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sawdust and bark chips for compost

  • Subject: [cg] sawdust and bark chips for compost
  • From: "a.h.steely" gfcp@mindspring.com
  • Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 07:46:14 -0400

I realize that composting in the country is a lot different than city
gardening but, the only time I really had any luck was when someone gave my
now ex a goat that was a real brat.  She was tied behind the trailer in a
doghouse over the winter with about 2 foot deep sawdust (free for the
hauling) for bedding.  The area was a perimeter of 60 by 30 ft.  The mobile
home protected her from the winds.  Her hooves turned up the sawdust and
manure as well as the feed and hay over the winter.  Untutored in letting
the stuff set, I planted beet seeds and pumpkins immediately in the spring.
Wow, the beets were about 3 inches in diameter and the pumpkins and other
stuff really grew well!  However, the smell did not bother anyone because we
had about an acre between us and anyone else.

The trick was the manure which provided the nitrogen.  Everyone, including a
local farmer told me that the sawdust would sour my ground.  I have no idea
what souring your ground means.  Since I had a dog tied to the tongue of the
trailer at various times during the day, the critters didn't eat all the
tender plants before they came up.  That is one difference between the
country, suburbs and the city.  My cats keep the suburban critters at bay,
i.e., rabbits, squirrels and birds.  In the city, I never saw critters
stealing my seeds or small plants.

Master Gardeners composting courses tell us not to use manure or meat scraps
but that of course is where you would find nitrogen unless you have access
to alfalfa hay or grow alfalfa and clover instead of grass.

Best of luck in finding non smelly nitrogen in the city.

Helen Steely
Hbg., Pa.

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