Composting

The educational materials listed on this page are about Composting.

Many farms, especially organic farms, utilize compost for fertility, but what exactly is composting? Compost soil is made up of green waste (e.g. grass clippings) and brown waste (e.g. dried leaves) that provide nitrogen and carbon, respectively. With the right ratio of each, microbes in the compost begin to break down the material, turning it into organic matter. Composting methods depend on what type of farming is being done and at what scale. Other forms of composting include vermicomposting, or worm composting, which uses red worm composting to produce compost. Specialty crop farmers can make mushroom compost from the waste of mushrooms, and livestock farmers often compost manure over time. Compost making requires time, careful maintenance and the correct ratio of input materials. Key practices include nutrient cyclingnutrient managementorganic fertilizerscompostingcompost extractsearthwormsorganic mattersoil quality/healthsoil stabilization.

Building Soils for Better Crops will help you understand soil structure, soil fertility and overall soil management, including composting to increase organic matter. Diversifying Cropping Systems can be useful in identifying practices that enhance diversity on farms, such as manure management for livestock operations. The Small Ruminant Toolbox guides producers who are managing small livestock enterprises and managing composted manure in cropping systems.

Dairy Farm Closes Loop with Improved Compost System

Eric Paris of Tamarlane Farm, a dairy in northeastern Vermont, has been closing the loop on his farm by composting farm waste and community food scraps (about 12 tons per week) to create a valuable fertility source for his farm fields. His Farmer Grant project sought to determine whether a low-cost Aerated Static Pile (ASP) […]

NOFA Handbooks

A series of eight handbooks for new farmers or established producers seeking to transition to organic or improve their current practices. Print only; order from Chelsea Green.