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RE: Composting

I am lucky...we do get rain here.  However, if I just stack my grass
and/leaves, it doesn't break down easily.  What I do is cut it up with a
mulch mower and pile it up and it does decompose without turning.  Also,
found that if I  make a short pile on the concrete driveway, the sun will
break it down pretty easily in the summer.  I'm wondering if will break
down if you wet it once and cover it with heavy clear plastic.  The
moisture will continue to condense against the plastic for awhile before it
evaporates completely and that might help.

Bonnie Zone 7/7 ETN
Remember:  The River Raisin, The Alamo, The Maine, Pearl Harbor, 9/11

> [Original Message]
> From: Johnson Cyndi D Civ 95 CG/SCSRT <cyndi.johnson@edwards.af.mil>
> To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> Date: 11/16/2006 11:42:12 AM
> Subject: [CHAT] Composting
> Bonnie wrote something the other day that made me laugh a little. I
> mentioned all the sycamore leaves and how, if I had time, I should shred
> them and use them as mulch. Bonnie said, just pile them up and next
> summer you'll have compost. Which gave me instant envy for a climate
> where you could do that.
> It's dry here. I mean, it's really dry. When we moved to our current
> house years ago, the first time I mowed the lawn I didn't have an area
> set up for a compost pile, so I just dumped the grass over on the side
> of the yard. And it just sat there. Now, I have a big yard, and we had a
> lot to do, so I forgot about it for a couple years while we got
> everything set up like we wanted it. One day I went over and kicked that
> pile - it was pretty much like I'd left it only of course it was dry and
> slightly smaller. The stuff at the bottom looked pretty much like the
> stuff on the top. No decomposition had taken place at all!
> Compost here requires human intervention, mostly in the form of water.
> When I was more energetic, I would get out there every week and turn
> over the pile, soaking everything with my hose during the process. But I
> don't do it much any more - in the vegetable garden I just pile the
> spoiled hay from the sheep pens right onto the beds. Because those get
> watered all summer it does break down, and there's a lot of it, so I
> don't really need the finished compost. I still have a pile, but I'm not
> very good at maintaining it. And I throw away a lot of stuff from the
> kitchen that could go out there.
> I decided just the other day I should start using the hay on the front
> garden, till now I've mostly just used bark mulch on the bare spots. It
> looks nicer and it too will eventually break down (takes a lot longer
> though). But I think I'd get better results from the plants if I used
> the hay, and now of course we have all that horse manure. I started
> piling that into the chicken pen - it's pretty big - and I'll let the
> chickens kick through it and maybe it will help fertilize all the trees
> and shrubs in there. I don't know how much that can absorb though. It's
> amazing...you know, you feed sheep and you get back piles of these
> little pellets...feed a horse and you pretty much get back the same
> volume of stuff!
> So how many of you have real compost piles? Are you diligent about
> turning them or is it just a place to dump organic matter?
> Cyndi
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