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Microwaving compost?

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--- Quote from: pumpkinlover on April 24, 2021, 08:19:12 ---I forgot to mention that I have to check the compost first for insect and worm life!

--- End quote ---

Yes, few things are more shameful & annoying  :BangHead: than finding you've cooked a centipede - probably the best underground friend a gardener can have - high on the friends list with robins and ladybirds.

I spend several minutes picking through each batch of compost to be nuked, and in the process I also save a few friendly spiders and worms, but I've given up chasing the woodlice to where I can't see them.

I use a pair of 6 litre microwave pots (99p each from the 99p store) so I've always got some in reserve during a big job like potting up chitted aubergines, peppers & toms (I always nuke last year's stuff so 10-20 minutes on full power depending on how dodgy it looks). If you don't use it all then fungi will creep in - takes about 2 weeks but it can be re-nuked.

I usually include cockapoo pellets (poultry not dogs) in the batch - for greedy chits - doesn't smell and it doesn't seem to fungus any quicker.

OTOH Garden soil will make the compost smell very strongly as it cooks - so if you use the kitchen microwave do everything in your power to keep garden soil (including John Innes) out. I found my personal MO in the street (gomi) but if it might have been rained on, don't plug it in for at least a week or so.

I use readymeal containers too - but only for chitting - I nuke the whole pre-seed package - nearly closed container with platform (bottom 8mm of damaged trays + flat section from damaged lids) and damp tissue all in place (if using kitchen roll pierce it down the midline or it will billow up - choose really rubbish stuff - minimum wet-strength makes it easier to get the chits' roots out - the cheapest range in supermarkets is much worse [ie. better] than what's in the pound stores).

The best trays by far are the ones from City Kitchen - will last a lifetime (and the meals are better than most - though their Katsu curry hasn't been the same since they took the raw spring onion out - but just pop your own in and it's still good).


PS. In an emergency you can microwave damp (not sopping) stuff in a sturdy cardboard box - I've used well-shaken-out  old washing powder boxes many times (cut down to fit upright through the door).

Tee Gee:
Thanks everyone some good information there for me to follow.

This morning. I made up 90 litres of Ji 3 and 60 litres of Ji2 but did not nuke it!

My plan is to only nuke the quantities I need for specific tasks, for example when sowing or pricking out. I will use un-nuked compost in large pots and planters,which is effectively IMHO the same as planting out into a border/ bed.

This method should also make it easier to locate friendly soil life before nuking.
So once again thanks for the info.  Tg

Tee Gee:
Finally got around to organising myself.

Based on the info you guys kindly sent to me.

The Microwave is in the heated greenhouse and is an 800 watt model as opposed to the 650watt one used in your examples.

I have altered a food container by drilling holes in the lid to cater for ventilation.

I have weighed the container full of compost in order to calculate 'cooking times' (it holds 0.6 kg)

I did some simple maths to calculate the 'cooking time' for 0.6 kg in a 800watt microwave and calculated it should be around 1 minutes per bowl full.

As I am most likely going to be using this set up for seed/cutting compost, I established that I can fill two punnets of the type I use for seed sowing.

(see images below)


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