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Composting Basics Chip Boling Clemson Extension Service.

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Presentation on theme: "Composting Basics Chip Boling Clemson Extension Service."— Presentation transcript:

1 Composting Basics Chip Boling Clemson Extension Service

2 What is Composting n Composting is controlled biological reduction of organic wastes to “humus”

3 Benefits of Compost n Improves soil structure n Supplies plant with essential plant nutrients-not a substitute for fertilizer n Stores nutrients for long-term availability to plants n Supports beneficial soil life

4 Qualities of Finished Compost n Fine n Dark n Sweet Smelling n Doesn’t heat up under otherwise good composting conditions n pH is 7.0-9.0

5 Factors Affecting the Composting Process n Carbon and Nitrogen content of materials n Size of particles-surface area exposed n Moisture levels n Aeration of materials in the compost n Volume of materials

6 Microbes (Decomposers) n Bacteria n Actinomycetes n Protozoa n Fungi (most “like” 70-75 F and some will even tolerate 120 F)

7 Optimum Carbon:Nitrogen Ratio is 30:1 (By Weight)

8 Carbon:Nitrogen Ratios (By Weight) Materials with High Nitrogen Ratios u Kitchen Scraps 12-20:1 u Grass Clippings, green 12-25:1 u Coffee grounds 20:1 u Cow manure 20:1 u Horse Manure 25:1 u Horse Manure (w/litter) 30-60:1 u Poultry Manure (fresh) 10:1 u Pig Manure 5-7:1

9 Carbon:Nitrogen Ratios (By Weight) Materials with High Carbon Ratios u Foliage (leaves) 30-80:1 u Corn Stalks 60:1 u Straw 40-100:1 u Bark 100-130:1 u Paper 150-200:1 u Wood Chips & Sawdust 100-500:1

10 Items That Go Into A Compost Pile n Aquatic Weeds n Bread n Fruit (avoid pits) n Tea Leaves n Garden Wastes n Wood Ash n Egg Shells n Evergreen Needles n Wood Chips

11 Items That Do Not Go Into A Compost Pile n Butter n Cat & Dog Manure n Diseased Plants n Fish Scraps n Hard Seeded Weeds n Mayonaise & Salad Dressing n Meat & Bones n Peanut Butter n Vegetable Oil

12 Temperature of Your Pile n Psychrophilic Bacteria 55 F n Mesophilic Bacteria 70-100 F n Thermophilic Bacteria 113-155 F Many decomposers die when temperatures rise above 160 F

13 Ideal Temperature n 90 F to 140 F is Optimum n 160 F is “Sterilization Temperature”

14 Avoiding Pests n Keep high protein and fatty waste out! n Encourage pile heating. n Build an animal-proof compost bin.

15 Shredding n Speeds the composting process by increasing the amount of surface. n Small amounts of shredding can fluff the pile. n Excess shredding can reduce porosity causing compaction.

16 Fertilizers That Are Organic Sources of Nitrogen n Blood Meal (15%) n Coffee Grounds (2%) n Compost (1-2%) n Cottonseed Meal (6%) n Fish Emulsion (10%) n Manure (0.5-1%) n Seaweed Emulsion (2%)

17 Creative Composting n Grasscycling n Vermicomposting n Sheet Composting n Pit and Trench Composting

18 Uses for Compost n Soil Amendment (no more than 1/3 by volume) n Mulch (never more than 2-3 inches) n Top Dressing for Lawns n Component in Potting Mixes

19 Clemson Extension Service n Charleston u 722-5940 n Berkeley u 723-3800 ext.4140 u 719-4140 n Dorchester u 832-0135 u 563-3441

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