Author Topic: Compost questions  (Read 971 times)

Offline jd350az

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Compost questions
« on: January 19, 2018, 01:53:23 PM »
What is the best way to compost? I can find lots of info on 1 type of composting but I am not seeing as much about mixing compost styles. For instance I like the ideas of worm bins, I also plan to run chickens and I was also looking at Black Soldier Fly larvae and possibly meal worms for chicken/quail feed. I was also thinking of raising at least some quail and rabbits. All of this will be starting as home use, nothing commercial. I don't think we produce enough food waste to feed all this. I will try finding local sources for more compost materials and worm food, etc. Is there certain things that work better in one system then another? I know meat is not good for straight compost but it works in worms, BSL and chickens? I read something about function stacking and I think it was rabbits poop > BSL > quail, is there anything else to combine the chain of composters? I wouldn't be against a regular compost pile either but I think I will be busy enough with all these systems. We have 3 acres and cows as well. Lots of grasses and hopefully growing a food forest eventually and a garden.

Nothing is built yet, we are actually moving in the next month or two so I am just planning. The cows are there now from the previous owner and being taken care of until we move in.

Offline CharlesH

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2018, 05:11:24 PM »
It kind if sounds like you are looking for a source of food for worms/larva?  I’m not familiar with doing that.  The nice thing about compost itself, though, is that it will happen.  Books, and folks here, will be happy to give you oodles of advice on how to speed it up, but organic material is going to compost eventually.
 
For compost I have a very simple system.  I throw stuff on a pile (straw with chicken droppings, grass clippings, duck weed and moss from my pond, whatever).  After a while (6 months maybe) I flip that pile over and start a new pile.  Flipping pile 1 aerates it.  A month or two later I flip it again and a month or so after that it is ready to use.  Purists will shake their heads and gasp at my style, but it works and I always have a supply.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2018, 06:43:05 PM »
I'm thinking of ways to compost in different ways. I know worms and chickens like kitchen scraps. I think BSL eat almost anything including meat. Now I found out chickens will eat meat too. I'm wondering how it all fits together. One podcast I was listening to had a guy putting quail above a BSL container, manure feed them, then when they crawled out the ramp they feel into a fish tank for aqua ponics. I'm trying to figure out if it's better or worth it to chain systems together or just separate compost stuffs and cycle through animals for manure. And if I have anything left to start a regular compost pile.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2018, 07:05:20 PM »
Yep, my understanding is that Black Soldier Fly larvae eat pretty much anything.

Offline bigbear

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 11:35:24 AM »
My compost 'style' is:
1. Table scraps get fed to the chickens.
2. Whatever they can't eat (peels, coffee grounds, etc), goes in the compost piles.  Same with chicken poo, straw, grass mowing, leaves, garden clippings, fire ash, dirt, etc...
3. I may turn my compost piles once a year (I did last year, not sure if I did the year before).  Mostly because I do it by hand and I don't feel like using my time to turn it.  But, like CharlesH said, it'll break down at some point.

My chickens love scratching around the compost pile (tons of worms, larva, and other bugs in/under there).  With chickens you have a few 'wins' from a function stacking perspective (eggs, meat, compost, waste, and they keep the kids entertained).

For me, BSF would take some buy in from my better half.  But if we thought the cost savings outweighed the 'ew' factor for her, that would be the path I'd go down.  Especially in colder climates.  But I wouldn't do it either way without the chickens. 

Similar for worms.  They are a good supplement for chicken feed and have their own benefits stand alone, but personally I wouldn't do them without chickens either.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 12:20:30 PM »
Thanks, that's more like what I was looking for. Just wondering what chickens can't or shouldn't eat that Worms or BSL would eat and vice versa. Also what kind of manure would the others eat and if that can be a cycle as well.

Offline bigbear

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 01:44:02 PM »
Most of interweb sites say no avocado pits/peels, no citrus, no junk food (like anyone has left-over chocolate! ::)), no nightshade (tomato, potato), no apple seeds, nothing rotten/moldy...  But there's a good amount of "debate" with some science and antidotal evidence.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/list-of-food-not-to-feed-chickens.1107143/

I trash avocado pits.  I highly doubt the chickens would touch it anyway.  The pits are simply too big.  But I haven't tried.  It's one of those odd things that I've seen on a dozen sites, so I figure there's gotta be some truth to it and not worth the risk.  The toxic chemical is persin.

I eat my chocolate.  End of discussion.  But I've never tried personally, but I would trust the experts on this one anyway.  Just like it's bad for dogs.

Chickens have an idea what isn't good for them or will kill them.  Though (like us) I can see them eating something that might not be the best for them (junk food) if you give it to them.  But as one poster on that thread says:  "common sense and moderation go a long way."

Most of the stuff I don't feed them goes in the compost pile (coffee grounds, tea bags, peels, etc...), and the chickens have access to that but don't seem to mess with the "bad" stuff there.

We live next to horse field.  My chicken often free-range over there and tear about horse manure.  I would imagine they would do the same with cow patties (I bet someone here knows for sure).  I've seen cat, dog, fox, and rabbit droppings in the yard and the girls don't touch them. 

Offline Stwood

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2018, 05:55:48 PM »
My compost 'style' is:
1. Table scraps get fed to the chickens.
2. Whatever they can't eat (peels, coffee grounds, etc), goes in the compost piles.  Same with chicken poo, straw, grass mowing, leaves, garden clippings, fire ash, dirt, etc...
3. I may turn my compost piles once a year (I did last year, not sure if I did the year before).  Mostly because I do it by hand and I don't feel like using my time to turn it.  But, like CharlesH said, it'll break down at some point.

My chickens love scratching around the compost pile (tons of worms, larva, and other bugs in/under there).  With chickens you have a few 'wins' from a function stacking perspective (eggs, meat, compost, waste, and they keep the kids entertained).




This is my style.
My bin is nothing more than tin stood up (4 sides 4'x16') with pipes drove in the ground. Everything except most scraps get thrown in. I'll occasionally scope one end over on top of the other, but not to often. 

Offline DDJ

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Re: Compost questions
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 10:55:08 AM »
My Compost is similar to others.  Kitchen scraps minus ,meat and citris.  I also avoid putting wood ash in because I do not want to play with the PGH wood ash and water make lye (is that spelled correctly).  Yard scraps grass clippings, some pulled plants (do not break down very fast) and lots of leaves.  When I can get manures we will add them.

WORD of Caution do NOT uses Black Walnut.  It leaves a toxin behind and those effect night shades(tomatoes for sure).  He used a lot of Walnut in my parents garden as a kid and it took us years to understand why we could not grow tomatoes.

We turn at least once a year.  We actually have a side for new and a side for old see linked picture below (I hope it works). 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimisod/35062261512/