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Grow Your Own, Nevada! Summer 2013: Composting in Small Places

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Grow Your Own, Nevada! Summer 2013: Composting in Small Places Grow Your Own, Nevada! Summer 2013: Composting in Small Places Presentation Transcript

  • 117/29/2013 1
  • 22 Composting: “…the most efficient treatment in producing an environmentally safe and agronomically advantageous soil organic amendment at acceptable operational costs.” Boulter et al. (2000) World J. Microbiology and Biotechnology 7/29/2013 2
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 3 • organic materials – e.g. lawn clippings, leaves or other landscape waste, fruit and vegetable scraps - are degraded by microorganisms • added into the soil to improve structure, fertility, drainage and water holding capacity 7/29/2013
  • 44 • Many soils have low fertility and/or poor structure • To be productive, nitrogen and other mineral levels must be raised. • Chemical fertilizers can leach into groundwater,  nitrate pollution. • Unless plant residues are returned to the soil, N fertilizers do not improve soil fertility, quality or health 7/29/2013 4
  • 5 7/29/2013 57/29/2013 5 Of the waste Americans produce –More than ½ is disposed of in land fills –15% is incinerated –Less than 1/3 is reused, recycled or composted
  • 7/29/2013 6
  • 7/29/2013 77/29/2013 Compost: • Decreases greenhouse gases • waste  valuable soil amendment • Reduces/prevents erosion • Recycles nutrients back to soil • Retains soil moisture - save water • Reduces haulage costs of green waste • Promotes plant growth • Suppresses plant disease 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 8
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 9 • Raw materials need to be chopped or shredded so that soil organisms can reach them. • Microbes “eat” organic matter, taking in large compounds and breaking them into humus and other soil organics. 7/29/2013
  • 10 7/29/2013 107/29/2013 10
  • 11 7/29/2013 117/29/2013 11
  • 12 7/29/2013 127/29/2013 12
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 13 • Brown--symbolizes the carbon portions; such as paper, dried leaves, and wood (must be shredded) • Green--symbolizes the nitrogen portions; such as grass clippings, leaves and coffee grounds 7/29/2013
  • 14 7/29/2013 14 Sawdust 100-500:1 Very high carbon! Paper 150-200:1 Bark 100-130:1 Wheat straw 80:1 Oat straw 74:1 Corn stalks 60:1 Leaves 40-80:1 Fruit wastes 35:1 Horse manure 25:1 Vegetable wastes 12-20:1 Grass clippings 12-25:1 Apple pomace 21:1 Cow manure 20:1 Coffee grounds 20:1 Alfalfa hay 13:1 Poultry manure, fresh 10:1 Very high nitrogen! Carbon Nitrogen ratios 14 N C
  • • Pile hot • Tumblers hot • Bins hot • Worm cold • Trench cold Aerobic “ “ “ Anaerobic 157/29/2013 157/29/2013
  • 1. How much space available? 2. How much biodegradable material is available? 3. How much compost will be needed? 4. How much labor can you/staff reasonably perform? 7/29/2013 16
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 177/29/2013
  • 18187/29/2013 18
  • 7/29/2013 19 1--Place a layer of coarse material several inches thick for drainage on the ground 2--Place a layer of high nitrogen material ~3 inches 3--Place a layer of high carbon material ~6 inches 4--Place a 1 inch layer of garden soil, or some fertilizer or “compost booster” 5--Water thoroughly.
  • 7/29/2013 20
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 21 • Plant disease organisms may be present in soil • These generally live on living plant tissue • There’s no living plant tissue in compost • Temperatures in compost “cooking” process kill disease organisms.
  • • Do not take soil from where there have been diseased plants • Plants that are diseased or infested with insects should not be composted • Why ask for trouble? 7/29/2013 22
  • 7/29/2013 237/29/2013 237/29/2013 23 • Add chopped materials in a general ratio of 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen • Moisten thoroughly • Turn pile to mix ingredients • Take temperature every few days
  • 7/29/2013 24 • Temperature should rise, then decrease • Turn again after temperature drops • Don‟t turn more than every 3 days • Takes up to 3 months, depending 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 early little later starting to cookm ore cookinggetting therepeak activity coolingtim e to turn degrees(approx)
  • 7/29/2013 25
  • 26 7/29/2013 3 feet 3feet
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 27 • Pile can be turned regularly using a garden fork or a special auger - Or • Pile can be constructed, mixed once and left to degrade slowly - Or • Pile can be constructed in layers (lasagna) and left to degrade very slowly 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 28
  • • This passive approach will compost very slowly, and can result in odors escaping if disturbed before completion 7/29/2013 29
  • 307/29/2013 Aerated static pile In an Aerated static pile air is introduced to the stacked pile via perforated pipes and blowers. This method requires no labor to turn compost but is weather sensitive, and can have unreliable pathogen reduction due to imperfect mixing.
  • 7/29/2013 31 • Commercial products are available • Bacterial spores • Increasing microbial population increases rate of composting
  • Some people add sweet items in order to provide microbes a sugar supply These items lower soil pH 7/29/2013 32
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 337/29/2013
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 34 • Enclosed • Use fork or auger for turning • May have door for easy removal of finished compost 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 357/29/2013 35 1stbin Fill with raw materials Allow to compost Turn as with pile 2ndbin When first is filled, start second Allow to compost Turn first bin also 3rdbin Either holds materials or gets filled after second Allow to compost, turning first & second 7/29/2013 35 3x3x3 3x3x3 3x3x3
  • Use of perforated barrels, drums, or manufactured containers - simple to use, easy to turn, require minimal labor, are not weather sensitive, and can be used in urban and public areas. The initial investment can be high and handling volumes low. 7/29/2013 36
  • 7/29/2013 37
  • 7/29/2013 387/29/2013 387/29/2013 38
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 39 • Have the simplicity of a pile • Compost is enclosed • Easy to turn • MAY BE TOO EASY – Turning too often prevents the mix from reaching good composting temperatures 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 40 Similar to pile composting: • Add chopped materials in a general ratio of 30 to 1 (C/N) ratio • Moisten thoroughly • Turn tumbler to mix ingredients • Take temperature every few days • Temperature should rise, then decrease • Turn again after temperatures drop • Don‟t turn more than every 3 days 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 417/29/2013 41 1. Coarse material several inches thick for drainage 2. High nitrogen material ~3” 3. High carbon material ~6” 4. Garden soil (&/or fertilizer or “compost booster”) ~1” 5. Water thoroughly 6. Turn as necessary Repeat 7/29/2013 41
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 42 Electric heat & regular agitation NOT exactly composting 7/29/2013 http://www.naturemill.com/video_histChan.html
  • 7/29/2013 43
  • 44447/29/2013 44
  • 7/29/2013 457/29/2013 • Red wigglers (Eisinia foetida) • Hungrier and tolerate higher temperatures than „nightcrawlers‟ • Degrade materials rapidly • Worms eat raw materials • May eat their own weight daily 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 46 • Foodstuff ground in gizzard • Microorganisms in worms themselves and in degrading materials also involved • Little heat generated • compost = worm castings
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 47 • Starting materials must be moist • Higher N than other methods • C/N ratio not important • Must be protected from heat and cold • Must not get dry! • Many, many worms in 1 pound! 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 48
  • 49 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 50
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 517/29/2013  Slower Anaerobic microbes do work Bury starter material near new garden Add small amount of fertilizer C/N ratio not critical Will smell bad if opened before complete
  • 7/29/2013 52 • Demo
  • 5353 – Plant with severe disease or insect infestations – Noxious or succulent weeds – Grasses that spread by rhizomes – Dog and cat manure – Meat or fish leftovers – Bones – Butter – Cheese – Lard – Grease – Mayonnaise – Milk – Peanut butter – Oils – Salad dressing – Sour cream – Whole eggs7/29/2013 53
  • 54547/29/2013 54
  • 7/29/2013 557/29/2013 55 Preparation – • for a small system, 5 to 20 minutes/week • for a landscape, will vary with – the amount of material composted – number of people attending to process (turning, etc.) 7/29/2013
  • From a few weeks to a few months, depending on: •Composition and preparation of feedstock •Turning/turning frequency •Outdoor temperature 7/29/2013 56
  • 7/29/2013 577/29/2013 57 • Include oxygen in the mixture to support aerobic organisms that break down the materials (STIR) • Don‟t stir too often, or it won‟t get hot enough to compost. • Mix materials on a regular basis • Aeration will cut down odors 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 58 • Dry air – Always keep lightly moistened • Hot – Place in a shady space if possible – Always have a cover • Insects • Odors 7/29/2013
  • 59 7/29/2013 5959  Bugs happen. They benefit compost & help to expedite process by breaking down starting material  No pesticides! Can kill bugs and worms  Freeze starting material before putting in composter to decrease flies and other insects  If roaches are a big problem, put DE on top of pile
  • 60607/29/2013 60  Compost should smell like fresh soil  Foul smells may be due to  Anaerobic conditions – stir to add oxygen  Too much green or large green clumps – add some browns and stir well  Always make the top layer of the compost brown
  • 7/29/2013 61 Possible causes: • Turned too often, heat doesn’t generate • Not turned often enough, process is very slow • Too much carbon, no food for microbes • Pile too small, microbes can’t get established 7/29/2013 61
  • 7/29/2013 62 • Compost is rarely a disease risk • To reduce these remote risks: –Wear gloves when handling –Wash your hands after handling –Cover any cuts on hands or arms –Don’t sniff compost deeply, especially if • your immune system is suppressed (HIV/AIDS, chemo/radiation, organ transplant anti-rejection drugs) • You have asthma, emphysema, etc.
  • 7/29/2013 637/29/2013 63 • has no chunks of undecomposed matter • is dark • does not feel “slick” • compresses into a ball when pressed in the hand 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 64 When to apply it? •Just before planting. Where? •Into soil of planting bed 7/29/2013
  • 7/29/2013 65 • Incorporate about 1 – 3 inches of compost into top soil. • Mix thoroughly. • Plant as usual • Or place it on top of soil and allow it to work its way into the soil. • Or – make a slurry and apply – demo
  • 7/29/20137/29/2013 66 • A brew of compost in water • ~ one part compost to five parts water
  • •High in nitrogen and other nutrients •Soluble nutrients are released immediately •Antibiotic and antifungal properties are released over the longer course of brewing 7/29/2013 67
  • 7/29/2013 687/29/2013 68 Properties vary with: 1. Starting materials 2. Length of brewing time 3. Level of aeration and stirring • Insufficient air will cause it to go anaerobic and smell foul
  • 7/29/2013 69
  • 7/29/2013 707/29/2013 70 • Stir/aerate • Allow to settle • Dilute to a tea color • Use tea as – Fertilizer – Disease controller
  • 7/29/2013 71
  • Compost • Is a terrific source of plant nutrients • Is a source of many beneficial microorganisms • May control plant disease, both as compost and tea • Lowers the amount of organic garbage going to the landfill. 72
  • 7/29/2013 73 http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/composting/benefits.htm http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=6288
  • 74 7/29/2013
  • • If I should die before I wake, All my bones and sinew take; Put me in the compost pile, And decompose me for a while. • Wind, water, rain will have their way, Returning me to common clay! All that I am will feed the trees, and little fishes in the seas. • On radishes and corn you munch-- You might be having me for lunch! And then excrete me with a grin-- Chortling, "There goes Lee again!!" 7/29/2013 75 http://compost.css.cornell.edu/yourself.html