What is compost?
Compost is the natural breakdown of biological materials such as foods, plants, etc. Good compost has many benefits such as reducing soil compaction; improving water holding capacity; reduce pests and disease; and more.
There are different ways to make compost, but too much of one type of starting material or not maintaining aerobic conditions (with sufficient oxygen) can cause disease causing bacteria and fungi and end up just being a stinky pile.
Find out more about the different composting methods here.
What is Bio-completeTM compost?
BioCompleteTM compost, a term trademarked by Dr. Elaine Ingham, has minimum biological requirements. In other words, without sufficient beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes, the compost isn’t BioCompleteTM.
BioCompleteTM compost is prepared under strict aerobic conditions and contains species from the entire soil food web. It can also be tailored to meet the needs of specific crops. Whether you’re growing cabbage, tomatoes or high bush blueberries, the ratio of fungi to bacteria can be specific to each crop.
Benefits of BioCompleteTM Compost
- Nutrient retention and cycling – ensuring that soil nutrients are available to plants
- Reduced inputs – by making soil nutrients available to plants, fewer inputs are required for successful yields
- Combat pests and disease – healthy plants will naturally deter unwanted pests and disease
- Water retention – creating more pore space increases the soil’s water holding capacity. Just a 1% increase in organic matter will increase water holding capacity by 20,000 gallons per acre
There are many different ways to compost your kitchen waste. In fact, it can get confusing as to what method is best. Each system below can be tailored to suit your needs and space.
Thermophilic (or thermal) compost is a “hot” compost. It uses heat, from the rapid to kill the seeds and any diseased organisms present. Aerobic conditions must be maintained to prevent anaerobic conditions where disease causing microorganisms can thrive. Turning the compost ensures everything gets composted while preventing the pile from getting too hot.
Thermophilic composting is best for ensuring a complete breakdown of organic material, killing disease and seeds. It is an acceptable input in organic production.
Static composting is food waste piled up and left alone for one to two years. The inside is anaerobic and generates heat while the outside kept aerobic. The outer layers prevent odours from being detected. When the temperature of the pile starts to drop, indicating the anaerobic process is complete the compost can be used.
Static compost is best if you want to avoid turning compost regularly and have time to wait for the compost to finish.
Vermicompost, or worm composting, is a cold composting method. It uses worms to digest kitchen waste, turning it into worm poop, also sometimes called black gold. Worms eat the microorganisms they find on food and work their way up through the pile, pooping as they go.
Vermicompost is best for small spaces and indoor composting.