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Compost. In nature, one’s waste is another’s food! is another’s food!

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Presentation on theme: "Compost. In nature, one’s waste is another’s food! is another’s food!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Compost

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

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

5 Compost Compost is the biological decomposition of organic matter under controlled aerobic conditions.Compost is the biological decomposition of organic matter under controlled aerobic conditions. In contrast, fermentation is the anaerobic decomposition of organic matterIn contrast, fermentation is the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter

6 Why compost? Up to 75% of household waste is organic or carbon-based material.Up to 75% of household waste is organic or carbon-based material. Composting reduces materials dumped in landfillsComposting reduces materials dumped in landfills Environmentally conscious way of reducing wasteEnvironmentally conscious way of reducing waste

7 carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) (0.04% in the atmosphere) root respiration and soil organic matter decomposition crop and animal residues photosynthesis respiration in stems and leaves crop harvest 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. carbon in soil organic matter erosion

8 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. crop harvest crop and animal residues nitrogen in soil organic matter ammonium NH 4 + leaching to groundwater nitrate NO 3 - erosion NH 4 + +OH - NH 3 +H 2 O legumes free-living bacteria NH 4 + and NO 3 - nitrogen gas (N 2 ) (78% of atmosphere) volatilization plant uptake denitrification NO 3 - N 2 + N 2 O atmospheric fixation or fertilizer production nitrogen fixation immobilization

9 Why compost? Save money (cheaper than peat moss)Save money (cheaper than peat moss) Increase tilth (soil structure, aeration, fertility)Increase tilth (soil structure, aeration, fertility) Adds macro- and micro-nutrientsAdds macro- and micro-nutrients Increases CEC and acts as a pH bufferIncreases CEC and acts as a pH buffer Provides energy source for soil microbes and earthwormsProvides energy source for soil microbes and earthworms Used as a mulch can keep down weedsUsed as a mulch can keep down weeds

10 Factors affecting composting

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

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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!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.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-outShould feel like a sponge that has been wrung-out

18 Factors affecting composting Nutrients- Carbon to Nitrogen ratio (C:N)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 wastesHigh 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.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 mentionedTime- 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 oxygenOrganic 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 piecesChopping or shredding materials into small pieces Mix equal amounts of green (high nitrogen) and brown (high carbon) materialsMix equal amounts of green (high nitrogen) and brown (high carbon) materials Turn pile regularlyTurn pile regularly Keep moist but not wetKeep moist but not wet

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24 Types of composting set-ups

25 Bins generally range from 3’ x 3’ x 3’ to 5’ x 5’ x 5’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 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 processMultiple bins, called “turning bins” allow a faster decomposition process

26 Types of composting set-ups

27 Chicken wire cage

28 Types of composting set-ups Plastic bins

29 Types of composting set-ups

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

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

46 Vermicomposting

47 Vermicomposting

48 The vermicomposting bin

49 Vermicomposting worms Eisenia foetida (red wigglers NOT earthworms)Eisenia foetida (red wigglers NOT earthworms) 1 pound of worms (approx. 1,000 worms) can eat 1 pound of food in 2 days1 pound of worms (approx. 1,000 worms) can eat 1 pound of food in 2 days Need temperatures between FNeed temperatures between F

50 Vermicomposting “food” Fruit and veggie scraps and peelsFruit and veggie scraps and peels Coffee groundsCoffee grounds Tea bagsTea bags Rinsed, crushed egg shellsRinsed, crushed egg shells Pasta and ricePasta and rice Bread (not moldy)Bread (not moldy) Dead cut flowersDead cut flowers Shredded black and white newspaper for bedding on top of food scraps (reduces problems with fruit flies)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 areaTake a sample from a representative area Take 10 cores minimum for home gardenTake 10 cores minimum for home garden Make a composite sample (mix cores in a bag)Make a composite sample (mix cores in a bag) Dig down 4-6” for turfDig down 4-6” for turf Dig down 6-10” for tilled vegetable cropsDig down 6-10” for tilled vegetable crops Send soil in using an approved bag mailerSend soil in using an approved bag mailer If you must store it, put in a refrig.If you must store it, put in a refrig. Do not leave in a car or store in a hot locationDo not leave in a car or store in a hot location

53 Taking your own soil pH 2 parts soil to 1 part distilled water2 parts soil to 1 part distilled water Mix wellMix 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.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.:More info.: –http://ctr.uvm.edu/ctr/oh/oh34.htm

54 pH of common items Acidic Hydrochloric acid 0.1Hydrochloric acid 0.1 Sulfuric acid (battery) 1Sulfuric acid (battery) 1 Stomach juices 1 – 3Stomach juices 1 – 3 Lemon juice 2.3Lemon juice 2.3 Vinegar 2.4 – 3.4Vinegar 2.4 – 3.4 Apple juice 2.9 – 3.3Apple juice 2.9 – 3.3 Grapefruit juice 3 – 3.3Grapefruit juice 3 – 3.3 Soft drinks 3.5Soft drinks 3.5 Orange juice 3 – 4Orange juice 3 – 4 Tomato & tomato juice 4.2Tomato & tomato juice 4.2 Grapes 3.5 – 4.5Grapes 3.5 – 4.5 Acid rain5.2Acid rain5.2 Normal rain 5.7Normal rain 5.7 Maple syrup 6.5-7Maple syrup Distilled water 7.0 (neutral)Distilled water 7.0 (neutral)Basic Human blood 7.35 – 7.45Human blood 7.35 – 7.45 Sea water 7.36 – 8.21Sea water 7.36 – 8.21 Eggs 7.6 – 8Eggs 7.6 – 8 Baking soda 8.0Baking soda 8.0 Milk of magnesia 10.5Milk of magnesia 10.5 Ammonia water 11.6Ammonia water 11.6


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