The Q&A Archives: Compost-breakdown additives?

Question: I recently purchased a back porch compost tumbler,in it are leaves,vegetable wastes,very small amount of soil,blood meal.......What can I add to further the breakdown?Thanks,Happy Holidays,MaryAnn(hoping for an answer soon!)

Answer: I think you've included everything necessary to produce good compost. The bloodmeal you've incorporated into the compost is basically nitrogen, which will help heat the pile; the soil should contain lots of micro-organisms to help break down the biodegradable materials you've added. All you need to do is to tumble it periodically to incorporate air and to mix the warm center with the cooler outer areas of the material.

In general, we can manipulate the decay process to make it proceed quickly by balancing food, water, and air to favor the growth of thermophilic (high-temperature) microorganisms. One byproduct of microbial activity is heat. When conditions are favorable for high-temperature microorganisms, compost heats rapidly to 120'F to 150 F. This temperature range kills most weed seeds and pathogens (disease organisms), but does not kill mycorrhizae (beneficial fungi that help plant roots absorb nutrients). Once the hot phase is complete, lower-temperature microorganisms complete the decay process.

Just keep your tumbler turned as often as recommended on the instruction label and you should have finished compost in the shortest amount of time possible.

Best wishes with your project!



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