[Market-farming] composting questions

Tradingpost tradingpost at gilanet.com
Thu Jul 22 14:22:09 EDT 2004


Well, fresh manure is going to attract flies, period. The pile shouldn't be mostly horse manure though.  If it's that hot and smells maybe it needs more variety of materials in it, including thin layers of soil. You're in Arizona?

paul at largocreekfarms.com
http://medicinehill.net
*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 7/22/2004 at 7:53 AM Matt Cheselka wrote:

>On Wed, 21 Jul 2004, Tradingpost wrote:
>
>> Flies are a sign of a problem pile. Whatever is drawing them should be
>> covered with a thin layer of soil and the pile should not be kept too
>> wet.
>
>The flies only appeared after this first turning.  They were nowhere to be
>seen when I first made the pile.  I have no idea if they're there now (I
>live about 18 miles away from the farm and compost pile, so I only get
>down there every other day).  I'll make sure to note if they're there
>tomorrow when I go down again to turn the pile.  Maybe they're attracted 
>to the pile when it's turned, but leave shortly (hours) after.
>
>> There should be no odor at any time, start or finish.
>
>Hmmm.  I'm not sure I can agree with this.  Horse manure has a pretty
>distict odor, so making a compost pile that's mostly horse manure it'll
>undoubtedly have that smell.  However, this pile (even after a coupla
>days) has a different odor than what it started with.  It isn't unpleasant
>(of course I wouldn't want to be breathing it all day!) and somewhere I
>read that a "sweet" smell is actually a good sign.  I don't remember where
>I read that.
>
>> The pile
>> should have a variety of compostable materials and have some soil
>> interspersed with the materials. Green vegetation needs to be in it to
>> heat it up as it breaks down, and the heat is good for reducing
>> pathogens. The best reference IMHO is still Rodale's big book Compost.
>
>Well, as I said, I don't think I'm having *any* problem with the pile 
>heating up.  I've actually heard of piles catching fire (of course don't 
>have any direct experience with this).  But my pile was hot enough that I 
>couldn't touch the stuff for more than about 1/10th of a second!  Ouch!
>
>Matt Cheselka
>Cosmic Lettuce
>
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