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Author Topic: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile  (Read 1690 times)

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Offline Brad_S.

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When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« on: June 29, 2018, 11:51:08 AM »
 

 I  have very poor soil so I am getting free chips from a couple local tree services with the intent to compost them and add them to the soil. I have two separate piles going and both are working nicely. They look like miniature volcanoes with steam rising from the top. 

 When should I turn them? Do I wait for the surface chips to stop working or toss the pile regularly to get oxygen to the middle? 
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." J. Lennon

Offline Just Right

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2018, 11:59:34 AM »
I am of no help on that.  But I want to keep track on this thread.  There will be some good info here shortly.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2018, 09:58:09 AM »
There are various things I've found on the internet.  One was to let it sit for about 2 years.  For quicker times, you should add 10-10-10 fertilizer and wet down your pile until moist.  Turn the pile every couple of weeks through the summer.  Pull the inside of the pile to the outside, push the outside to the inside.  Supposedly takes about 3 months.

What you are getting right now is the breakdown of the leaves and the fines.  If you get it too hot, it will kill all your bacteria, and composting will stop.  
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2018, 02:43:48 PM »
I get chips and leaves dropped at my place.
The leaves are run through a Billy goat commercial leave vac.
I turn them once in s year.
I have a big plie of black dirt out back just been to busy to sell it yet. 
I built my house in an old gravel pit. 
The composted chips and leaves grow grass for me and fill in spots.
thomas 8013 mill ,Mahindra 3540 cab tractor loader  Dump trailer  and lot of contracting tools

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2018, 03:00:02 PM »
I am composting chips as well.  I got about 21 yds of manure and mixed into it about 600 700 cubic ft of woodchips. That was a week ago. It is heating now and will turn it and water it if it looks dry. The product should have a wet sponge texture. Then turn it anytime your temp gets over 160. If you can keep it going it will be done in a couple of months.
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2018, 04:52:39 PM »
I'm going to start adding manure to mine some time this summer
thomas 8013 mill ,Mahindra 3540 cab tractor loader  Dump trailer  and lot of contracting tools

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2018, 06:24:46 AM »
The manure takes the place of fertilizer.  
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Offline maple flats

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2018, 08:21:12 AM »
The gal next door to my sugarhouse and 2 large gardens has a horse. Years ago she was paying a trucker to "dispose of the manure pile" once a year. I told here she could just dump it in a designated spot on my land. I then pile it all year and shortly after maple season I move a large pile to a second spot. That pile gets turned every 2-3 weeks and the next year I haul it to a place between our two gardens for use and repeat moving the pile to location 2.
She saves money and my wife gets some great composted manure with lots of wood shavings and hay mixed in. Before that gal's father died a couple of years ago, he used to bring a load of manure, then pick up a load of sawdust from my mill anytime I had sawdust. That worked well for both of us.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2018, 09:32:07 AM »
In our area, the horse manure and bedding from the race tracks and horse farms goes to the mushroom farms.  After it is spent, it is sold as mushroom soil, already composted.  
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Offline maple flats

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2018, 08:58:13 PM »
Well, don't tell my neighbor or I might lose my source of free manure, delivered too! I doubt a one horse farm could interest any mushroom farm except a hobby 'roomer and they likely would not pay for the manure.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2018, 12:44:56 AM »
A woodchip pile is primarily carbon which will be broken down slowly by fungus more than bacteria and microbes.  Youd need to add nitrogen sources to raise the temp and get a true hot composting by microbial action.  Manures and just about anything green will do the trick.  I harvest any weeds with a scythe and add them to chainsaw chips, planer shavings etc.



I do recommend you rake up a wheelbarrow of hardwood forest leaf litter and some punky old rotten mushroomy wood.  Spread that ontop and the organisms will dive into the pile for shade, thus innoculating it.

The more you turn it the faster itll cook, but try to keep it high rather than spreading out.  If the sun is harsh throw a small tarp or wet cardboard ontop.. Itll retain necessary heat and moisture. Just dont kill the airflow entirely or itll go anaerobic.

My garden compost is turned every 2 to 3 days and i can start screening black dirt out in 15 days give or take.


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Offline maple flats

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 08:07:02 AM »
If not turned it is possible the heat generated in the pile will combust, if you can't turn it at least once every 6-8 weeks, spread it to under 2-3' deep and combustion is less likely. Turning it will speed up the breakdown process. If dampened and turned 2-3x a month you will have good compost in weeks rather than years. The number of weeks will depend on the size of the chips, the moisture, if you add vegetation and the woods chipped, maybe other factors too.
Be aware, I used to get chips delivered but I found too many oil jugs, soda cans and bottles and other trash in the chips that I had them stop delivering the chips.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2018, 05:43:05 PM »
Turned my pile yesterday, and it was steaming we were at 80 deg. But need to hose it down getting too dry.
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline thecfarm

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2018, 06:50:37 PM »
maple flats,I have see the what ever the lunch was put in go into the back of the truck.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline maple flats

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2018, 07:09:54 PM »
Yes I used to get lunch garbage but the oil jugs (bar oil) and other jugs and soda or beer cans were my biggest issue. Another problem was that sometimes I would get a trash bag full of leaves or whatever. I( had to open them to verify there was not a human body inside, besides, the plastic bags take about 1000 years to break down if not exposed to the sun.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2018, 08:45:51 PM »
Turned the pile 10 days or so ago. Checked yesterday running any where from 130 to 148. Turning black and much less manure odor from it . Will check temp for the next week to see if the temp drops or gets over the 150. Then will turn it. Seen compost in 1 cubic ft bags for $7. And i got 1700 cubic ft.
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline mike_belben

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2018, 11:36:26 AM »
Ive had some very rapid compost that never broke 145.  Id say you are there now.. Just keep flipping it to sustain that temp and keep the microbes fed. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline Leigh Family Farm

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2018, 11:37:36 AM »
Here is a link to a thread on composting from HomesteadingToday.com

Extreme Composting

Its written by a guy who composts everything and is really good at it. 
There are no problems; only solutions we haven't found yet.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2018, 03:21:22 PM »
That was a very interesting thread. Just did a temp on my pile this morning, 140+ in all parts of the pile. I'm digging a hole
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline Leigh Family Farm

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Re: When to ‘toss’ a chip compost pile
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2018, 03:26:44 PM »
Yeah, that thread is probably the best I have seen on composting. And they love using wood chips and sawdust which seems to be in abundance over here! 
There are no problems; only solutions we haven't found yet.


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