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Composting Egg Shells

March 1, 2017

Question from Master Composter WR:  Hi everyone.  I throw eggshells into my compost and don’t bother to rinse them first.  I just read this article on which talks about composting in item #8, and then I read the user comments because I was curious to know what readers said about composting.  Someone said this: "Egg shells are fine if rinsed clean or cooked dry. The idea is to remove all food value so they don't attract wild animals. If left moist they may breed dangerous bacteria in compost systems that generate inadequate heat."I actually don’t believe the last sentence above is accurate (about “dangerous bacteria”).  But would like to know your take on this. Someone else said this: "I've always composted egg shells; they help add calcium to the soil! Never milk products or meat, though - they attract the wrong kinds of microbes!" Again, I don’t think this is accurate.  I don’t think the problem with those is “the wrong kinds of microbes”, I think it is just that they might attract the wrong type of higher animals (like mice and raccoons and dogs).  But, am I wrong? Again, any thoughts?

Bin for Elementary School Donation

March 15, 2017

I work for _____ and we do an annual day of volunteerism and this year we are working with ______ Elementary.  They have a school garden and we would like to provide a composter and would like to get a recommendation from you as to what is the best one to get, keeping in mind that this is a volunteer program so it would need to be affordable. Any help and expertise would be greatly appreciated.

Where to Find Bulking Material

April 18, 2017

My wife and I attended a beginners composting class with Mr. Zarola recently. We do not have much bulking material available in our back yard. can we use cardboard as bulking material?

No Holes in My Tumbler Bin

April 25, 2017

I have a LifeTime 65-gallon tumbler bin that I have had for several years.  I took a tumbler bin class because I never could figure out how to “make” compost.  In the class, the instructor said the tumbler bin needs holes; however, my bin does not have holes.  Do I need to make some? Or is there another remedy?

Bokashi Bucket: What Size Holes?

May 30, 2017

What size and how many holes do I need in the bottom of the top bucket for my 2 bucket composting system?

Large Scale Composting in the Desert. Questions about Air Circulation, Moisture, Temperature.

July 3, 2017

I am working in the ____ Zoo as an intern. We have a compost site with several piles. The raw material we use for composting is food waste and vegetable waste, plus some horse bedding. The compost site is in open air. In order to maintain the moisture of the piles, when we weekly use a shovel car to turn the compost. we water the pile a lot, to an extent where the WIP is more wet than wrung out sponges.

I think the water is too much but we don’t have much time to daily take care of the compost site. So I have two questions: 1. How to balance the air circulation and water evaporation? 2. The site is in open air. In summer, the outdoor temperature can be over 120 F. Does this temperature negatively influence the composting process? I think only thermophilic bacteria will be alive and the core temperature might be even higher (we don’t have a thermal probe to measure the core temperature). Do we need to frequently turn the compost to lower the temperature a bit?


Will the Worms in My Compost Survive the Winter?

October 9, 2017

I live in far north valley right against the bosque.  Zip code 87114. I'm new to having red wigglers. How do I create conditions so my red wigglers survive the local winter in the outdoor compost pit? I read but did not find much info addressing this topic, except for "soil piled against the bin.... straw can be placed...". Thanks a lot for your advice.

Grubbs in My Compost

October 20, 2017

I am new to composting. I set up a big compost pile last winter with all my leaves, yard waste, scraps, chicken and bunny poop etc. It looks great and is full of life: worms, bugs, a couple lizards even. I am getting ready to put it around my fruit trees, roses, and garden plot, and I am nervous, because it is full of these big, fat, white grubs with brown heads (photo attached). I have so much compost, it isn’t really practical to pick them all out. I need to know if they are harmless or a problem. And if they are a problem what do I do? Please help me. (Zip 87107)

Starting a Compost Project at a Large Garden

October 27, 2017

I work at large public garden in Santa Fe. We are planning on developing a compost program for our garden, but would like to get more information on compost systems that would best fit our needs. The majority of the waste we collect are clippings and leaves, but we also have some waste from our orchard and vegetable garden in the fall. We also have a continuous source of compost material, since we maintain the garden quite often. An outdoor compost bin would be best for us, but we're unsure if we should have it hot or cold. We would like to contain the compost and its scent as much as possible since we have critters and local landowners to consider, but we also want the material to decompose quickly so we can use it throughout the garden. Do you have any recommendations on whether or not we should use a hot or cold compost bin, as well as potential design types? Any help is appreciated!

Building a New School Compost System

November 3, 2017

I am a teacher at a school of about 200 students that includes a school garden and a small orchard. We would like to get a more functional compost system up and running. What compost method would you recommend that we use? Do you have anyone who would be able to visit our school look at our site to make recommendations? Thanks.

Is Stale Bread a Brown or a Green? Can I Compost Egg Shells?

November 5, 2017

I attended a lecture in Rio Rancho, The presenter was JZ. It was excellent. I have a couple of questions;

1. Can stale bread be put in with nitrogen materials?

2. Should I clean out egg shells before crushing them?

Building a Bin System at an Elementary School in East Mountains. Bears are a Problem.

November 8, 2017

Hello!  I am a teacher at ___ Elementary school.  We are a STEM school and as a part of our ongoing environmental focus we are looking to add a compost to our school area.  We would love to find someone who could help build or sell compost bins to us.  After some research, we are looking at something like the New Zealand Box Three-Bin System on the Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters site.  Are there plans available for them?  Do you have any input that would be helpful to us as we start this endeavor?  Although we would love to take building the compost bins as a STEM project, as educators we are stretched thin already.  Any resources you could share with us would be wonderful.  We look forward to using this as an ongoing, realistic, and relevant educational project for our students.

If there is a chance we could talk in person, that would be great, or connecting us with appropriate resources would work, too.  Do you know of anyone that might be willing to help us get set up with bins?

I look forward to hearing from someone.

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