Making Orchard Compost

by Tim
(Stoystown, Pa.)

Hello everyone,
I am attempting to start a small orchard/garden in my backyard. My question concerns the making of orchard compost. I have a book by a reputable author, which recommends the use of hardwood chips to make orchard compost. I am having difficulty locating a source of chips and was wondering if hardwood mulch could be used as an alternative. I already have built a composter for the garden so that is taken care of. Any help would be most appreciated.

Comments for Making Orchard Compost

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Jun 23, 2012
Hard Wood Compost NEW
by: Kiwi George

Hi Tim. I have never heard of using hardwood chips or mulch in a compost heap as surely they will take a long time to break down compared to your other ingredients. I found how long this break dowen can take when years ago which I used Blue Gum shreddings to keep my pathways becoming slippery in the winter and they took three years to break down. Fortunately I have a long Phebalium hedge when when trimmed by my "Tree Fella" who mulches the cuttings as part of the price and this is enough for the coarse component my five compost heaps. May I suggest that you find a local arborist or "Tree Fella" and ask if you can have the shredded trimings, maybe for a small financial consideration. However, despite the "experts" I have found composting rules to be mainly "Emperical Determination" (suck it and see)so give it a go. I'm sure the No-Dog community would be glad to hear of your success.
Kiwi George

Jun 23, 2012
Chips anyone? NEW
by: Flynn

Kiwi George, No dog! Ha ha, gotta dig the dogs.

Back to the question, what's the difference between hardwood mulch or chips anyway? If the mulch was bark and leaves and small bits, then it would be great to make compost with. Chips always take ages to break down and are mostly used on paths or for public gardens from what I have seen.

Don't get hung up on what's correct, go like Kiwi G says and go with the flow. Compost was never 'made' way back, my guess is that stuff was thrown in a pile or nature did was it did. So just use what's you have or can beg or borrow.

Going back and reading what you say Tim, I'm not sure whether you mean you want mulch for your orchard for to stops weeds and keep temps even and make it easy to walk on, OR whether you want proper compost to supply nutrients and humus and so on, in which case any compost would do, like decomposed old rotten apples and paper, horse muck, weeds…..
Let us know what you do and how successful.

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