 by Queen Beeloved
Mar 5, 2007 9:58am
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Quote This is my year to have to divide MANY plants. . . . .Do you guys start seeds?


I just moved here 3 years ago, the yard was hard scaped with bushes and treas and a beautiful fish pond but very little flowers every year I add more but I have a long time before I will have to divide.

I started seeds last year and jumped the gun a little (we had a really cold spring last year) the plants got a little lanky before I could get them out and for some of them the ones that I planted right in the garden did better than the ones I started. But that was only half of them the other half did very well so those I will start again this year I am just waiting 2 more weeks so I am not too early again. I do have a nice green house that came with the property but they built it in the shade under large evergreens and oaks (can you say duh???) it is a potting shead because it is never in warmer in there than out side.

Mystic Dreamer
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76041 by Queen Beeloved
Mar 6, 2007 7:59am
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We are lucky to have one of the most renowned master gardener lving here in Alaska. She has a newletter, radio show and book out. Marion Owen is her name. Check out The Upbeet gardener or Chicken Soup for the Gardeners Soul.
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #75878 by Queen Beeloved
Mar 6, 2007 8:31am
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Not funny for those of us burried in snow.

LL/ZZ
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76022 by TerraKacher
Mar 8, 2007 12:05pm
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After you mow you can toss your grass clippings( or other green trimmings- pine needles will make it acidic) to your pile and work them in. When it warms up, the grass will help make the compost pile cook faster. Green stuff adds nitrogen I believe, brown stuff ( leaves, twigs etc)by itself cooks slower and therefore takes longer to break down. I also have one of those tall garden Claws that I use to help break up my compost pile for better drainage. I also toss any slugs onto my compost pile and they will eat the vegetation to break it down more. Better they eat the compost than my pansies.

Whispering Thunder

*who just liberated the iris from the decaying maple leaves
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76898 by Whispering Thunder
Mar 8, 2007 4:34pm
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Just read an article in Organic gardening that says the pine needle/ acid compost is an "old wives tale". Acidity can only occur if you ONLY use pine needles, like in the deep south. As a chemist I would concur that this is probably true.

Larva Lady of the Zelie Zips
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76955 by Larva Lady-ZZ
Mar 8, 2007 5:32pm
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Quote Just read an article in Organic gardening that says the pine needle/ acid compost is an "old wives tale". Acidity can only occur if you ONLY use pine needles, like in the deep south. As a chemist I would concur that this is probably true.


As a former master gardener I would concur. It takes a LOT (i.e. cubic yards and yards) of pine needles to nudge your pH. The same goes for applying lime - you need a lot to really make meaningful changes.

-AG
Re: Garden started!
Board: Garden Gnomes
Reply to: #76955 by Larva Lady-ZZ
Mar 9, 2007 3:33pm
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That is true that it would take alot of pine needles to raise the acid level. I live in an area where conifers are abundant( assuming they dont get cut by man) and grow naturally ( west WA)so my soils have been on the acid side to begin with which is great for blueberries and huckleberries -yumm- but thats why I don't add the pine needles to the compost heap. They also take longer to compost and at least in my experience they turn sharp and pokey after they dry out-sometimes I am too lazy to get my gloves. And in my yard anyway, they dry out before they rot . I have mulched the blueberries with the needle clippings though.

Whispering Thunder