Composting 101 / The Basics: What is Composting?

Composting is simple, yet at the same time very complex.  So we are starting slow; we will begin with the basics and build from there.  Compost is the best form of organic matter to add nutrients to the soil.  In its simplest explanation, composting is the process of simply stacking [and turning periodically] organic matter (please see chart of ‘Materials to Compost’ below) and allowing the materials to decompose.  Microorganisms (i.e. bacteria and fungi) as well as other larger organisms (i.e. earthworms) digest the material, thus creating a new substance. 

There are different types of composting procedures, which call for different types of environments.  Due to our location and current time of year, the shorter holding time of the compost and its forgiving nature, the “mesophilic standards” of composting will be the style we will focus on for now.  Mesophilic organisms typically grow best in moderate temperatures, neither too hot nor too cold, typically between 68 and 113 °F (20 and 45 °C) and the compost can usually be used after about six months. 

We have chosen a place that will be a fairly central location in comparision to where we plan to place our gardens and in a place that should receive both sun and shade and is not in the path of a lot of runoff water.  Our first materials have been placed today…research will continue…it will take time and patience, trial and error.

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