COMPOST or "BLACK GOLD"
- Compost contains microorganisms that help prevent damping off disease.
The microorganisms in the compost are competitors of the
pathogens such as Pythium and Rhizoctonia.
- Compost is a 100% organic fertilizer containing primary nutrients
as well as trace minerals, humus and humic acids, in a proportion
that almost exactly matches plant requirements, and in a
slow release form that does not burn plants.
- Compost encourages the development of healthy populations of earthworms,
beneficial insects and microorganisms.
Increases moisture holding capacity of soils. One estimate indicates
that a 5% increase in organic matter (compost) Quadruples
the soils ability to hold and store water.
- Compost will
retain ten times its weight in water yet excess water drains
- Compost helps clay soil become more friable and allows air to reach
plant roots better thus improving plant growth.
- Compost helps buffer soils against extremes in acidity or alkalinity (high or low pH).
Contains growth promoting hormones. Experiments on wheat, barley,
potatoes, grapes, tomatoes, beets, etc. show that even when
in very low concentrations (0.01%), humic acids in compost
act to stimulate plant growth. Composting, Rodale Press,
- Compost contains Nematode
- Compost helps unlock minerals
present in existing soil.
- Compost helps increase air spaces, drainage and aeration of soils and resists compaction.
- Compost acts as a buffer against chemicals and absorption of dangerous
heavy metals by plants.
- Compost helps maintain the soil base exchange capacity (CEC).
- Compost releases nutrients
over a long period of time (up to 5 years)
Growth hormones in compost encourage plants to develop large healthy
root zones (wider and deeper) which help plants tolerate
- Compost is better than pine bark and peat moss- because it is alive,
contains mineral nutrients (including trace minerals) and
loaded with beneficial microorganisms. Pine bark and peat
moss are lifeless and have little nutrient value.
- Compost is an excellent slow release fertilizer containing nitrogen,
phosphorus, potassium, trace minerals, humic acids, and other needed nutrients.
- Compost in the soil releases its
nutrients exactly when plants need them most...when they
are actively growing. Note: This slow release prevents loss
of nutrients to runoff and it does not pollute our waterways
as compared to synthetic chemical fertilizers.
- Compost is used as a treatment
for many plant diseases such as "Brown Patch".
- Compost increases the available nitrogen for plants far in excess
of its own contents.
- Compost contains about 2-4% nitrogen.
However, compost stimulates the growth of microorganisms
(they use compost as a food source) and these microorganisms
absorb nitrogen from the air to grow. When they die (some
microorganisms have lifetimes of less than 1 hour) the nitrogen
is then released to the soil for plants to use. Thus some
compost's can have an effective nitrogen content of 12-18%
in the best form for plants to use.
- Research at Cornell University has indicated that well aged or mature
composts successfully suppress a number of turf grass diseases.
Agronomy Abstracts, 1991.
- Similarly, the application of composts or other well decomposed sources
of organic matter to the turf provides substrates on which
disease suppressive soil microorganisms can grow. At the
same time this introduces populations of microorganisms
that may reduce disease severity by interfering with the
activities of pathogenic fungi." The Biological Control
Of Turfgrass Diseases by Eric B. Nelson, Ph.D. Golf Course
Management, March 1992.
- In a sense, composting serves to fortify the organic matter
with high population of disease-suppressive microbes."
The Biological Control Of Turfgrass Diseases by Eric B.
Nelson, Ph.D. Golf Course Management, March 1992.
- The St. Augustine grass is much more prone to disease and insect
infestation, too. We see a lot of brown patch in it, and
we treat that with compost." Please Spray Off The Grass
by Robert Kimber, National Gardening, May/June 93.
- Research done at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
by Dr. Abigail Maynard indicates that tomatoes grown in
soil with compost are lusher, greener, and healthier as
compared to the controls. RCRA Review October 1992.
- Finished compost, or humus, is the best soil amendment." Feed The Soil,
Rodale Institute...reports of experiments and commercial demonstrations showing that
when properly made compost was used for the fertilization
of crops, the results were increased yield and improved
quality. When these crops so grown were used for food, there
was greatly improved health in the domestic animals and
humans. These demonstrations are so numerous and widespread
as to constitute proof beyond question." Exhausted
Soil Produces Exhausted People, Acres USA, June 1993.
- Compost. The successful soil improver. It's no wonder that most gardeners
feel they can never get enough." Elliot Coleman, Organic
Gardening, November 1992.
Studies have shown a 38% increase in yield when tomatoes were grown
in compost as compared to native garden soil (Composting
Demonstration Project, Fairfeld Connecticut).
Adding compost to commercial crops increased yields 10-135% (Applying
Compost To Crops, Biocycle, June 1993.
- The beneficial aspects of humus include:
- provides a storehouse of essential plant nutrients: it stores
over 95% of the nitrogen, 60% of the phosphorous, and 98%
of the sulfur available to plants.
- helps make nutrients more soluble and available to plants
- contains substances that stimulate plant growth, improve
crop quality, and increase a plants resistance to pests
- Research has found that the contents of plant cells (the sap) have
the ability to suppress the growth of bacteria and fungi.
...organic substances produced by soil microorganisms, when
absorbed through the plant's roots, increase the natural
immunity of plants to infections. Soil Microorganisms
and Higher Plants, N.A. Krasil'nikov
(i.e. fertilize with compost to ensure lots of microorganisms)
Plant growth is often limited by the amount of CO2
available to the plant. C.H. Wadleigh, 1957 USDA Yearbook
of Agriculture, "Soils", (p.41). Agronomists and
farmers are increasing yields by adding carbon dioxide (CO)
to their bag of practices...Carbon dioxide is a basic requirement
for plant growth. October 1968, World Farming (p.31).
We have evidence that CO2 produced by the respiration
of microorganisms in the soil is an important factor in
the supply of the gas to photosynthesizing plants. A soil rich in decomposing organic matter provides a much higher
level of CO2 in the air just above the soil than a barren, infertile soil. Another benefit of compost
Compost has another benefit, if it was done at high temperatures;
it kills weed seeds, and disease causing organisms (does
not hurt the beneficial microorganisms). Commercial composts
often meet this requirement.
- Compost is the result of the aerobic decay of organic materials.
The end result is composed almost entirely of humus like
materials. Humus: is a complex, colloidal material (composed of small particles) containing
proteins, lignin, fats, carbohydrates, and organic acids,
as well as other broken-down products of the original organic
matter, plus the metabolic remains of the microorganisms
that did the composting (i.e. nitrogen absorbed from the
air plus other valuable materials).
- Is a storehouse of plant nutrients. Because of its colloidal properties,
it can hold three times the amount of nutrients that clay
can helps make nutrients available to plants. Acids released during decomposition
increase the breakdown of mineral soil particles, form chelated
compounds, which speed the plant's uptake of minerals and
stimulate plant growth.
- Encourages living microorganisms to temporarily "tie up"
or hold nutrients in their living cells, thus counteracting
leaching of the nutrients into groundwater or runoff. The
nutrients are released when the microbes die.
encourages these microorganisms, especially the symbiotic mycorrhizae
fungi, to actually find and "feed" nutrients to
- When compost is used to add humus to soil it provides its beneficial
properties immediately. There is no waiting weeks or months
for material (i.e. green manures, etc.) to decompose in
the soil and does not tie up nutrients during this decomposition
- Compost encourages the growth of many types of bacteria that have
the ability to help detoxify many types of pesticides, simply
by using them as food. High humus levels are the most important
property facilitating pesticide degradation.
- Using corn as a test crop, compost was applied at rates of 4.5
to 200 tons per acre. In these experiment yields increases
were positive in all cases and ranged from 10 to 135%.
- Using sorghum as a test crop, compost was applied at rates of
3 to 150 tons per acre. In these experiment yields increases
were positive in all cases and ranged from 10 to 25%.
- In one study applying MSW compost at a rate of 25 tone per acre
produced higher yields than 1800 pounds of standard synthetic
- Another study on oats as a test crop MSW compost was applied at
200 tons per acre. In this study yield increased by 173%.
(Hortenstine & Rothwell, 1968)
Adding MSW compost to a planting of slash pine trees in Florida
increased growth 170% as compared to controls. (Jokela,
et al., 1990).
- Research has shown that compost contains weed (seed and
tubers) destroying fungus.
Trichoderma a micro-organism occurring in compost actually attacks and
subdues Rhizoctonia solani the fungus that causes brown
patch. "The Many Benefits Of Compost", Texas Gardener,
- Agricultural Quality of Composts Derived From Organic Wastes", Rogalski,
Wojciech, ISWA Times No.3, p. 15 (1993) found the following:
the fertilization effects of 40 tons of compost per hectare
correspond to a mineral nitrogen input of 50 kg N/hectare
- Brown Rot infestation was less in compost fertilized lots than in synthetic nitrogen
- Evaluating the Suitability of MSW Compost as Soil Amendment in Field
Grown Tomatoes, Part B: Elemental Analysis", D.E. Stilwell,
Compost Science & Utilization, 1(3):66-72 (1993)
Statistical analysis showed that plants grown in soils amended with
compost had fruits with higher concentrations of sodium
(Na) and Potassium (P) and concentrations of beryllium (Be)
and cadmium (Cd) decreased.
- Research at Cornell University plant laboratories have shown compost
as effective as standard fungicides in suppressing many
diseases and pathogens such as pythium root rot, typhula
incarnata blight, rhizoctonia solani, sclerotinia homoecarpa,
and laetisaria fuciformis. BioCycle, February 1992.
Other composts have been found to be suppressive of: phytophthora
cinnamomi, rhizoctonia solani, fusarium oxyysporum, sclerotium
rolfsii and pythium spp. BioCycle June 1992, p. 50
Studies have shown that compost can be added for three straight
years in quantities to supply ALL nutrients without contaminating
groundwater (unlike synthetic chemical fertilizer)
BioCycle, April 1993, p. 76.
- Compost that has been produced using higher composting temperatures
will kill many bad diseases such as Botrytis fungi (gray mold on fruits, flowers, & onion
neck rot), Rhizoctonia fungi (damping off disease), Phytophthora
fungi (late blight on tomatoes, potatoes, and related plants),
Sclerotinia fungi (white rot on lettuce and onions), stem
rot of tomatoes, bacterial blights (chrysanthemum, etc.),
Cyst nematodes (potatoes), Southern rootknot nematodes (affect
many plants). Commercial compost piles (generally hotter
temperatures) will also kill Fusarium fungi and tobacco
mosaic virus. Organic Gardening, November 1993. Extensive
research in Germany has established that vegetables grown
in soils amended with composted manures have better keeping
- Compost is the heart and soul of successful organic gardening.
Organic Flower Gardening, Spring 1994
...a variety of composts suppress rhizoctonia, pythium and fusarium
diseases... compost is particularly effective against damping-off"
Dr. Hoitink, Annual Review of Phytopathology.
Use compost to maintain about 4% organic matter in your soil
(up to 25% by volume for potting). When you have the correct
amount of organic matter in your soil-a condition we call
microbiostasis-the beneficial organisms that fight disease
will thrive." Organic Flower Gardening, Spring 1994.
Add some compost to your soil on an annual basis to ensure a
fresh supply of food for your compost based disease-fighters.
This is even more important in the South." Organic
Flower Gardening, Spring 1994.
- A study by the "Clean Washington Center" and funded in
part by Weyerhaeuser Company in greenhouse trials found
that unamended yard trimming compost is naturally suppressive
to three pathogens; fusarium solani, rhizoctonia solani,
and pythium ultimum. A supplemental study showed the addition
of BDCA's (Biological Disease Control Agents) to the compost
increased its disease suppressive nature to 100% disease
control in some cases. BioCycle, April 1994.
- Another service of compost is in neutralizing toxins in the soil.
The organic acids produced from compost have the ability
to bind metals such as aluminum (highly toxic to plants
and prevents the absorption of phosphorus) into stable compounds.
Thus the aluminum is "locked up" in a stable complex,
unable to harm plants. Composting, Rodale Press, 1992.
The toxicity of plant poisons (high salt concentrations, heavy
metals, etc.) becomes less severe in a soil high in humus
(compost). Humus: Origin, Chemical Composition, and Importance
in Nature, Dr. Selman A. Waksman.
- Addition of compost reduces plants reliance on specific pH levels.
Often, plants that prefer a certain "acidity"
or "alkalinity" can be grown outside their normal
range in compost amended soils.
Tests have shown that humic acids from compost, in addition to
stimulating plant growth, also assist plants in the absorption
of bitumens, vitamins, and vitamin analogs that are essential
for plant health and disease resistance. Composting, Rodale
- The dark color of compost when applied as a mulch in winter,
helps warm the soil by absorbing heat from the sun stimulating
plant growth and release of nutrients in the soil by microorganisms.
Compost in the soil helps moderate soil temperatures. If temperatures
are too high or low plants lose the ability to absorb both
water and nutrients properly.
- As mentioned before compost helps to aerate the soil, good aeration helps
maintain the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the
soil. If these are out of balance then plants lose the ability
to absorb nutrients.
- Research has shown that humic acids in compost produced from manures
increase a plants ability to absorb nitrogen while humic
acids from materials such as peat moss do not. Research
has shown that some of the nutrients (i.e. sugars) in compost
can be absorbed directly by plants without further reduction
thus saving the plant energy (in producing these compounds)
that can go into other areas of growth such as larger and
better tasting fruit.
- The release of nitrogen from compost parallels plant demand
since microbial activity speeds up at the same time (increasing
temperatures in spring and into summer).
Research at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has reported
that root rot fungus that thrives in ordinary soil was unable
to survive in compost. Many researchers now support the
theory that microorganisms present in compost produce natural
disease fighting antibiotics.
- Dr. H. Hoitink, professor of plant pathology at the Ohio Research
and Development Center of the Ohio State University has
pioneered developments of "custom" composts that
suppress pythium organisms responsible for damping-off disease
and root rot.
- Researchers at the University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
have discovered that the organic matter in composts kills
harmful nematodes. It seems that compost promotes the growth
of certain kinds of fungi that feed on nematodes.
Compost containing animal manures contains phenols that are toxic
to pathogenic fungi.
- A "compost tea" made from this compost is effective in treating or preventing mildews
and fungal blights. This tea is also rich in nutrients and
also serves as a mild foliar fertilizer.
Scientific researchers have observed that plants or crops grown in
an organic program using lots of compost amended soil are
less likely to sustain insect attack and damage.
Hazardous chemicals such as carbofuran insecticide (carbamate family)
and simazine herbicide (triazine family) were added to compost
piles. Tests showed that 100% of the carbofuran was degraded
and 98.6% of the simazine was degraded after only 50 days
of composting. Department of Health Services, California,
- Compost has been used to help cleanup toxic wastes and chemical
spills. Bioremediation of soil contaminated with diesel,
JP-4, and motor gasoline at a site (Fairbanks, Alaska) were
treated with sewage sludge and composted. Within 70 days
some toxins were below measurement limits and others significantly
reduced. "Treatment of Fuel Product Contaminated Soil
in a Cold Climate Using Composting Technology"; T.
J. Simpkin, D. Walter, J. Doesburg, June 1992.
- Activity of antagonists involved with biological control is affected
by nutrients present in compost. Highly stabilized organic
matter, such as sphagnum peat, does not support an actively
suppressive biomass. On the other hand. `properly' stabilized
composts do support such activity. "Biologic Control
of Plant Pathogens", Hoitink and Fahy, 1986.
- Annual applications (of compost) can build up reserves of nutrients,
possibly providing a greater fertilizing effect than the
NPK measurement would indicate. "Yard Waste Composting:
Guidebook For Michigan Communities", Michigan Department
of Natural Resources 1989.
- The humus molecule in compost is a long chain-like affair. It
has the capacity to bind plant nutrients to itself- phosphate
or nitrate for instance. It can coat itself with some amino
acids, certain sugars, and a host of trace minerals, becoming
a veritable sponge for nutrients. An Acres U.S.A. Primer Using
compost made from or with manures is better than using manures
- USDA studies indicate that raw manure lost 50-75%
of its nitrogen in storage and application. A study by Iowa
State University indicated that 65% of the nitrogen, 75%
of the phosphorus, and 49% of the potassium is lost when
manures are spread directly on farm acres. Proper composting
prevents the loss of these nutrients.
- Using compost as an organic fertilizer stimulates microorganisms
to take nitrogen from the air and fix it in the soil where
plants can use it. Up to 120 pounds of nitrogen can be fixed
per acre per year under ideal eco-conditions. An Acres U.S.A.
- Primer Research has shown that as little of worm worked compost or vermicomposting
(5%) in a mix of commercial growing medium (95%), increased
germination and growth. Twice as many roots grew in pure
worm castings than in sphagnum. Dr. Clive Edwards, Ohio
- A common fungus (white rot) found in compost that decomposes dead
wood has been found to be valuable in degrading toxic wastes.
It has been found to degrade, pentachlorophenol, dioxins,
cyanides, TNT, DDT, creosote, and coal tars. After treatment
it was found that 90% of the toxin was destroyed within
60 days. Organic Gardening, August 94.
- Composting destroys allelopathic chemicals from trees such as cedars,
junipers, walnuts, eucalyptus, etc. International Plant
Propagators Society, 1992.
- A 12 year study by the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental
Station has shown that 1 inch of compost per year can supply
all plant nutritional needs and gave yields equal or
better that all combinations of chemical and synthetic fertilizers.
Additionally, compost improved the soil pH and increased
organic matter content of the test plot from 5.9 to 12.6%
which is enough organic humus to hold a two week supply
of water an obvious side benefit• The compost used
for this study was made from tree leaves a relatively poor
feedstock material as compared to other types of compost.
Organic Gardening, September/October 1994.
- The organic matter in compost helps plants absorb critical nutrients
better. For example: Thiamin (vitamin B1, aneurin)
is a naturally occurring compound present in soils, water,
plant and animal tissue, that is required for microbial
and plant growth. Thiamin is known to affect both root and
plant growth. A reduction of organic matter in soils reduces
the CEC ratio which leads to reduced Fe (iron) and Al (aluminum)
availability on surface of clay particles which may cause
a reduction in thiamin absorption. Organic matter also helps
bind thiamin with increasing pH. The absorption of thiamin
is closely related to the stoichiometric exchange of the
Ca++ (calcium ion) which suggests that absorption
of Thiamin occurs by an exchange mechanism. Soil Science
Society of America Journal, Nov./Dec. 94, p.1829.
- New research from Israel has confirmed German studies that show
"fermented compost tea" have the power to protect
plants from a whole host of afflictions. The two studies
found a 50-90% drop in severity of infection after tomato,
pepper, grape, beet, potato, strawberry, and bean plants
had been stricken with botryis molds, downy mildew, late
blight, and powdery mildew after thorough spraying with
compost tea. Scientists theorize that compost tea works
to protect plants in two ways: 1) suppressing the growth
of fungi that cause diseases (composts famed disease-suppression
ability is enhanced by fermentation) 2) by making plants
more disease resistant. Highest level of control occurred
with compost tea that had fermented for 10-14 days at room
temperature. Organic Gardening, November 1994.
- A USDA laboratory in Oregon has produced petunias plants that are
30% larger and have more flowers using engineered compost
containing certain microorganisms. Avant Gardener, December
1994 Research in Colorado has shown that plants grown in compost with
a certain strain of trichoderma fungus, increased and speeded
germination of seeds, caused faster growth and more flowers
or fruits on both bedding plants and vegetables. Avant Gardener,
- Numerous recent research has shown compost very effective at preventing
erosion. This usually occurs at lower cost and without the
pollution of traditional or conventional approaches. The
International Erosion Control Society at its 1994 conference
in the USA had many papers on the use of compost for flood
control, watershed management, sediment control, revegatation
|DISEASES DEFEATED BY DIFFERENT FORMS OF COMPOST AND MATERIALS
||Type of Disease
|Pine Bark Compost
- A recent study found that earthworm produced compost dramatically
increases germination and growth
in many plants. Adding only 5% of the compost to commercial
growing media significantly increased plant growth. Dr.
Clive Edwards, Ohio State University, Nursery Management
& Production, January 1995.
- Research has found that biodegradation of PCB and TCB, and BaP (PAH)
with compost is a function of time with a 40% reduction
of these chemicals in 4 months. Compost Science & Utilization,
- Organic matter (compost) affects the inoculum potential of both
plant pathogens and their biological control agents which
in turn affects the severity of the disease. Major mechanisms
that effect this suppression in composts are:
better aeration of the root zone minimizing development of molds
ability of compost to act as a food base for microflora that are
antagonistic to, or competitive with, plant pathogens
the secretion of materials that have fungistatic activity into the medium,
thereby suppressing pathogenic fungi Hoitink & Grebus
(1994), Compost Science & Utilization, Winter 1995.
- The White Rot Fungus that decomposes dead wood (into compost)
also has the ability to clean up (digest) chemicals such
as: pentachlorophenol (a wood preservative more toxic than
CCA), dioxins, cyanides, DDT, TNT (explosive), creosote,
and coal tar. Other toxic chemicals being tested are Lindane
and Toxaphene. Organic Gardening, July/August 1994.
- Since we have begun using compost (on liner beds) we have noticed
a significant change in our soil compaction and significant
improvement in certain crops such as ornamental grasses
and Buxis". Bill Hendricks, Klyn Nurseries, Combined
Proceedings International Plant Propagators Society, Vol.
- A common fungus (Aspergillus fumigatus) found in forests, wooded
areas, compost facilities, soils, etc. has been found to
contain chemicals called pyripyropenes. These compounds
are the most effective inhibitors of an enzyme called ACAT
associated with build up of cholesterol in arteries. A single dose
reduced blood cholesterol levels in hamsters up to 50%•
BioCycle, March 1995.
- Retention pond water from Cornell University's composting site was
tested for nutrient content in the summer of 1994. It was
found that the pond water contained 3.5 lbs. of potassium
(K), 0.4 lbs. of phosphorus (P), and 0.5 lbs. of nitrogen
(N) per 1,000 gallons of water. BioCycle, April 1995.
- Compost made using high temperature techniques (windrow, forced
aeration, etc.) is of lower quality than slower moderate
temperature techniques (static pile). High temperatures
kill the disease-fighting microbes hence airborne pathogens
quickly repopulate the material (Encyclopedia of Organic
Gardening 1994). High temperatures equal fast composting
not good. Moderate temperatures for longer periods of time
reduces pathogens better, biodegrades synthetic chemicals
better (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.), and retains
higher levels of nutrients.
(natural methods) such as no turn piles offer low cost and
high quality compost. Generally exceeding all modern techniques
in quality. Adding 20 days to static piles techniques offers
same maturity as windrows but much higher quality compost.
Will Briton, PhD, Woods End Research Institute, BioCycle
National Conference, Washington D.C. 1995.
- It is often assumed that Carbon Nitrogen ratios (C:N) of less
than 20 equals mature compost. Research has indicated than
stable/mature composts can easily vary between 8-29 C:N
ratio depending on source materials and composting technique
used. Values actually found ranged from 151 (wood based
compost) to 8 (chicken manure based compost). "Predicting
Compost Stability", Journal of Compost Science
Utilization, Spring 1995.
- Research has found that applying biosolids compost to vegetables
for 4 consecutive years actually reduced the amount of metals
absorbed by vegetables as compared to those grown in control
plots. This is effect is believed to be related to the biosolids
matrix which binds metals in the soil and makes them unavailable
for plants to absorb. "Metal Levels In Garden Vegetables
Raised on Biosolids Amended Soils", Journal of Compost
Science & Utilization, Spring 1995.
- Research at the U.S. National Arboretum has found that large pile
composting of wood waste eliminates (kills) the pathogenic
fungus Botryosphaeria dothidea,
a canker causing fungus known to infest Cercis
(Redbuds), Rhododendrons (Azaleas), Syringa (Lilacs) and
Prunus (Peaches, Plums, Cherries, etc.) species. It also
found that similar pathogenic fungus is also killed by composting
at temperatures over 122EF. This method is also used for wood chips that
line paths, in mulches and in soil amendments. Nursery Management
and Production, September, 1995. A study commissioned by the State of California has found than urban
waste compost made from leaves, grass and tree trimmings,
when used as a soil amendment in stone fruit trees (Peaches,
Plums, Cherries, etc.) dramatically reduces brown rot fungus.
Waste New, August 21, 1995.
- According to California Agriculture, published by University of California, composted yard trimmings
(lawn clippings and tree trimmings) deserve credit for reducing
brown rot disease in a San Joaquin Valley research plot.
Adjacent plots treated with traditional composts and fertilizers.
Compost amended trees had 0% brown rot and unamended control
had 2.5% while the trees in the conventional grown plot
had 24%. Fruit grown with compost had millions of yeast
spores on the fruit surface which is believed to block or
prevent brown spot. BioCycle, December 1995. High E. C. (electrical conductivity) values in compost does not
always mean a high salt content. A high E.C. value in compost
is often associated with the organic acids in the compost.
The amount of these organic acids will decrease as the compost
matures. Compost Science and Utilization, Spring, 1996.
- Field studies at the Louisiana Army ammunition plant have shown that the explosives 2,4,6,-trinitrotoluene, hexayydro-1,3,5,-triniro-1,3,5-trizine,
octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine can be degraded by composting. Chlorophenol, PAH's (1-octadecene;
and pyrene) and Aroclor 1232 can be degraded by co composting.
Mineral oil and grease can also be degraded by compost.
Co composting of Weathered Hydrocarbon Contaminated Soil,
Compost Science and Utilization, Spring, 1996.
- New research has shown that it is the beneficial microbes contained
in compost that have a destructive effect on the nematodes
Ascaris lumbricoides (human pathogen) and Ascaridia galli. In this study the composting was done at low temperatures
(30EC) to eliminate temperature effects. The Effect
of Sewage Sludge Compost on The Viability of the Eggs of
a Parasitic Nematode, Compost Science and Utilization, Spring, 1996.
- Yard Trimmings Compost generally contains 1.5% N, 0.25% P (0.6%
phosphate), and 1% K (1.2% potash) on a dry weight basis.
If we apply 1" of compost to a 1,000 square foot garden,
we would be applying: 15 pounds of nitrogen (N) + 6 pounds
of phosphate (P) + 12 pounds of potash (K). A&L Western Agricultural Laboratories,
- Trees worldwide are having a decline problem that results in increased
disease and pest problems and in eventual tree death. This
problem has been linked to unhealthy soil caused by over
use of synthetic chemicals and improper soil management.
The recommended treatment is composted wood and/or leaves applied around the base of the tree. Dr. Alex Shigo,
Tree Care Industry, October 1996.
- The Louisiana Extension service has found that a 10 ton per
acre application of compost using normal fertilizing processes
(synthetic chemical fertilizer) affects a 15% increase in
the yield of sucrose in sugarcane crops. Composting News,
- Research at the University of Florida has shown that compost especially
immature compost, applied to crop row middles reduces weed
growth. Avant Gardener, April 1998.
A non-technical overview of composting:
The Rodale Book Of COMPOSTING, Deborah L. Martin and Grace Gershuny, Editors
Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Copyright 1992, Published
The Secret Life of Compost, Malcolm Beck, Acres, USA Press, Copyright
1997, Published 1996, ISBN 0-911311-53-X
Let It Rot - The Home Gardener's Guide To Composting, Stu Campbell, Gardenway
Publishing, ISBN: 0-88266-050-0
A semi-technical overview of composting:
The BioCycle Guide to THE ART & SCIENCE OF COMPOSTING, Edited by the
Staff of BioCycle Journal of Waste Recycling, The JG Press.
Inc., Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Copyright 1991, Printed Spring
Technical reference on composting:
COMPOST SCIENCE & UTILIZATION, a quarterly journal, published by the
JG Press. Inc., Emmaus, Pennsylvania.
THE SCIENCE OF COMPOSTING, Eliot Epstein, PhD, 1997, Technomic Publishing,
COMPOST ENGINEERING (The Practical Handbook Of...), Dr. Roger T. Haug,
1993, Lewis Publishers, ISBN 0-87371-373-7
SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING OF COMPOSTING: Design, Environmental, Microbiological
and Utilization Aspects, Harry Hoitink, PhD, Ohio State