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Hello,

Will putting beer and wine into your compost kill all the bugs.  I read that it is good because the yeast helps break all the matter down.

Can I use mesquite leaves and pollen(without the seeds) into my soil as mulch?  I keep thinking they might have some properties that are not good for the soil.

Thanks,  Grace

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I don't know about the mesquite, but regarding the beer and wine, I don't know why you'd add it. Alcohol can certainly kill bugs, along with a lot of bacteria and other microorganisms which are needed for composting.  The yeast might help, but there's not that much in the libations. When you make beer, you add yeast and malt (sugar). The yeast eats the sugar and converts it to alcohol. When the sugar's gone, the yeast has nothing to eat, so it dies. I'd say, drink the beer and wine, and let the natural organisms break down the matter. If you feel you need to add yeast, buy some live yeast; don't waste the good stuff. We don't add anything but plant matter to our compost and it turns out great.

Thanks Sheri, I just had an idea, I will use the leftover beer and wine to kill my black ants.

clever! Let us know how that goes.

You can also cook with them. Beer is great for cooking sausages and in BBQ sauce, and wine is nice in marinades. If you don't like wine, you can let it age and turn to a nice wine vinegar.

For the ants, the alcohol might work, or at least annoy them. :) But sweet wines still have a sugar content, so sugar ants might rather enjoy it.

I think you will only feed the ants with beer and wine. I'd just drink or cook with it.

A very simple and "green" way to get rid of ants is to pour boiling water on their nests.

Wine usually has around 11% alcohol, the level which kills most yeasts.  Commercial wines are "stabilized" by removing remaining yeast through either filtering or the addition of sulfites.  So adding wine to your compost won't accomplish much except waste a good drink.

The alcohol content of beer is much lower - 4%.  But again, commercial beers are filtered to remove the years.  So unless you are spilling homebrew, beer won't do much for your compost either.

Finally, yeast is only one component of the microbial zoo in your compost pile.  Wine and beer yeasts are very particular, specially bred varieties that subsist on sugar.  Your soil contains many types of yeast as well as fungus and bacteria.  The best additive to your compost is a thin layer of native soil.

There is no reason I know of that mesquite leaves would not make a good mulch.  Pollen can't be used as a mulch because it is just a powder.  The seed pods would be fine to include in the mulch as well.

Thanks Brian and everyone,

I will save the leftover beer for the snails/slugs.  I just have issues with ants this week, since I dug up a bush and hit the motherlode of black ants.  They held me hostage in my backyard.

I will try the mesquite leaves as mulch.  I figure why throw something away if you can use it.  I was just afraid it might have an adverse affect to my soil.

Mesquite leaves, pods, flowers, etc. are all great for the mulch, the same is true for all the desert trees.

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