Humus refers to any stable organic matter. Humified compost is organic matter combined with clay, fully broken down by microbes, and then polymerized by another set of microbes into humus.
When applied to soil, humified compost can reduce fertilizer need by 50-75%. It can also increase plants yields by up to 10% with 30-50% less water.
Compost can be made using a variety of techniques. The techniques used determine the amount of nutrients and microbes in the final product. Microbial Earth uses only organic matter and rainwater to make its compost. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality defines compost as organic matter that has reached 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 days, and is turned at least 5 times. This sounds like making toast! At Microbial Earth Farms, we know that compost that gets too hot might tecnically be compost, but it lacks most of the benefits of compost that is made properly.
Recipe & Synchronization: We purchase our ingredients to get an exact recipe that we can repeat and learn from.
Temperature Control: In the first three weeks of the composting process, organic matter breakdown generates heat that, if not managed, will kill beneficial microbes. We quickly turn our compost windrows if the temperature exceeds 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
images from our compost production facilities in Kyle, Texas.
Aeration: A compost turner is used to replace carbon dioxide produced by microbes with fresh air/oxygen as the microbes keep working. Compost is turned when CO2 levels exceed 20%.
Moisture Management: Windrow moisture levels are kept between 40-50% to maximize microbial efficiency. Windrows are watered and turned if moisture levels fall below 40%.