Last week, we tried to provide you with a few basic composting terms that are common knowledge to the average composter. The idea was to help relay this introductory information to you if you are new to the world of composting, or if you know someone who is interested, but who is having a hard time grasping what it’s all about.
In order to break down the scientific process of composting and explain it to someone who may be unfamiliar with it, it helps to start by learning these common terms. So, if you’re ready for another round of common composting terms, grab a pen and start taking notes. As you learn more and more about the process, you’ll be on your way to composting in no time.
1. Bulking Agent– Typically plays a role in carbon source, and is used as an additive in compost to promote quality air flow. Generally refers to materials like wood chips.
2. Curing– Think of this as a final “step” in composting. It is the last stage of the process that allows for the stabilization and reduction of pathogens. Most importantly, it further promotes the decomposition process.
3. Humus– Combined with inorganic soil parts, humus is a collection or mass of lignin, proteins, and cellulose, and is considered the life of your soil. It supports and sustains your soil’s quality as you compost.
4. Mature Compost– The product of composting, mature compost is the result of decomposition. When it is considered “mature,” this means it is sanitized and in the process of becoming stabilized.
5. Pathogen– Sound familiar? This one takes you right back to science class, right? In the world of composting, a pathogen is considered an organism that is capable of producing disease and infection in a host. This organism includes protozoa, viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
6. Windrow Composting– A type of composting that involves placing organic matter and biodegradable waste in windrows, or long rows. Naturally aerated by mechanical turning or forced aeration, windrow composting is a common method used to produce generous amounts of compost material.