Ask a Question forum: planting on a compost heap

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Name: david sevitt
jerusalem israel
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davidsevit
Apr 20, 2015 10:20 AM CST
i discovered that after a year i did not handle my compost heap 100%
i did not have an underneath outlet for water there for it is soggy.
so i took the frame of 1\1\1 meter and prepared a good drainage for the next year to come.
my question is with the existing heap can i sow some seeds i bought this week so they can use the liquid especially and nutrition to help the drying process.i am dying to see my compost as a nice soft sandy nutricious additive/
thanks for any bodies help.
the seeds i thought of where:sweet corn'chick pea.white bean.tiger bean/green lentils.srange looking pumpkins and wheat
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 20, 2015 10:25 AM CST
David, compost can actually be toxic to plants if it has stayed too wet and not been aerated. The difference is aerobic vs. anaerobic decomposition and anaerobic decomp makes a nasty smell and toxic stuff. @RickCorey can explain in detail.

If you detect a strong smell, not earthy but sour and stinky, when you dig in the old soggy compost, I would try to dig it up, turn it over and let it dry out somewhat before trying to plant in it. Things like squash and melons typically grow wonderfully on old compost heaps.

Aerobic decomp makes the lovely, healthy fluffy "garden gold" that is the target we are going for in composting. That's why you must keep on turning or otherwise aerating your pile.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: david sevitt
jerusalem israel
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davidsevit
Apr 20, 2015 12:10 PM CST
Elaine thanks for your reply it is very helpful i just learnt so much in a few minutes.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Apr 20, 2015 12:35 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:
If you detect a strong smell, not earthy but sour and stinky, when you dig in the old soggy compost, I would try to dig it up, turn it over and let it dry out somewhat before trying to plant in it. Things like squash and melons typically grow wonderfully on old compost heaps.


If the compost is soggy, slimy and stinky, especially at the bottom of the heap, it probably did spend time anaerobic, and those anaerobic microbes only ferment, they don't oxidize. Unfortunately, fermentation products aren't very good for plants' root hairs: alcohols and organic acids, maybe even some aldehydes.

If rain has not washed these fermentation products out of your heap and diluted them in the surrounding soil, they can be somewhat toxic until diluted, aerated and oxidized the rest of the way to carbon dioxide.

Practically, dyzzypyxxy is right. If the pile was anaerobic (waterlogged) , you need to spread it around or turn it over so the wettest, least aerated parts can drain out and get some oxygen to the microbes. Then just let them digest the fermentation products AEROBICALLY for a week, which will "sweeten" the pile and make it non-toxic even to small root hairs.

[Last edited by RickCorey - Apr 21, 2015 12:34 PM (+)]
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Name: david sevitt
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davidsevit
Apr 20, 2015 9:49 PM CST
RickCorey said:

If the compost is soggy, slimy and stinky, especially at the bottom of the heap, it probably did spend time aerobic, and those anaerobic microbes only ferment, they don't oxidize. Unfortunately, fermentation products aren't very good for plants' root hairs: alcohols and organic acids, maybe even some aldehydes.

If rain has not washed these fermentation products out of your heap and diluted them in the surrounding soil, they can be somewhat toxic until diluted, aerated and oxidized the rest of the way to carbon dioxide.

Practically, dyzzypyxxy is right. If the pile was anaerobic (waterlogged) , you need to spread it around or turn it over so the wettest, least aerated parts can drain out and get some oxygen to the microbes. Then just let them digest the fermentation products AEROBICALLY for a week, which will "sweeten" the pile and make it non-toxic even to small root hairs.


thank you very much that was helpful
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Apr 21, 2015 6:52 AM CST
I have planted CT Field and Atlantic Giant pumpkins at the base of compost bins over the years. They liked the access to water and soluble fertilizer.
Name: david sevitt
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davidsevit
Apr 21, 2015 11:24 PM CST
i am sorry my english is irish i did not understan coppices answer.
what is ct?
what do you mean base of a bin?
soluble-liquidy fertilizer?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 22, 2015 11:36 AM CST
David, I think the CT Field is just a variety of pumpkin or squash. They do like lots of water to get big.

Some people 'feed' their compost with soluble fertilizer if it isn't heating up. That may be what he meant.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Apr 22, 2015 12:51 PM CST
Tom may have meant that he planted pumpkins around the base of his pile - like in a circle around the periphery or circumference.

I find that, when I throw dieing plants onto the heap, they sometimes root themselves and grow vigorously.
Name: david sevitt
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davidsevit
Apr 23, 2015 11:38 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:David, I think the CT Field is just a variety of pumpkin or squash. They do like lots of water to get big.

Some people 'feed' their compost with soluble fertilizer if it isn't heating up. That may be what he meant.


thank you
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 24, 2015 9:39 PM CST
David, "CT Field" is, as Elaine stated, a variety of pumpkin -- "CT" stands for "Connecticut," a state here in the US -- The name of the variety is actually "Connecticut Field." I'm pretty sure the advice would apply to any sort of squash, pumpkin or gourd... or cucumber, for that matter. They love compost! Smiling
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Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Apr 25, 2015 12:42 PM CST
davidsevit said:i am sorry my english is irish i did not understan coppices answer.
what is ct?
what do you mean base of a bin?
soluble-liquidy fertilizer?


David, CT =Connecticutt field and Atlantic Giant are two large breed pumpkins.

Many USAin gardeners use a bin built out of four pallets to contain compost (the decaying product of collected yard waste & kitchen scraps; google, Indore process).

it is very comon to supplimentally water the large pumpkin cultivars. I did less of that by placing my pumpkins at the base of a compost bin.

The watering needs of large breed pumpkin can exceed 50 gallons of water, per plant. If rain will collect in a compost bin, and I can use it to help feed my big pumpkins, good for me.
[Last edited by Coppice - Apr 25, 2015 12:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Apr 25, 2015 12:55 PM CST
David I fear we are two people separated by a common language.

Compost here in America is a hot container of actively decaying yard waste and kitchen scraps.

Bragging rights for biggest pumpkin had local prizes in the thousands of dollars in New Hampshire.

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