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Old 03-02-2008, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 18,703,493 times
Reputation: 2750

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Hello y'all fellow gardeners! I will be honest and admit that this is the first time I have even entered the Garden forum, sorry. But skimming through it now, it seems like a lot of great gardeners here who are very knowledgeable!
So hoping you can help me out. He is my situation: Almost 2 years ago we moved to a location that uses city trash cans, you can't use you're own, have to use the one given to you. Seeing as we had just bought a new big trash can on wheels and hating to throw away a good item, we turned the garbage can with wheels into a compost container. Drilled several holes in the bottom, found a great spot to keep in in the back of the yard out if site but that gets sun and away we went. Put in grass clippings, small twigs, egg shells, a whole bunch of coffee grounds and so on. Was getting some really good compost going that I was planning to use this year in the flower beds.
Well, today being such a nice day here in North East TN, was doing some pre Spring prep and mentioned to my son that we needed to stir up and water the compost today. He says "Mom, I don't think that is any good." I said, "sure it is, good and ready to use this year." He says "Well, I think I might have....maybe..umm...a while back....dumped the cat littler box in there.....that makes compost better right?"
We looked, yep, cat litter and everything that goes with it.
My assumption is with all that ammonia of cat ..... that my compost is now trash....is that correct?
We dug out what we could of it and some of it looks ok, we are left with about half of what we had.
Are we just out of luck as far as compost value here? What my gardens are deficient in is nitrogen so that is why I was composting with so much coffee grounds. I know natural nitrogen can be found in cow manure but cat???
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
6,290 posts, read 20,548,170 times
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Howdy, mouse.

I've seen recommendations to avoid cat litter in compost piles, but more because it might contain bacteria or other harmful organisms than because of the ammonia.

Would I go ahead and use it in a flower bed? Yep.
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 18,703,493 times
Reputation: 2750
Figures a cat would answer that one first.....LOL!!! J/k I couldn't resist on that one....it was just THERE. hahahhaha
I was hoping someone would feel the same as I, use it anyway. I really do not want to lose that container full of compost. But I sure don't want to kill off everything in the flower bed too! I had my son (using a shovel and gloves of course) go through and pick out as much of the litter and "clumps" that he could find then fill up the container with water. I'll know in a day or so what it looks like.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
3,040 posts, read 10,217,354 times
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I don't know the answer to the question, but I do know that I've seen cats use flower beds as litter boxes quite often. I haven't seen any evidence that this has hurt the flowers.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 18,703,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdavid93225 View Post
I don't know the answer to the question, but I do know that I've seen cats use flower beds as litter boxes quite often. I haven't seen any evidence that this has hurt the flowers.
Opps, maybe I didn't explain very well, sorry about that. My son dumped the entire litter box in the compost container. Not just the fesses but the actual litter as well I would say about 6-8 pounds of it. We have two cats so one of the large litter boxes. I am wondering if adding that litter kinda zapped all the nutrients out of the compost. We have very think, orange clay for soil. I am trying very hard to add nutrients to the soil as I have a hard time getting things to grow. Also trying to introduce other matter in the flower beds so the roots don't get so bound by the thick clay. When I say thick, I mean THICK, we have to use a pick ax to dig a hole. Everything is stunted even if I fertilize and add the extra nitrogen on top of that. Just not sure if that litter will do more harm than good towords my goal.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,230,141 times
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The cat turds are fine in the compost as long as it has time to break down the waste and the bacteria dies. The litter, on the other hand is a bad thing. It forms a layer of impermeable clay that causes the material under it to starve for air and become anaerobic. This can lead to increased gases and a bad odor. Cat litter is so horrible as a soil but can be dumped in sandy areas like dirt roads to stabilize them.
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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I am not a cat person so don't know what that litter stuff is made out of. Can you tell me what the ingredients are ? I would think that when it is mixed up good it would just blend in and not form any barriers ? And any high concentrations of ammonia would also get diluted ?
Are you seeing any melting of the trash can ? If the compost is heating up like it should you might melt it ? I did this with a plastic 55 gallon drum once.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
6,290 posts, read 20,548,170 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyomiles View Post
I am not a cat person so don't know what that litter stuff is made out of. Can you tell me what the ingredients are ? I would think that when it is mixed up good it would just blend in and not form any barriers ? And any high concentrations of ammonia would also get diluted ?
Are you seeing any melting of the trash can ? If the compost is heating up like it should you might melt it ? I did this with a plastic 55 gallon drum once.
Different things are used, but clay is the most common.

Remember, she's not talking about a truckload of the stuff, probably just a small bag of it that was put in with the compost (and her son even removed part of that).
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:01 PM
 
5,065 posts, read 13,271,278 times
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Blech, cat poop isn't good, any meat eater poop is bad for compost. Poop is good if it comes from a plant eater, like a rabbit. My dd has a rabbit, and he makes the best compost! We actually have an enormous composter, but I haven't used it in a while, since our 4 year old was born. It's across the yard and not very convenient for me. In the meantime, I've been getting my compost for my gardens from the spot my dd dumps her bunny shavings and poop, and it's the most beautiful soil.

Maybe you can dig out the big cat poop clumps.

Our dogs poop all around the woods and perrenial gardens, that stuff is nasty, and just won't break down.

Also, was the litter perfumed? That wouldn't be good for the soil, either.

The previous homeowner here had a cat, and boy was that man lazy. He dumped all his garbage out the back door into the yard and woods. (we are surrounded by woods) Where he dumped the cat litter in the yard, it was a huge mess, I had a hard time cleaning that out. It was several inches thick of something, well, clay-like. I don't think cat litter, even clay, is really very good for compost. But I don't really know. I just know that poop with meat in it is not good for soil.

We have cats too, but I throw away our cat litter.
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Old 03-05-2008, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 18,703,493 times
Reputation: 2750
Quote:
Originally Posted by alleycat View Post
Different things are used, but clay is the most common.

Remember, she's not talking about a truckload of the stuff, probably just a small bag of it that was put in with the compost (and her son even removed part of that).
Didn't think about that part but your right, mostly clay. Just my luck, making the compost to break up the thickness of the clay ground and here my goofy son dumps clay into the mix....welcome to my world.
You are correct also, it is less than 1/4 of the mix and he did dig most of it out, along with some good stuff to of course . I will use it anyway and hope for the best, all I can do.
I did ask him why in the world would he dump it in the compost can in the back yard verses the trash can on the side of the house? He said, "well, you asked me to clean out the litter box when you normally give me the stuff to go into the compost (while I am cooking) and I took it out the back door instead of the front, walked all the way there before I realized it and just dumped it in cause I was there."....again, welcome to my world.
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