Compost mg notes for class 2011 jan 26 part 2Presentation Transcript
Compost 101 Linn Benton Master Gardeners January 26, 2011 Lecture notes part 2
Vermicomposting Composting non-meat and non-dairy food waste using worms
Types of bedding
Soak the bedding Worms like 75% moisture Let excess drain away before adding to bin
Bury food waste in bedding
Vicki’s worm bins are filled with horse manure mixed with stable bedding. The bins are made from plywood bottom and top on 1”x12” wooden frames.
Castings Harvest Methods Divide and Dump put part of the castings in the garden Add new bedding move finished castings to one side of bin add new bedding add food waste to new area – worms will move there Screen and start new bin screen castings – transfer to garden overs return to new bin
Get an electronic copy of these instructions Email [email_address]
Raised beds built with layered organic matter and amendments
Use compost as a soil amendment each year. Initially, spade 3 inches of compost into the top 8 inches of soil. Each year after the first, work in 1 – 3 inches of compost.
Compost Tea Make tea bag Steep in water Foliar application Or drench wet soil Don’t drink!
These compost bins provide greenhouse heat and provide warm air that is piped to the germination beds on right Way cool!
Seed starting mix and tea Basic Mix with Compost 2 parts Compost 2-4 parts Sphagnum Peat Moss 1 part Perlite 1 part Vermiculite Basic Mix with the Addition of Nutrients Add ½ cup each per every 8 gallons of mix: ½ cup Bone Meal(Phosphorous) ½ cup Dolomitic Limestone (Raises soil pH and provides calcium and magnesium) ½ cup Blood Meal or Soybean Meal or Dried Kelp Powder (Nitrogen) Found on About.com
The four components of soil:
Small constituent by weight, but huge influence on soil properties
Made up of partially decomposed plant & animal residues + organic compounds synthesized by soil microbes
A TRANSITORY component of soils
What is Soil Organic Matter? SOIL ORGANIC MATTER The Living: BIOMASS <5% The Dead: DECOMPOSING MATERIAL 45% The Really Dead: HUMUS 50% organic = carbon-based
Decomposition = transformations of SOM (remember, matter is neither created nor destroyed) Symbol for control: often by temperature, moisture... Detritus (fresh) Humus (way dead) Microbes (biomass) Plants (biomass) CO 2 , energy
Functions of Organic Matter
1. Stabilizes soil structure, making soil easily managed does not change soil texture.
2. Increases the amount of water a soil can hold (and availability of the water)
3. Major source of plant nutrients
4. Main food/energy for soil organisms
Aggregates held together by:
sand silt hyphae clay bacteria organic matter
Effect of OM on aggregate stability
Effect of OM on aggregate stability
Available Water Capacity Inherent depends on texture Measure of water available to plants
Impact of soil organic matter content on soil water content
Cover Crops = Green Manures = OM
For best growth sow fall covercrop before cold weather Sept 15 Oct 15 Oct 1
Healthy soils maintain a diverse and active community of soil organisms that:
Suppress plant disease, & insect and weed pests
Form beneficial symbiotic associations with plant roots
Recycle essential plant nutrients
Improve soil structure for better water and nutrient retention
Ultimately, increase growing capacity and protect the environment!
A cup of soil contains ... Bacteria Fungi Protozoa Nematodes Arthropods Earthworms 200 billion 100,000 meters 20 million 100,000 50,000 <1 The immobile ones all primarily found in the rhizosphere , the zone of soil closest to plant roots
From NRCS Soil Biology Primer
Photo by Suzanne Paisley
shred plant material
feed on bacteria and fungi associated with organic matter