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Vermicompost? Compost? or other?

 
Posts: 21
Location: Land of Oz
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Hey guys I'm just after a bit of advice.
I have access to large amounts of garden waste, coffee grounds, shredded paper and vegie wastes which I want to use to increase fertility in my vegie beds and orchard.
I'm having trouble deciding on whether to
a) Dig a trench, fill it with worm friendly materials and red wrigglers. (lots of labour to then dig it out and spread around trees and vegie beds)
b) Throw it all in to a pile in the paddock and compost it (don't have a tractor to turn it nor pigs to move it for me)
c) Spread it under the trees and let the chickens eat/scratch/poop all over it (probably less efficient? take longer?)

What are your thoughts? Or does someone have a better/simpler idea?

thanks for the help


 
pollinator
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I vote for (c).

If you spread it under one tree and then the next time do the second, and the next time the third, by the time you get to the last tree, the stuff under the first tree should be well composted to the point that you can use it as mulch for the veggie beds. Then start the cycle all over again.
 
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Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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To me the default answer is a thermophilic compost pile, especially if large quantities are involved.

That said, why not try option C, and if the quantities overwhelm you move to the pile.

I've never vermicomposted, but that sounds like an interesting trial too.

 
steward
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I'd go with C.
The chickens will do the work of turning, aerating, blending with soil, and do it all as part of their natural activity. They'll keep bugs under control, add their own contribution, and save on you providing feed. The tree keeps the heap shaded, reducing moisture loss. If there is a lot of moisture, any nutrients that leach out of the heap will service the tree.
Hard to think of a more efficient system. Your only effort is gathering the material in one place, taking it away when its done.

 
gardener
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A few, disconnected ideas.

--might want to search compost/paper on Permies for discussions about use of paper in soil enrichment.
--might need different strategies for your orchard and veggie beds. Or use John's tree-then-beds suggestion. Seems like more work to re-spread mulch.
--how much work do you want to be involved in this operation? You could just plop it on a tree and move on. I am looking for a solution where I put compostables in one place and never touch them again -- so zero extra work.
--C involves near-zero work, but you don't get the veggies into the action.
--I'm looking into a localized, chimney-like structure for veggie beds, since adding compost to places full of plants is hard. You might have to sort the big chunks out for this to work.

 
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Location: Fennville MI
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Juan Pedro Ortiz wrote:Hey guys I'm just after a bit of advice.
I have access to large amounts of garden waste, coffee grounds, shredded paper and vegie wastes which I want to use to increase fertility in my vegie beds and orchard.
I'm having trouble deciding on whether to
a) Dig a trench, fill it with worm friendly materials and red wrigglers. (lots of labour to then dig it out and spread around trees and vegie beds)
b) Throw it all in to a pile in the paddock and compost it (don't have a tractor to turn it nor pigs to move it for me)
c) Spread it under the trees and let the chickens eat/scratch/poop all over it (probably less efficient? take longer?)

What are your thoughts? Or does someone have a better/simpler idea?

thanks for the help




I have to chuckle a little Why do you expect the chicken option to be "less efficient" - especially when you see the trench option as involving "lots of labour" ?

Personally, I would lean toward either a or c, depending upon circumstances. For (a), I would dig a trench alongside where I wanted my veggie bed, load up the trench, plant the bed, and let the plants figure out that the good stuff is right over there, next to them. I wouldn't do the trench where I needed to relocate the compost after it was done. For (c), drop the "raw" material around the target tree(s) and let the chickens take it from there - how could it be less work?

Having said that, what does my garden actually have? Confined chickens, so no letting them do my composting work around the trees. And two composting bins, plus one composting pit. So I'm not following my own advice at all.. sigh
 
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