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Does It Help to Put Bokashi Bran in the Compost Pile?

January 24, 2018

Would you be able to sprinkle the bran into the regular composter to speed things up?

Where to Get Compost Made from Manure

January 26, 2018

I am wondering if you know of anyone in and around Albuquerque who composts manuare for use in yards?  I’m hoping to get some for my grass.  I’m hoping to learn how to compost yard waste too. Thank you

Keeping Garden Soil Covered, Cover Crops

January 28, 2018

I attended your compost basics class in Corrales, and I did learn some new things! One that I have a question about is the advice to keep your garden soil covered all year round. This fall after I pulled out my annual veggie plants, I put down the leaf mold I had made from the previous years leaves. This winter I shredded all the leaves from my front yard and put them in the compost bin for this coming falls leaf mold. Then out of sheer laziness, I just blew the leaves from my back yard into my garden bed. Should I leave that layer of leaves in my bed in place and just plant through it in the spring? In the fall can I just rototill that leaf layer into my soil and spread the fresh leaf mold on top? Then in the winter repeat this whole cycle over again? Please let me know. Thanks.

Office Copy Paper and Worm Bins

February 10, 2018

I live in a fairly built up outlining area from you but wanted to ask about carbon to nitrogen ratios and office copy paper. Search google and get answers all over the place. I have worm bins and have had a heck of a time getting a good balance on them because of wildly varying values. One person says coffee grounds are browns, another it's greens. Some say office paper is fine, others say it's bleached so it's toxic. Newprint varies from 175:1 all the way up to 800:1, same with sawdust. Also wondered if feed stocks contribute more than just carbon or nitrogen? Do they also affect pH?

Where to Purchase Compost

February 16, 2018

Hello, I am interested in purchasing some organic compost. I am a gardener but had to sell my property last year. I am now in a tiny condo with no yard. In the past I had room, a good back, and great soil I had built up. I was put on disability for a bad back. Two strikes against me. Is there someone or somewhere that I can purchase compost? I need to find some complete organic compost. I can only find straight animal manure compost. I need something that has all the nutrients.  With spring just around the corner I need to get going.  I start my seeds indoors.

Thank you very much.

Composting Large Quantities of Horse Manure

March 16, 2018

I'm so glad I found this resource! I'm the program director for a horseback riding program in Santa Fe. Our zip code is 87507. We are located on the  Southwest Side of Santa Fe - basically we have dessert, sand, wind, and juniper.

I would like to start a program to compost our horse manure into usable compost. I'm thinking of a three "box" system, but I would like to just build cinder block partitions instead of building actual boxes. Obviously, it would be helpful to just push the wheel barrow in and dump it every time we clean stalls instead of trying to get it in a box. 

I have a few questions. First, is there any reason we would need to compost on a concrete pad? If not, is it enough to compost on the ground, or should be build some other type of floor? 

How often would we need to turn our compost. We could tractor turn it, but turning compost every 3 days is quite the time commitment for our program. Would we need to water our compost before turning?

I haven't worked with compost on this level before, so I would greatly appreciate any advice you have or resources you can point me to!

Thank you so much for your time! I look forward to hearing back!

Persistent Herbicides in Hay Bales

March 26, 2018

I'm planning on making a hay composting bin, i'm very concerned about persistent herbicides. Do any of you know of clean supplier or organic supplier of hay in the area?

Compost Source for Garden for Non-Profit

April 17, 2018

I am a social worker (and Master Gardener!) here in the Albuquerque area. I work for a housing nonprofit and work out of a few affordable/low-income housing complexes in downtown. One of our apartment complexes has a sizable rooftop community garden for residents to enjoy free produce all year-round. My question for you is if you, or the Master Composters, know where I would be able to get low-cost (or free!) compost for our garden? Do you all provide compost to folks or do you recommend another agency that does?

We have over 1000 square feet of garden space but would take as much/little compost as we could get! The one logistical piece is that the garden is located on a roof, so we would need a cleanish way to transport it through the apartment building and up an elevator. Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for us (or if I should contact someone else)!

Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back from you!

Hammer Mill for Shredding Wood, Etc.

May 23, 2018

Would a hammer mill originally intended as a feed grinder/mixer work well to shred large quantities of greasewood and other brush and compost materials provided a fairly large screen size was used?

New Zealand Box Style Three-Bin System

May 23, 2018

Please email me construction instructions for the New Zealand Box
Style Three-Bin System.

Blowfly Larvae, Roaches, Compost Starter

September 7, 2018

My compost is infested with blowfly larvae. They are effectively making compost but I sure don’t want the thousands of flies they will become. I have a small apple orchard so there are many many rotting apples in the compost as well as kitchen scraps. Please help.

Feedstock Sources

September 17, 2018

My daughter would like to build a hot compost pile for a science fair project.  A hot compost pile needs to be at least 1 cu yard.  As you know, that requires quite a bit of feed stock!  Is there a place in Albuquerque where we can buy or obtain carbon and nitrogen rich feed stock to build our compost pile?  Our zip code is 87111.

Composting Dog Waste and Pine Needles

November 5, 2018

Hello, I went to a wonderful composting program Saturday taught by one of your master composters.  I have been unsuccessful so far with composting, but have renewed interest after Saturday’s program.  I plan to do in ground composting, trench method, and my zip code is 87111.

1)   Can I use dog waste in the compost?  (The ingredients are listed in this order on the bag of dry food:  beef, beef meal, garbanzo beans, green lentils red lentils, dried beef liver and the list goes on)

2)  Can I use pine needles as brown material?  I have tons of pine cones and pine needles, and hopefully I can use them.  Ronda mentioned pine cones are great for the pile in regards to aeration, and she said pine straw is good, but I didn’t know if pine needles are the same as pine straw.

Research Project About Speeding Up Composting

December 23, 2018

We are working on a research project (undergraduate) in a program at University of British Columbia where we are trying to measure the rate of compost depending on different carbon to nitrogen ratios.  Our research question is: how does changing the amount of carbon in compost affect the rate of compost? We know the ideal ratio is a carbon to nitrogen ratio of around 25:1.

We will test above and below this number to see if it is true.We would like to build compost bins in order to measure the rate of compost of certain materials. We would like to explore if adding a certain amount of a material will help to increase the rate of compost. We will measure the rate of compost by measuring the mass and temperature of the compost on a daily basis, using the criteria of compost mass reduction to 2/5 of its original weight and when temperature lowers below 20 degrees Celsius above ambient temperature.  We will graph this daily trend to ensure lots of data points. We will be monitoring temperature, light, pH, and moisture on a daily basis and the compost bins will be kept indoors at around 20 degrees celsius. Due to ethics concerns, we are not allowed to use animals or live organisms as part of our experiment.

We are wondering if you have any suggestions on what materials would be ideal to use in very small amounts (about a kilogram) in order for a speedy composting process, as well as any other major influencing factors that we should take into account. Any other tips for speedy compost will also be greatly appreciated!

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