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2019 Gardening

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by Toothpick, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. I want to compost the manure over winter. Will get that going shortly while there is still some warm weather and hope to use next spring. I've heard good things about using it, well composted.

    I'm going to do a youtube video on my worm composting. It has turned out so well and so easy to do. I researched a ton of methods about folks building special boxes, all way to small and complicated in my opinion.
    I ended up just running the leaves through a quick shred and then dumping them into some 2 foot diameter by 2 foot tall plastic planters with the 4 drainage holes in the bottom, wet it down with rain water and covered lightly with a plastic bag from planting mix.
    It works so well and is so easy it's a breeze. Dump worms in after a couple of weeks and let them work on it. I have a batch now that is about 3 months old and it's almost ready to harvest castings from. Amazing. :)
    Never stirred them, not once. Just let them do their thing, which is mold, and let the worms eat what they would.

    I'm going to have a bunch of these starting up pretty soon. All just oak leaves.
    Every once in a while I tossed in some coffee grounds from starbucks or threw in some old chicken feed that got wet, but really didn't hardly feed them at all.
    If you mix in a bunch of other junk the leaves won't mold well, and that is the key to quick decomposition of oak leaves. Coffee grounds don't seem to affect that negatively.
    I built a sifting frame with 1/4 inch wire over 1/8th inch wire and it sifts out the fine castings. They need to be just a tad on the dry side, but I sifted right out of the barrel and it wasn't too bad.
    I got two 5 gallon buckets of castings from one barrel. Not bad at all. It's all in my fall garden now and will be my first test of it's effectiveness as a fertilizer.

    If you do compost I hope you will post your setup and results. Around here everyone bags up their oak leaves and trashes them. I'm going to be collecting a lot of good garden gold from my neighbors this year. :)
  2. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    Wow that’s a great bit of information Mark. Thanks! I need to read up some more and figure out where I want to put it. How to build the pile, what to use, etc etc. We have a lot of yard waste. Quite a bit of food scraps, seemingly unlimited chicken poo. So I think I have the makings of a great compost pile. Just have to figure out how to put it all together. I’ll post it up for sure.
  3. If you want to get down and dirty with real living compost this is probably one of the best videos to start with. Very informative.
    This one is quite a bit different and more of a conventional type of compost pile vs mine, which is a mold dominated vermicompost (worm composting).

    I also forgot to mention the winter. We had 34 inches of snow by fluke this winter, and my barrels went through it with the worms no problem. Now it might be different if temps were down around 0 or something. We don't see anything like that. About 18 is the lowest I've seen here.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  4. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    I think the basic, simple composting is what I want. If that is even a thing.....
    Just toss yard clippings, food waste, and chicken poo in the pile and let it to do it’s thing. Turning it as needed. That’s what I know about composting haha.

    I’ll check that video out tonight.
  5. I hear ya. I am sure it would work. If it's something you'll continually add to as far as food scraps and such I'd add some red wriggler composting (fishing) worms to it as well. :)
  6. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

  7. I don't know if you've looked into fodder for your chickens. I am growing a tray of sunflowers every day for mine. Increases Omega 3 in the eggs and other nutrients and fiber to their food.
    Just a planting tray a day with a bit of planting mix and sprinkle seeds on top and water. Stack them up and just rotate through. Chicks love them.
    I've gotten myself on a real home grown kick this year, mostly because of the industrial food system has just robbed our food of nutrition and I'm concerned for my health.
  8. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    My chicks get table scraps and layer feed. I tried growing some herbs just for them but never stuck with it. Maybe during the fall I’ll set something up. I have access to all the pallets I want and I always think of doing stuff with them but never follow through. I’m sure it would be easy to set up a raised garden bed of some sort for chick food.

    I’ve seen stuff online where folks have a garden set up in the chicken run with mesh wire over it. And as the plants grow through the wire the chickens can walk on top and peck at it but they arn’t able to pull the plant out of the ground. So the plants just keep growing and the chicks keep eating. I have a small 2x4 square thing in there now that I just move around as grass starts to grow under it.
  9. That movable cage is a good solution! Unfortunately for me I would just be moving them around on bare ground. We only have greens growing wild in late fall and spring. So I have to resort to providing them greens somehow.
    And the dang squirrels tore up their greens for the day. :(

    This is a fodder system for chickens.

    This is pretty much what I do. I used the black sunflower seeds at $20 per 50 lb bag, very cheap and chickens love them.

  10. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    That’s awesome. And very simple too! I don’t have anywhere inside to keep it though. Seems like something I’d have to set up during the spring/summer outside. I’ll have to set something up for next year.
  11. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    @Mark Brock are you doing wet feed or fermented feed for your chickens too?
    I’m going to try wet feed today and get a system set up for fermented feed. I noticed when I empty the water bucket they go crazy for the pellets that got wet.
  12. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    Tried the wet feed thing. Lots to learn and do better! They didn’t touch it but i think they were done eating for the morning already.

  13. I've looked at fermented feed and am really interested in the probiotic aspect for health. Keep us posted on results! (and any good vids).
  14. OK, I haven't got around to a video yet, but I will. In the mean time I had to sift out one of my barrels before the big rain tomorrow. I took a bunch of pictures and will explain each for the curious.

    This first one is the leaf litter I start with. Emory Oak leaves. I run them through either a troybilt shredder or a simple leave vac/shredder, the hand held type.


    This is the bucket of worm casting litter with the top layer scraped away. The top .5 inch or so gets dried out and doesn't compost really, so just leaf bits.


    Next is my improvised sifting box. It works pretty good but there are a ton of home built/DIY powered sifters which I plan to build now that I know this experiment is a success. What are they called again? Sifter/harvester/trommel. I put guide bars on the bottom of the box to fit my wheel barrow. A bit too wide, but will fix.

    The next two pics show the litter that needs to go back in the barrel (including worms) and then the finished product, castings.

    VermiCompostTest-41SiftResults.jpg VermiCompostTest-4SiftResults.jpg

    These last two show the final results.
    So the original weight of the barrel starting was 110 lbs. After this (one bucket of castings) it was 79 lbs, so 31 lbs sifted. The castings weighed in at 21.5 lbs, so that's about 60% castings by weight. Not bad!

    Figuring the work involved for this one buck: Rake leaves and shread. Add to barrel, add water, then in 2-3 weeks add worms. Check once a week to make sure it's moist and worms are well.
    30 minutes to sift this bucket out. Not too bad to get good organic non-GMO, unmedicated, un-adulterated worm castings. :) I know I am taking this pretty far, but really want to understand how well this kind of operation can work in the garden. So now the grow tests are in order. My sprouting tests (if the squirrels will leave be) are showing a good benefit from this fertilizer.

    VermiCompostTest-51SiftFinal.jpg VermiCompostTest-61Sift.jpg

    ......Some key words:
    Oak leaf compost
    teaming with microbes
    vermicomposting with leaves
    living soil
  15. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

  16. That is what I have done so far. Just getting started. When I clean out my beds this winter I plan to put in maybe two buckets in each bed and see how that goes. Then feed every couple of months after in the spring.
    I have to figure it out. I need a control bed with none so I can see how they compare. I might use two huge planters and put a tomato in each one with castings one without and compare. Not sure yet.
  17. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

  18. Good link! I am looking at plans too.
    I had watched this video a year ago and forgot about it. I found it again yesterday. I really like this design. It is low maintenance (no turning), and relatively easy.
    I think the one mod I would like to make on it is to make it a continuous feed reactor that I can clean out from the bottom side as I need finished compost. That might be a challenge but I am giving it some thought.


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