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Tell Me All About Compost :-)

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by startinganew, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Hi All,

    I started gardening in earnest only during shelter-in-place so am learning as I go. Could you all please share what type and where do you all buy your compost from? How much do you apply and how often?
    Also if you add compost, do you still need to add fertilizers for your veggie plants?

    Thank you for sharing anything you wish to in this regard.
     
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  2. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    My state sells an excellent compost made from leaf and yard waste, available at all our local stores. I apply that to all the garden beds each spring, 2-3 inches deep and turn it into the soil. I also add organic fertilizer based on the type of plant. In addition I incorporate alfalfa into all the planting areas. It is supposed to contain some compounds that promote plant growth and it is easily and cheaply available at farm supply stores or on chewy.com.
     
  3. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Here is what all I have tried so far:

    1. I tried many bags of composted chicken Manure from Home depot - but it attracted or already had so many insects. It seems convenient for small trees - just dump a bag at the base and hope that nutrients are slowly dissipated into roots. But I doubt it is composted enough for the nutrients to be absorbed immediately by young veggie starts.
    Pros: Super cheap (3 dollars for 1 cu.ft bag)
    Cons: Not composted enough, Attracts insects immediately.

    2. I tried worm castings compost - this seems super expensive. I get a 10lb bag for 20 dollars. According to recommended usage on the back, I could only apply this for my 5 pumpking plants (1/2 inch thickness on spread as top-dressing on the base of the plant) and maybe 2 or 3 more veggie plants. I may have to buy many many bags.

    3. Home made compost
    I started this in a storage tote a few months ago. Because it is small in size and cannot be "turned" well easily, I don't think this is goin to produce enough compost soon enough for me. Maybe in a few months.
    I am now trying garbage bag composting - from what I know this is a slow form of composting and won't be ready till next growing season.
     
  4. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Thank you for sharing @malstorm.
    I also looked at city compost. Didn't know cities would sell it in bags too. In our case, I would need to pick it up from the compost center but we don't have a truck to haul it back. Or I have to use a private bulk supplier and have to have it delivered. Here the blocker for me is - for it to be reasonably priced (4 to 5$ a cu-ft) I have to buy atleast 5 yards - which means our front yard is going to have a huge dump and it would take me and family a huge amount of time and stress - to spread this around where all we need to.

    I didn't know about alfa - thanks a lot. Will read about it.

    Any brands of organic fertilizer you recommend? Thanks.
     
  5. DDream

    DDream Finest Post Winner

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    I use organic cow dung manure from home depot. I usually add manure when I prepare the raised vegetables garden in spring. Also use fish fertilizer ( also from home depot) for plants loving acidic soils. Otherwise I use miracle grow slow release one and fertilizer once in a while. Also add kitchen vegetable waste to the garden.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
    Angela123 and startinganew like this.
  6. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    I like Espoma and Down to Earth fertilizers, but you might be able to find other brands locally. If your beds are ready or already planted it might not be such an ordeal to spread bulk mulch or compost. The two of us did 6 yards over one day. But it is much easier to work with bagged materials that you can spread at your convenience. After that first time with the bulk product I only have bags delivered now from a landscape supply shop.
     
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  7. Thoughtful

    Thoughtful Silver IL'ite

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    A few random thoughts:
    1. Chicken compost that cheap is mixed with lot of additives.
    2. I dont add any fertilizers, compost from variety of materials. Looks for specialized stores for this outside of homedepot/lowes/ace. The more diverse the compost source, the better.
    3. Home made compost can be achieved in 6 to 8 weeks. Dig a hole in the yard, dump your compostable vegetable scrapes and leaves etc. Mix it once in a while. The temparature and the microbes from the soil is the fastest way to break down and compost.
    4. Earthworm castings are awesome. Like you said it is super expensive. But it is meant to be used sporadically. More than the nutrients from it, earthworms are produced from these compost which helps the soil quality which in turn increases the nutrients. You can also buy earthworms and directly add to the soil but they are expensive as well, but worth it. You can also add some of the worm casting or other composts to your home made compost pile which helps in speeding up composting and nutrients in them.
     
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  8. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    If you are in the mid-Atlantic: Delaware, parts of NY, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, WV and parts of NC then Leafgro is an excellent compost manufactured by the Maryland Environmental Service and sold at home improvement stores and garden centers.
     
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  9. Angela123

    Angela123 Gold IL'ite

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    I don not know if I am doing it wrong. Beginning of spring I had a pot full of kitchen veg scraps and I added water and mixed in between every 2-3 days, smelled bad but I used it in garden bed and it was great. Then I drilled a few holes in a tall trash can and has been collection kitchen scraps ever since. Does anyone do this way?
     
  10. EverydayBloom

    EverydayBloom Gold IL'ite

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    I used horse manure which got from local horse farm and it slowly broken down and converted into compost and also has lot of earthworm castings which got tripled with the above manure over the past year!! I do use organic herbs manure/epsom salt/ organic liquid manure from costco/egg shells powder from kitchen/coffee or tea grounds/rice water/thin buttermilk water/ soaked banana peel liquid every 15days just alternate between all the above!!
     
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