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Composting - Is this a good system for Peppers?

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#1 PaulG

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 03:43 PM

This compost system is made with all recycled fence boards and deck lumber, so the only cost is the black plastic hardware cloth. This has worked well for veggies, but I want to know if this is okay for pepper plants. Perhaps they have some special needs?

We've had a little dry cool weather, so the worms have burrowed down, and the compost is crumbly, if a tad wet.

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The first step - dig out the bin and sift the material. I use a homemade frame with a layer of 1/4 inch plastic hardware cloth backed with a layer of one inch mesh poultry netting. The fine stuff goes into the wheelbarrow, the coarse stuff into an adjacent compost bin we're still building up.

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The bin on the left is covered to keep the leafy material dry and fluffy. The dry leaves are an important layer in the compost 'cake'. The bin on the right is the one I'm digging out. Nice, dark and crumbly with lots of worms! The sifter is on the wheelbarrow, and some of the coarse stuff is already on the active compost bin in the middle. The bin in the back is resting for several of months. It has a black plastic hardware cloth cover to keep out squirrels and racoons.

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The bin is all dug out. I left about two inches of broken up compost on the bottom of the hole to create a space for the worms to move into. You can see the bin in the middle has a layer of coarse stuff spread out on the top.

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The last step is to put a nice deep layer of dry leaves on the bin we just dug out. Now that bin will rest for a at least several months or more while the earthworms move into the compost/earth interface and do their work. That will make a great base for the next cycle of composting in this bin. I put a thin layer of leaves on the middle bin, too. Now there's a nice layer cake of dirt/compost, leaves. kitchen scraps. All small yard clippings except grass go into the compost bins, even tomato vines and pepper branches and twigs. I don't even chop stuff up too much. I try to have at least 10 or 12 layers of stuff built up before I cover the bin with a layer of dirt/compost and let the worms work for several months. I'm getting about 12-18 cubic feet of compost from these bins a year. My goal is to become 'soil self-sufficient' at some point, perhaps only having to procure horticultural pumice or vermiculite and some peat moss every so often.

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The good stuff. It will go into a plastic, vented storage bin for at lest eight weeks to cure a bit. Then I mix it with a little peat moss and some vermiculite or pumice for aeration. In my large containers, I add 2 or 3 inches of compost worked into the top of the container only every year. I try not to mix up the soil layers in the big containers very much, letting the nutrients percolate down through the soil as in a natural setting. I'll include photos of the irrigation system and containers I use to grow my tomatoes and peppers in my Glog.

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#2 romy6

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 04:18 PM

Should work just fine. You are gonna have some super rich soil. :cool:
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#3 MGOLD86

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 04:30 PM

Wow Paul, looks like you got yourself a great system. I would love to be in a place for long enough to set something up like this. You really are on your way to being soil-sufficient.

Now are the worms ordered or "natural"? I have looked into a small scale worm hotel to get the "juice", but it looks like you are more on the homemade compost track. Do you harvest castings or just your finished compost (or is that really the same thing)?

Also, do you think that this mixture would produce a better result than working composted manure into your soil? I am a bit compost ignorant (planning on sticking with the local nursery's mound), so sorry if these may be noob questions.

Matt

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#4 sicman

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 04:45 PM

that looks great,i thought i had a good system until i seen this. nice job!

#5 nitwit

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:31 PM

"if this is okay for pepper plants. Perhaps they have some special needs?"

the composting looks fantastic for organic nutrientations


yes, peppers definately have special needs.

you must tell them that they are loved, wanted, pretty and that people like them
:stop:
i ain't the sharpest tool in the shed...

#6 HillBilly Jeff

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:18 PM

"if this is okay for pepper plants. Perhaps they have some special needs?"

the composting looks fantastic for organic nutrientations


yes, peppers definately have special needs.

you must tell them that they are loved, wanted, pretty and that people like them
:stop:


I have found the meaner you are to them, the hotter they get.

You do your thing, I'll do mine.


#7 shigshwa

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:21 PM

Looks amazing! Compost works well for any kind of crop. I suppose, you could compost egg shells or bone meal for some extra calcium, but it should be fine.

Edited by shigshwa, 16 January 2012 - 06:22 PM.


#8 PaulG

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:03 PM

Should work just fine. You are gonna have some super rich soil. :cool:


It has worked okay for general use so far. I worry about it being too 'hot', but I think the curing for a couple of months helps with that.

Wow Paul, looks like you got yourself a great system. I would love to be in a place for long enough to set something up like this. You really are on your way to being soil-sufficient.

Now are the worms ordered or "natural"? I have looked into a small scale worm hotel to get the "juice", but it looks like you are more on the homemade compost track. Do you harvest castings or just your finished compost (or is that really the same thing)?

Also, do you think that this mixture would produce a better result than working composted manure into your soil? I am a bit compost ignorant (planning on sticking with the local nursery's mound), so sorry if these may be noob questions.

Matt


Thanks for your comments and questions. The worms are just volunteers! Our wet climate is great for worms in general. Some of the worms are big european night crawlers, but I think there are some other kinds, too. smaller and redder, but I don't think they are red wigglers. I'm toying with getting a pound or so of those just to inoculate the bins and my large containers. The container plants love having worms in the mix! The sifted out material is worm castings, bits of decaying organic matter, and dirt (I add ground up turf loam to the bins during the summer.)

I think composted manure is a great amendment - I wish I had a horse! I'm hoping the peat moss provides the organic threads that the digested grass would.

that looks great,i thought i had a good system until i seen this. nice job!


Thanks. I started with a great big pile of 'compost that I built up over 10 or 15 years and that I would dig out once in a while. It was very rough. Five years ago, I took the top off of it, and used it to start another big pile in a chain link bin about 3 feet wide by 8 feet long and 4 feet high. It formed a base about 24 inches thick. I throw in large yard debris that's not big enough to cook outside with and coarse stuff I don't want to put in the bins. I'll probably just keep adding to that one for a long time. The bins you see in the photographs are built on the base of the old compost pile, so they are on good footing. I built in the bins one at a time over a year or so, as the need demanded - it was just one large space with a wood frame. I think now that these bins are sufficient. If I think if it I'll grab a pic of the rough pile and add it to this post later.

I guess my point is that if your system works for you, then you're a gardner!

Looks amazing! Compost works well for any kind of crop. I suppose, you could compost egg shells or bone meal for some extra calcium, but it should be fine.


Thanks. Is Calcium an important amendment for pepper plants? I do throw in egg shells, but I'm to lazy to pulverize them first :oops:.

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#9 PaulG

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:05 PM

"if this is okay for pepper plants. Perhaps they have some special needs?"

the composting looks fantastic for organic nutrientations


yes, peppers definately have special needs.

you must tell them that they are loved, wanted, pretty and that people like them
:stop:


I have found the meaner you are to them, the hotter they get.


Great, I can see this is a bi-polar relationship. Only one way to deal with that... :drunk:

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#10 stc3248

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:25 PM

I got the same thing going on...just not as organized, lol. I turned mine today and could have picked up at least 200 earthworms! They're loving it! I add a few bags of manure to the mix every now and then. You might try just using some less mature screened leaf compost in place of the vermiculite, and possibly amend with some sand depending on your soil type for drainage, in order to be truly soil sufficient! Great looking setup!

www.imarunnut.blogspot.com/


#11 PaulG

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:38 PM

I got the same thing going on...just not as organized, lol. I turned mine today and could have picked up at least 200 earthworms! They're loving it! I add a few bags of manure to the mix every now and then. You might try just using some less mature screened leaf compost in place of the vermiculite, and possibly amend with some sand depending on your soil type for drainage, in order to be truly soil sufficient! Great looking setup!


Gotta love the vermiculture! Thanks for your suggestions. I hadn't thought about using the leaf litter in that way. I'll try that with some dried maple leaves bagged up last Fall.

:dance: Every Pod a Victory!  Life Force is Strong!

Pimenta de Neyde x Bonda Ma Jacques - Community Grow 






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