Composting in Florida

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by scopedope, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. scopedope

    scopedope Member

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    I am an old Bonsai dude in the sandy soil under the oak trees near the ocean in Florida, trying my hand at vegetable gardening.My garden is going just great.Got tomatoes,peppers,eggplant,squash, beans and lettuces galore all springing up nicely.Im a happy camper so far.After creating custom bonsai soils, sifting and mixing pine bark,turface and organics for hours on end, I want to try larger scale composting for my planned raised bed vegetable areas.

    I read Crockett's Victory Garden.Modified his plans and I built a two bin composter.Got a freebie load of tropical green plant material, including banana leaves and stalks, elephant ear and other thick succulent material.I chopped it up and it came to about 2/3rds of a large garbage can full. But I dont have much "brown" material. Can I substitute cardboard or newspapers to start the composter heating up? If so, what mix should I use.Should I add some lawn fertilzer too? Lotsa houses close by so I gotta keep the smell factor in mind.Thanks.
  2. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Two or three shovelfuls of fresh cow manure or rabbit manure should start your compost quite nicely. Chicken manure will also work, but IT should be aged because it is so 'hot' when fresh. A long shaft dial thermometer is valuable for use, particularly if you are other than a 'passive' kind of composter. Compost piles heat, and temps above 155 degrees F will kill your bacteria. Water is also a necessity to replace the evaporated moisture lost due to heating. The bacteria which do the composting require nitrogen and will reduce the nitrogen in the compost, so MODEST replacements of N periodically might be of some help. The problem with using all 'GREEN' materials is that they pack and can just plain rot into a slimey mess without oxygen. The roughage of the 'brown' helps keep the packing within reason, so air can flow. Rotating the pile,('mixing', if you will) helps keep the supply of oxygen available to the bacteria so they don't asphyxiate. Good luck.
  3. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Maryland USA zone 7

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