Rose Pinder

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since Nov 18, 2011
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Otago, New Zealand
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Recent posts by Rose Pinder

It definitely works. I just can't remember from last time how hot the temps were meant to stay over the whole 18 days (the composition and turning is what keeps the temperatures high). Was hoping there would be someone here who had done it a few times. Thanks though.  
6 years ago

James Freyr wrote:It is not necessary to maintain a very hot compost pile throughout the composting process.

Are you talking about with the 18 day method James?
6 years ago

Angelika Maier wrote:Is that what your really want such a high temperature? I don't know.

Yes, in the 18 day compost method (aka Berkeley method) you ideally want the temperatures between 55C and 65C. This is part of why the composting happens so fast (plus as James mentions, it kills seeds so you can put all sorts of things in it that you can't put into a cooler compost). I'm just not sure if I am meant to keep it that high all the way through the 18 days.

6 years ago
I figured that is what happened too. My questions is more about how important it is to keep the temp up to 55 - 65C throughout the whole process. It's sitting 40 - 50C at the moment. I will add some grass clippings in the next turn, but I am still curious if it matters. Does the lower temperature mean it will take longer, or is it going to fundamentally change how the composting happens?
6 years ago
I'm in the middle of an 18 day compost. It's been turned 4 times so far, but more like every 3 days than every 2. The start was a good hot temp but too much nitrogen (smelly, white powder) so I added a bit of peastraw. That's settled down and it's looking really good with no smell now, but the temperature has dropped and isn't coming up between turns. I can't remember what it's supposed to do in the last week of turning. Should I still be getting high temperatures all the way through?

At the start it was 60 - 65C/140 - 150F. In the past few days it's 40 - 50C/105 - 120F. It got turned yesterday, today it's 40C/105F. Should I add some activator in the next turn? I won't have manure for that one, but could get some for the one after. I have fresh comfrey, urine, some really old liquid compost (probably comfrey but can't remember) etc.
6 years ago
Thanks Travis. I'm actually wanting something faster than that, so don't want to do a cold compost. Am hoping someone has figured out a happy medium between hot and cold. I have a pretty good range of materials, green and dry.
7 years ago
I can't make an 18 day compost at the moment (don't have the time to commit to the every 2 days turning). But I have a bunch of materials sitting around and would like to build a compost in one day and then maybe turn it occasionally. In the past I have had bins and I would let the compost sort itself out over 3 or 4 months. I don't have bins now, so will build a round pile. I'm wondering if there is a mid point between a hot fast compost and a slow cooler one, and what the optimal arrangement is.

I generally don't need weed seeds killed but there is probably grass seed in this lot so it wouldn't hurt to have it well heated a few times. Am thinking that if I turn once every few weeks and add grass clippings or manure slurry to the mix that might reheat it? We're going into winter and it would be good to have the compost ready by the spring.
7 years ago
Oh good and thanks for the extra tips.

I also found this, which is relevant here because of the frost. I'll keep an eye on how the shade is at different times of the year:

 Apricots are much hardier than most people think. The dormant trees tolerate cold temperatures as low as -20° F, or a typical USDA Zone 5 winter. However, because they have a low chilling requirement (400 to 900 hours), they respond to any warm period in late winter or very early spring by bursting forth with blossoms that are then easily killed by a frost. The longer you keep the trees from blooming, the more likely it is they'll escape a late frost.

Make Them Bloom Later

To encourage your trees to bloom late, plant them where they'll stay cool in the spring. The north side of a building is a good location. Set the tree where it is shaded in the spring: as the sun gets higher in the summer, it will get plenty of light. You can also delay blooming by mulching the roots heavily in late winter so the soil will thaw later. Some years it may be too cold for bees to be out pollinating when apricots bloom, which could limit the crop. Some smaller insects do come out and pollinate blossoms whenever temperatures rise even for a short period. Because these insects don't fly very far, you may consider planting a few apricots closer to each other than the 25-foot distance usually recommended.
7 years ago

Karl Trepka wrote:Hi Rose,

how much to water is very dependant on species, size of tree and weather you want survival or rapid growth........and the time of year.

at the very least dig down a bit once a week to see if still moist.........if you want growth i would aim for 50 liters per week per square meter of dripline area in the summer.....if the tree is huge the amount of water could be large so just go with what you can.

also micro swales could be used like feeder channels to fill the holes when it rains.......use a bit of slope......not on contour.

the problem with sawdust in a deep hole could be things getting anaerobic (no air) wood chips are nice and chunky and let air down the hole.......lets say no more than 10% mixed with chips

a smaller auger may be easier to use just use more number of holes.

Thanks Karl. I think I need to do some more observation about what is happening in various rainfalls. The trees are a couple of metres high, I want health over growth, esp health for the soil so that other things can grow there. They're fruit trees, planting in lawn, and need to survive on their own later without watering (which is what they have been doing). I'm thinking a couple of buckets of water a week at the moment ie summer (so maybe 20L).

A small auger is a good idea.
7 years ago