Why compost ?!?

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by chickcrazychick, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. chickcrazychick

    chickcrazychick Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    26
    Sep 18, 2013
    North Central Oklahoma
    I would like to think of my husband and I to be pretty self-sufficient, we hunt our own meat, raise chickens, garden, etc...

    I've heard of alot of people composting, but have no idea why! I am still pretty young and would love to learn as much as I can on self sufficiency, and heard that composting is important.

    So I would love for anyone who knows composting 101 for some info..why compost, and exactly what goes into a compost pile?!?
     
  2. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

    703
    55
    138
    Mar 10, 2013
    SHERIDAN IL
    I compost all biodegradable stuff, kitchen scraps, horse manure, old hay & straw, chicken manure etc. etc. When it breaks down and turns to a dirt, you use it on the garden to feed the plants. Spread it over the garden and till it in.
     
  3. chickcrazychick

    chickcrazychick Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    26
    Sep 18, 2013
    North Central Oklahoma
    Oh I see, so it's kinda like your own miracle grow! So would there be anything to NOT put in there along the lines of biodegradable? And Im guessing I would need a fence around it, to keep critters out!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,108
    3,312
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First, you can make composting as simple or as complicated as you want to. You can balance the carbons and the nitrogen, the browns and the greens, keep it just the exact right of moist and turn it regularly. Or you can pile a bunch of organic materials (stuff that will rot) and leave it alone. Then come back and get it when it is ready or you need it. The better h=job you do the faster it will decompose and the better quality you’ll have, but I assure you many of us don’t work that hard at it.

    Compost is just organic matter that has rotted. It could come from plants or animals or both together.

    Why should you compost, especially if you want to be self-sufficient? To start with, it can be free other than the work you put into it. You use waste materials to make it instead of sending it to the landfill or having to burn it.

    What do you use compost for? To improve soil quality, in your vegetable garden, your landscaping, or about anywhere you grow anything. Compost adds nutrients that the plants need so consider it free fertilizer. It also greatly improves the texture if the soil. It helps sandy soils hold water better. It helps clay soils drain better. It makes clay soils easier to work because it doesn’t bake hard as a rock.

    Compost is a miracle ingredient that improves any soil and is free.
     
  5. chickcrazychick

    chickcrazychick Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    26
    Sep 18, 2013
    North Central Oklahoma
    Wow Ridgerunner, your extensive knowlege never ceases to amaze me! Thank you, I guess I need to find a spot in my yard far away from the house and chicken coop! I have a strong suspicion this may bring varmints around a stink!
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,108
    3,312
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I see you’ve been posting while I was typing. What should you not put into compost? Some materials degrade faster than others. Grass will rot a lot faster than a hardwood. You can compost hardwood, but it takes longer.

    Some people say to not put grease or animal products such as meat or milk in compost. Some of us put that stuff in our compost. It will all break down, but if it is on the surface it might attract certain critters like dogs, coyotes, raccoons and many other things you don’t want around. It is highly likely to attract flies that will breed in there. Think of a pile of maggots. Disgusting! It will likely stink. But if you bury it deep in your compost pile and have it fenced so some of those critters cannot dig it up, you can compost it. But many many people only compost plant matter because of the potential of those problems. So while you can compost animal products, for many people it is a good idea to stick to plant materials.

    There are some things you should not compost even if you can. Do not put diseased plants in there from your garden. You don’t want your compost to spread disease to your garden.

    There are certain pests that will overwinter in plant matter. So if you have an infestation in your garden of insects pests that will overwinter, it’s a real good idea to not put those plants in the compost.

    If you compost properly and get a decent mix of greens and browns and keep it damp but not wet the compost pile will heat up in the middle and kill weed and grass seeds. But it won’t heat up other than in the middle. Weed and grass seeds around the outside will not be killed. You can turn the pile and try to move that stuff to the middle, but that is mostly theory. In real practice, you won’t get all those weed and grass seeds heated up enough to kill them. So don’t compost weeds and grass that has gone to seed.

    That’s basically what you should avoid. For many people animal products can be a problem. Do avoid diseased plants, pests, and seeds.
     
  7. chickcrazychick

    chickcrazychick Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    26
    Sep 18, 2013
    North Central Oklahoma
    Ok, I have that in the memory bank, I think it's a great idea to start one, it will help in many ways. Two big reasons will to keep some of the food products out of the trashbags, which the critters just love to tear open all over the yard, and make it to where I dont have to keep relocating my garden area around the yard for better soil each year! Thank you Ridgerunner :)
     
  8. Fat Man

    Fat Man Out Of The Brooder

    39
    1
    24
    Aug 14, 2010
    Dog and cat poo should not be composted as they can contain pathogens that most compost piles don't get hot enough to kill.

    Another added benefit of composting is that less goes into the trash. Between the compost pile, the chickens and recycling we only use on 30 gallon garbage a week, and that's rarely full. We pay by the trashcan here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  9. chickcrazychick

    chickcrazychick Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    26
    Sep 18, 2013
    North Central Oklahoma
    I was kinda curious about dog poop (we don't have a cat) I was really looking into recycling myself, only to find out we don't have a recycling center :(..I will be thankful for my trash to get that low, we only get ours picked up once a week (we live in the country) but I think I would have to pay the same rate no matter the amount of trash..
     
  10. chickcrazychick

    chickcrazychick Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    26
    Sep 18, 2013
    North Central Oklahoma
    I'm starting to build a container to use as my compost box to put inside my chicken run. I'm breaking down an old pine crate to reuse for the container. Do you guys know if that's ok to compost with a pine box and use pine shavings in the compost??
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by