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Composting blackberry vines?  RSS feed

 
C. Spooner
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We're clearing out our blackberry overgrown backyard to make room for a new garden of bush fruits primarily. Lots and lots of blackberries back there. If we chop up the canes can we put them in the compost heap? My husband thinks so. I'm doubtful of distributing blackberries all over our property sprouting from the compost. Our compost does not get terribly hot due to not enough green matter.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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Let them dry in the sun first. A piece of blackberry vine doesn't need much encouragement to resprout in a new place, and a warm (but not hot) compost pile could be just what they are looking for.
 
Sam Boisseau
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Location: PNW, British Columbia
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I've experimented with putting blackberry vines in hugelkulture piles... They do sprout if they're still green.


Then I've seen someone put green-ish vines at the bottom of a big compost pile (after chopping them up with pruners) and it wasn't an issue.


I would personally use them but let them in the sun for a while, chop them up and put them at the bottom. If they do sprout it's not that big of a deal as long as you catch them early on.

Make sure not to have pieces of vine sticking out from the pile at the bottom.
 
dan long
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sounds like you need a big, hot pile. If your pile is reaching the recommended 160 degrees, then you should have no problem.

Personally, when i make a compost pile, i don't think much about green:brown because I really only have whats available. I think coarse:fine. My kitchen scraps are all "fine" and the grass clippings at the park are "coarse" (the grass is cut long after it has gone to seed and therefore is mostly stalks which are coarse and relatively nitrogen poor ("brown"). I have a big pile of grass clippings (henceforth called "hay") next to the pile. When the scrap bucket is full, i rake aside the top layer of hay, dump it in, replace the hay then add some more hay. the pile reaches 170 degrees at times.

If i were you, I would start a pile and treat your blackberry vines as "coarse" material. The other advantage of this is that because you have layers of coarse material trapping oxygen inside the pile, you don't have to turn it either.

For those of you wondering, yes. This is just like the humanure piles that Henkins advocates. Just done without humanure (what is with my wife and her aversion to fecal matter, huh?).
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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C. Spooner wrote:We're clearing out our blackberry overgrown backyard to make room for a new garden of bush fruits primarily. Lots and lots of blackberries back there. If we chop up the canes can we put them in the compost heap? My husband thinks so. I'm doubtful of distributing blackberries all over our property sprouting from the compost. Our compost does not get terribly hot due to not enough green matter.


I have just completed a complete removal of Blackberry vines from 1.5 acres which were covered in blackberries and sumac, the sumac is now in the decomposition pile ( it is almost 15 feet high and 30 feet in diameter so far, this material will be reused for growing mounds (hugelkultur) The blackberry canes were piled separately and left to dry for 3-4 weeks then chopped up and either turned into biochar or layered into the compost pile ( we had so many that both methods were needed to get them gone). I still have one area, about .75 of an acre to clear of blackberry bushes, we tried the berries and they were definitely not the good berries, hence the removal of those on the .75 acre. We had kept those thinking they might be tasty berries but now we know they aren't and will be planting some boysen berries and sweet blackberries in their stead. We have been keeping track and even the deer are bypassing these left berries so there is no real reason to keep these particular bushes, not even the rabbits make use of them.

If you don't have enough green material to cause your compost pile to heat you can layer leaves, manure and other brown materials, layering it all up then wet it down and cover with a discard piece of carpet, this will heat up but not as hot as if you did the layers with green material and brown material. My current pile is layered, leaves/ manure/ chopped canes/ manure/ brown grass clippings/ leaves/ manure/ chopped canes/ manure/ chopped canes/ leaves/ manure/ leaves, brown grass clippings, bio char/ manure/ sand to coat. I wet this down till water started to pool at the ground level then tossed a hunk of old carpet, scavenged from the junk pile at the street I saw on the way home from work one day. It has been sitting for about two weeks now and is currently at a temp of 145f . I check it once a week to see how hot it gets. The manure is "green" as in not previously composted, it comes from the cow field that borders my property.
 
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