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Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 06-28-2006, 11:23 AM   #1
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Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

For all you backyard gardeners I have a neat trick for your composting. The usual stuff goes in like kitchen vegetable scraps, paper towels and rolls, kleenex etc. I don't put in grass clippings because I use a mulchmower. Ditto with leaves in the fall. Any other vegetation goes in.

The key is massive amounts of coffee grounds that I get from a local Starbucks. I tell them to include the filters because they break down easily. You are guaranteed a neverending supply. They would otherwise just pitch it and are glad to see it go to a good use. I let everything cook for about a year, mixing it every few weeks.

The result is the best sweetest smelling compost you could ever hope for. It's full of earthworms and has a rich dark colour that is the envy of my neighbours. Mrs. Zipper has me spreading it all over her extensive flower gardens and I dig a good amount into the vegetable garden every spring. #1 son is always bringing over containers for me to fill for him. We never add fertilizer because the richness of the compost gives us outstanding growth. It makes a wonderful top dressing for the lawn. Don't worry about acid in the grounds because most of it has been leached out in the brewing process.

If you are a composter try it. Go to your local coffee shop and take advantage of this natural source product and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 06-28-2006, 12:17 PM   #2
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

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If you are a composter try it. Go to your local coffee shop and take advantage of this natural source product and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
What % of the total compost would you estimate comes from coffee grounds & filters? We barely produce a couple cubic feet of "other" input a week, and a local coffee shop could overwhelm us with product.

We add an all-natural fertilizer to our compost-- herbivore droppings. He produces about a half-cup a day, almost exactly what he gets in bunny food.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 06-28-2006, 12:51 PM   #3
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

By raw weight the coffee input would be 60%+. That would drop considerably as the grounds dry out. Kitchen and garden waste would have a greater volume but less weight. Fruit stickers don't break down!

By the time the coffee decomposes and gets eaten by worms and bacteria there is no sign of the grounds. The odd twig or heavier fibre from the garden waste that survives the process can be recycled back for another year if desired. We have a big pond and in the fall I chop up the water hyacinthes, lily pads and excess weed.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 06-28-2006, 03:50 PM   #4
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

............and don't forget crushed eggshells. They take longer to break down but add calcium and other nutrients to the mix.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 06-28-2006, 04:53 PM   #5
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

Yep, coffee grounds and eggshells, and flower petals. When the flowers start to wilt I walk around with a bag and 'deadhead' all the flowers.

Another nice trick if you maintain a larger compost heap and dont want to do any work. Make it out of cinder blocks with the openings in the blocks facing inwards. Find some nice PVC pipe thats been drilled out, or drill it out yourself with small holes. Slide the pipe in between the cinder block walls to create 'internal aeration' tubes. Throw in your compost and keep a tarp on top. Periodically remove the pipes and slide them in a 'notch' higher as the material composts. The pile will compost about twice as fast and you'll never have to turn it.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 06-30-2006, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

Hi Zipper:

Thanks for the tip on coffee grounds for compost. I live in "Starbucks Land" in the Seattle area, so the supply should be endless! Just started gardening recently - it's a lot of fun. (Couldn't do it before I retired because frequent work assignments out of town prevented required maintenance.)

A friend let me borrow a neat book called "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. Very good method on how to grow vegetables in a small area, and lots of good tips. I notice that he also recommends coffee grounds for the compost, as well as tea bags, egg shells, vegetable and fruit peels, reject/spoiled garden produce, etc.

Toejam
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 06-30-2006, 09:39 PM   #7
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

Here's a good resource for composting info. My city offers a free compost bin or a discount on a mulching mower for attending their comost/grasscycling class. I found this link from them.

http://www.composters.com/docs/tips.html
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-01-2006, 02:15 PM   #8
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

good advice. it is amazing how decay enriches the earth.

when i first bought here there was nothing but slash pines growing in sugar sand. this town was built on an old dune. i've since turned this parcel into a jungle. i don't compost formally--of course i'm too lazy for even that--but i produced a nice rich soil simply by letting all the droppings sit there on the ground instead of raking them up. i now have about 4-6 inches of top soil over the sugar sand and you hardly stick a shovel in the ground without cutting an earthworm in half.

it's quite self sustaining. the top soil keeps the plants nicely fertilized, the sugar sand keeps the garden well drained, and the well, pump & irrigation system keeps everything properly wet.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-01-2006, 02:28 PM   #9
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

Sounds liek nice gardening, Lazy.....

Which state do you live? I've never heard of sugar sand...sounds interesting.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-01-2006, 04:13 PM   #10
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

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Sounds liek nice gardening, Lazy.....

Which state do you live?* I've never heard of sugar sand...sounds interesting.
i thought it was a florida term from here where we refer to it as a white, lifeless, very fine sand. but according to wiki, the term is from new jersey, my original home state. it probably mixes well with compost.

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Sugar sand, found in the pine barrens of New Jersey, is a fine silt made up of ultrafine mineral sand mixed with a large percentage of organic granules. Because of its lightness it can easily form quicksand in hollows. In New Jersey, quicksand is often referred to as "sugar sand." Even when dry, sugar sand tends to be too light to drive across and can be hazardous to machinery.~~wikipedia
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-02-2006, 09:15 AM   #11
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

I've heard of someone who has a garbage disposal mounted on a bucket. He runs the vegetable waste through that before putting it in the compost. Anyone tried something like that?
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-02-2006, 09:37 AM   #12
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

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I've heard of someone who has a garbage disposal mounted on a bucket.* He runs the vegetable waste through that before putting it in the compost.* Anyone tried something like that?
I don't understand the advantage of doing so-- if he's worried about sprouting seeds he could probably also kill them in the freezer.

I used to run everything through a chipper and thoroughly mix/water every couple days. In the last year I've noticed that the compost looks pretty much the same if I chip less and don't mix so much. It takes longer but it turns out that I don't need high-volume compost production anyway-- just a method to reduce what's going in the trash and less green waste for the county mulch truck.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-02-2006, 10:55 AM   #13
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

I do chop up my veges/fruits into about 1 inch pieces before dumping into my compost pile.
And I add my shredded paper as the carbon ingredients. That's as far as I go.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-02-2006, 11:14 AM   #14
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

Non-woody stuff composts at about the same rate whether whole or shredded. The key is usually exposure to moisture and oxygen. Most heaps are so compact that shredding barely accellerates the process.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-06-2006, 01:05 PM   #15
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

That's good to know. I never like putting in whole corn cobs, but for me there's really no rush anyway. I compost to get rid of garbage rather than for the gardening benefit.

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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-06-2006, 02:00 PM   #16
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

Yeah, lazy is ok for compost. Shredding often produces compaction, and thats NOT what you want. Big open wet airy areas between chunks of stuff is supreme. Thats why running 'french drain' type pipes through it help by providing aeration and moisture through the middle of the pile.
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-06-2006, 02:07 PM   #17
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

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Thats why running 'french drain' type pipes through it help by providing aeration and moisture through the middle of the pile.
Are we in a decomposition hurry? Not productive enough? How can we make this move faster!!

I spaced four pallets on edge against a chain-link fence, six feet apart to provide room for three separate compost bays, and I just pile the crap up. I used to keep it wet but I don't even bother with that now-- I just let the mauka showers contribute an occasional flush and I turn it when I add the weekly kitchen compost. When the pile collapses I sift out the chunks, put them in the second pile in the process of collapsing, and shovel out the remainder.

Judging from the flora & fauna I suspect that the earthworms & ants are doing more to keep the pile turning than I ever would. We have a lot less trash-- less than a 13-gallon bag a week-- and a couple times a year we dump a 16-gallon container of compost on our golden glory patch.

We get lots of papaya & mango seedlings, too...
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost
Old 07-06-2006, 02:13 PM   #18
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Re: Zipper's Sure Fire Compost

I just dont want to have to "turn the pile".
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