Travis Johnson wrote:With a mixture of grass, manure and snow, just mixing it inadvertently I have got visible flames from my sheep manure piles.
Chris Kott wrote:If you wanted to know in short order if it's a nitrogen issue, perhaps try adding some. Pee in it, or dump coffee grounds, or add some other nitrogenous amendment you have that has a proportionately high surface area.
Mike Jay wrote:Thanks Mart! I don't have a pinterest account so the direct link is nice. I'll watch that tonight. I read Gaelan's book as part of my research but I should check it out again and make sure I'm not missing anything.
My pile is like Jean Pain only a bit smaller and inside and doesn't have water lines in it. The hope was for the hot block of material to radiate enough heat to help the greenhouse out.
Coffee water will work great for adding nitrogen and even some fungi (will help both the wood break down and the bacteria thrive and move about), and it won't clog up air channels which will help the pile heat up.
M. Pain claims that a cubic yard of brush can, under ideal conditions, absorb and retain about 140 gallons of water if the pile is progressively stacked and soaked over the course of three days.
Jean prefers a cutter that produces slivers rather than chips . . . since water penetrates the surface of a long thin fragment more easily than it does blocky chunks. Though the shavings may be as much as an inch long, the ideal thickness is about 1/16 of an inch.
That's great to know. I am in forest country and hay is expensive though. I think round bales are $45 and for loading the bin I'd probably need small squares. Wood chips are free for the hauling on the other hand. But if I run across a source of spoiled hay (or straw?) I'll keep this in mind.
Travis Johnson wrote:You need hay...nothing else.
Thanks Bryant, that's great to know. The older chips that are mixed in did have some mycellium started in them. I'll dump all the coffee grounds in there with lots of water. I do have air inlets underneath and a fan to draw so I "should" be all set there.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:Coffee water will work great for adding nitrogen and even some fungi (will help both the wood break down and the bacteria thrive and move about), and it won't clog up air channels which will help the pile heat up.
As the chips begin to heat and break down, you might find you need to add air from the bottom up (pipe and air hose will do that pretty easily).
For clarification, I'm not worried about ammonia from a bit of my urine. I'd be worried if I used, say, 40% horse bedding/manure and 60% wood chips. Or some other mix that had many hundreds of pounds of manure/urine in it.
Tj Jefferson wrote:I would't worry about ammonia from urine in that pile
Yes... just ask my husband. He complains because he's got the better plumbing for peeing in a bottle than I do, so he fills the bottle just less than 1/2 full of water, pees in it until it's full and we pour it on one of our several wood chip piles. As Mike Jay has said, we too are in an area where getting wood chips is cheap or free, but hay is pricey and hard to get. I wish I had a reliable source of coffee grounds, but I do have one restaurant where they save their veggie prep scraps (onion bits, cabbage cores, some fruit skins etc). I find it does a much better job of heating the pile if I dig a hole and drop a bucket full in and then cover it.
pee in it