COMPOST TRAINING

In this section you will find lots of information about the many forms of composting.

Most common forms of composting are:

  • Aerobic (with oxygen)
    • Hot Batch (HB)composting means that the pile heats up
    • Cold composting (CC) means that the pile does not heat up
      • Most cold composting is called 'continuous add' (CA)
  • Vermicomposting (earthworms)

There is also a process of anaerobic (without oxygen) composting - usually referred to as anaerobic 'digestion'.

While all forms of 'backyard' composting are taught, the focus is on Hot Batch composting because it is the fastest method and produces the highest quality in the shortest time.
Sub-links are arranged by type of presentation under the Composter Courses link:

  • 1-hour Indoor PRESENTATION 1-IPRE
  • 2-hour Indoor PRESENTATION 2-IPRE
  • 2-hour Outdoor DEMONSTRATION 2-ODEM
  • 4-hour Indoor SEMINAR 4-ISEM
  • 4-hour Outdoor CLINIC 4-OCLI
  • 7-hour ACCREDITED COMPOSTER certification COURSE 7-BCC
  • 14-hour CERTIFIED COMPOSTER certification COURSE 14-CCC
  • 20-hour MASTER COMPOSTER certification COURSE 20-MCC

Education is an 'overall' designation for learning. But learning is not accomplished best by just reading or seeing. Learning is best accomplished when including hands-on DOING to the reading/seeing. Ask any young child. It's called TRAINING or INSTRUCTION. The difference? You watch the INSTRUCTOR do it - that's INSTRUCTION. Instructor watches YOU do it - that's TRAINING. Oh, and if someone agrees to answer your questions and help you with issues as you learn, that person is a MENTOR. If someone points you toward written and/or audio/visual resources, they are a GUIDE. The person who delves into those resources to learn them is called a RESEARCHER. Hopefully that researcher will be YOU.

Certainly, there is a lot of information about composting to be read, and pictures to be viewed – and even videos. And thousands of people do read and view photos – with the intention of learning how to compost.

But few actually become very proficient at this science-based ART form – Why?

It is difficult to learn how to compost without actually seeing it done, talking to someone who does it, and/or by DOING it yourself.

Kinda like skating or skiing – you can read all you want – but until you actually strap something to your feet – it’s not likely that you will ever become proficient at it. Composting is like that – except of course, it’s not something you “strap to your feet”.

Why should you learn how to compost?

Because it’s natural, that’s why. Not synthetic. Good for plants, and good for the earth. Doesn’t pollute like excessive use of synthetic chemical fertilizers can and do, and a myriad of other reasons too, that you should know about.

The easiest way is to learn from someone who has become proficient at composting.
But lots of proficient composters are not willing to be a teacher. Or instructor. Or even willing to demonstrate what they do. But near wherever you live, SOMEBODY is good at composting, who IS capable at instructing (or at least guiding) you in learning the established methods of conducting hot-batch aerobic composting. A Mentor.

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This website is an INTERIM REMEDY. Until you can locate hands-on local assistance that can guide you in learning how to compost.

Hopefully this site will be useful to the person who trains and/or guides or mentors you – by showing you where and how to get “stuff” (feedstocks) to compost, so you have a continuous supply of this marvelous plant-loving amendment that turns soil into Fat Dirt.

A word of caution.

Not everybody who says that they know how to compost aerobically – actually does, and aerobically means that a pile MUST be turned before CO2 builds up in pile material to a toxic (to microbes) level. Re-aerated.

The test? Start to finish, Your Mentor should produce sweet-smelling, crumbly, very dark compost in 120 days or less.
If it takes them longer than that – they probably need somebody to help them – so if they don’t meet that ONE criteria, go ahead and learn what you can from them - but don't stop looking for a top-notch composting Mentor.

‘Start’ means from the day a pile was put together at 36" high (minimum - for biomass density/compression) - using the Batch method. With raw feedstock materials. On the ground (or platform/bin - not just in a tumbler, or other device). Yes, there are other acceptable methods, such as Continuous-Add, and even anaerobically, but are much slower.

And a Instructor/Mentor should be able to talk sensibly about compost ‘leachate tea’ - what it is, and does, and how to use it to make compost and to fertilize plants.
And about the live micro-creatures in the compost and what microbes do, to make compost from raw feedstock.

It’s all about the microorganisms.

Learning how to breed billions of them in each gram of feedstock material. And about all the other important 'decomposer' critters too.

Thermophilic microbes are what make a pile of organic material heat up. Temperature above 131 degrees farrenheit (131F) kills pathogens and weed seeds and other 'bad stuff'. In nature, microbiologically speaking - the 'good guys' always win.
Or humans would not survive.

If a new pile of feedstock does not get as hot as you intendeded it to - chances are that the carbon-to-nitrigen ratio is off. The carbon ratio is too high, or too low. Older piles (2nd turn or more) won’t heat anymore because the sugars and starches that thermophilic (heat-loving) microbes feed on, are reduced to the point that exponential bacterial reproduction is no longer possible.

Unless 'something' is added to the pile. Interested? Read on...

© 2009 Robert C. Moore All Rights Reserved

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COMPOST CONTAINMENTS
Click Here to see: Compost Containments
COMPOST PILES
Click Here to see:COMPOST PILES