Composcience is a winsome representation of the mystical forces of nature.

A place where otherworldly microorganisms (or physical decompose-rs)  like ants, centipedes, slugs and spiders tear, grind, bite, suck, and chew organic materials into smaller pieces while tiny microorganisms (AKA chemical decompose-rs) such as fungi, actinomycetes and bacteria alter the chemical properties within the pile.

And we experience the magic of oxidation where the bacteria converts carbon into energy and nitrogen into proteins to grow strong and reproduce; warming the compost pile from within.

But remember, all of this is only possible if the right environment exists within your compost pile.

While bacteria can eat a wide variety of organic compounds, they have difficulty escaping unfavorable environments due to their size and lack of complexity. Changes in oxygen, moisture, temperature, and acidity can make bacteria die or become inactive. Aerobic bacteria need oxygen levels greater than five percent. They are the preferred organisms, because they provide the most rapid and effective composting.

So remember to periodically turn or agitate your compost, create avenues for oxygen to travel with toilet paper rolls and carefully monitor your compost’s scent and moisture levels.

It should smell like fresh soil and stay slightly damp.

If you notice an odor, you may have too many green materials in your mix, add more brown, stir and check back the following day.  And if you are in an area that experiences extreme temperature fluctuations, especially in the winter months, you may want to blanket your pile in the evening when it’s not receiving sun.

Next week I’ll take you through the simple process of adding your compost to the pile and putting your composcience to the test – so stay tuned.

References

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/science.cfm