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Putting Moldy Food Into Compost

March 13, 2012

Question posed by Master Composter WR: I have a friend who recently bought a compost bin, the kind that rotates. She said the people who sold it to her said not to put moldy food into it because it would introduce bad bacteria. I’ve certainly never heard of such a thing. (For one thing, isn’t mold a fungus, not a bacteria?) It seems like moldy food in your fridge just has a head start in the composting process, and I wouldn’t hesitate to compost my own moldy food. Any thoughts about this? Was she given bad advice or am I wrong about this?

Nitrogen in City Compost

April 8, 2012

Does anyone know about the nitrogen content of the free compost at the city recycling center? I would like to use it in my tomato garden, but I am afraid it could inhibit fruit production. Any ideas?

C:N Ratio and Keeping Compost Moist in Our Climate

June 16, 2012

We are just starting to compost and I was wondering if in the southwest do we still use a 20/1 ratio of brown to green? And should we have an enclosed composter or will a fenced area work? My concern is the pile drying out.

Maggots in Compost

June 24, 2012

We just discovered maggots or black fly larvae in our compost pile and initial research says that’s a good thing. We only use kitchen veg and fruit scraps, no meat, dairy or oily foods. My question is, can we use this compost on our veg garden? Do we want to be distributing BFL into veg that we will be eating?

Composting Fruit Pits

July 5, 2012

Can apricot and cherry pits be composted? I bought a compost bin and have been saving vegetable and fruit scraps along with coffee and tea grinds, but wasn’t sure whether to throw in the pits of fruit. I’ll hold off on throwing the pits into my pile until I hear from you.

Stinky Compost Pile

August 14, 2012

Recently, a woman called me at the Valencia County Environmental Health Department to complain that her neighbor’s compost pile stinks. I’m a NM Compost Facility Operator, so naturally I want to head to her neighbor’s house and go play in the pile to make it work! Of course, I’m with the government (and not in Code Enforcement), so I can’t do that. Are you guys in any position to help out in this situation? In what ways could we collaborate for future compost promotion and improvement?

Roaches in the Compost

August 17, 2012

I live in Albuquerque. I’m sure you’ve had people asking you about this problem, but I just need to know what would be the best steps. We have a composting pile that is well established in our backyard into its third year (using the soil once it’s become rich, of course). It’s in the back corner of our back yard but not far from our house maybe 50-60ft. I will admit the compost has been neglected recently as far as watering and turning it. So when I was watering all the gardens today I decided I needed to tend to the compost. I watered it down to give it some moisture and then started to turn it. Just under our recent fruit/veg scraps looked to be hundreds of small roaches about 1 in long reddish orange looking and almost still translucent looking. I suspect they are roaches because they look like roaches and move fast like roaches. I hate roaches, and my main concern is if I deter them from their current habitat, I don’t want them coming into our house. They can’t really get any further from the house, but maybe ten feet back. I’ve read on some websites to first get them the furthest from you house as you can, but in this case I wouldn’t want to just move them 10-15 feet back would I? Or I could move it more lateral across the yard, it would be further from the doors/windows, but not really any further from the house. I have read some info online, but what would you recommend being my best option at this time?

Where to Place a Compost Bin

October 9, 2012

I’m a new county resident and I’m looking for the best location in my Sandia Park (Sandia Knolls) yard to place my composter. Are there any rules out here that dictate distance between a composter and lot lines or standing structures (or any other rules)? I’m planning to use a wood box rather than a plastic thing or an uncovered pile.

Can Worms Decontaminate the Soil?

October 15, 2012

I’m a 12 year old girl in the 7th grade. for my Science Fair I am going to conduct a science experiment on composting with red wiggler worms. I am going to see if they will decontaminate soil that has been soaked with a contaminant. Please tell me if the following would harm the worms; used motor oil, used canola oil.

Testing Compost for Pathogens

November 6, 2012

I am searching for someone who can test my compost for E. Coli and Salmonella before it goes into my vegetable garden. Is this something you can help me with?

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