An effective compost system sits at the heart, the foundation, of any food production effort. It is essential in building microbial activity and humus structure in the soil to provide healthy, nutrient rich foods. Yet not all composts are created equal.
There are as many types of composts as there are qualities of those composts. A poorly digested compost heavy in unbroken down organic matter taxes the soil microbes, because they must then activate to finish digestion taking invaluable nitrogen from the soil to aid in the decomposition of the carbon and organic matter. Spectrums of decomposition strategies range from slower, cold composts and vermiculture (worm based compost) on one end to heavily turned and mechanically pulverized compost on the other.
Compost from either end of the spectrum can have detrimental effects on soil microbial life and in-turn less nutrients are made available for plants. It is especially problematic when these composts are applied to soils that have lost their microbial function due to years of chemical and synthetic inputs and are no longer able to properly digest and incorporate raw manures or undigested compost.
Controlled Heat Compost lies in the middle of the decomposition spectrum. This method of composting creates an environment where heat loving thermophile bacteria and fungi live, thrive and digest rapidly when conditions are right. The resulting humus-structured compost plays a vital role, not only in building soil fertility, but in creating a resilient humus layer that responds to growing climate shifts through moisture retention and gradual nutrient release. Controlled heat compost enhances microbial activity which are the foundation for proper nutrient transfer to plants and nitrogen fixation. It provides insoluble and stable nutrients that release over time. Due to its heat capacity, this method is especially effective in killing pathogens and weed seeds, and reducing and/or isolating chemicals and GMO's. Controlled heat compost methods date back to the 12th century in Europe and were brought to the United States in the 1930's by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer who developed some of the first municipal compost systems in the U.S. Roland Urlich has written an in-depth guide to this method, "Creating Humus on the Farm- The Controlled Heat Method of Composting" now available for purchase on our site.
Biodynamic Compost Preparations
Controlled heat compost systems achieve fast, humus-structured finished compost in 3 - 5 months depending on ambient temperatures, process success, and in part by using Biodynamic Compost Preparations. Six different herbs and plants, processed using biodynamic principles, are used to inoculate the compost windrows at two intervals. Preparations bear relationships to specific elements and planetary forces, thereby increasing nutrient potency, heat, and acceleration in decomposition rates.
Compost rows are covered with Top Tex Compost Tarps to further increase heat, support aeration, provide a dark environment for early stage fungi decomposers, retain and reflect moisture and reduce carbon loss, odor and flies. These tarps originate in Europe and are incredibly hardy, lasting up to 10+ years.
GROUNDED LLC creates Angie's Gold Premium Compost using the controlled heat compost method.