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Advice Needed: Converting… well… Sludge to Compost – Considering Using Worms?  RSS feed

 
Chris Watson
Posts: 88
Location: North of Detroit (5b to 6a)
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We have a small pool in the backyard for our kids to play in. Last summer, it turned black around mid August {pH was way off) and we gave up. It had no added chemicals for the next six weeks or so before we winterized it. When we finally shut it down, it had accumulated a nice load of leaves from our Norway Maple, which apparently were left in place. (I wasn't home for the final shut-down. My wife and her recently-hospitalized father did that.)

So now I'm cleaning this lovely, fertile sludge from the pool. It's mostly leaves and a few small twigs that have been anaerobically rotting for seven months. My wife (who isn't sold on permaculture like I am) sees this as a septic mess that will kill us. She doesn't want it in our vegetable garden in this state, but she's willing to let me do something un-smelly with it to make it useable for next year. I'm thinking that if I dry it out, it would do well in a worm bin. Am I right, or are there reasons not to do this? Would I be better off just building a pile with it?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. I know there are purists who will say that because it comes from a formerly chlorinated pool, it's pure poison. Your objections are noted, but I'm not that fastidious. The fact that it's so well-rotten already disproves your argument (in my mind, anyway.)
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Alexandra Clark
Posts: 76
Location: Long Island, NY
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Vermiculture, or worming takes a lot of work and dedication. I don't care what anyone says, I have done it and I was amazed at the care needed to keep the blood mites out and the worms happy in all weather. Eventually I dumped my worms into my compost pile and they have been happily turning waste to black gold for years.

What I would do is start a compost pile. Lay dry carbon sources down first, layer in the strained muck (use a pool net to scoop it out), layer on green matter, repeat.  This will create a hot pile which will burn up any possible "bad things" that your wife has a problem with and eventually you can use the clean compost in all areas of your garden.

As for the thoughts on chlorine--it evaporates out via gassing over time and why you need to replace it regularly--if there were still chlorine IN that pool, it wouldn't be black, so that isn't a problem.

Good luck!
 
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