Creating my compost and feeding worm bins.

Discussion in 'Organics' started by TheBeardedBudzman, Aug 9, 2018.


    TheBeardedBudzman Well-Known Member

    Hey fellas. Really grateful for you guys. I’m getting ready for my first grow, still piecing everything together. Got pretty much all the equipment I need for my two tents; got my (too many) worms rocking out and doing their thing; got my hot piles going outside; rain barrels at each corner of the house (sloped); it’s all coming together and that’s thanks to months of following and learning from all of you.

    I’m also going all out expanding the outdoor veg/herb garden, with (eight) 4x8x1 raised beds newly plotted in the yard- thus the many worms and 3-bin-system.

    As of now, I’m really just creating my compost. I’m putting a lot of effort into it already so I’d really like some input on what I’m doing and what I need to be doing?

    My worms eat/produce so much it’s stupid. I had twice as many and gave half back to my old boss (Uncle Jim’s WF). They’re on thick bedding of dry leaves and damp peat. I feed them cow manure, (from my next door neighbors’ pasture), horse manure (from my two pasture fed horses, aged where it stands), my own kitchen waste (chopped up small and frozen when there is excess), and an enormous amount of unsellable produce from local market stands, which is generously given to me weekly from multiple local sources. (I live in very rural cowtown, Florida)

    My hot piles are hard because it’s Florida and there’s no fuckin leaves anywhere. I go to the state park with black bags and get the good stuff 3 layers down. This is the majority of the carbon source in my hot piles. I believe the leaves I use are at least a couple years old, partially decomposed. So far I’ve done, in 4” layers, shredded leaves; followed by everything my worms get (scraps and cow/horse poo) and my own chicken manure. Then of course another carbon layer. The first bin filled, so I transferred to second bin and started refilling the first. When all 3 are full, I’m hoping the third bin will be good and composted.

    Sorry for the ramble, I just want pro advice! I’ve been working real hard and learning primarily from y’all.

    Should I put some amendments into my hot pile, and let them take part in the cooking? Should I feed some to my worms for them to process into their castings? Or should I leave my compost naked, and add my amendments when I’m building my base mix? (Hopefully my compost is dope enough that I won’t need to use 40% perlite/etc, hoping to get away with using closer to 40-50% compost since it will be my own. We will see.

    Also, since I’m using my own home made compost from pretty good natural materials, does this put me in any different of a position when it comes to adding amendments to my base mix? Am I gonna have to cook the shit AGAIN after making compost and mixing up a soil and adding nutrients?

    Thanks for humoring the newb. Seemed like the right place to ask. You guys all rock, excellent teachers.

    Except some of you. Some of you are assholes. ;) lol

    Be blessed.
    DonTesla and Richard Drysift like this.
    Richard Drysift

    Richard Drysift Well-Known Member

    As an asshole I appreciate being recognized as such so thank you for that. The idea behind "cooking" the soil after amending is to normalize the ph. Usually when you add a bunch of organic material and minerals to compost the ph will drop down a bit. Letting it set for a month ensures the ph will be fine for proper absorbtion of nutrients. If you have one of those fancy soil ph probes...I don' can simply check your mix after to see if it's in range. It could take just a few weeks to normalize depending upon what you added in so if you have a ph probe just wait until the ph of your mix is higher than 6.5 and you are good to grow.
    I would guess that if you are adding high N inputs like manure to your compost then you could back off on other forms of N but hopefully someone smarter than me can help answer this Q. I have put some amendments that are easily consumed by worms like greensand and crushed oyster shell for grit in my bin but I try to put most of the stuff in my arsenal into the recycling soil directly. Things that take a long time to break down like eggshells and soft rock phosphate can be added to your compost bin to begin decomposition. I think you still may end up adding more perlite too as compost tends to make the mix very heavy; adding straight coco coir is also a good way to lighten up your mix while allowing spaces for microbes & fungi to colonize.
    TheBeardedBudzman and DonTesla like this.

    DonTesla Well-Known Member

    Definitely a good idea to at least add some worm digestive aids, like sand or greensand, and I would do some biochar to your worm farm /compost too if you can.

    maybe some OSF and SRP (I second Richard)
    and BSF frass would be a nice addition.
    Richard Drysift likes this.

    TheBeardedBudzman Well-Known Member

    Excellent input I was hoping to hear from you. Thanks. I’m leaning more and more toward coir.

    Actually curious as to the process of “making” coco coir. Wonder what has to be done to it after it’s obtained?.... coconut trees EVERYWHERE here.

    TheBeardedBudzman Well-Known Member

    I’m going to do exactly that, with the greensand, OSF, eggshells, etc. thanks. Big help.

    I have a bunch of chickens and go thru a ton of eggs. Been having my 7 year old mortar and pistle the egg shells :) got a nice jar going.

    TheBeardedBudzman Well-Known Member

    I give OS to the chickens. Makes their egg shells strong as shit! Hard to crack! And the membrane underneath the shell holds the egg together after I crack the shell!
    Richard Drysift

    Richard Drysift Well-Known Member

    Seems like a lot of work; guess you would just strip the coconut fibers off the shell and shred the fuck out of sure to have enough rum on hand for pina coladas
    TheBeardedBudzman likes this.

    TheBeardedBudzman Well-Known Member

    Probably a lot of work huh.... I won’t be shredding locally sustained coconut coir. I didn’t know it needed to be processed or pressed or whatever. Idk

    Achillesactual Well-Known Member

    Coconut coir is not only stripped from the coconut but then also shredded. Most good brands are left out for two monsoon seasons to let the fresh water leach off all the salts and to give it some time to start to break down.
    I dust all my egg shells in a coffee grinder and add them to my worm bins great source of Calcium and grit.

    In terms of what to add to your compost as stated above you sound like you have nitrogen covered. But that's only part of the battle, and you don't want your nitrogen levels too high or it could be negative. I suggest paying the 25$it costs to get a comprehensive soil test done by your local agricultural institution. They will give you an easy to read email quickly that can tell you exactly what you need and what you don't
    TheBeardedBudzman likes this.

    TheBeardedBudzman Well-Known Member


    Yeah food scraps, seaweed and poo, all nitrogen, but the pile is like 80% shredded leaves so I’m hoping I’m keeping the c:n ratio pretty tight.

    I definitely won’t skip soil tests. I want my shit to be on point!!

    I’ve got a whole stash of soil amendments, basically everything I’ve read about on here from the organic guys. I don’t plan on using them all, but I’ve got em.

    Gonna stick to giving the worms some basic digestive aids and biochar to worms/compost. I’ll save the rest for when making my mix. :)

    That compost is gonna be fire tho. Everything is shredded up real good and mixed evenly, nice 3x3x3 piles. All fresh, non-perverted materials. No chemicals at all. Getting closer every day

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