• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Potting soil?

 
Hans Harker
Posts: 115
Location: Chcago IL
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So the local law informed me they will fine me if i don't get rid of the big pile of branches i had way in the back of our back yard. The landlord rented a large wood chipper for a day and i chipped most of what i had and i burned the reminder.

On the plus side now i have maybe 1/3 of a cubic yard of charcoal and few cubic yards of wood chips a lot of which is made out of thin branches.

So i'm thinking i could mix some of the fine chips and charcoal with grass cuttings, add some ground limestone and seaweed, sprinkle with household compost activator and compost it.

Would that not make a good potting soil for next year transplants? What do you guys think?
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1605
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
80
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know what's in the activator, and maybe the activator is for a specific mix of stuff in a particular ratio. Best to check that before going further.

I am a fan of cool slow decomposition rather than hot fast, and again I don't know what you are planning. My overall impression is that it's a workable idea. I think I would put plenty of rich and alive soil in with your chips and charcoal pile, try to get the wole soil food web established in there -- or make the conditions right for fungi to permeate the whole pile over the winter, rather than favoring the bacterial action.

Maybe you could even get some spawn and grow mushrooms on it, and harvest a flush or two of oyster mushrooms before you break up the pile for your potting mix.

Thekla
 
Hans Harker
Posts: 115
Location: Chcago IL
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote:I don't know what's in the activator, and maybe the activator is for a specific mix of stuff in a particular ratio. Best to check that before going further.

I am a fan of cool slow decomposition rather than hot fast, and again I don't know what you are planning. My overall impression is that it's a workable idea. I think I would put plenty of rich and alive soil in with your chips and charcoal pile, try to get the wole soil food web established in there -- or make the conditions right for fungi to permeate the whole pile over the winter, rather than favoring the bacterial action.

Maybe you could even get some spawn and grow mushrooms on it, and harvest a flush or two of oyster mushrooms before you break up the pile for your potting mix.

Thekla


Thanks for your ideas Thekla.

Household compost activator is a euphemism for urine


 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1605
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
80
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah, "house hold compost activator" Like the liquid fertilizer that I make myself. I have dogs that are also fertilizer producers.

If that is your compost activator, I think you might want to consider other additions.

I really liked the idea of growing mycelia throughout the pile and waiting for it to give a flush or two of mushrooms, which might not be til sometime later in the growing season next time around. I'm sure there is a lot of knowledge in the myco forums. paul stamets' Mycelium Running is a great resource as is the book by Trad Cotter, but I can't remember the title of his. But if you want a nice active pile, that will take soil food web community to where ever you use your potting mix then my suggestion is to get some great compost and use it to inoculate your pile. Your household stuff feeds the organisms, but does not bring any soil organisms with it. There is no action without the organisms. If you have rich and alive soil, that also will inoculate the pile.

Where I am, the best inoculant I have found is "Happy Frog" soil conditioner and potting mix. I looked at it under the microscope to make sure it is full of life, and yes it is, but only if it has been stored properly (not out in the hot sun or stacked high on pallets where the internal bags have no chance of maintaining aerobic conditions.

Thekla
 
Hans Harker
Posts: 115
Location: Chcago IL
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote:Ah, "house hold compost activator" Like the liquid fertilizer that I make myself. I have dogs that are also fertilizer producers.

If that is your compost activator, I think you might want to consider other additions.

I really liked the idea of growing mycelia throughout the pile and waiting for it to give a flush or two of mushrooms, which might not be til sometime later in the growing season next time around. I'm sure there is a lot of knowledge in the myco forums. Paul Stamets' Mycelium Running is a great resource as is the book by Trad Cotter, but I can't remember the title of his. But if you want a nice active pile, that will take soil food web community to where ever you use your potting mix then my suggestion is to get some great compost and use it to inoculate your pile. Your household stuff feeds the organisms, but does not bring any soil organisms with it. There is no action without the organisms. If you have rich and alive soil, that also will inoculate the pile.

Where I am, the best inoculant I have found is "Happy Frog" soil conditioner and potting mix. I looked at it under the microscope to make sure it is full of life, and yes it is, but only if it has been stored properly (not out in the hot sun or stacked high on pallets where the internal bags have no chance of maintaining aerobic conditions.

Thekla


Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction. I think the soil in my beds is quite alive and i could use it to inoculate the compost but i may give the Happy Frog conditioner a try.

Would i add the conditioner as I'm starting the pile or do i wait until it cools down and add it as i turn it?
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1605
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
80
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am still learning about composting and my results are not yet predictable, which to me means there still must be variables I don't understand. You could add half at the beginning, and the other have at the end. That way, what ever happened during the process, you would still have representative populations by the end. That's how I compensate for my lack of experience.

I bet there are people discussing just these details in the compost threads.
Thekla
 
Gravity is a harsh mistress. But this tiny ad is pretty easy to deal with:
2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!