Composting Made easy

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This is the basic presentation I give for my workshops. Lots of fun slides and of course you may insert my humor where appropriate.
Thank you for composting!!

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Composting Made easy

  1. 1. Composting Basics Ken Freestone, M.C.greenwestmichigan@yahoo.com www.greenwestmichigan.org
  2. 2. What you need for composting:Vessel Open air Piled Fenced ContainedMaterials Carbon - Brown & Dry Nitrogen - Green & MoistAirWaterHeatYou and your Microorganisms
  3. 3. Beehive Composter
  4. 4. $119.95 $399 $15.88 $39.95 $225 $495 to $99.95
  5. 5. How Do You Choose?
  6. 6. What you need for composting:Vessel Open air Piled Fenced ContainedMaterials Carbon - Brown & Dry Nitrogen - Green & MoistAirWaterHeatYou and your Microorganisms
  7. 7. What is the right mix? Too many browns and your compostdoesnt decay swiftly. The bacteria are not getting enough nitrogen to grow the colony.
  8. 8. What is the right mix?Optimally, you want to target a 30:1Carbon:Nitrogen ratio in your compost heap.Most greens have a 20:1 C/N ratio on thereown. You are just making up the difference.So double up your browns to your greens andyour C/N ratio for your compost should evenitself out. So, a 1.5:1 brown/green ratio (orapproximately 60%/40%) should approximatethe 30:1 Carbon Nitrogen ratio targeted by yourcompost pile.
  9. 9. What is the right mix?Layer two parts leaves and one part grassclippings and presto, your compost heap creates its own balanced C/N ratio
  10. 10. For the backyard composter, the 30:1 Carbon to Nitrogen (C:N) ratio is more easily estimated by a 2:1 ratio of C:N by volume,i.e., 2 bags of leaves per 1 bag of grass clippings
  11. 11. What you need for composting:Vessel Open air Piled Fenced ContainedMaterials Carbon - Brown & Dry Nitrogen - Green & MoistAirWaterHeatYou and your Microorganisms
  12. 12. OxygenAnother essential ingredient for successfulcomposting is oxygen. There are two methods ofdecomposition based on oxygen availability:AerobicOccurs as microorganisms use oxygen to transform carbon into energy, producing carbon dioxide in the process. Oxygenconcentrations greater than 5% are considered optimal formaintaining aerobic composting. This is the preferredmethod of decomposition in the backyard situation.
  13. 13. OxygenAnaerobicOccurs when the oxygen level is below the optimal amount.Without oxygen, a different group of microorganisms convertorganic matter into carbon dioxide gas, methane, variousalcohols, volatile fatty acids, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfidegas, most of which produce noxious odors. This methodproduces compost, but much more slowly (and with moreodor) than aerobic processes.
  14. 14. What you need for composting:Vessel Open air Piled Fenced ContainedMaterials Carbon - Brown & Dry Nitrogen - Green & MoistAirWaterHeatYou and your Microorganisms
  15. 15. MoistureA moisture content of 40 – 60% is generally considered idealfor composting. You can estimate the ideal moisture contentusing the “squeeze test”. Basically, the compost moistureshould feel damp to the touch and, when squeezed, containabout as much moisture as a wrung-out sponge.Moisture content of compostable materials :•Lettuce 87%•Peaches 80%•Dry dog food 10%•Newspaper 5%
  16. 16. What you need for composting:Vessel Open air Piled Fenced ContainedMaterials Carbon - Brown & Dry Nitrogen - Green & MoistAirWaterHeatYou and your Microorganisms
  17. 17. Super FastFor those who want to do a little more and producecomposted material faster and a little richer, followthis procedure:•Build or buy a container for the compost pile. Thiswill prevent the material from blowing away or beingscattered by dogs or wild animals•Spread a portion of the materials to be compostedin a layer 6 to 8 inches thick
  18. 18. Super FastWith more care, it is possible to compost organicwaste in about two weeks. The main requirementsand materials are:•Need Animal Manure•Need to Shred all Plant Materials•Pile must heat to 130° - 150 °F•Keep well Watered•Pile Must be Aerated
  19. 19. What you need for composting:Vessel Open air Piled Fenced ContainedMaterials Carbon - Brown & Dry Nitrogen - Green & MoistAirWaterHeatYou and your Microorganisms
  20. 20. Who Does the Work?You and your Microorganisms
  21. 21. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC NGM/Central Park - VIDEO
  22. 22. Local Composting ResourcesKen Freestone, Master Composterwww.greenwestmichigan.orggreenwestmichigan@yahoo.comAngela Topp-West Shore Mall, Hollandwww.thetreehuggerstore.com616.396.1710Dave Smith-Hollandwww.gogreenstep.com
  23. 23. Wall Street Journal compost system testing video/Hosted on Sierra Club websitehttp://tinyurl.com/2ej8s8hWall Street Journal compost video follow uphttp://tinyurl.com/25mom5gGardener’s supply companyhttp://www.gardeners.com/Gardener’s supply company - How to choose a composterhttp://tinyurl.com/dedorfRed Worm Composting Videohttp://www.redwormcomposting.com/worm-composting-videos/Clean Air Gardening Websitehttp://www.cleanairgardening.com/Clean Air Gardening Newsletter – April 2010/compostinghttp://tinyurl.com/2df3f79MSU Extension – Simple Compost Pilehttp://tinyurl.com/2bohog2
  24. 24. Composting Basics Ken Freestone, M.C.greenwestmichigan@yahoo.com www.greenwestmichigan.org

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