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Composting Citrus  RSS feed

 
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I just got contracted to compost about 4 tons of citrus rinds per month!

That being said what would be the most effective way to compost them. I am aware of conflicting thoughts about composting citrus. I am not new to composing either.

I am merely trying to gain wisdom and perspective and I thank you for that.
 
pollinator
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You could try using a penicillium mold to break it down, like what was done in this experiment.

With that much nutrient medium, it might even be worth trying to isolate the penicillin from it.
 
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Depending on how long you have to compost it...and what space you have. My suggestion is Bokashi. it can break it down, it doesn't take too horribly long. you can get all sorts of good byproducts. I just started composting for a juice bar and they have lots of citrus which can be too much for worms because its too acidic...so I have decided to do bokashi. you don't have to buy stuff to do it...you can find how to make all you need via google.
 
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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Good luck with that! I've seen fallen citrus hang out under the trees for months in FL, in a climate where just about any other organic matter vanishes pretty quick. The stomach of a goat will do it, but you'd need an awful lot of goats! Could you do something else with it? Dry it out and make biochar, perhaps?
 
Mike Klepacz
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The situation is this. I am on 5+ acres of land. The neighbors noses are no where in site. I have a ton of old pickling barrels that are 160+ liters each.

I was thinking that the bokashi method would be great for these barrels.

One thing about bokashi that I have never seen an answer for is what to do with all of the liquid from the process.

If I lock up the citrus peels with the bran in the barrels after a few weeks I will have a nice fermented mixture with plenty of lost liquid in the barrels. I know for a fact that the liquid will kill plants if put straight on the ground. Which for me at this point is a good thing. I wonder if there is a ratio of this liquid to water so that it become beneficial for plants. Anyone know? 20:1 ? 100:1?
 
jackson daniels
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so the ratio depends on how strong it is...the liquid is called em or em-1...for sure something id check into if I was you. it can sell for up to a buck an ounce. there is activated and non activated.
 
Posts: 67
Location: Orange County, CA, USA
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Mike, I have no personal expertise in this, but I've heard organic guru Howard Garrett talk about work he's done with a commercial composting outfit that used nothing but citrus waste. Contact him through his web site at www.dirtdoctor.com or info@dirtdoctor.com - he's a great guy and always willing to share.
 
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Location: MA
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Is it still food-grade, because citrus rinds have the most amazing flavor!  Anyway, one idea might be to first extract the essential oils, maybe with steam, or whatever a good process is.  That stuff has all sorts of uses, from food/medicine to cleaning products and degreasers.  If you get the acids out first, it's going to compost a lot better. 
 
Mike Klepacz
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You know I ended up leaving all of the citruses in the garbage bags for about a year and left them in a pile. When I came back to them they decomposed quite well. There was no fungus or molds growing (anymore). They still had a sweet odor. The worms were going crazy for them.
 
pollinator
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I have to agree with Mike on this one. Even if they aren't food grade, as in no good for getting zest from, if there are enough acids intact to make them hard to compost, there should be more than enough to harvest cleaning-grade citrus oils and acids from. There is also a market for citrus oils for people that use them in atomizing vapourisers.

I have used an old pressure cooker and some copper tubing wrapped around a frozen ice core (I made them in my freezer using salvaged 2 litre pop bottles wound with copper tubing I had laying around).

I soldered the tubing to the main pressure valve (it had a heavy-duty secondary and a pressure gauge with its own as well) on the lid.

I then filled the cooker (it was actually a pressure cooker for canning, so really big) halfway with water, jammed a collander in just above the water line, and filled it with the herbs I was using (mints and lavenders for oils as a base for lotion and a salve for sore muscles). The open end of the condenser coil dripped into a bowl. I usually separate oils from the water by chilling, if the oils will solidify above the freezing temperature of water, or with an eye dropper if not.

I also reserved the water that time. I don't every time, but sometimes the water can be used as a natural scent or perfume, and I had a request for it.

-CK
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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