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So how important is the right mix, anyway? (obsessive spouse)

13 years ago

We've had a cold composter for 10 years, and love it, but we've grown out of it - the garden has, anyway. I recently got another when our church did a bulk order of Earth Machine ones for Earth Day. So that's great and all...

But it's time to move up to the real deal. We live in New Hampshire, and materials aren't the problem. I currently have 6 leaf bags of mixed horse, sheep, and goat manure from the nice guy in town that leaves it free for the taking when he cleans the barn. At the dump you can get leaves & grass clippings, and my 10 year old son and I dug a bunch of leaf bags of those out of the pile and brought them home a month or so ago (they're partly broken down).

My husband got laid off 2 weeks ago, so to satisfy my urge to let stuff rot on the cheap, I looked at all the plans for 3-bin composters made from pallets. We can get those at the dump, too. All set to build the darn things yesterday...

And then my darling but crazy husband freaks out and spends HOURS calculating the right formula for the mix. (Wonderful human normallly. He's a little stressed, even though the phone is ringing off the hook for job calls.) Did I mention his college degree is in physics? He kept mumbling stuff about all the charts I had from various cooperative extensions being wrong because they were based on volume not weight - or was it the opposite?

I'm no math dummy - got through calculus in college and all. But geesh almighty! If hot composting really takes the amount of formulas my husband thinks it does, nobody would ever do it! I get it that we need to get the C:N ratio more or less correct. But really, if it's too hot, it will go to ash & we'll fix it. If it's too cold...well, the neighbors in our suburban neighborhood won't be too happy, but they do annoying things, too, and I'll fix is as fast as I can. I've got LOTS of weeds and brush I should clear from untended parts of our wooded back yard - I can just toss those in to correct it, right?

Please help! I want to play with rotting things, not with endless discussions of the math of proper formulas for manure! (Yes, laughing at him does help a little. Though since he was willing to help build said bins, I figure I can't laugh too much.)

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