Monthly Archives: August 2015

Compost Round Up: “Manure happens”

Although different than what we do, another common composting source is that of composting animal manure. What’s composting manure all about?

Here are 10 facts about composting manure:

1. Manure from animals such as horses, goats, chickens and cows can be composted.

2. Manure should not be viewed as waste, rather an alternative to fertilizers and thus an economic resource.

3. Few weed seeds remain viable in properly composted manure, which can reduce the amount of herbicide or tillage needed for weed control.

4. Composting reduces the volume and density of manure 50-65 percent.

5. Manure compost can supply slow-release micro-nutrients for crop production, improve soil structure and promote growth of earthworms.

6. Pile temperatures should exceed 131 degrees F for 15 days and be turned a minimum of 5 times to kill pathogens. Carbon/nitrogen ratios should be about 30/1, moisture content at 50% and oxygen needs to be incorporated through routine turning.

7. The site of the pile needs to be in an area not prone to groundwater contamination through leaching or where leachate can run off into surface water.

8. After heating cycles have subsided, manure compost should cure properly. Applying immature compost can cause insect swarms, nitrogen immobilization, malodors or phytotoxicity (plant injury).

9. Understanding how to manage manure is vital! Applying too little can result in low yields and nutrient deficiency. Applying too much could mean a phosphorous runoff, nitrate leaching, and excessive vegetative growth.

10. Play it safe and get your compost tested for nutrient levels!

In conclusion, composting food scraps and animal manure are similar in their ability to reuse waste, create healthy outcomes for crop production, and save money. Composting manure, however, needs to monitored in order to prevent water contamination, exposure to pathogens and pollution. Both methods have their pro’s and con’s and it’s important to explore the best fit for you! Learn more below:

Compost Round Up: “Know your compost friends”

As we’re all aware, compost week-or weeks, shall we say, has been a main focus of BSC lately. If you spent any time shoveling, sifting, or packing, you may have noticed a number of compost critters, or “friends”, living amongst the piles.

Alas, we’re referring to millipedes, roly polies, collembolas, snails, bacteria, worms and more! Verily, they make compost what it is, but, how well do we know our friends? What do they like to eat? What characteristics make them unique? What do they look like? How do they interact with each other?

See the attached ‘Compost Critter Information Sheet’ to get acquainted. Whether you’re composting at home or in a classroom, this is a resource for identifying different creatures and their individual benefits for your compost pile!

Compost Critters Information Sheet

Compost Round Up: “Bokashi Composting”

For this week, we’d like to report on a topic that our operations manager Faith recently brought to our attention, Bokashi Composting. It’s quite a bit different than the ‘backyard’ composting we’re used to, but still a method commonly put into practice.

For starters, meat and diary can be composted. Food scraps are fermented, thus the organic matter should have as little oxygen as possible. We’re used to turning piles, making sure they are aerated to facilitate decomposition. In Bokashi, a bran containing microbes is spread on top of scraps, rather than allowing nature to do it’s job.

Have any of you tried this before or know someone who has?

Read here to learn more about the history and use of Bokashi.