Large material should be cut up as small as possible: the smaller things are, the quicker they break down. What about apple cores? 3. NO3-N (an optional test) is generally present in only low concentrations in immature composts, although it may increase as the compost matures. The differences in nitrogen composition contributes to the variances in the C:N ratio. Ideal pH depends on compost use. Is this a problem? Your hose should reach easily from the outdoor … when I turn the leaves can I sprinkle in some urea which is 46% nitrogen? Solid Waste. Contact Us. Using round function to calculate a ratio is also a useful method. Or affect it in some way? You said that pine needles can be used? Download the Printable PDF. The researchers tested Carbon:Nitrogen ratios varying from 201 to 78:1. @Kathy, Yes, tea and coffee ground as well as the filters can all go in the compost pile. The results are presented in a form that is easy to use and remember. 19 containers of soil to 1 container of compost = 5 percent compost in soil 4 containers of soil to 1 container of compost = 20 percent compost in soil A 20 to 50 percent soil blend would be the best mixture to use for pots on a deck or a patio because potted plants dry out quickly. The majority of fresh plant ingredients have a 40 percent carbon content. biodegradation, and optimal composting occurs with a C/N ratio between 20 and 30 [Rynk et al., 1992]. @Jack Hammer, Add more coffee grounds to your compost for better results. The C/N ratios in most nished compost products are between 12 and 20 [Rynk et al., 1992]. How To Compost: Everything You Need To Know To Start Composting, And Nothing You Don't! I had read from another source that wood ash would be okay, so I added some when I cleaned out my fireplace, now I have been reading it can cause the compost to become too alkaline. My next-door neighbour just bought a container and started vermicomposting. Thank you for your response. When the composter reaches the 7th layer of compost, the compost changes appearance … This will help trap the heat and keep it from getting over watered if it rains. I have mostly shredded leaves in my compost pile. EC is related to the total soluble salts dissolved in the slurry and is measured in units of millimhos/cm (mmhos/cm). Phone: 509-773-4448. Can you use those? Compost soluble salt levels typically range from 1 to 10 mmhos/cm. Learn how to interpret a compost analysis in this blog post. A successful active compost pile will have a 2 to 1 carbon-to-nitrogen ratio by volume. I’m about to make a ~2.5’x2.5’x3′ composting box (4 levels; beehive style) out of wood, with a lid. It may stink from the cream going sour but it will eventually go away, adding a fair amount of water will likely help. Fine amounts at most. Sometimes I just go out and sit in the compost heap and cover myself in it. It’s only a bad idea to add cat poop or animals waste that are carnivores. And according to the composts scientists, the fastest way to produce fertile, sweet-smelling compost … For the majority of municipal yard waste composts, the C/N ratio is less than 20 to 1. Recipes for making compost usually tell you to combine the browns and greens in the correct ratios. Growers using compost should regularly soil test to monitor P, K and salt accumulation Balance and should consider using other nutrient sources or nitrogen fixing legumes in their crop rotation especially when P and K levels are above optimum. We compost all of the normal garden and household waste also chicken dropings and straw.. How much sea weed do you think we could use. Make sure the pile is hot enough, so grass doesn’t continue. NH4-N levels may be high and Nitrate during initial stages of the composting process, but decrease as maturity increases. great source of nitrogen. The nutrient-rich soil generated from the composting process will consist in a 10:1 C:N ratio. Ideal soluble salt levels will depend on the end use of the compost. Is composting pineapple okay to put in the pile if it is cut up? You can also use the spreadsheet to check if the materials you … Soluble salts are determined by measuring electrical conductivity (EC) in a 1:5 (compost:water, weight ratio) slurry. Optimal Soil-to-Compost Ratio for Raised Beds. Can I use a plastic bin until I find an air raited turning one. Your compost bin shouldn’t stink to high heaven. These issues can usually be remedied easily by tweaking the ratio. Don't worry! Certainly not much. Finished compost should have a % solids content of 50-60% (50-40% moisture). I should have read your Q&A first, because I live in Boise Id and it’s about to get pretty darn cold. The compost pile requires a correct proportion of carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein production to achieve its optimal performance. Physical Address 127 West Court St Goldendale, WA 98620. Yes, you can add cooked vegetables; make sure you bury it deep in the pile to help cut down on attracting critters or flies. Is that because too much is bad for the compost or is recycling the more environmentally responsible thing to do? When putting in banana, orange or apple peels, should you always cut them up? Keeping it roughly 4 ft x 4 ft x 3 ft is more manageable. You can use the spreadsheet or App to evaluate the effects of different feedstock mixtures on C:N ratio and moisture content of the initial pile. Here is an example Compost report with this article available at Penn State. Yes, you can compost citrus rinds as well as use them in your worm bin, try to chop them up as best possible. Thanks. Here we have values in which higher value is not divisible with the smaller value. I’m making it out of a plastic bin, and I have plenty of greens and browns, but I’m wondering If I have to have a top for my bin. Break down slowly. I’m wondering if what I have in there will be weird and gross staying in the bin all winter. Hi Steve, The pH scale is 0 (acidic) to 14 (basic) with 7 being neutral. General nutrient properties of composts : Nutrient content (dry weight basis) : Forms of N present : Organic N > 90%. Is it OK to put citrus rinds in the composter? Enter the mass of each material (wet weight), percentage of carbon, percentage of nitrogen, and percentage of moisture, then click on the calculate button. A ratio of about 60% "green" material to 40% "brown" material is ideal, but not essential. Worms love coffee grounds and coffee filters. When we get the C:N ratio worked out, we need create a pile at least 3x3x3 feet or 1 cubic yard (1cubic m) or place it in a compost tumbler for easier turning. I have been saving all the food scraps but then when my pot is full I have been digging a hole in the ground in my yard and just burying it. What can I do to get the pH were it needs to be now? @roy, Good idea, especially for those of you with no source of nitrogen. … It is important to monitor compost temperature, all material should reach at least 131F (55C) for a minimum of 3 consecutive days to kill pathogens and weed seeds. Typically finished compost looks a lot like light dirt when finished and has good earthy smell. I throw mine in all the time. I live in hot and humid Malta. I compost in a Council supplied plastic compost bin, plenty of ventilation and lided. Can I dig up the cow droppings I buried a week ago and use that? I know untill recent years farmers collected the sea weed to spread on their fields. @Jean Claude, There is no absolute timing with composting. Yes, the size of the compost pile can affect the speed in which it breaks down, but keep in mind the larger the pile the more time and work to turn it. You don’t really need it, but it doesn’t hurt. Also, couple other questions… The Compost Mix Calculator is a spreadsheet or App that calculates compost mixture C:N ratio and moisture content, based on the analysis of your feed stocks and the mixture proportions that you choose. Final compost blends with soil or container media/potting mixes should be tested for soluble salts. Started out we used grass clipping, spend flowers and fruit and vegetable peelings also added dried cow manure and dirt. My friend got me started on composting kitchen items, so now my next stage is transferring into a bin. Also, I have many fire pits with my family and have a lot of burnt boxes, ashes ext. Can that and the used coffee filters that I use making the tea go in the compost pile? If your pile doesn’t get hot enough, it might not kill the organisms. Here is the Recipe: 8 large bags of a high-quality organic potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil) 25 to 50 lbs of organic worm castings 5 lbs steamed bone meal 5 lbs Bloom bat guano 5 lbs blood meal 3 lbs rock phosphate ¾ cup Epson salts ½ cup sweet lime (dolomite) ½ cup azomite (trace elements) 2 tbsp powdered humic acid. Is it like lime? leaves, dried grass, etc then you may want to switch to vermicomposting, which is composting with worms. Crushing shells helps. During aerobic decomposition, plant matter like lignin, cellulose, sugars, and proteins become progressively more oxidized to form molecules of lower molecular weight but with more functional groups. If they are harmful to plants, is there a way to kill them without affecting the nutritional value of the compost? @Natasha McManus, Not the best idea, you will likely get maggots and weevils, its best to leave breads, grains, meats, bones and dairy out of your compost bin. 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