My biggest challenge with composting is finding enough brown matter. I always have excess greens (fruits, veggies, crass clippings etc) but no browns (except used kitchen paper towels). The only time I do have enough browns is in fall (brown leaves).
A neighbor 2 years ago suggested blending fruit and veggie scraps and pouring it around the trees. I picked 2 of the least growing /weakest fruit trees in my garden and for the last 2 years been pouring the blender compost around them. I have not had any issues with rodents/smell/etc. These 2 trees have thrived and grown really well and look very healthy now. I have not noticed any negative effects… If I rake the soil here a little I always find plenty of fat earth worms. I do find earth worms in other parts of the garden too but the ones here are definitely fatter.
Does anyone have any insights/experience on Blender composting - good or bad?
Warning - don’t try this with a regular blender. It will break down. You need a power blender to do this and add lots of water to blend.
Lack of carbon may slow down composting process, may create unpleasant smell but eventually it will turn into compost anyway, when excess nitrogen leaks out. Blended compost seems to me less compost, but more worm castings. It is very similar to how you feed the worms when you keep them in worm bin. But usually you bring food to worms, and in your case worms come to food. Worm castings are great addition, so you can continue doing it. For the brown material, if you have leaves in fall, here what you can do. Make second place for composting near your first one. Fill it with leaves (better if shredded ) in fall. In next summer use these leaves to add to your greens. By the fall your pile should be empty and you can make a new one. Same shredded leaves can be used as mulch.
I do not time to care about compost. Any waste organic matter goes into compost bin and I do not care about greens and browns ratio. You can put your leaves in paper leaf bags and add them from time to time all the summer. My compost takes about a year to compost. I do not even turn it over. For me it is easier to put staff and forget about it for one year.
Another idea for free compost browns may be straw.
Around here in eastern PA, it seems as though everyone decorates around halloween with straw bales. In the weeks following the holiday the bales are put out to the curb or taken to the local compost/yard waste drop off center. I picked up 24 bales this year. Some will be used for mulching, some for animal bedding, some for planting grass seed and the rest composted. I find it very handy to have around!
I’ve been composting for decades and a compost gardener even longer. In S. CA I lived with natural oak forest beginning in my back yard and would harvest the composted leaves beneath the layer of leaves, often spongy rotted leaves held together by strands of fungus that tends to form above the humus layer- especially with oak leaves and, here in the east, under white pine needles as well. Back in the '60’s I used generous quantities of both the black humus and the tan, partially composted sponge matter mixing the humus with the sandy soil and using the sponge as mulch- same order as in nature. I used to put another layer of loose alfalfa flakes scavanged from a feed store on top of the sponge. No fertilizer needed to grow fruit trees, and great vegetables, including marijuana which I used to hide in the chaparral and only water every 2 weeks.
So my compost had a very limited range of ingredients and all brown but still worked very well. I’ve always used whatever is available and consider all the noise about carefully producing compost form recipes as hype to sell books or give people a sense of being expert about something. Of course, greens tend to be higher N material which helps compost break down faster, but the end result is going to be good as long as you avoid toxins that don’t rapidly break down.
i feed all my greens, newspaper cardboard and eggshells to my compost worms. every 6 months i empty my 4 totes and start them new in fresh peat moss. from those totes i get about 100lbs of beautiful castings. i harvest the castings in early spring and late fall. our summers are so cold its hard too get any amount of compost to break down quick enough. I’ve tried everything to get it to break down faster. I’m very grateful for my worms!
So much about compost discussion usually comes down to getting it to break down quicker. I’ve always wondered what the hurry is- compost is never necessary but always useful and there are other places to get it besides from your own compost pile.
I just put everything from my kitchen, even meat scraps into secure trash cans with holes drilled in the bottom. I layer in stable waste after every load of garbage and it all sits until all my cans are full. When I dump them they are totally disgusting, excessively wet and reeking to the high heavens but thick with the anaerobic red worms. I cover the stinking pile with leaves and stable waste and a few months later I have beautiful compost.
I break every rule, but it works for me. Fortunately, Norway rats are somehow not a part of our environment. Most people couldn’t handle the smell, though, and you risk neighbor complaints for the first two days after the dump. My neighbors aren’t too close so none have complained- they may be afraid to because it probably smells like rotting corpses. I live in a mob county where they come for quiet retirement and to raise their kids.
i will definitely try your barrel technique this spring Alan! in the mean time the worms are dealing with that i give them. i keep the totes covered w/ a thick layer of newspaper w/ foam rubber mats to hold in moisture and they love it! i do have 1 of my piles outside thats finished but it took 2 seasons to get it done. was leaves , pine needles and sawdust layered with junk fish , table scraps and some urine. i don’t have enough for my whole garden but the worm castings provide the rest i need. i also have a doz. comfrey plants i layer under the compost and mulch around the plants.
I found that it is never enough of compost if you only compost leftovers and weeds. Also when you only compost those, you add them by little every time, it never heats up. To properly heat up a pile you need to have good amount of material added at once, it has to be about 3-4 foot high. This is why I started picking horse manure - I bring the load, pile it up, in a day or two it is steaming, I make holes in the pile with compost tool for ventilation. It will cool down in several days, if you have time and desire you can shovel it in different pile, it may heat up again. But I don’t do it. I have three adjusted spots. I continue to put my leftovers on top of the one that have freshest manure. When my oldest pile is used, I move two other piles one spot to the right and bring a new load of manure for the most left pile. Good thing about strait horse manure is the fact that it has almost perfect ratio of carbon/nitrogen. Some people concerning about salts in it, but I guess with composting they mostly leak out. Note, I am talking about strait horse manure, not the on that contains more bedding shaves than manure itself. I started with that one - it took forever to break up, I ended up using it as mulch until I discovered that leaves work better.
This is assuming you want heat- the heat results or is the result of using and losing N. Takes more time, but worms give back what they take in more concentrated form. Once compost is sweet it is safe in my opinion as long as you use good ingredients.