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berkley compost with wood chips, fresh grass, and horse manure  RSS feed

 
Adam Buchler
Posts: 70
Location: New Jersey
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I want to do an 18 day compost with woodchips, fresh grass clippings, and horse manure because this is what I have available. I know they say to do 2/3 browns and 1/3 greens but since my brown portion is straight wood chips which are extremely high in carbon I was thinking that maybe I need to do more like 1/2 chips and then 1/2 greens? Any thoughts on this? The wood chips were from the tree service which dumped them for free right out of the wood chipper. They have been sitting on my driveway for 2 months so they are already somewhat decomposed. The grass and manure is all fresh.
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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The goal is a 25-30:1 carbon:nitrogen ratio for the whole pile; the rule of 2:1 is a rough approximation of that.

The below link has a chart listing carbon:nitrogen ratios for a number of things including woods chips, grass, and horse manure. Looks like quite a large amount of grass/manure will be required to work with woodchips!

http://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/hot-compost-composting-in-18-days/
 
Charlie van Straubenzee
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Hello!
I have been doing the Berkeley Method for two years with wood chips, here's what to do:
Wood chips have a C:N of 226:1 but really this is misleading because although you will have compost after your 18 days of turning turning and more turning, your pile will still be full of wood chips. The reason for this is due to the fact that only the outer layer of the woodchip is consumed by your thermophilic bacteria, these little guys are amazing but they can't consume whole chips in only 18 days sadly (this was something I was very puzzled about when I first started my Berkley Method with Woodchips adventure. The true C:N ratio of a woodchip is actually more like 678:1!
So I sift or Tremmel out the chips from the compost and reuse them until they are no longer. Most of the time it takes three or four trips through in order to completely compost a chip. It's the lignin in the wood that takes so long to decay, the stuff which keeps trees upright!
At first I thought this was lame having to sift out my chips but then I realized that I didn't need to keep finding chips as often so there's an upside for sure.

Check out this compost Calculator from Washington State, it's the best one I have found for sure.
http://www.klickitatcounty.org/solidwaste/fileshtml/organics/compostcalc.htm
Cheers,
Charlie
 
Kevin MacBearach
Posts: 213
Location: Beavercreek, Oregon
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Charlie van Straubenzee wrote:
So I sift or Tremmel out the chips from the compost and reuse them until they are no longer. Most of the time it takes three or four trips through in order to completely compost a chip. It's the lignin in the wood that takes so long to decay, the stuff which keeps trees upright!
At first I thought this was lame having to sift out my chips but then I realized that I didn't need to keep finding chips as often so there's an upside for sure.


Wouldn't be ok to just leave the unbroken down chips in the finished product to break down slowly in the soil, or were the chips really large?
 
Jim Gagnepain
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I saw a commercial application where they aerated under piles, using woodchips and manure. The interior of these piles were 160 deg F, if I remember correctly. The chips were decomposing very quickly. They used blowers and PVC piping. The piles were about 4-5' high, and about 15' wide.
 
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