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Old/wet wood chips ok for inside a greenhouse?

 
steward
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I have 8 cubic yards of wood chips from a failed heat generating compost bin to put somewhere.  I opened the hatch to look at them yesterday.  They're brown and wet on the surface (condensation dripping on them from the ceiling of the bin).  Down inside the pile I'm guessing it's drier.  I could excavate to provide more info if that would help.  I'm a bit worried about mold or nastiness since the pile didn't cook all winter, it just sat there at or above freezing.  Is there a way to identify mold vs fungal growth?

I could certainly remove the chips and use them as mulch on my garden paths and in the food forest.  While wearing a respirator.

Alternatively, I need to build soil inside the greenhouse (20'x40' footprint).  At my disposal will be:
  • Chicken winter run compost - made up of leaves, poop and coffee grounds - 2 cubic yards
  • Chicken coop bedding (could be composted outside for 3 months as well) - made up of pine shavings and copious chicken turds - 1-2 cubic yards
  • Grass clippings from the 1/2 acre yard once the grass wakes up - 1-2 cubic yards per week
  • Raked up leaves in town, possibly contaminated with dog turds - 100 cubic yards

  • If I used the chips inside the greenhouse, might I be spreading some mold vector or other unhappiness?  Any suggestions of ways to lasagna mulch the possible ingredients above for good soil building?  The soil is sandy topsoil, currently cover cropped with grass and dandelions.  
     
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    The respirator is a good idea - better safe than sorry.
    Wood chips take a long time to decompose and really benefit from extra nitrogen. I use them for mulching my winter runs, adding a thin layer of mulch every day to cover any obvious poops. If it gets too deep (because wood decomposes so slowly) I shovel it into a compost heap and even then, I'd water it with diluted urine occasionally.

    Sooo... mixing it with your other ingredients will make very slow release soil in a greenhouse - possibly slow enough to annoy your growies if you don't add extra nitrogen.
    But... that large a greenhouse will still need paths, so you could use your other resources to help the soil grow plants right away, and make wood chip paths which will slowly break down into more soil.
    Or... if you make the paths a very thick layer of wood chips (12-18"), you could water the paths regularly with the diluted urine and it would compost faster.

    I've been treating my wood chips paths as a future soil source for some time. It's not fast, but it keeps my feet out of the mud!
     
    steward
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    I really dislike anything decomposing in my greenhouse. I don't like the molds and fumes that are released.

     
    gardener
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    Molds are everywhere as spores in the air.
    From your description portion of your post I would take all the materials you have, the wood chips, the chicken house bedding, the winter run compost, the raked up leaves and create one windrow to compost, when you turn this windrow you can add the grass clippings to get things really heating up.

    As Joseph stated, don't invite greenhouse disasters by introducing awakened molds which are growing in your wood chips currently (the only way they wouldn't be is if that bin you had them in was air tight and there was no oxygen ever in the bin).

    Since the soil you want to build already has a cover crop growing in it, chop and drop while you wait on the newly built compost windrow to mature, then use it as the topping over the chop and drop.

    Jay also brought up the great idea of respirators, these are always something to have and use when dealing with materials that have molds active in them, a lung full of mold spores is not a good thing and if it happened to be the right mold it could lead to fatality.

    Redhawk
     
    Mike Haasl
    steward
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    Thanks Bryant, Joseph and Jay!  Sorry I didn't respond earlier.  We've found a need for a decent amount of wood chips in our burgeoning food forest.  So I think we'll pull all the chips out and use some for that.  I like the windrow idea, just need to find a place for it...  Maybe I can create a spot to do this composting that can later be turned into a little guild.  
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