Dan Boone wrote:Michael, welcome to Permies!
One thing that happens a lot here is that someone will ask a question and, instead of getting an answer, they get a dozen suggestions about how to do something other than they were wanting to do. In that spirit, I don't have any answers to your questions, but I will share the first thing that came into my head when I saw "10 large pallets a week of out of date fruit and vegetables". And that was "wow, some off that stuff will still be perfectly good!" And now all I can think of is that in your shoes, the first thing I would do is build a huge solar dehydrator, like, the size of a schoolbus. And I would be dehydrating the best of the still-edible produce every week, and storing it up in five gallon plastic buckets to eat for, like, forever. Weather and climate permitting of course.
Su Ba wrote:I really don't have advice or directions for you, but your project caused me mull over some aspects of it......
... Your soil is waterlogged. Composting requires air, thus just dumping or plowing in that much moist material into that wet ground may turn your land into a stinking, rotting mess.
... Composting large amounts of wet waste vegetables calls for mixing in adequate dry material with it to prevent a stinking mass of slimy glop.
... Unchipped wood will take years to breakdown. That trait is a plus for hugelkultur but a detriment for composting. Therefore I would somehow shred those pallets.
... Cardboard boxes often have plastic tape on them. That tape will not biodegrade. I use cardboard on my own farm but hand remove the tape first.
... Shredding the material for composting makes composting go quicker. I usually don't shred waste vegetables, but then I don't deal with the vast volume that you do.
... In the wet areas of my own farm, adding copious amounts of compost and manure did not resolve the wet problem. But it did give me very sticky, wet soil that my taro and Chinese cabbage loved. Some of the wet areas I cut drainage channels to allow excess water to run to drier sections. I also tilled in a truckload of volcanic cinder to aid drainage.
... Pigs on wet soil will turn it into a bog or pond. Unless the pigs are removed after a very short time, they will cause more serious damage to wet soil than helping it out.
... Trees help with removing water from the soil. In my area, eucalyptus will remove soil moisture better than most other trees. Perhaps your local Forrest service can give you some advice on which trees or shrubs prefer wet soils, and which are notorious for robbing soil moisture.
Ye, i think drainage channels are going to have to go in! thanks
michael tirth wrote:I have a 5 acre field that is relatively waterlogged and full of rushes which i want to turn into a forest garden.
I have been offered 10 large pallets a week of out of date fruit and vegetables in cardboard boxes.
I would like to know how i can compost the fruit . vegetables ,cardboard and pallets? if useful, in a way that will cover the entire field to create a good humus layer which could cover and kill the rushes ,without harming the local waterways by any possible run off from the composting and without causing any smell.
I also have access to large amounts of cow and horse manure if needed and I also have a shredder to shred the fruit, vegetables and cardboard if needed?
I also have a wood chipper for the pallets?
I would then like to cover the humus layer either during of after with a good layer of wood chips which i can get from the forestry services ,so as to recreate a forest floor.
I don't have access to any machinery to turn the compost piles!
I expect to start composting this winter and for as long as it takes to cover the field!
Any help and guidance will be much appreciated ?