Composting, often described as natures way of recycling,
is the biological process of breaking up of organic waste such as food
waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, worms, and coffee
grounds, etc., into an extremely useful humus-like substance by various
micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the
presence of oxygen. Composting is most often a natural process that
continuously occurs in nature, often without any assistance from
living plants and annual plants that die at the end of the season are
consumed by animals of all sizes, from larger mammals, birds, and
rodents to worms, insects, and microscopic organisms. The result of this
natural cycle is compost, a combination of digested and undigested food
that is left on the forest floor to create rich, usually soft,
are three type of organic composting, all which have a positive effect
for your garden and the environment.
Aerobic Composting - This means to
compost with air. High nitrogen waste (like grass clippings or
other green material) will grow bacteria that will create high
temperatures (up to 160 degrees). Organic waste will break down quickly
and is not prone to smell. This type of composting is high maintenance,
since it will need to be turned every couple days to keep air in the
system and your temperatures up. It is also likely to require accurate
moisture monitoring. This type of compost is good for large volumes of
Anaerobic Composting -
This is composting without air.
Anaerobic composting is low maintenance since you simply throw it in a
pile and wait a couple years. If you just stack your debris in a pile it
will generally compact to the point where there is no available air for
beneficial organisms to live. Instead you will get a very slow
working bacteria growing that does not require air. Your compost may
take years to break down (this is what happens when you throw your food
waste in the garbage that goes to the landfill). Anaerobic composts
create the awful smell most people associate with composting. The
bacteria break down the organic materials into harmful compounds like
ammonia and methane.
Vermicomposting - This is most
beneficial for composting food waste. Along with red worms,
this includes composting with bacteria, fungi, insects, and other bugs.
Some of these guests break down the organic materials for the others to
eat. Red worms eat the bacteria, fungi, and the food waste, and then
deposit their castings. Oxygen and moisture are required to keep this
compost healthy. This is medium maintenance compost since you need to
feed your red worms and monitor the conditions.
Organic composting can be done on many different levels. Since
composting does not take any work, and this is what you elect to do for
your organic garden, we always suggest you compost everything.
However, if composting is not for you, we have all of the organic soils
and nutrients you will need to help your garden thrive.