Does compost go bad?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by kardar2, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. kardar2

    kardar2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,
    Now I know that in a vegetable garden (raised beds) the nutrients get used up over the summer. But I will be going to the stock yard and get a couple of loads of mature . My question is the big piles that are left over from not being used next spring will they be okay in following years? My plan is to empty half of the raised beds and mix them with new compost in the fall and then in the spring fill up the raised beds again. Or should I go in the fall and get fresh stuff and let it sit over the winter?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    In theory, manure will loose some potency. It starts out "green" and hot. It composts down over the winter, so by spring it's mellowed out quite a bit. Perfect for use in the spring. It's possible to use too much manure. Heavy feeders, like squash and corn can use a lot. But, if you are too heavy handed with it on tomatoes and peppers, you are apt to get lots of big pretty plants with huge pretty leaves, and very little fruit.

    I've had manure delivered in a 7 yard dump truck. Used a lot of it the first season, and let the rest sit for a year or more until I'm able to incorporate the rest into the garden. How much nutrient it looses is anyone's guess.

    Are you saying that you are only putting manure on 1/2 of the beds this fall? I don't follow you re: the empty 1/2 of the beds and then filling the beds again. Do you garden year round where you are? Is that why you are doing 1/2 now, and 1/2 in the spring? Or are you emptying beds so you can thoroughly mix the manure into existing soil? Unless you have poor soil, or are sold on the double digging method, you can save yourself a LOT of work. Simply top dress each bed with manure. Let it sit over the winter. Let the worms do the majority of the work. In the spring, a week or so before you intend to plant a bed, simply use a garden fork to mix the manure into the soil.

    You might want to do a bit of research regarding Back To Eden gardening and the Ruth Stout method of permanent mulch gardening. Both concepts are designed to more closely mimic God's method of caring for the land. They also: Cut way down on amount of weeding. Cut way down on amount of watering. Cut way down on amount of fertilizing. Improve soil tilth, microbial activity, and build humus. An other method that dovetails very well with both Ruth Stout and Paul Gautschi methods are Patricia Lanza's lasagna gardening. If you are working to build sub optimal soil, this might be just what you need.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  3. kardar2

    kardar2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you saying that you are only putting manure on 1/2 of the beds this fall? I don't follow you re: the empty 1/2 of the beds and then filling the beds again. Do you garden year round where you are? Is that why you are doing 1/2 now, and 1/2 in the spring? Or are you emptying beds so you can

    What I am saying is in the fall and everything dies. I will take top half layer of bed and dump it on the big pile of compost that was left over. Mike it in and leave it till next spring then refill the beds
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Too much work! Soil structure is best to not be overly worked. Similar to making a pie crust. The more you work it, the more damage it does to the structure. You end up with a tough mess instead of a nice texture that melts in your mouth.
     
  5. FarmerTony

    FarmerTony Out Of The Brooder

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    Compost never 'goes bad'. It will however lose some of its nutrients over time both from continuing microbial action (mostly nitrogen) and leeching from rainwater. That said, the process literally takes years if not decades and at the end all you have left is dust. So in short as long as there is still organic matter in the compost, its still good for the soil. There are optimal times to use it though,which will vary from place to place adn depending on your local weather and the composition of the compost.
     
  6. kardar2

    kardar2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you
     

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