Compost as a potent drought-fighting tool
Compost is a perfect organic source which helps conserve water, according to the University of California.
For example: if governments add compost to sandy soil, the soil will hold more water, making urban water management easier at a sustainable way.
Is this new? No, in permaculture, this is known for decades. But that’s still on small sizes.
Dry areas like California can implement compost as a water preserver on a much bigger scale. And there are more advantages for (house) farmers. Green and food waste compost improves soil structure, knocks back weed growth and bolsters food production.
More organic farming
Soil works like a sponge. It just needs a little bit of water and holds the water for the growing plants around. So instead of removing all the soil in the agricultural area, farmers should use it to save the valuable water for the plants.
90,000 tons per year
Farmers in Riverside and elsewhere in Southern California’s Inland Empire have the option of purchasing their compost locally from the Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority, which produces 90,000 tons per year at Rancho Cucamonga.
Rancho Cucamonga is home to the nation’s largest indoor biosolids composting facility. A total of 410,000 square feet of enclosed space is used to produce compost, which is then sold to area farmers, nurseries, landscapers and soil blenders, as well as to any other organization or individual who would like to purchase compost.
About the composting process
Composting green waste
Vegetable matter, such as green waste and organic waste can be converted into compost, a soil improver. By composting the plant material is transformed by the action of micro-organisms. The composting process is also known as aerobic conversion.
Green waste is hardly giving any odor.
In the Netherlands, after arrival, the green waste is first inspected, than reduced and than is laid on knolls of 10 to 15 meters wide, 2 to 3 meters high and 40 to 100 meters long.
When setting up the heaps, there is extra attention to the lightness of knoll, to ensure sufficient oxygen. Due to the activity of the bacteria, the temperature will rise up to 60 to 70 ° C. At this high temperature pathogens and weed seeds are made harmless.
To accelerate the green waste, forced aeration and converting should be done regularly. Forced aeration can be realized with simple tools by blowing with a fan air through a pipe system.
Composting vegetables, fruit and garden waste
This organic waste is first inspected on large objects, plastics and metals (many potato peelers!). And than shredded or crushed in order to make the contact surface for bacteria as large as possible.
In an enclosed space like a hall or container is blown air through the waste. When the composting temperature rises to 55 ° C, peels, leaves and fruit usually falls completely apart into small particles.
Most of the twigs and stems remain intact and that’s even better for the process because the air can circulate through the waste.
To decrease the odor, the waste passes a biofilter. After that, the odor components are virtually completely removed.
After this 10 to 20 days process, the compost it is not yet ready for use as a soil conditioner. Compost needs another few weeks in the open air.
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