4 CompostingCompost is the biological reduction of organic wastes to humus
5 CompostCompost is the biological decomposition of organic matter under controlled aerobic conditions.In contrast, fermentation is the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter
6 Why compost?Up to 75% of household waste is organic or carbon-based material.Composting reduces materials dumped in landfillsEnvironmentally conscious way of reducing waste
7 carbon dioxide (CO2)(0.04% in the atmosphere)respirationin stemsand leavesroot respirationand soil organicmatterdecompositionphotosynthesiscrop harvestcrop andanimalresiduescarbon insoilorganic mattererosionThe role of soil organic matter in the carbon cycle. Losses of carbon from the field are indicated by yellow color around the words describing the process.
8 fertilizer production atmospheric fixationorfertilizer productionnitrogen gas (N2)(78% of atmosphere)NH4+ andNO3-nitrogenfixationvolatilizationcrop harvestlegumescrop andanimalresiduesNH4++OH NH3+H2Ofree-living bacterianitrogen insoilorganic matterplant uptakeammoniumNH4+erosionimmobilizationdenitrificationnitrateNO3-NO N2 + N2Oleaching togroundwaterThe role of soil organic matter in the nitrogen cycle. Losses of nitrogen from the field are indicated by a yellow color around words describing the process.
9 Why compost? Save money (cheaper than peat moss) Increase tilth (soil structure, aeration, fertility)Adds macro- and micro-nutrientsIncreases CEC and acts as a pH bufferProvides energy source for soil microbes and earthwormsUsed as a mulch can keep down weeds
15 TemperatureIf temperature goes above 150°F,turn the pile!
16 Factors affecting composting Oxygen- aerobic decomposition is necessary. If the pile smells bad… it is because there isn’t enough oxygen getting inside!
17 Factors affecting composting Moisture- 50% moisture is best. Cover with a tarp if rainy to keep from getting too wet or too dry.Should feel like a sponge that has been wrung-out
18 Factors affecting composting Nutrients- Carbon to Nitrogen ratio (C:N)Optimal = 25:1 (range from 20:1 to 40:1)High C Materials: Straw, hay, woody materials, dried corn stalks, paper wastesWood chips = 400:1High N Materials: Manures, green material (grass clippings*), food wastes. Nitrogen fertilizer can also be added.Grass clippings = 12:1
19 Factors affecting composting *CAUTION- if you use herbicides/insecticides on your lawn, these may remain in the clippings and can sometimes cause problems to plants where you incorporate the compost later!!
20 Factors affecting composting Time- process can take 2 weeks to 2 years depending on the carbon source and other factors mentionedOrganic materials buried in a landfill may never decompose because of a lack of oxygen
21 Factors affecting composting “Equal weights of green and brown, helps the microbes break it down!”
22 Ways to speed composting Chopping or shredding materials into small piecesMix equal amounts of green (high nitrogen) and brown (high carbon) materialsTurn pile regularlyKeep moist but not wet
25 Types of composting set-ups Bins generally range from 3’ x 3’ x 3’ to 5’ x 5’ x 5’Taller bins have weight which compressed the lower material and does not allow enough air in for aerobic compostingMultiple bins, called “turning bins” allow a faster decomposition process
44 Things that should not go into a compost pile Meat (beef/poultry/fish)Non-ground bonesDiseased plantsGrease/fat/oilUsed kitty litterColored newspaper/circularsTreated wood or sawdustDairy productsWeeds/seedsHuman/dog/cat waste
45 Vermicomposting Using worms to digest organic matter into compost Suitable for use indoors
49 Vermicomposting worms Eisenia foetida (red wigglers NOT earthworms)1 pound of worms (approx. 1,000 worms) can eat 1 pound of food in 2 daysNeed temperatures between F
50 Vermicomposting “food” Fruit and veggie scraps and peelsCoffee groundsTea bagsRinsed, crushed egg shellsPasta and riceBread (not moldy)Dead cut flowersShredded black and white newspaper for bedding on top of food scraps (reduces problems with fruit flies)
52 Taking a soil sample Take a sample from a representative area Take 10 cores minimum for home gardenMake a composite sample (mix cores in a bag)Dig down 4-6” for turfDig down 6-10” for tilled vegetable cropsSend soil in using an approved bag mailerIf you must store it, put in a refrig.Do not leave in a car or store in a hot location
53 Taking your own soil pH 2 parts soil to 1 part distilled water Mix wellUse pH paper which changes color according to how acidic or basic the solution is, or use a pH meter which gives you a direct reading IF properly maintained and calibrated.More info.:
54 pH of common items Acidic Hydrochloric acid 0.1 Sulfuric acid (battery) 1Stomach juices 1 – 3Lemon juice 2.3Vinegar 2.4 – 3.4Apple juice 2.9 – 3.3Grapefruit juice 3 – 3.3Soft drinks 3.5Orange juice 3 – 4Tomato & tomato juice 4.2Grapes 3.5 – 4.5Acid rain 5.2Normal rain 5.7Maple syrup 6.5-7Distilled water 7.0 (neutral)BasicHuman blood – 7.45Sea water – 8.21Eggs 7.6 – 8Baking soda 8.0Milk of magnesia 10.5Ammonia water 11.6