Backyard composting
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Backyard Composting. Sandra M. Frost BHB Area Educator – Crops. Advantages. Reduces fertilizer use Alters soil pH Improves soil structure. Factors. Location Size Water Microorganisms Air. Location. Shade Out of wind Near a source of water Out of sight Near garden.

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Backyard Composting

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Backyard composting

Backyard Composting

Sandra M. Frost

BHB Area Educator – Crops


Advantages

Advantages

  • Reduces fertilizer use

  • Alters soil pH

  • Improves soil structure


Factors

Factors

  • Location

  • Size

  • Water

  • Microorganisms

  • Air


Location

Location

  • Shade

  • Out of wind

  • Near a source of water

  • Out of sight

  • Near garden


Tips for success

Tips for Success

  • Location out of wind and sun

  • Ideal size = 1 cubic yard

  • Water = wrung-out sponge

  • Soil biota with soil

  • Air – turn pile


Soil biota

Soil Biota

  • Bacteria – smallest & most numerous

    • Purple bacteria

    • Actinomycetes

  • Fungi – most biomass, dominant

    • Molds, mildew, rust, smut, yeasts

  • Collembolans

  • Millipedes

  • Worms


Feeding a compost pile

Feeding a Compost Pile

  • Microorganisms need food !

  • Carbon / Nitrogenratio 25/1


Dynamics

Dynamics

  • Early – bacteria and fungi

  • Mid – high heat kills fungi

  • Late – Fungi work

    • Cellulose, lignin, bacterial bodies


Feeding a compost pile1

Feeding a Compost Pile

  • Yes– garden debris, kitchen wastes, shredded paper, manures, leaves, hay, straw, grass clippings, sod, sawdust.

  • No– bones, meat scraps, fats, dog and cat feces, human feces, polyester materials, plastics, diseased plants, toxic stuff.


Possible problems

Possible Problems

  • Too wet

  • Too dry

  • Compost not working

  • Offensive odor

  • Leaves matted

  • Flies


Cold weather composting

Cold-weather Composting

  • Takes longer

  • Cover pile with a sheet of black plastic

  • Add more nitrogen-rich materials

  • Add 1 foot higher / wider for insulation


Worms

Worms

  • Tunneling = aeration & structure

  • Castings = nutrients

  • 1 lb / 1 lb garbage / 1 lb compost / day

  • Reduce time for composting to occur

  • Must turn pile weekly to moderate heat

  • Indoors – worm box (Red Worms)


Humus

Humus

  • Colloidal soil organic matter

  • Highly charged with large surface area

  • Dynamic role in soil

    • buffers pH, chelates cations (+ ions), pH

  • Over time it releases N and S to soil


Compost uses

Compost uses

  • Mix in garden beds

  • Prepare soil for new lawns

  • Add to flower pots

  • Use as a mulch

  • Give it away


Structures

Structures

  • Not necessary


The end

The End


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