Organic Matter


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I am wondering if kitchen scrap like fruit peel, shredded lettuce etc considered as organic matter. My garden soil is full of clay and one of the suggestion is to add organic matter to soil for improvement. I also plan to to add cow manure bought from big box store.
 
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Welcome Jack. Please add your hardiness zone on your profile so we can make sure that we are giving you good advice in the future.

The items you mention are good for organic material. You can work that directly into the ground but it will cause problems if you are going to garden this year. You would be far better off to make a compost pile now for next year’s garden. For this year check Craigslist for compost and mulch. They are a great resource for putting gardeners in touch with farmers, landscapers and tree service people who often have good organic material for sale. I too have heavy clay soil but it is amazing how much better it is in just one year of ammending it. Good luck.
 
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Then let us be friends.

Black Kow composted manure is the fertilizer. I put mine out with this tool,
IMG_20181226_143926.jpg


But a shovel and rake work also, just not as thinly.

So you have questions..ask them. Nothing is stupid here. I am into phytohormones right now and it is obvious I am a complete idiot and lack all finesses in that area.
 
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I am wondering if kitchen scrap like fruit peel, shredded lettuce etc considered as organic matter. My garden soil is full of clay and one of the suggestion is to add organic matter to soil for improvement. I also plan to to add cow manure bought from big box store.
How much organic matter (OM) (with respect to kitchen scraps) are we talking about?

If your quantity of kitchen scraps is anything like mine, there's just not enough to make a respectful quantity of soil. You could go around and collect some, but I think that would be a lot of work and messy; furthermore, I bet you'd have to separate a lot of plastic trash from the scraps.

I do throw my kitchen scraps out for composting, but it's a very minuscule addition to the compost (AKA SOIL) I produce. The bulk of my OM comes from leaves and wood and other forms of yard waste that I collect, that's all I need to make the most fertile soil.

I go around and pick up bags of yard waste and I use the left over bags as my trash bags for trash -- I never buy trash bags any longer. However, there is one caveat; I only pickup yard waste from the well-off neighborhoods, simply because there is usually too much crap/trash mixed in the yard waste of less affluent households. My yard is much like the forest floor nowadays.


P.S. I never say never and I never amend my soil with manure, nor any store-bought soil products and I never buy fertilizers.


P.S - P.S. I also no longer have a compost pile, rather my heavily-mulched yard is my compost and I also practice chop and drop with all my plants.
 
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The biggest problem with kitchen scraps is Raccoons. And Squirrels, Groundhogs, Skunks, Bears, Wolverines, and others... Once they discover your stash they will revisit often, like every night. Autumn leaves are more wonderful. They are free and come every year at the end of the season. You can make arrangements with neighbors to put only clean leaves in their bags, which you collect every week and give them their bags back. Some older, more densely populated communities collect leaves that the rabble rake off the curb. In that case, they have a central yard someplace close by where they dump them for trans-shipping, and usually they allow citizens to take all they want. If you have a vehicle that will accommodate raw loads or several containers, those leaves are much denser because they have been wet a few times. I hauled a couple loads in my van for ten years on my sandy lot years ago, adding 8 to 10 inches each fall making for a shield that was impenetrable to weeds, year-around. Ten inches laid down to ~3" by each following spring which I would turn in with a shovel. I also collected bags of leaves, strategically, waiting until the world was covered deep enough to be sure that the bags I collected were, indeed, clean leaves. I saved them over winter and used them for mulch in spring until I could cover everything with grass clippings. I had very few weeds, year-around. Broadcasting 20-20-20 after garden clean-up every fall to insure that the N-P-K granules had dispersed into the leaves that I would dig-in the following spring gave me deluxe dirt.

You need to be careful when collecting neighbor's grass clippings: a load of weed-and-feed clippings will stifle growth or kill anything you mulch with it.

Manure is problematic. Even though it's usually free for the asking from any place with horses, it comes with hay stable-sweepings and more seeds per cubic inch than you might think possible. And, your neighbors may notice...

I live in a new place now and still work to approximately the same end, but more upper-class. My brother lives on an acre lot with many large trees. He vacuums the leaves up with his riding mower, bags them up, and I get 12 to 15 bags of finely chopped leaves in return for buying him lunch. I have lots of Hosta beds that have Periwinkle or Pachysandra ground-covers. I spread the chopped leaves over an area and then sweep it in with a broom. It's not necessary to do a good job, -just a few strokes here and there to get it in-between the top foliage. The rain and snow and time will get it down close to earth and everything will be replaced by new growth the following spring, anyway. My beds improve every year because I more than replace the humus used-up by each succeeding year's new growth. I keep one or two large garbage cans full of these chopped leaves dry for garden mulch for the next growing season. I love my brother.

I live in a deer-proof area, and I export rabbits to local parks on a continuing basis. No, I'm not dead and in heaven. Close...
 
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"The biggest problem with kitchen scraps is Raccoons. And Squirrels, Groundhogs, Skunks, Bears, Wolverines, and others..."
Hang around here..there are denizens burrowed into this site that would point out how successful a pile that attracts top tier animals actually is, how fertility feeds the whole chain, how you might want to review some ideas about what success actually looks like. Just sayin..
 
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I don't have problems with rodents of any type digging up my kitchen scraps and I have plenty of raccoons, opossums, squirrels and even a few rats visit my yard. However, I do see quite a few holes they dig looking for grubs.

The only exception to this is when I accidentally bury meat in with my kitchen scraps, it's basically a guarantee that something will dig up the meat. Although, I'm sure if I went around to restaurants and gathered their waste, I'd surely have problems with rodents. Another reason not to collect this type of organic matter.
 
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I don't have problems with rodents of any type digging up my kitchen scraps and I have plenty of raccoons, opossums, squirrels and even a few rats visit my yard. However, I do see quite a few holes they dig looking for grubs.

The only exception to this is when I accidentally bury meat in with my kitchen scraps, it's basically a guarantee that something will dig up the meat. Although, I'm sure if I went around to restaurants and gathered their waste, I'd surely have problems with rodents. Another reason not to collect this type of organic matter.
While I have come to understand more about the importance of proteins in compost and the amino acids therein, I am not going to go so far as Redhawk did over on the permies forum, where he composted a pig that had died on his farm. I am not opposed to the occasional squirrel, but only in those piles where I am not worried about E-coli or other pathogens on vegatables. I think human disease is the main issue with what goes in a pile, given the hard work needed to turn and heat the piles to pastuerization level temps of 140f or more. Since some components of the piles do not get that high temp, even the infected tree leaves can pass on fungal spores making a sorry mess of a garden. A compost pile without heat really causes more work later in the season when the creeps come back out of it to munch the plants.
 
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I have never practiced hot composting, simply because I never had a large enough compost pile and definitely don't practice it now, since I have no "compost" piles, rather I simply compost in the heavy mulch. In nearly ten years of doing this I've never had any problems with pathogens. When I compost large carcasses, such as turkey or ham...granted, not as large as a pig...I first set it out in the open for the vultures to find and after they do their thing I bury the bones.

I do think having a very bio-diverse environment and not allowing things to accumulate in a small area keeps the nasties under control.


In my backyard

12-25-2012.JPG
 
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And you did not mention it, but your sunny buzzard reminded me that ultraviolet light is a major player in sterilization of thin layers of applied compost. It does not penetrate far but it will kill many seeds, along with dessication and the 125f our grass surfaces can see here in our Alabama summer.
 
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I usually dig a line in a fallow vegetable plot where I bury fish and fish guts and the occasional rabbit. I keep a movable headstone like a brick to remind me where the last ceremony was preformed. Critters make their living with their nose which coincidentally is only inches from the ground. That's one of the reasons they are so successful in locating buried treasure. I make it a point to always put 12"+ of dirt on a carcass which is, evidently, enough to hide rotting flesh because they have not violated my holy ground in my memory.

If the pig was good enough to eat, then it wasn't a carrier of a disease communicable to man. I don't know, but I would speculate that if you are growing human food in ground that hasn't totally completed the process of decomposition to a state of being "sweet" soil, as opposed to smelling like garbage, you will be making a contribution to our mutual gene pool by leaving it prematurely. GIGO applies to rotting materials. Other than the bones, once the remains are unidentifiable as a profile distinct from the surrounding soil, it's OK. In my experience, only bones remain identifiable one year later. Feces of any kind are problematic. Not unusable, but require more care than most people are willing to apply.

Of course I have superior soil because I practice all the proper methods known for a hundred years; mulch heavily year-around both to feed microbes and prevent windblown seeds from finding a home; rotate crops for a billion reasons and remove my crop residues so diseases and pest eggs endemic to the few crops I grow will go into the city's compost program rather than being stored in my soil; apply 20-20-20 each fall so it will break down to an available state by the following growing season. Adding fish guts whenever I have them feeds the microbes, too. I apply Menefee Humate and Jersey Green Sand periodically, and put a cup of Bone Char in every planting hole, or broad-cast over rows of snap peas. I consider my soil precious, and treat it that way.
 

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