The educational materials listed on this page are about Composting.
Many farms, especially organic farms, utilize compost for fertility, but what exactly is composting? Compost soil is made up of green waste (e.g. grass clippings) and brown waste (e.g. dried leaves) that provide nitrogen and carbon, respectively. With the right ratio of each, microbes in the compost begin to break down the material, turning it into organic matter. Composting methods depend on what type of farming is being done and at what scale. Other forms of composting include vermicomposting, or worm composting, which uses red worm composting to produce compost. Specialty crop farmers can make mushroom compost from the waste of mushrooms, and livestock farmers often compost manure over time. Compost making requires time, careful maintenance and the correct ratio of input materials. Key practices include nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, composting, compost extracts, earthworms, organic matter, soil quality/health, soil stabilization.
Building Soils for Better Crops will help you understand soil structure, soil fertility and overall soil management, including composting to increase organic matter. Diversifying Cropping Systems can be useful in identifying practices that enhance diversity on farms, such as manure management for livestock operations. The Small Ruminant Toolbox guides producers who are managing small livestock enterprises and managing composted manure in cropping systems.
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Making Fish Waste Compost
Dale Snyder, co-owner of Sweetgrass Garden Co-op on Johns Island, S.C., discusses the process used to make fish waste compost. The co-op conducted a Southern SARE-funded study over the summer to determine if fish waste makes a good organic compost for vegetable production. Dale Snyder with Sweetgrass Garden Co-op in South Carolina discusses the results […]
Georgia Farmer Exploring the Use of Compost Tea to Control Southern Stem Blight
DECATUR, Georgia – When summer temperatures rise and moisture increases in the Southeast, so does Southern stem blight – a hard-to-control fungal disease that can quickly turn your healthy, productive tomatoes, squash or peppers into wilting, decaying plants. Southern stem blight is a nightmare for small-scale vegetable producers, especially those who follow organic practices and […]
Compost Made with Freshwater Fish Improves Vegetable Yields Based on South Carolina Farmer Study
JOHNS ISLAND, South Carolina – Compost made from freshwater fish appears to perform just as well as compost made from saltwater fish in vegetable production, based on the results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) farmer project. The results point to increased opportunities of using freshwater fish waste as compost in areas […]
Evaluating Nutrient, Soil Health, and Economic Benefits of Compost Additions to Summer Cover Crops for Strawberries in North Carolina
Over the past 8 years, a team of multidisciplinary faculty and students at NC State University have conducted various field-based studies at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and on-farm research examining the impact of summer cover crops, compost additions and applications of beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and vermicompost on soil health, nutrient availability, and yields in conventional and organic strawberry production systems.
Black Soldier Fly Integral Component of Sustainable Ag at Georgia Farm
BLUFFTON, Georgia – The black soldier fly has turned out to be a key contributor to the sustainable agriculture efforts of one South Georgia farm. For the past two years, the indigenous insect has been at the center of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Producer study at White Oak Pastures to determine […]
Organic Grain Production Video Series
A series of videos developed by University of Georgia, North Carolina State University and USDA-ARS on organic grain production.