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I Have Organic Material to Give Away to Composters

February 27, 2013

Answer by WR:

This sounds great. So good that you are not just putting this great organic matter in the trash to turn into methane in the land fill. I saw you also forwarded this to JZ and he has put the word out to the composters in our organization. Is it possible for individuals to just stop by occasionally and take what you have on hand, without an appointment? I think this is what you mean by "like Starbucks" but wasn't sure.

Composting in a Tumbler, Nothing is Happening

March 17, 2013

My wife and I bought a Lifetime Dual Compost Tumbler at Christmas. There are two 50 gallon bins mounted side by side that have an air pipe going through the middle of them and they rotate. We had been saving "brown" and "green" material for the last year so we filled both containers on 23 Jan 13. Since that date, it seems like nothing is happening in both bins. The material looks the same as it did on 23 Jan. We used a ratio of 20 parts "brown" to 1 part "green". We turn them every couple days. It seems like the material is very dry so we occasionally add some water. We have the composter on the south side of the house where it gets direct sunlight (i.e., heat) all day long. We were really excited about composting but our enthusiasm is deteriorating as each day passes and it seems like nothing is happening. What are we doing wrong? Any/all help would be greatly appreciated.

Where to Get Worms

May 7, 2013

Do you happen to know of any places in Albuquerque that sell red wrigglers? I recently moved here and would like to set up a compost bin.

Lazy Composting with a Bin

May 29, 2013

I attended a very interesting Saturday seminar a few weeks ago, held at the City / County (?) facility on Coors. A gentleman - whose name I did not get and was not on the card he passed out - gave a very informative talk on composting. As I am very lazy, the "cold composting" technique caught my attention. His presentation included a picture of a plastic-type, pre-made container in which you "put in at the top, and many months later, take out from the bottom" (my kind of composting!). I wonder if the manufacturer of that composting bin could be obtained from the speaker? I have googled and seen bins somewhat similar, but nothing looked identical to what the slide showed. Thank you for your help and I look forward to hearing the results of your "detective work"!

Roaches in the Compost

May 30, 2013

I live in Albuquerque. I am currently learning how to compost. Right now I am just putting dry dead yard waste with kitchen scraps. I do not compost any meat / animal products or oily foods. I started my compost pile in January or February.

My first problem was a bunch of sprouts growing in the garden so I stopped watering it for a while and tried to turn it more so that the heat from the sun would dry the sprouts out and kill them.

I was turning my pile today to check on it and did not see any more seedlings or plants but there were a bunch of roaches coming out of my pile (I have not turned or watered it in about a week or two). I was reading about this problem on the internet but could not find anything concrete. I am wondering if I should be concerned. I definitely don't want a roach problem to spread into my house but I was reading that there are a type of roach that helps breakdown dead wood (which I have put dead tree branches and dead rose bush branches). Should I be concerned about these roaches? And if so, how should I start trying to get rid of them?

I would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

Adding Worms to the Garden

June 13, 2013

Within the next week I will be amending my garden soils with red wigglers (from Quality Baits). I have 3 questions: (1) When is the optimal time to toss those suckers out into the dirt? (My spidey sense tells me to do it "in the evening" so they can burrow into the ground before the birds get to them). (2) Right now the "soil" is bone dry (and I do mean BONE dry). Should the soil be dry, wet or "damp" when sowing the wigglers? (3) Roughly how many worms per square foot or per square yard? (Quality Baits sells them by the 100 count) (4) Can you put too many worms in an area / volume of soil / ground? If yes, explain, please. (5) If there are left-over worms, what is the best way to "save" them? (Or can they be saved?)

My Compost Smells and Has Maggots and Cockroaches

August 21, 2013

This is the first year I have ever tried my hand at composting and also a first time gardener. It has all gone pretty well, but lately the bin smells like sewer. It also has a million fat white worms that look similar to maggots, and has constantly attracted roaches. I don't put any dairy or meat products in the bin, but I do add paper, grass clippings, scraps and water. Any suggestions?

Contributing to and Using City Compost

August 27, 2013

Good morning. I've called 311 to find the answer to this question and they are checking. Do you know if there is a city-wide composting effort? I'm a single person and don't produce enough to really compost at home and thought if I could contribute to a community-wide compost I could make an annual withdrawal.

Composting Huge Amounts of Manure and Composting With Worms

September 13, 2013

We are starting a project in a Mexican border village where we work. Local stockyards generate 400 to 500 cubic yards of manure per year. We want to compost the manure for use on gardens and orchards. We want to feed some of the manure to red worms to produce castings to further improve the soil. The local soil is an ancient sea bed and is a salty mix of clay and sand. My questions: (1) What is the best way to compost large amounts of cow manure? (2) How do I know when it is safe to put on gardens? (3) Worm castings, I want to produce about 50 to 75 cubic yards per year. How do I do that? A final note on biochar made from pecan shells. We add it to our gardens at a rate of about 1 pound per square foot. It seems to have good results with the 50 or so gardens we have put it on.

Did My Compost Get Hot Enough?

November 23, 2013

Hello. I am a farmer in Albuquerque and have a composting dilemma. We have 3 large piles that are fairly large and of different ages. Our oldest one is probably 8 months old and I have been checking its temperature, watering and turning it regularly. The pile peaked at about 135 degrees in August, but now the temp is down to 50-60 degrees. I just recently turned it and it hasn’t changed. Is the cycle complete? Or should I just add more nitrogen-ic materials? Thank you for your help!

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