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post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi, I want to try a small organic garden. Can I buy compost? Please don't laugh, but the idea of making it myself just seems too overwhelming right now.........
Any tips on getting started with a small garden are appreciated.
post #2 of 23
Hey there
Our local dump gives it away for free on weekends, you just have to call and haul! You should check with yours.
post #3 of 23
Out here you can buy it in bags at the garden store (made locally) or else you can bring your own shovel and container (trunk of your car?) to a commerical organic garden. Look around - I bet you can find some. I've bought it because when we moved here we had no compost generated yet, and even now we don't quite meet our composting needs. You can also check and see if any horse farms, etc give away manure.
post #4 of 23
Local dump compost is not considered organic because most used bio-sludge (aka treated sewage). They are supposed to adhere to strict standards, but from what I see, I would not use it in a garden bed (perhaps only if it were an ornamental bed).

Be careful using straight manure, it can burn plants. Black Kow is a brand of composted cow manure that i love. It comes in a yellow bag.

making your own compost is not hard, but it does take some time unless you ahve an expensive composter. Iwould definitely look into making a pile as it cuts down on household waste. But for the time being, get some black cow and get that mixed into your dirt.
post #5 of 23
Hey as long as we are talking about compost can a new composter ask some dumb questions?

Is compost a fertilizer or a planting medium?

How long should it take? I have a plastic garbage can I have been putting leaves and kitchen waste into for about six months.. maybe longer. I water it regularly, etc...

So I went to use some of it recently but there are big chunks of carrot and whatnot in it... so I said to myself, 'self, this is clearly not ready to use at this time' and myself wanted to know, 'but when?'. I have been chopping my veggie contributions down smaller since The Great Carrot Incident, but I just keep feeling like I am not doing this right. Wisdom? Help? Anyone?
post #6 of 23
kama'aina mama, I think of compost as a soil amendment. It'll contribute some nutrients, but it doesn't replace fertilizer completely, and it doesn't replace soil.

Are you turning the compost in your can? Does it have nice big holes? At the very least, your compost needs air and water. It will eventually break down. You can increase the speed with more attention to air and water, and really concentrating on the ratio of green and brown ingredients. I mostly use my compost pile with kitchen waste and don't really add much brown stuff, so it takes longer. But I don't care. It eventually gives me something I can use.

I, too, am wary of municipal compost. Not just because of the sludge potential, but because you have no clue what kind of pesticides, fertilizers and industrial wastes the contents have been exposed to.
post #7 of 23
I think www.gardenerssupply.com sells organic compost. Kind of pricey but you know it's what's in it.

We just started a new composter. We had one of the cheap tumble kind and it was a total failure so we went back to the beehive like earth machine.

I can't wait for the first batch!
post #8 of 23
I did a small no dig vege garden a few years ago & it's still going strong. What I did was :

Marked out a space using railway sleepers. Chuck some dolomite, some blood & bone ( I Didn't use that but the mag article said to ) & some vege scraps all around. Covered them with a decent layer of wet soggy newspaper. Bunged a whole heap of seaweed over that. We're lucky - we live by the sea. However, I'm sure you could do something like use lawn clippings or comfrey leaves or nettles or well rotted manure something else like that. Then I covered the whole lot with a thick layer of compost that I got from the local garden centre & planted my seeds.

The mag article said not to grow root crops for the first season.

Everytime I harvest a crop I either cover the area in seaweed & dig it in before I sow more seeds or I sow a green manure crop or do both. You could also dig some other type of manure in now too.

I've been letting the odd one of things like my lettuce self seed. it grows all year around over here & I find the self seeded ones are more snail resistant. So what I do then is liquid feed with liquid seaweed, or comfrey or nettle tea or I overmulch it with comfrey leaves. I try to practise crop rotation but have lost the book that tells me how to do it so it's all pretty much guess work so far.

Ohh & I drink nettle & raspberry leaf tea every morning so I throw the tea leaves on the garden too.
post #9 of 23
JW, all I can say is WOW!!!

I just have a regular composter, black, four sides, lid, vent. We have had it in place a year, since we moved, and nothing seems to have broken down in it. Admittedly, it is winter, but I mean nothing in a year!! You can buy compost accelerator here, which is a powder you sprinkle on. It says it is all organic/natural sources, no inactive or chemical fillers. How good is this stuff? Is it safe? I don't have a veggie garden, but I would like to start one this year, but I don't see the point if I use chemicals in any way, shape or form.
post #10 of 23
You can buy it at Wal-Mart.

Locally we can also pick it up at the dump.

post #11 of 23
yikes JW! That's not a small garden by my standards. Mine's about 2m x 2m & is totally miniscule. I have read stuff about speeding compost up, but I can't check now coz my organic gardening book is in with Saffron.

One of the guys I was at school with's Dad used to pee on the compost heap every night before he went to bed. I've also read yarrow speeds it up too. Mine seems to go in fits & starts. I think you also need adequate air circulation as well as the worms. If you search on google for compost making & organic gardening, you should find something useful on-line.
post #12 of 23
Compost is actually made by bacteria. The outter layers can be inhabited by bugs but for the real work, it is very hot and bacteria are the reason.

Compost gets hot when the bacteria breathe. Starters are simply bacteria to get it cooking. You can get bacteria naturally by adding "hot" materials such as manure. Rabbit manure is awesome. There are a type of earthworms that inhabit compost and help break it down.

If you can find a local rabbit farm nearby or someone with horses, ask them for some poop. That will cut out the need for a starter. Only use the poop of non meat eating animals. The reason it is soo important to get compost cooking is to sterilize it. Properly composted dirt should be sterile. THus harbor no potentially harmful pathogens and kill most weed seeds.

If you are not properly composting your stuff, and then spread it on the garden, you run risk of adding tons of weeds from lawn clippings etc and possibly pathogens from food scraps.

I will try to take a pic of my compost pile today. It is not perfect by any means. I simply took some pallets and nailed them together then started layering. If I had to do it again, I would have added a layer of chicken wire to the bottom for aeration.
post #13 of 23
Sounds like an awesome compost heap ya got there!!! Mine is really lacking in the poo dept.

I think the starters are mostly for people with fandangled composters who dont want to bother with the crap (pun intended).

I should take a pic of our pile...
post #14 of 23
I know a girl dd#1's age who keeps chooks. You've reminded me to get some chookie poop off her. Also does it have to be male pee or is it just coz it's easier for them to aim ? I'm thinking I could recycle Saffron's pee once she starts using the potty.
post #15 of 23

I'm so impressed

How much of your family's food do you grow "%"??

post #16 of 23
What the heck is a chook? a rabbit? I cant even begin to imagine how hard it must be to interpret american slang since the majority of folks here are from the US.

But I have never heard of "bung" or "chook" till JW and Oceanmamma.

Ohh we use some humanure and Dh waters it from his font all the time. He has a moral opposition to pissing in drinking water.

But our pile is HUGE since we have a ton of plant debris generated from the nursery. So we need more poo that we can generate.

Animals are out of the question. I cannot handle anymore mouths to feed or responsibility. Perhaps when Aria is older, it can be a learning experience. I have been thinking of going to the local rabbit farm and getting some manure. They charge $1 per 10 pounds. At any rate, it will compost!
post #17 of 23
a chook is a chicken. if you're really unlucky ( imo ) you'll meet a guy who calls you chook as a term of endearment.

as for american slang, we havt TV
post #18 of 23
:LOL JW. I'm actually English anyways so I don't use the "d" word very often. Just sounds too wierd for me. Yes we do have a TV & I don't watch it. I think they are the root of all evil. Well one of the many roots depending on what sort of mood I am in.

Back on topic... Surprise of all surprises. I went out at lunch time & when I came home there were 2 railway sleepers laying side by side next to my little 2m x 2m vege garden. I went out again & when I came back I now have another raised bed with a brick edging around it too. It's 1m x 2m. I now need to buy some more compost to go in it. There's not enuf in my bin & it's only partially rotted down. So it's a trip to the beach for me tomorrow to get some seaweed. Past starbucks for a soy chai latte & more coffee grounds. I already got the dags to go in it. I may have many issues with my h but it amazes me sometimes how psychic of my desires he is for someone about as esoteric as a brick. Actually he is extremely talented in the building anything department. He may curse & swear alot while he's doing it but the end result is always very professional. He's also not that bad a gardener when he puts his mind to it.

As for rabbit poo. I know some people who use whole rabbits. They have a rural property & shoot / trap the possums & rabbits & bury the bodies under the fruit trees as slow acting fertiliser.
post #19 of 23
Nope on the John Dagg song.

Maybe we need to start a separate thread about the relative fertilisation qualities of different types of rodent. The cats are getting a fair few these days. Should I plant them under my citrus trees ? May help me deal with them a bit better & get over my phobia if it's being part of my ecosystem so to speak.

WHere do I get mushroom compost from ? I've not seen any. Mind you, it could be like the whole anchor butter thing. Can't see the butter for the dairy products. I've got some dolomite in there at the moment with the dags & the coffee grounds.

Can you also decribe to me a mantis ? Like how much do you need to dig it in if you didn't quite have the correct tool ?
post #20 of 23
How long does sheep (or any) manure have to stand in a pile before it's "acceptable" composted manure? New gardeners with free old sheep manure available want to know.
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