Hot composting with chicken bedding and garden waste

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by vehve, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Cleaning up the garlic bed today so took some pics so you can see the branching.

    Here is one of the larger plants broken in half (at the rec circle) where I harvested the top for the chooks to chew on.
    Main stem is just over 1"(2.5cm) at the base, next to it are my side cutters 7"(18cm) long and the largest rhizome I found.
    [​IMG]


    Here's a milk crate with the other rhizomes I gathered....with same side cutters for scale
    [​IMG]
     
  2. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    If you want to keep them, you should only replant the roundest ones. And if you dig all of them up before replanting, you'll get a better harvest of less lumpy chokes.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I only posted these because of your curiosity about the 'branches'.

    Am not going to replant any of them, might eat some...or give them away, I want them out of the garlic bed(which is probably impossible.
     
  4. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Just thought you might want to start treating them as a nice plant [​IMG]

    But yeah, they look a bit different. The rhizomes look the same though, although ours had a bit more uniform shape. Easier to peel that way.
     
  5. HennyPennyCO

    HennyPennyCO Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so glad someone brought up the topic of sunchokes - and their invasiveness.
    Yesterday while at the community garden I went to where I had so carelessly stuck in those little rhizomes given to me last fall. I had already removed the top portions of the three plants and was now hunting the rhizomes. The community garden is at a school and we have raised beds for the pupils. In the first raised bed I had built a hugelkultur mound and tucked the sunchokes in the front of the bed. O silly silly me.
    After an hour of digging - and dismantling the hugelkultur mound two feet back into the bed - I had harvested/culled/removed almost 17 pounds (7.75kg) of chokes. I was horrified! These things have pushed their roots and rhizomes in between the layers of wood. I kept thinking I'd got them all, then I'd pull up a (rotting) log and there would be yet another clutch of rhizomes. Now I'm afraid that I might have missed a piece and I'll have to repeat this exercise.
     
  6. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Yeah, they are best kept in a separate place.

    The compost is working nicely, air temp in the box was 35C today (about 95F). At the moment, the bucket of straw from the run we toss into the compost every day takes about 2 days to turn black. I turn everything around properly every morning when we dump the straw in there, along with any compost we generate while cooking food. As long as the pile just sits, the ammonia released from it isn't too bad, but I had to take a breathing break while turning it today, I was starting to go dizzy with all the fumes I was breathing in. The added straw does seem to absorb most of the fumes though.
     
  7. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Okay, batch number 4 was considered ready today, as I needed some more space in the compost because we cleaned out the run today. I got two wheelbarrow loads of lovely, earthy smelling compost. I'm going to have a nice amount of the stuff in spring to figure out some use for.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    I didn't turn batch 5 yesterday, and immediately today I noticed that the temperature had dropped a bit. Today I've turned it twice, and it seems to be heating up a bit again, but I think it's going to start cooling soon. It is pretty much black or a dark brown by now, so the hot phase is starting to be over. Batch 6 mostly consists of straw, and a bit of food scraps, but I only have a little of it in there, so I'm going to wait a while before wetting it.
     
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm very interested in this thread. I have been *attempting* to compost for many years. I have a ComposTumbler, and I couldn't make it work right, so I went to a pile on the ground. (it's not terribly cold here in Northern CA) I figured out that I needed more green material, and so far, it seems to be working. My pile was HUGE (must go smaller next time) so it's taking a long time to break down. It's about 1/2 in size now and has a nice earthy smell to it, but still needs more breaking down. It's a bit dry right now, but we are supposed to get rain in a few days, so I don't want it overwatered.

    I'll have to make a trip by Starbucks and see if I can get some coffee grounds. My own grounds have been added to the pile, but I'm the only coffee drinker in the family.
     
  10. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Don't forget about the chicken poop. That's a nice source of nitrogen as well.
     

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