Brandon Hughes

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since Apr 11, 2019
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Recent posts by Brandon Hughes

I think I've watched about all of Sean's videos over the last year or so. I think chicken compost is so cool. I don't know the difference b/w the compost I get from my chickens vs what would come out of a traditional hot compost pile, but to me the benefits of the chicken compost outweigh the effort I would need to make traditional compost piles.
I just started raising chickens about 2 years ago and my 12 hens have a run that's about 20'x20'. I throw any food scraps or garden waste I have in there. I also try to grow enough in my garden to be able to feed the chickens from it, at least as a supplement.

Last fall I took a few loads from the run for the first time to use as compost. I screened it out into a wheel barrel leaving bigger stuff in the chicken run then watered it and made a big pile in my compost bin. I thought the pile would get hot like a traditional pile but it did not get hot. The compost was already mostly dark and broken down except for some smaller pieces of brown material like sticks or wood chips. I still let the pile sit under a tarp just to age some before I started using it in the garden this spring.

I'm not real sure how compost like this compares to traditional compost. It has all the same material, browns and greens and manure, but instead of breaking down in a hot wet pile, it's picked through and sifted by chickens but not allowed to sit in a pile for long. I'm wondering if I grab a load of newer material from the run, instead of from material that's been in there for a year if that has more of a chance of heating up when I put it in a pile?

Either way, this spring will be the first year using this compost to feed my garden so as long as everything grows well this will continue to be my source of compost.
2 months ago
I love the topic of leaf mold. I'd just like to share what I've found using leaf mold in my garden the last 4 years or so. I am fortunate enough to be able to get as much leaf mold as I could ever want thanks to it being available at a local dump site. They have a huge mountain of shredded leaves from when they suck up leaves from the curbs in the fall. When you go to the leaf mountain, the top 6 inches looks like fresh shredded leaves. Once you get past that first layers it's completely black and looks like aged manure.

In using the leaf mold, I do believe it's best used as an amendment and better to be mixed in the soil than to just filling a bed with it or layering it on top. Although the leaf mold does absorb a ton of water, this also means it takes a ton of water to penetrate the ground when the leaf mold is on top. This can be mitigated with a good mulch layer of woodchips on top as this will keep the leaf mold from drying out. I also fill like, as with any thing you add to the soil, the benefits are going to be seen more so in the future rather than right away like chemical fertilizers. So for a brand new garden and adding leaf mold for the first time it may not be quite as fertile and productive as that same garden a year later when that leaf mold has now been integrated into the soil.

2 months ago