• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Dale's 10 Day Sod Hot Compost and 2 Week Leaf Mold  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6796
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My friend moved to a condo and complained bitterly about lack of garden space. I went on the computer and 5 minutes later turned up a nice south facing plot 0.7 km away that was on one of those garden share sites. It is fenced, there's deep black soil, water and an agreeable lady living in the house.

Thick, lush grass had conquered most of this space. I got going with the mattock and 20 minutes later had a large quantity of sod that the ladies wanted me to truck away along with hundreds of pounds of the best soil. I refused, and instead decided to hot compost it in place.

I picked up about 75 lb. of coffee waste from Starbucks and mixed it all together. Both soil and coffee were already wet. The pile is in full sun. I covered it with black plastic to jump start the heating. It got hot that day and we left it for 5 days.

After 5 days, I removed the plastic and found that a total kill of the grass had been achieved. The coffee smell was gone. This garden was started around July 9th, mostly from plants that were in pots on a balcony. I've already eaten greens which are doubling each week.

The second and third photos show the material after 5 days and after 10 days.

The leaf mold is in the next post ---- and I need a photo, so will get one later today.
IMAG3576.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3576.jpg]
IMAG3571.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3571.jpg]
IMAG3600.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3600.jpg]
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6796
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I opened up the grass compost today and one of the ladies examined it with me. She agreed that it was dead and then said " Now can I put it in the garbage ? " I explained the purpose of saving it for the 10th time. She argued until I told her I would never return if any of the material went to the dump.

After discussing several disposal options, it was laid in rows and burried under 3 inches of compost. I was against tall, dry mounds for greens but went with it. A straw mulch will help.

IMAG3633.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3633.jpg]
IMAG3634.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3634.jpg]
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6796
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
LEAF MOLD ----- I wanted to try a quick leaf mold primarily as a means of convincing my gardening buddies that they don't need to buy bags of forestry waste masquerading as compost. I explained that the plane trees that lost these leaves bring nutrients from deep down. I explained that coffee grounds are like nice smelling manure without the weed seeds.

I had heard that these leaves are slow to rot but settled on them based on availability. During a period of no rain, we had a wind storm which brought down a huge supply of leaves. Chester street has only broad leafed street trees and the city sweeper cleaned the area shortly before the storm. This is a good area of town with very few smokers or others who litter the streets with garbage. Competition for parking causes plenty of maneuvering which tends to pulverize the leaves. All of these things factored into my decision to gather leaves on this street.

The bagged leaves were mixed with coffee grounds and water, then set in the sun to speed up decay. After 5 days, I opened the bags and stirred the material. After 10 days, it's not nearly as far along as the grass compost was. It smells like hay silage. After 2 weeks the leaves are moldy but no where close to finished leaf mold.

The big sod mound contained a bunch of cherry leaves that broke down pretty well in one week. The ones gathered on Chester St. were English Plane trees. The last photo is of that street.
IMAG3574.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3574.jpg]
IMAG3670.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3670.jpg]
IMAG3575.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3575.jpg]
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Needs mushrooms.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6796
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is the garden that was started 3 weeks ago today. Luckily we have plenty of water. The girls have set it up for maximum soil heating and evaporation. I tried to sell the idea of mulch but was told that gardens only look good as raised beds with clean soil. The big mound of dead grass lies under the lettuce mounds. That's right --- raised mounds to grow lettuce in a south facing garden that was started in July. If this stuff doesn't bolt then the whole idea of lettuce bolting in the heat is a myth. But overall it's looking not bad when you consider that it was grass three weeks ago.
IMAG3763.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3763.jpg]
IMAG3762.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMAG3762.jpg]
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6796
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6796
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's been a few months now. The hot compost was hot and very fast. The leaves still look a bit like leaves. Everything is incorporated into the soil for winter. Kale, mustard greens and garlic lie dormant. Not much will happen until March. I'm stiil harvesting some greens that are in cold storage. Little new growth.
 
And now I present magical permaculture hypno cards. The idea is to give them to people that think all your permaculture babble is crazy talk. And be amazed as they apologize for the past derision, and beg you for your permaculture wisdom. If only there were some sort of consumer based event coming where you could have an excuse to slip them a deck ... richsoil.com/cards
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!