Question for desert composters

haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)May 25, 2008

This question wouldn't apply to most of the people in the composting forum because we have a unique situation here in that much of our bare earth is covered with gravel. Mine is, anyway. And when I rake up the flowers and leaves to collect them for my compost, I find that I do pick up some of this gravel too. I try to avoid it by raking very lightly, but still end up with rocks with my leaves. Does anyone have some helpful suggestions for me about keeping gravel out of my compost as much as possible?

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cactuswren

I have had the same issue collecting leaves for composting. My boss uses a yard blower/vacuum to blow the leaves into a pile then vacuums up the leaves. I have never tried it, but I occasionally take the green compost bin from my work to use for my home compost and it rarely has rocks. I would imagine you have to vacuum carefully to avoid sucking up rocks along with the leaves, but it is a lot better than raking.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 5:30PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

get rid of the rock. I hate rock. I got rid of mine.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 7:54AM
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organic_meggie

Depending on the area (if you care how it looks). You could lay a plastic sheet down. Just an idea.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 6:06PM
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haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)

Thanks for the replies. :) I do have a blower/mulcher, so I will definitely give that a try

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 9:24PM
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klong12343(9)

I have the same problem. I don't know how to not get the gravel out, but heres a tip: put coffee grinds in your compost, it loosens it up!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:37AM
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katib_gardener(9)

The blower vacs are supposed to drop the gravel as you pick up the vac. I think it keeps the light stuff and drops the heavy stuff. I've had decent luck with this. You can tell when you suck up a rock and it is not that often. It also grinds the stuff up as it sucks it up.

I'm not sure if that's good for compost or not. I would like to start composting but don't really know what to do. I've heard that people here have problems with pack rats and such if it's on the ground. Anybody got tips? I want a nice composter but I don't want to spend a ton of money. I like the ones that are above ground but they are over $300 I think.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:50PM
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arizbrian(9)

The easiest and best way of picking up leaves without gravel is to use an electric blower and blow everything into a corner of the yard and the I take two rakes and pick them up like using chopsticks and dump them in the compost pile

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 9:35PM
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