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.

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Nutrient Management Plans: Idaho

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. This document is […]

Nutrient Management Plans: California

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. This document is an instruction […]

Building Soils in Alaska Communities

Many Alaska communities have stated an interest in food production but perceive that a lack of adequate soils inhibits gardening. Most Alaskan producers confront related soil problems, such as thin root zones, nutrient-poor soils with low organic material contents, and some issues with permafrost. Despite the high cost of shipping, some producers actually import all of their garden soils from the continental United States on a barge, unaware that many of the necessary soil components can be found locally. This video demonstrates soil building and raised bed construction.

Tea Time in the Tropics

This book critically evaluates the phenomenon of compost tea and provides a thorough discussion of the composition and process of making compost.

Fresh Growth Podcast

Fresh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners introduces you to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich the natural resources we all care about. These successful multi-generational operations experiment with new ideas and are making it pay. Listen in as […]

Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator

This free online tool compares the nutrient value and cost of cover crops, organic and synthetic fertilizers and compost. Use this Excel Calculator to develop well balanced and cost effective nutrient management programs for your farm.

Livestock Mortality Composting Manual

Mortality management threatens the sustainability of livestock production in many ways. Composting mortalities is an alternative that holds promise for the achievement of environmental protection, economic sustainability and job creation. Incluye los recursos en español.