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


Water, CO2, Heat, Compost! Humus w Organic acids/humic acid


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,


4. 5. 6. 7. 1.

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.