• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Hot composting pokeweed, morning glory, and "paradise" tree shoots/saplings  RSS feed

 
Ian Pringle
Posts: 24
Location: Central VA
bike chicken urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My neighbor's vegetable garden from last is has been overrun by pokeweed, morning glory, and "paradise" tree. After a really bad growing season/war with the wild life last year they decided to not even try gardening this time around. I've been eyeing that garden and thinking two things 1) those pokeweed seeds are going to be spread every year and it's going to suck come next summer and 2) that much green material would make for a huge compost pile!

My compost piles thus far have all been cold, chicken powered compost piles. Mostly lawn clippings and bad hay mixed with our daily kitchen scraps. I get maybe a wheelbarrow's worth of compost ever 6 weeks or so. I would probably want to hot compost this stuff since it's likely to have a good amount of viable seeds and I feel like hot composting pokeweed and morning glories is better than cold composting since they have a lot of poisonous stuff in them. So to that end I have a few questions.

1) Will this compost be safe to use? It seems like it ought too-- but I guess I'd rather be safe than sorry. With the morning glory would the skin irritant still be present after composting? That might determine how I use this (veggie garden v. herbal tea garden where the toddlers play).

2) Could I hot compost this in my chicken run or should I make a new compost spot? Just not sure if the chickens would end up eating too much pokeweed and then keeling over on me.

3) I've never bothered with the C:N ratio stuff before, I just cover my greens with browns and let the chickens do the rest, so I don't know what to do with that. I don't think I have near enough carbon to manage all that pokeweed, the garden is probably 20'x35' or 40'. That ratio never made much sense to me in terms of conceptualizing 1 part N and 30 parts carbon. So any help with how much carbon to use would be good. I have two bales of hale in the back yard, but I don't know if that's enough or not.
 
stephen lowe
Posts: 18
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm also not super clear on this but I did think it was more like 1 part N to 3 or 4 parts C
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2590
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
216
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
First off Ian the ratio you want is 1 part N to 3 parts C, not 30 parts C.

For the poke salad it is pretty easy to clip off the seed stems and bag them to remove the seeds.
If you handle the plant wear disposable gloves or wash thoroughly when finished handling as the juices will contain the toxins and can cause a dermal rash.
Poke has Phytolaccatoxin and Phytolaccigenin, concentrations of these toxins are highest in the roots next highest is in the red stem followed by the black berries.
Fatalities usually occur in children who taste the berries or in adults who fail to properly cook the leaves.

Young leaves can be picked and boiled three times, each time use fresh water and discard the old water.
from that point cook the same as any green.
Red in any portion of the plant is an indicator of high concentrations of the toxins.

Redhawk
 
Ian Pringle
Posts: 24
Location: Central VA
bike chicken urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the reply!

I have seen the 1 to 2 ratio, but whenever I search for the C:N ratio it always states 30-25:1. Like here http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/carbonnitrogenratio.html

Maybe you are referring to the same idea in different measurements as I think that the 30:1 gets mighty scientific, they speak about the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in each plant or composting product and not just as greens v. browns.

Glad you mentioned gloves, I had not considered wearing any special protection.

Are you saying I ought to boil these leaves before composting them? That seems like a lot of work and I think I'd just skip doing it all together if that's the case.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9838
Location: Portugal
871
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ian Pringle wrote:
I have seen the 1 to 2 ratio, but whenever I search for the C:N ratio it always states 30-25:1. Like here http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/carbonnitrogenratio.html


I think the confusion arises because some people are talking about chemical composition and some are talking about how much green stuff to how much brown stuff.

From the article linked above,
This ratio describes the chemical composition of a material and does not mean that you need a volume of brown materials that is thirty times greater than the amount of green matter! Don't make this mistake!
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2590
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
216
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The scientific measurement would be 30:1 but are you prepared to do chemical analysis of each component prior to making additions to your compost heap?
The reagents and equipment will set you back around 100.00 US to do that, or you could go the high tech method and spend 10K for a gas spectrometer.

For the lay person who doesn't own a Laboratory the easy way to measure is volume and that is 3C:1N, think shovels full or buckets for easy measuring.

No you don't need to do any boiling of any part of any plant prior to composting, that is mentioned for should you want to give poke a taste try.
My wife and I prepare poke twice a year.

Redhawk
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 47
Location: near Athens, GA
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree that hot composting would be a good option, and I also agree with the comments by others on the nitrogen mix.   The tip on keeping the poke berries from re-seeding was particularly good.   My one caveat is that I would urge you to investigate poke as a wonderful food source.  Poke is so prevalent, because our ancestors raised it as a spring green.  Until recently, poke was widely gathered fro the first spring shoots, eaten and even blanched and frozen for eating out of season.  Euell Gibbons even advised digging up roots and keeping them in the cellar to grow fresh shoots out of season.  Perhaps you can find a market for them?  Do as you please on private property and I wish you great success, but I would not wish to see a valuable resource go wasted.  Frankly, I could eat a "mess" of them right now, boiled in two or three changes of water, the "fried" in bacon grease and served with a few dashes of hot pepper vinegar!  Oh and btw..... you can sell morning glory seeds to hippies..... I'd advise you to research that to find out why and if you would consider it ethical.
 
I will suppress my every urge. But not this shameless plug:
Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!