composting 101

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Composting 101. What is compost?. Organic (contains carbon) material that can be used as a soil additive. Comes from decomposing organic household waste and yard waste. Purpose of Compost. Compost is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosophorus, and potassium. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Composting 101

  • What is compost?Organic (contains carbon) material that can be used as a soil additive. Comes from decomposing organic household waste and yard waste.

  • Purpose of CompostCompost is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosophorus, and potassium.Compost protects plants against diseases.Compost provides a neutral pH soil structure for plant growth.

  • HumusMature compost that has reached a stable level and will not break down any furtherProvides essential nutrients for plant growth and increases water absorptionThis is the end goal we are looking for!

  • Decompose?Decomposition: process by which organic material breaks down into simpler matter.Decomposers: microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi that aid in the process of decomposition.

  • LeachateA liquid extracted from compost that contains nutrientsUsed to help plant growth by raising the nutrient levels

  • How does it work? (strategies/recommendations)MaterialsTemperatureAerationMoistureTIME

  • 1. MATERIALSOrganic materials (containing carbon) can be used in compost.Kitchen scraps: vegetable and fruit waste, coffee grounds, paper, egg cartons, egg shells, etc.Yard waste: grass clippings, leaves, dirt.

  • Materials that speed up decomposition

  • Materials that take a long time to break downLarger pieces of wood generally takes a while to decompose.

  • Materials to avoid:Meat, bones, dairy and fish can be harmfulTrash such as aluminum, plastic, metal, etc. do not decompose and should not be used in a pile.

  • 2. TEMPERATURECompost goes through three temperature phases during the decomposition process ranging from 40-50 degrees Celsius (120-160 F).Compost should be turned so that outer materials can be rotated towards the center of the pile in order to decompose.

  • Temperature Graph

  • *Watch Out*If compost reaches 65 or higher degrees Celsius, that is too hot and may kill the microorganisms decomposing the material.

  • 3. AERATIONIt is important to turn the pile frequently in order to replenish oxygen sources towards the center of the pile.Oxygen is needed by the microorganisms in order to decompose.

  • 4. MOISTUREMicroorganisms thrive in a warm and moist environment.Too much water can block air passage through the compost pile and suffocate the microorganisms.

  • 5. TIMEDecomposition is a lengthy process, and it is important to give the materials time to decompose.Choosing easily compostable materials is key, as is adding organisms such as worms.

  • DING: Finished!Compost is ready to use when it is a rich brown color and breaks apart easily. It should also have a sweet, earthy smell.Composting can take anywhere between 3-6 months depending on the conditions of the pile, so be patient!

  • Now your ready to growsome stuff!

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