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Thread: Weird compost ?

  1. #1
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    Weird compost ?

    It looks like I can no longer get Hu-More which is alfalfa blended with humus. I think they went out of buisness. Anyway, a local garden center is having guest appearancs by the creator of a compost with the following ingredients(**see below). Is there any benefit to such a compost ? There is one other alternative locally that uses chicken feathers and acidified cotton seed hulls (it's sold as rose ammender) but hasn't impressed me yet. I just want humus--whatever that is. I guess I want healthy soil. Any recommendations on what to look for in a purchasable top dressing type compost ?

    **Weed seed free and made entirely of recycled duck poop, cranberries, rice hulls, wood shavings, pickles and vanilla beans,
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  2. #2
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    Very interesting. I get it all except the pickles and vanilla bean (which are very expensive unless they are using ones that have been used to extract the vanilla.) The pickles would concern me not so much because of the acid but the salt that is used in processing. Maybe they soak some of that out. Go to the presentation if you can and let us know what he has to say. I would be curious to know.
    tennessee sue

  3. #3
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    Humus

    Good thread, good questions.

    I think it's best to define the word Humus, so we can make sure we are all talking about the same thing. I guess we should also establish that we are talking about Organic material, and not the musical group

    Humus, fully formed, has very few nutrients left in it, and is mostly valuable for moisture retention, and aeration of the roots of plants. Compost, on the otherhand, is in the process of breaking down, and continues to deliver some nutrients to the plant (but very little nitrogen).
    Either of these two can come from a variety of sources. However, I doubt that feathers, not being organic, would add anything other than bulk, and perhaps some aeration, but then maybe not? I would need a LOT of convincing before purchasing anything containing them

    Your mention of Cotton hulls is interesting. The 'cotton trash' generated at the gin here, is free for the taking and makes a very good soil conditioner/compost/mulch. They rarely have any trouble getting rid of the mountains of it they generate. However, it composts rather rapidly in either application, and it takes a lot to do the job. I suspect that would be the same for any mixture that contains any large percent of it.

    Here is a link that may clairify some of the terminology, and application techniques.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humus

    Remember, organic materials will consume, use up, take away nitrogen in the process of composting. This is especially important to keep in mind when you 'dig in' large quantities of composting materials in order to 'improve', or 'condition' your soil.
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

  4. #4
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    I did a little research on the net and found several sites that say you can compost feathers. One says they add nitrogen. I would think they would take a while to decompose. One site was the Pa.Dept. of Enviromental Protection another Organic Gardening Magazine. It might be all right in commercially finished compost but I wouldn't want to try it in my home pile. Of course I don't have any chickens so it isn't an option for me anyway. I can see them floating all over the neighborhood.LOL
    tennessee sue

  5. #5
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    http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/living/16920557.htm
    Above link to today's newspaper Garden section.

    I think the question about salts is a good one.


    How do you incorporate compost in an establsihed bed ? Do you use one of those hand claws and scratch it in ?
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  6. #6
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    Cathy,
    Tilling in would be great if you have a tiller. Digging in also works. Any way you can get it in helps. I plan to just broadcast some in my shade bed as I don't want to disturb some of the established wildflowers. Eventually the worms will work it in for me as well as my putting in new plants.
    We have a stable here that gives away horse manure that is mixed with straw and hay. I hope to get some and let it compost for a year before I use it. It sometimes has seeds in it. They load it for you. I used it one yer on my new garden and it really helped my clay soil.
    tennessee sue

  7. #7
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    I found a bag of what I call compost for roses as it was originally recommended to me as a rose compost that's good for daylilies.
    It has composted manure, feather meal(huh?), alfalfa meal, sulfur and-I'll have to double check the bag. I took hand fulls and spred it around all my daylilies(well, not -all-I started late and it got dark before I finished). Of course, then I read the bag which says that it can be used as a top dressing but also says not to use it 'straight'. Huh?, Top dressing = using it straight. Maybe they mean don't pot a plant in it !
    Under mulching it says not to let it touch the root stem. Eek ! I walked back around and made sure nothing was touching the plants. I think they mean root stem in terms of below the surface as that warning was under 'mulching' and I think they mean mulching where you dig it in.
    I used it before years ago(same bag maybe) and did it the same way. I don't recall any amazing growth but the plants are in a differnt location now.
    We'll see. I'll top dress all the others tomorrow. I wonder if I should water it in a little or wait for rain ?
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




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