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Lecture 18

HORT 15 Lecture 18: PLSC 235 Composting

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Composting Composting - Humus - the process of decomposing organic matter into a soil like structure - Natural process - leaves fall to ground an they decompose - Grasscycle - leaving clippings on lawn, build up thatch layer - Sheet / lasagna composting - alternating layers of soil, materials to be composted - Trench composting - digging a trench and dump the stuff in - Co-composting - Variety of materials going into compost, often used faecal sludge and commercial scale - Vermicomposting - red works put in bins with materials to be composted - Windrow composting - long windrows of materials, turned on a regular basis - Aerated static pile composting - piles of materials with tubes running through to aerate / water Composting recipe - Need to manage: air, nutrients, water, raw ingredients, MO - Browns - dried leaves, straw, keep dried leaves in bags over the winter. Mainly a source of carbon - Greens - fresh material, fresh and dried green grass clippings, garden waste, household scraps, mainly a source of nitrogen - ***You do not want rotting you want decomposition - rotting is anaerobic and bad smelling, the end product is not as stable - Decomposition is earthy smelling, and has a stable end products C:N ratio - Not all carbon is readily decomposed, woody materials take a long time to break down \ - best thing is to chop things up fairly fine - increase surface area and will compost faster, but you don't want to compact things so there not too fine, you need good aeration - Ideal C:N ration is 30:1 Moisture / aeration - You want to keep compost damp - excess water = lack of air = anaerobic =
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