[NAFEX] pulverizing food scraps

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Tue Mar 15 15:13:46 EST 2005

As Jim says, a great way to increase bioavailability of your food scraps,
such as the eggshells we're talking about, is to pulverize all of them.  If
you have a high-powered blender, such as the Vitamix, you can fill it about
halfway with food scraps and cover with water to an inch above the scraps.
Blend at high for 1 minute (or follow the directions for composting that
come with the reversible Vitamix models).  You can pour this 'instant
compost' onto your compost pile.  The content is immediately biovailable.  

Vitamix recommends keeping a dedicated blender container for this.  

Such use would probably violate any warranty with other blenders, not so for
that one - it's an expected use and covered.

Stephen Sadler, Ph.D.
USDA 9, AHS heat zone 8, 
Sacramento CA - Mediterranean climate

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Jim Fruth
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:29 AM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [NAFEX] What is inadequacy in typical compost?

    I keep hearing folks suggesting that eggs shells be added to compost
because they contain calcium.  While that is true, perhaps 99%, or more, of
that calcium is not available to plants.  The reason being that neither
plants nor soil bacteria can take up crushed shells.  To be immediately
available, the shells must be reduced to the equivalent of dust.
    One section of my orchard used to be a garden whose owner added crushed
egg shells thinking he was adding calcium.  A scoopful of the dirt yields
hundreds or thousands of eggshell pieces and I wouldn't be surprised if 96%
of them will still be visible a thousand years from now.
    So, am I suggesting that folks stop adding eggshells to their compost?
No.  Even if eggshell pieces are not available to plants, perhaps soil
bacteria can break them down one molecule at a time.  But, if you want your
compost to get the benefit of the calcium contained in the eggshells, crush
your eggshells just as absolutely fine as you can possibly crush them.

Jim Fruth
Pequot Lakes, MN  

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