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  1. #1
    Veteran Member wen's Avatar
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    Central Texas
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    Kubota M6800SD/LA1002 Loader Kubota RTV900

    Default Compost for Garden

    I found a local recyler in the Ft. Worth Metroplex that advertises Compost for $8 a yard with free delivery for 20 yards. They said it contained ground up gypsum, wood, pine, paper, manure and I am sure anthing else organic that they have to recycle. I ordered 20 yards to see if it would improve the soil in my garden. They also sell it as a top soil mix which is 60% compost and 40% sand.

    The garden size is approximately 100 x 120 feet. I thoght this might be enough for 1/3 to 1/2 of this area. Any ideas how much compost should be required or whether it will make any difference?


  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    Wen, if you'll contact your county agent, he'll give you the container, instructions, etc. to send soil samples for analysis to determine exactly what you need. I don't remember what the cost was when I did it, but I think it was $5. So far, I've never used any chemicals on my garden and the analysis came back that it was very good as I had it. Of course, I've run many a trailer load of wood chips through a little chipper/shredder, including 3 truck loads that the men clearing the power lines gave me, the first winter before I started the garden, we fed the cows in that spot, and I was raising rabbits at the time, so I produced that fertilizer. Incidentally, if you find a source, I think you'll find there is no better fertilizer in existence than rabbit manure. They call it a "cold" fertilizer that makes things grow great, but you can't burn anything up by overdoing it. Three years ago, the ground was hard and dry and wouldn't till to a proper texture, so I just dug holes, filled them with straight rabbit manure and set out 48 tomato plants in that. After harvesting approximately 1,500 lbs., they were still producing great when I mowed them down.

    Bird

  3. #3
    Member
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    Kentucky
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    Kubota L3650 & Bobcat 763G

    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    It sounds like they are using a lot of constuction waste. This means that they are using drywall scraps for the gypsum, the wood will also include treated lumber scraps which should never be placed in a garden. I try to keep my garden free of as many chemicals as possible. This is a problem with just about any commercial compost.


  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Ontario
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    Ford 1710: Loader, Hoe, Snowblower, Box scrapper & 3ph Forks

    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    A friend who was a master gardener swore by pidgin dung. His dad raced pidgins. I don't think bridge viaducts would be a good source.

    The importance of testing compost or anything put on food crop plants cannot be overstated. I suppose there is better regulation now than in the early '70's. However, somebody I worked with in L.A. started an organic garden in his backyard. He liked recycling ideas, and he bought something labeled sludge, and it was cheap. He applied it and then found out that sledge is processed material from city sewerage treatment plants. At least at that time, all of it was contaminated with heavy metals. He figured that all he could grow was flowers for about five years.




  5. #5

    Join Date
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    NC
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    JD 4100 HST

    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    If you can find a local farmer that has cattle or horses in barns, you can usually get the manure for nothing and they will even load it for you. It has to sit for a year but put that on over your winter rye in the spring, till it in and you'll have great soil in no time. I also have a large lawn and 1/2 mile of roadway i mow and bag the grass, that goes in my wife's garden as mulch to keep weeds down in summer, then just tilled in in the fall, it all adds up.


  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Edgewood, New Mexico
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    JD4100

    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    I've found that for a larger garden, about the only affordable way to amend soil is to use large amounts of horse or cow manure (cow is better). I cover my garden about 3-4" deep in the fall, and till it under come spring. With this method, you don't need to worry if it is fresh or composted-it all works fine. Also if you add any mulch with paper or wood chips, you will probably need to add nitrogen fertilizer until the chips or paper is well broken down. So I don't like to use wood chips except as a top mulch.


  7. #7
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    jyoutz, when I first started running the chipper and spreading wood chips in my garden, a neighbor told me about the same thing as you're saying about them; that you would have to add nitrogen, so I'll assume you're right, but I've never added any chemicals to my garden and it's the most productive one in the area. Of course, I don't just spread it on in the Fall and till it in in the Spring; I till it in when I spread it, and till it again two or three times during the winter.

    Bird

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    Ford 1710: Loader, Hoe, Snowblower, Box scrapper & 3ph Forks

    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    My wife got a pamphlet with her plastic composter. The pamphlet talked about brown material (dry leaves, straw sticks etc.) and green material (grass cuttings, vegetable parings etc. The pamphlet said brown material supplies carbon and green material nitrogen. Brown and green material is supposed to be mixed equally. The pamphlet did say that chemical nitrogen fertilizer could be added as a last resort if there's insufficient green material.

    Anyway, that's what is supposed to work in a composter, and it seems to be doing the job. The idea of a household composter is to get kitchen waste to break down fast. What works in a garden may be different, but the message seems to be that you don't have to use chemicals.

    In a garden, you may not want the chipped material to breakdown fast. It has some value in retaining moisture. A garden also is going to get nitrogen from all those Texas thunderstorms. I hope you're enjoying all those vegetables. Here, we haven't planted yet. I'd add a sad face if I knew how.



  9. #9
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    That could very well be the case, Tom. And of course, when someone talks about "wood chips" maybe that needs to be better defined. With this black clay, my first objective was to till in something that would "loosen" it up to make it work easier, and you just wouldn't believe the amount of stuff I've tilled in, and the "wood chips" were mostly green limbs, leaves and all. We had to clear a solidly wooded area to build my brother's house, oak, hickory, cedar, wild plum, and goodness knows what else, and all the small stuff went through the chipper into my garden. Then the contractor clearing power lines dumped me 3 truckloads, the neighbor next door wanted a bunch of cedar cleared out and that went in, too. I also cleaned out a "calf barn" that had not been cleaned out in 4 years, for a neighbor whose tractors were too big to get in there, then he loaded all that into his dump truck with his big tractors, so I had two dump truck loads of old cow manure, and for a couple of years I raised rabbits (best fertilizer I know of).

    And then I tend to over plant in the garden, so we're now giving beets, turnips, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes to anyone that'll eat'em, and I just picked the first 2 gallons of green beans yesterday. And of course, my wife is canning and freezing vegetables.

    Now for the sad face, and others, click on the FAQ, scroll down to "Can I use HTML in my posts?", read about "Markup", and you, too, can make funny faces.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Bird

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Eastern Virginia
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    EarthForce EF-5 mini-TLB (2001)

    Default Re: Compost for Garden

    Bird - So how would you summarize the results of your efforts? Success? Still a work in progress? What do you think did the most good. My Dad has some of the stickiest, hardest to work red clay I've ever seen and I'd like to do something to improve his soil for him.

    BTW, aren't the rabbits a little hard to till in? [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Mark


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