Dealing With Fertility Bombs in the Garden

For most gardens and households, there’s generally
a continuous supply of material available for the compost throughout the year. There are of course seasonal variations, or
periods when the gardens are cleared, when there might a lot more material available,
but the supply tends to be reasonably consistent. And we usually set up composting system based
around this steady supply, which can normally handle some larger quantities of material
as it becomes available. But sometimes, so much material comes along
all at once that it’s hard to accommodate, especially if there’s limited space or capacity. These bursts of material can be difficult
to manage and can often overwhelm whatever composting systems we’ve set up. These larger quantities of occasional compost
material, I tend to call fertility bombs. Years ago a friend of mine described to me
the idea of a money bomb, when you get a larger clump of money suddenly, in addition to your
regular income. An inheritance, tax return, payment for a
big job, or the sale of something valuable, these are all what can be described as a money
bomb, in addition to our weekly or monthly pay check. I’ve always liked this idea of a money bomb,
and have adapted the name to fertility bomb, to describe when I receive large quantities
of fertility or organic matter for composting. I’ve gotten material from the local bakery,
from restaurant kitchens, and a diverse range of other material, where people are looking
for a useful place to put this stuff, instead of sending it to the dump. A lot of this material I can incorporate into
my current systems, which are quite big, although they do cause some issues. But I’ve also received huge loads of pulp
from the pressing of apple juice, and huge piles of rotting apples, all of which needed
me to do something completely different. I manage a small community composting facility,
which I called the no-rules compost, and it can absorb a fair amount of material at any
one time. I do need to be mindful though, to be observant
of what is being added and to mixing in other materials as needed, and I’ve learned over
the years to always have a store dry material just in case. But these larger quantities of material can
fill up the bin quite quickly, which is an issue with the system that I have. When the first compost bin fills up, I need
to turn it, to empty it, but before I can do that I needed to turn all of the other
piles to make room for the first one to be emptied. This was a lot of additional work, and adding
lots of extra material is not ideal for the method that I have developed for general everyday
composting, although it was manageable most of the time. Things changed quite a bit when friends started
to expand their small apple juice pressing business. They suddenly had loads of apple pulp that
they needed to get rid of in some way, and I wanted to help them out, and to take advantage
of this new source of fertility. But this was way too much material from my
compost system. I also didn’t have enough other material
to mixing with it in order to be able to create separate batch compost piles. I just wasn’t prepared for this volume of
wet material, and I had to scramble to figure out what to do with it all. I added some of it to my usual composting
system, but I also decided to spread some of it as a mulch on part of my No-Dig Garden. And I spread more of it over the part of soil
in my Simple Garden, which was then covered with ground cover fabric. These were both experiments in sheet composting,
and I wasn’t sure how they would work out. The experiment of using apple pulp as a sheet
mulch in the No-Dig Garden didn’t work out very well. Perhaps the layer was too thick, but it was
also a very wet and cold winter, and the layer remained sloppy and seemed to become anaerobic. But by the spring the worms seemed to be working
through a lot of the material, which was a good sign. In some of the sections of this garden, I
decided to scrape the remains of the pulp off of the surface of the soil in the spring,
and to add it to my compost systems, but in other parts fo the garden I decided continue
with this experiment. In one section I covered the remains of the
apple pulp with a layer of compost, and a while later I transplanted in cauliflower
and calabrese plants into this bed. In the places that had had apple pulp underneath,
these plants did significantly worse, especially at the start of the season, although later
on the growth improved. I’m not sure if this was due to the anaerobic
conditions, or the type of active biology that was involved, the acidity of the material
or some other factor, but I’d hesitate in doing this again. If I did, I’d try to mix in compost in with
the pulp material in, rather than leaving it as a homogenous layer, or I’d at least
cover it with some other material right away. This same messy material under the ground
cover fabric in Simple Garden did much better. The fabric definitely hid the mess, and perhaps
created better conditions for the worms and other soil organisms to work through the apple
pulp during the winter months The squash that I grew in this section of
the garden were also planted later in the spring than the brassicas had been, which
would have allowed more time for things to settle down. Squash plants are also notorious for being
able to grow very well in areas of active decomposition, and are quite happy to grow
directly on top of a compost pile, and seemed to be a much better crop for this type of
sheet composting. That same autumn I had added loads of spoiled
apples that have been damaged in a big storm, and couldn’t be pressed for apple juice. This huge long pile of apples was quite wet
and slushy under the fabric for most of the winter but by the spring there was lots of
worm activity. throughout it. By mid summer there is only a crust of apple
skins and cores remaining and 16 months later there is not a trace of this massive pile
of apples. And I ended up with a really good crop of
squash out of it, the best from all of the gardens in that last season. I’m not sure about the effect of the acidity
of such a large volume of material but I think it’s probably less of an issue here with
the calcareous soil that we’re working with, with its high pH. No doubt adding such a large quantity of any
material will mess around with the soil fertility in some way, and this is something that I
need to take into consideration, and at very least in the future I should mix the apples
in with some other material. Based on the limited experience so far, my
preferred method is to sheet compost fertility bombs under a layer of ground cover fabric,
and then to grow squash or pumpkin plants over top of it. It is amazing how much material can be added
using this sheet composting method, especially with the really messy stuff. Of course this method is not without its issues,
and I’ve had several instances of rats making a home for themselves under the fabric, and
then I’ve had dogs ripping up the fabric trying to get at the rats, but then again,
I’ve had the same kind of problems with my other composting piles. Another possible method I’ve tried a few
times, but would like to do a lot more experimentation with, is trench composting, and this would
involve setting aside specific areas, planning for what crops will go in afterwards, and
ideally digging the trenches in advance, especially if I’m anticipating a large volume of material
all at once. The use of animals to manage the fertility
bombs is another possibility and is often suggested by other people. Pigs are an obvious possibility here, which
I’ve never had, but I have had hens at times. The problem is that I would have to keep them
alive and well fed when the fertility bombs are not available, so that they are ready
and able to help when I do get this extra load of fertility. Keeping pigs so that they can eat the apple
pulp for only a short period of the year, just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think animals are more suitable as a way
to process relatively consistent supplies of food waste and other materials, as they
need to eat regularly. The other option is to make large batch compost
piles, but this means I have to have lots of material ready and waiting to mix in with
whatever stuff I think I might receive. But I think that dedicated large batch compost
piles are perhaps the best option in my context, after sheet composting. I’ve found that a lot of the large loads
of materials I’ve received in the past has been unexpected, and I’ve had to process
it at the last minute so I ended up scrambling and I’ve had to make some quick decisions. I think the key to all of this is being as
ready as I can be, to have a number of different options for when material does arrive. Having extra space definitely helps, especially
with large volumes of potentially really messy material that I don’t want to have to move
again, or process any more. I’m already starting to plan for apple juice
season next autumn, and I really hope that it’s a good season for my friends. I will definitely be sheet composting some
of this apple pulp, as I have in the past, but I’m also planning to stockpile large
quantities of dry, high carbon material and other organic matter to mix in with the apple
pulp, to create large dedicated compost piles. I’m planning to be ready for this sudden
abundance of fertility, and for any other fertility bombs that get thrown at my gardens.

100 thoughts on “Dealing With Fertility Bombs in the Garden

  1. For rotten or rejected apples from a local grocery, I simply trench them. I dig a trench in the vegetable garden, and rake the apples in.
    The trench is then topped with two to three inches of soil. The apples break down in a year. I’ve had no issues with growing lettuce peas or cabbages over the trenches. If anything, they seem to do better than the neighboring rows.

  2. here we have 3 horses, pumpkins and squash will grow right in the manure pile. I have had a few instances of the plants and vegetables getting to hot and actually rot while they are still growing. never knew how big the squash and pumpkins could get in such a warm, and rotting setting

  3. Have you considered a larger tumbler for the pulp? Could be an easy way to mix the wet pulp and dry material

  4. I have been binge watching your videos, and I think I will setup a small herb garden using your tips. Keep up the videos, love the informative nature.

  5. Really like your videos. I thought that maybe local animal farmers would be interested to having their animals eat and mess around in the compost area.

    You have a very strategic and analytical approach to composting and I like to see what conclusions you draw from your own experiences.

  6. I would eat that bread.::.stuffing / pudding / french toast / custard / falshwquela and bread crumbs for meatloaf 😆
    The Apples : : Mead 😨😆😅😆😅😨

  7. This is the second video of yours I've seen. You have a new subscriber. Thank you so much for providing useful information, experience, and insight in a clear and well presented manner, without all the lame humor, off topic chit chat, and horrible music I so often encounter in other videos. Well done!

  8. I really like you man. You're very bright and speak with respect to the audience. You speak with well structured thoughts and present the material logically and clearly. Thank you for your efforts. Can I ask you please to slow down about 10% so my brain can absorb the information. My poor hearing is somewhat of an obstacle too.

  9. You could borrow some pigs during your apple bombs: the pig farmer would be happy and you'll be happy to return them. I'm not sure practically how many apples they would eat. You might need too many for it to be practical. These days a temporary electric fence is quick to erect.

  10. Glad you resist the people urging you to enslave animals as fertility bomb processors. If you already had an animal farm, then sure… But the idea to go out and get animals motivated by wanting them to compost for you… not a good idea. even livestock should be greatly cared about or we are no better than abusive factory farms. They are not just things that exist to be captured and enslaved by we humans.

  11. Have you considered getting a DR Chipper/shredder? It may help on the initial break-down of so many apples or other vegetation.

  12. Great video!! Couple questions:
    – Maybe mix in wood chips or paper shreds or dry weed materials with the apple pulp? (I think you mentioned this at the end (: )
    – Also, could the areas just wait until the worms have had their way with the area? Surely time could help with fertility bombs by using areas that can be left alone for a longer time?
    – Is it possible to "borrow" a neighbors animals for fertility bombs?

  13. Recently subscribed! Do you have a really big tank you could digest those fertility overloads with? I would be trying to mechanically break down the biomass with a mulcher or modified lawn mower and pump air into the tank to brew up a batch that can be sprayed much further than the compost heap method delivers. When I lived on the farm, i was toying with this idea. After spraying some oats stubble with a brew, the sheep came out of the hills and sniffed out this bacterical brew and ate all the sprayed stubble and went off to spread the good bacteria all over via their slow release brown pellet system.

  14. It would be great if you could dehydrated large amounts of organic waste and then come up with a mix or mixes that work best to be added when need in garden.

  15. alright, heres a tip. composting decreases efficiency in nutrient utility of food waste. To maximize efficieny of use of the active nutrients in food waste it must be fed to an animal. Prior to feeding fresh food waste can be fermented with LAB (lacto bacillus) or em-1, this way it is innoculated and preserved; fine biochar can be added as animal feed at 1%. This fermented material is fed to an animal, chicken-pig-cow, the manure from this animal is transformed via larvae (BSFL) and then the larvae waste is fed to worms or shrimp. The result is a happy and healthy animal, a protein bomb of larvae and worms which can be cycled to fish in aquaponics and vermichar/vermicompost. Hope this helps out and that you put this into practice.

  16. Just a thought, if you use pigs to eat through the apples, perhaps you can fin a friendly pig farmer who can lend you a few pigs for a few weeks. That’s a win win in my book 😄

  17. I live in a very populated area and there are landscapes and tree removal people who dump large quantities of chipped vegetation, the tree surgeons usually have lots of excess they want to dump for free.

  18. And I thought my composting problems were immense! I garden for a family of four and what works for me is to grind everything down. Found a old blender at a garage sale to turn scraps into slush. I use leaf chipper for outside items… Leaves, grass, small branches. Then all goes into a tumbler. Leftover material can wait or thrown into tumbler as needed.

  19. Thank you for the well made and informative video. I like you're audio, would you mind sharing your mic set up? Also, do you use a prompter? If so would you share the link to it?

  20. I don't know your story, but I watched some of your old videos and didn't realize you were in Ireland for a few videos and thought you had an American accent. Watching this video now I can hear the Irish accent starting to creep into your speech.

  21. More Worms for the Apples and pulp start worm beds they will multiply eat all the organic materials you can feed them leave behind worm castings that you can use also run water through and collect for a good liquid Fertilizer that you can also sell along with the worms and castings there are plenty of YouTube videos showing the exact process and how to build the beds

  22. I set up a Black Soldier Fly bin, and they handle pretty much anything I throw in there, they eat through material extremely quickly. Though, I do need to sift through it and transfer the castings over to my red wiggler bin for further breakdown. The larvae also go to feeding local reptile keepers stock, and the healthy population of house gecko's that enjoy my bins…lol

  23. Imagine being so brainwashed by MSM and their agenda that you actually believe CO2 is bad for the atmosphere. Today, we are at the lowest levels of CO2 ever, throughout all of Earths History. Any more drops in CO2 will make it almost impossible to grow food outside.

  24. This is very impressive. Ive composted for years but this is a dream. The thought of creating fertile soil which will bring life and value out of something we call "Trash""

  25. couldve made alcohol with all that fruit, bit of a waste considering they are mostly water and sugar. if we get into a bad depression that will be the only way to get ethanol FYI

  26. Tax returns should not be "money bombs"
    You should get next to nothing back in your return. Otherwise, you are having too much money withheld by your employer every month for taxes (a.k.a. you're giving the government your hard earned money as an interest free loan until next year).
    If you get a lot of money in your return every year, take the amount you get, divide it by 12, tell your employer to withhold that much less every month, and MAKE A DAMN BUDGET.

  27. Some of the biggest problems with composting a large quantity of mushy materials like rotten apples, apple pulp, or unbleached wood pulp and sawdust mixed with water come from it forming an air-tight barrier when it collapses under its own weight while wet. You want it wet to compost, but it's so fine you might as well have put a thick layer of clay down for how little air it lets through. You can get a surprising amount of air-flow without turning it by putting fist-sized "plugs" of something that breathes better, like straw, down along the center before you lay down the mush, and making sure that they stick up above the mush afterwards. A row down the middle works too, but a layer underneath doesn't, as the mush just seeps into it.

  28. Mm… I'm sure a local farmer would be happy to offload a pig or two for 'X' amount of time consider you'll be feeding them with the fertility bomb.


  29. I don't know why i did click on this video. I'm not interested in gardening. But there is a reason why I would comment. Because: holy shit this is a good camera you are using here. Most ppl I see doing youtube professionaly aren't looking this good and should be ashamed by themself for being beaten in technical competency by simple gardener.

  30. I read a story on a juice company dumping their orange peels & other organic waste into a desert. A couple decades later, it was a lush forest.
    You should try an experiment like this! Crowdfund it!

  31. apple pulp i use as base for fermentation of em's both in areated tanks and on strawbales, in all cases due to rised acidity i add or source of calcium carbonate such as eg shells powder, or some chicken manure, chicken manure on bales did wery quick job to decompose straw and produce heat, and calcium carbonate batches did slower…

  32. Try layering your old compost piles. Pull a small amount forward, add material, pull more forward until your left right piles start to double or triple in depth.

  33. Try layering your old compost piles. Pull a small amount forward, add material, pull more forward until your left right piles start to double or triple in depth.

  34. You should make sure that the apple pulp is ground and re-pressed prior to being composted, something as simple as a roller mill does the job ok since you're not looking at keeping the juice for consumption. There's a difference between pressing and chipping since the pressing tends to tighten and cut-off the paths inside the fruit fiber. Deep freezing the pulp can do a great deal to it as well but is a bit of an expensive option. Overall if you have brutal dry winters simply running streams of frozen apple pulp through the chipper can make it soil ready at thaw. The way we dealt with this kind of material in our home garden in central Illinois was to use a post-hole digger and "pot" the pulp in rows, it would rot and seep in little compost piles through winter and into spring from its little holes. If you do the "potting" you just mix the pulp in with the dirt like making mortar and put it back in the holes. We commonly also had wood ash and the large variety of other components available.

  35. Do you have a tractor? You might be able to make use of a three-point-lift attachment called a poultry litter blade. Poultry farmers use this to scrape vast amounts of litter material (mostly composed of wood fibers and chicken manure) into windrows to pasteurize it.

  36. From what I heard, using "unfinished" soil, i.e. soil with contents which have not been fully decomposed, is a problem because of the high presence of bacteria, which compete with the plant for nitrogen, and this affects initial growth and general health.

  37. the solve: anaerobic digestors in order to generate natural gas. they are cheap, escalable, and has a great turnover. More importantly is the huge reduction of the biomass and quick transformation in fertilizer. And they could shut down any time.

  38. Dude can you put the video a little far away from you face so that i can see more of your hands or body, just a little far away. It always makes me uncomfortable watching u up close. Like u are crossing my comfort zone. I want to watch your videos but u’r too up close.

  39. You should get a cow or two and feed the apple pulp to them! They'll be delighted and you'll get Milk for free!

  40. That is where animal become necessary! feed these to livestock or even compost them with BSF for example and /use the manure for fertilizing… even better is free range animals who will spread it over a field.

  41. Where I live, we have a vast amount of leaves. I started to bag the leaves when they are dry into plastic bags to keep them dry and use them when I need them.

    I also have access to a lot of egg carton type of card board material that come inside Dell computer boxes. You could post the request for brown material on a Craigslist or Kijiji and someone may help you. There's always people willing to help.

  42. For me, the main challenge is having enough carbon material stored for when I need to compost the green stuff. Luckily I have a generous farmer down the road who gives me straw for free, but I don't like to keep asking for it

  43. Would be interesting if (some of) the wood pulp could be sold as is, maybe with some thickener to make bars, or frozen for use in cooking. That would reduce the time needed to make use of it.

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