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Presentation on theme: "Compost."— Presentation transcript:

1 Compost


3 In nature, one’s waste is another’s food!

4 Composting Compost is the biological reduction of organic wastes to humus

5 Compost Compost 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 landfills Environmentally conscious way of reducing waste

7 carbon dioxide (CO2) (0.04% in the atmosphere) respiration in stems and leaves root respiration and soil organic matter decomposition photosynthesis crop harvest crop and animal residues carbon in soil organic matter erosion The 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 fixation or fertilizer production nitrogen gas (N2) (78% of atmosphere) NH4+ and NO3- nitrogen fixation volatilization crop harvest legumes crop and animal residues NH4++OH NH3+H2O free-living bacteria nitrogen in soil organic matter plant uptake ammonium NH4+ erosion immobilization denitrification nitrate NO3- NO N2 + N2O leaching to groundwater The 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-nutrients Increases CEC and acts as a pH buffer Provides energy source for soil microbes and earthworms Used as a mulch can keep down weeds

10 Factors affecting composting

11 Factors affecting composting
Temperature- internal temp between 70° & 140°F. Decomposition occurs if the pile is above freezing. (thermophillic)




15 Temperature If 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 wastes Wood chips = 400:1 High 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 mentioned Organic 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 pieces Mix equal amounts of green (high nitrogen) and brown (high carbon) materials Turn pile regularly Keep moist but not wet


24 Types of composting set-ups

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 composting Multiple bins, called “turning bins” allow a faster decomposition process

26 Types of composting set-ups

27 Types of composting set-ups
Chicken wire cage

28 Types of composting set-ups
Plastic bins

29 Types of composting set-ups

30 Types of composting set-ups

31 Types of composting set-ups

32 Types of composting set-ups

33 Types of composting set-ups

34 Types of composting set-ups

35 Types of composting set-ups

36 Types of composting set-ups

37 Types of composting set-ups

38 Types of composting set-ups




42 Types of composting set-ups


44 Things that should not go into a compost pile
Meat (beef/poultry/fish) Non-ground bones Diseased plants Grease/fat/oil Used kitty litter Colored newspaper/circulars Treated wood or sawdust Dairy products Weeds/seeds Human/dog/cat waste

45 Vermicomposting Using worms to digest organic matter into compost
Suitable for use indoors

46 Vermicomposting

47 Vermicomposting

48 The vermicomposting bin

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 days Need temperatures between F

50 Vermicomposting “food”
Fruit and veggie scraps and peels Coffee grounds Tea bags Rinsed, crushed egg shells Pasta and rice Bread (not moldy) Dead cut flowers Shredded black and white newspaper for bedding on top of food scraps (reduces problems with fruit flies)

51 Resources for more info.

52 Taking a soil sample Take a sample from a representative area
Take 10 cores minimum for home garden Make a composite sample (mix cores in a bag) Dig down 4-6” for turf Dig down 6-10” for tilled vegetable crops Send soil in using an approved bag mailer If 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 well Use 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) 1 Stomach juices 1 – 3 Lemon juice 2.3 Vinegar 2.4 – 3.4 Apple juice 2.9 – 3.3 Grapefruit juice 3 – 3.3 Soft drinks 3.5 Orange juice 3 – 4 Tomato & tomato juice 4.2 Grapes 3.5 – 4.5 Acid rain 5.2 Normal rain 5.7 Maple syrup 6.5-7 Distilled water 7.0 (neutral) Basic Human blood – 7.45 Sea water – 8.21 Eggs 7.6 – 8 Baking soda 8.0 Milk of magnesia 10.5 Ammonia water 11.6

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