HOT COMPOST Why do we compost? Brief (2 min) A.

Important point of entry into the nutrient cycle of plants/soil B. Provides Humus (humic acid) to feed soil organisms C. Conditions soil – water and air retention D.. Reduce our waste (kitchen and yard)-- less to landfill E. Its fun! I. Compost overview (brief 3-4 min) A. Types of compost 1. Hot/Active Batch compost, compiled all at once (what we discuss today) 1. - Large mass, heats up to 110-160 F - Fast! 1-3 months - Requires some planning and stock-piling of materials 2. “Add-as-you-Go” / Cold/Passive compost 1. - Lacks thermal mass of batch compost - Slower, 3-8 months - Easier to start up with little planning 1. Bokashi Compost 1. - Adding anaerobically digested materials directly into garden beds 2. Vermicompost – worms! Great for smaller households. See class December 1st 2. Important considerations 1. Compost only as nutrient-rich as ingredients used. Be creative and record! 2. Fall/Spring best times of year to compost – ideally aligned with natural life cycles and temps. But we do it all year round I. More on Hot/Batch compostingA combination of ingredients providing the ideal conditions for decomposition by bacteria, fungi, and macro-organisms like nematodes and insects. 1. What are the ideal conditions?/What do these organisms require to thrive? 1. Carbon (from dry organic materials - “Brown”) - Provides Energy 2. Nitrogen (from fresh, “green” materials) – Used to build cells 3. Moisture – but not too much 4. Oxygen (Aerobic environment as opposed to Anaerobic). Dry materials hold airspace. 2. Three Phases of a Hot Composting 1. Psychophilic/Mesophilic (2-3 Days) – Gaining speed 1. Microbes eat readily available energy 2. die off as pile heats up 2. Thermophilic (Length and Heat depend on amount of N and O) – Fast! 1. Microbes thrive in warmer temps – Digest more materials 2. May heat up to 110-160 F 3. Can get too hot, killing off some bacteria. Turning pile will help. 4. Kills off pathogens and weed seeds 3. Curing/Maturing – Slowing 1. Mesophilic bacteria take over again 2. Macro-orgs help complete decomposition (worms, molds, fungi, insects) 3. All available raw materials are consumed, no more turning will expedite it 2. Wastes of microbes in compost
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Water, CO2, Heat, Compost! Humus w Organic acids/humic acid

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IV. How do we create it? 1. Layering – Maximizes surface area between “brown”/C and “green”/N 1. Optimal C:N Molecular ratio is 25-30:1 2. Optimal physical ratio of materials is about 1:1. Varies according to materials Alternate layers of Green/Brown 2-4” thick 2. Maintain most green waste toward middle of pile 1. Limits rodent access and odor 3. Add any additional nutrient layers. Exs; kelp, organic fertilizers, bones, eggshells,
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manure
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Incorporate “backsift” and some soil (on top of greens) to provide “grit” and bacteria Water lightly if necessary Mulch thickly with dry ingredients to retain moisture Cover from rain.