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I use everything organic including paper and cardboard. There are some that say you should not compost sunflowers or citur but I do both. I do not compost old tomato plants because you can contaminate your compost with disease and fungus.
I have a coffee can under my sink that I put kitchen scraps in daily and empty to the compost bin every night. I add layers of grass clipping and leaves as I go making sure that I water my pile as I do my garden. When I have it all nice an composted down it goes in the garden either as a side dressing or as an ammendment to the soil.
Coffee ground are great. I'll go copy the link for the compost thread and post it here for you
The reason may have something to do with the stalks being so woody!
The same with corn stalks! they are pretty hard when the stalks dry out!
If you have a wood chipper that would solve the problem. You can use the chips as a surface mulch!
I'm seriously considering buying a small electric chipper next year, so I can use all the deadwood as mulch, rather then burning it!
Actually I have heard that they carry a mold virus that will have an affect on nightshades. But I have never had that trouble. I let them die in the garden and wait until the tough stalk has dried completely , then they just crumble when added to the pile.
My neighbor has a chipped and he loves it. If I have something really tough I throw it in the yard and run it over with the mower. Not much resistance to shreading there. LOL!
I use my mower instead of raking up the leaves! It reduces the volumm of the dried leaves and these small bits and pieces work themselved down into the grass! The worms work their magic, and it all feeds the lawn and helps build up the soil structure!
Using the mower really saves time and my energy!
For me, you can never add enough organic matter to sandy and clay soils !
Now that the veggie garden is almost over, I'm digging trenches and adding all the kitchen scraps, then covering it over!
At least 3 times a week I have a pail full to add!
I will be cleaning out the composter bin at some point this weekend and adding the contents to the veggie garden!
Wish I had a rototiller to turn it all in!
I will till this week as I have all the goat poop waiting. An with all the shrimp we have been selling I have about 100 lbs of heads in the compost I need to bury. Looks like wild kingdom with all the vermin honing in on the scent. LOL! It's really not that bad, I am just hyper sensitive to it.
I run the mower over my leaves too Ron! We have some very large maples and I reduce a good 2 feet of leaves that way! Way less work and I don't have an unsightly mess of leaves at the curb waiting to be sucked up by the leaf vacuum like the neighbours lol. I think they all wonder what I do with them! I always figured why go to all that work to GIVE AWAY free compost/fertilizer!!
I keep a small compost pile going through the summer. It gets grass clippings, chickem manure with a lot of softwood shavings and the scrap from veggies. The resulting "stuff" will go in the bottom of the holes where I plant my squash.
In the past I've tried several ways to get rid of cornstalks. All methods involved composting in place. For several years I ran them through a chipper. That got old, anyone want to guess how many stalks are invilved when you put in three pounds of seed? With my shoulder screwed up last year I ran them down with a mower and shredded up what I could, not nearly as effective and they plugged the plow a lot when I turned them under. I just acquired a flail mower to try this year. I'm hoping it will generate lift enough to pick the stalks up and shred them effectively. Once they are shredded I plow them down in the fall. The plow puts everything from the top down about six inches and by spring there isn't a lot left when I occasionally get a tool that far down.
Welcome to Gardenforums.com I am the person that steals that gold from the curb when people put it out I am always scavenaging compost material!
That's a lot of stalks! I see fields here that are left to degrade that way. I have only planted corn on a small scale and I will plant my beans or aother climbers on the stalks just before harvest of the corn. Then the beans can climb and I haven't lost any space waiting for the stalks to come out of the garden.
Crabber, I wish we had growing season enough to do plantings like you do. Our last frost date is around May 20 and you better plan on everything getting zapped by the third week in September. In real extreme years we have had frost as late as Memorial Day and as early as Labor day. Soil temps can stay too low for corn until early June so without helping things along with covers to boost soil temp early it gets chancy getting Silver Queen off before the first frost.
I try to get my stalks dealt with as each variety goes by. Sometimes that works, usually not. Last year I chopped everything just before the second saturday in October. Wanted that space for parking when I had my pumpkin weekend.
In a few prior years I picked whatever corn was left and later husked and dried it for bird/squirrel food. Last year I left the ears on and after it was chopped I left the residue on the ground until early December. The bird and the landowners chickens picked through and harvested a lot of the kernels(sp) out of it so it wasn't a loss. Getting it buried deep, by plowing, helps keep down the incidence of volunteering corn. Not sure just how heavily the hybrids would germinate but don't want to find out either.
If I had heavier tillage tools I would knock down and break the stalks up with a disc harrow with cutaway discs. That way I could let them sit all winter for the birds, might even be able to attract a few turkeys to the hanging ears when the snow got deep.
Again, if I had a heavier plow I could easily turn the stalks under after discing them. The small, garden tractor plow doesn't have enough weight to force the coulter to cut the stubble in front of the share nor does it have adequate clearance to prevent it plugging with the trash. Of course if I did have bigger equipment I would have to increase the size of my operation tenfold to pay for the equipment and it wouldn't be fun any longer.
I really wish we had a long enough season that would allow me to plant a fast growing cover crop like Sudex. I could plant that heavy enough that it would make a mulch layer already in place in the spring. As soon as it got hit by frost it could be run over with a light roller, making a nice tight straw layer that would keep weed germination down in the spring. I think I could put together something that would slice and remove the mulch layer just where I wanted to put rows. Not likely to happen in this climate but it sure sounds like a workable concept.
Sudex, I have never heard of that. Sounds like it might be something I should look into. I only grow a 1/2 garden inwinter so maybe that would be something I could try out. I will have to go on line and see if I can find a source and see what temps I need to maintain for good growth. I am all for trying new things!
The seed may be hard to find in small (under 50 lb)quantities. It would be found at ag supply vendors. I may play with it as a quick growing weed suppressant in my pumpkin and squash this year. If I do I might have seed I could send you to try. Not sure how it will grow during your winter but it might be worth trying. It should be a good way to get organic matter into sandy soil fairly quickly.
Wow Alan, that's cool thanks for the link and the potential seed. We have sone wierd weather, we were once a zone 9/10 then an 8/9 now I don't know what we are. We have had 2 back to back cold winters with freezes in areas we don't usually get them. This migt be something I could use as a cover crop on vacant land that I mow for mulch. That might be a possibility. I have to talk to some of the old time farmers here and see what they think.
I will go check out the link right now. Thanks for all your help!
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