September 2014 

Newsletter Paragon

Successful Four-Season Gardening

Concerned with pasture management, equine health, and the environment, Jim and Cindy B. of Earleville, Maryland, contacted us in 2009. They have four horses and use pelletized pine bedding. Cindy was especially concerned about redistributing raw manure containing parasites and pathogens back into the pastures where the horses graze. They also live in the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay and had concerns regarding the potential for nitrogen laden leachate running into a nearby tributary of the Bay.

Here's more of their great story as written by Jim and Cindy ...

"We are four season vegetable gardeners and the compost has been used to amend the clay laden soils in our garden. Three years ago, we built a high tunnel (unheated greenhouse) and built raised beds. We also use our compost around our perennial beds and share it with other gardeners in the area.

Soon we will be distributing the compost back into the pastures but now we have no concerns about compromising the health of the horses. 

The aerated static pile compost methodology as designed by O2Compost works. It not only kills pathogens and parasites, it also breaks down the weed seeds that pass through the horse's digestive system. Maintenance of the garden beds is significantly reduced by top dressing the beds with the compost. It is well known and documented in multiple University studies that employing compost in gardens suppresses disease, improves the soil mechanics, and increases the health of the rhizosphere by providing nutrients for the community of micro and macro-organisms that are necessary for both healthy soil and healthy vegetation.

Our compost (remember no weed seeds) applied at about one to two inches also suppresses weeds which significantly reduces the maintenance struggle that every gardener understands ... that seemingly never-ending struggle of pulling weeds. For us, it has made gardening as well as maintenance a pleasure rather than a dreaded chore. 

I would highly recommend this composting method to any horse owners, especially if they are interested in building healthy soils for gardening."

 Buckland 2

Buckland 1

Buckland 3

Changes to Our Newsletter 

Earlier this year, we committed to writing monthly (instead of bi-monthly) newsletters that provide interesting information about composting that is relevant to an ever-increasing number of subscribers. The format for the newsletter is a reflection of our new website and will include:

  • One or two short articles, some of which will be written by our clients and fellow composters;
  • Recommendations for starting and running a compost business;
  • Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers);
  • A featured compost system that has recently come on-line; and 
  • A list of coming events.

If you are a subscriber, we suggest that you take some time to read several of our past editions. They can be found on the About Us page of our website.

AND, we invite you to help us in two ways:

  1. Forward one of our Newsletters to a family member, friend, fellow club member or business associate, and recommend that they, too, subscribe to our Newsletter; and
  2. Provide questions about composting and suggestions for interesting article topics for future editions. Simply send an email to sherri@o2compost.com, or give us a call at 360-568-8085.

Peter's Rules of Composting - A 12-Part Series

Rule 5:  Water is the Highway of Life 

If oxygen is the secret to composting, WATER is the magic ingredient. Aerobic microorganisms live in a thin film of water around each of the organic particles and this thin film serves as their "highway", allowing vast populations of bacteria and fungi to spread rapidly throughout the pile and grow in number and diversity. Water also serves to reduce pile odors and helps keep pile temperatures at manageable levels.

If the compost pile is too wet (i.e., much over 65% moisture content), the pore spaces will be filled with water resulting in anaerobic conditions and the generation of offensive odors.

If the compost pile is too dry (i.e., below 50% moisture content), the microbiology of the system will crash and virtually no composting will take place.

With the O2Compost Training Program, we offer unlimited technical support to all of our new clients and we find that 90% of all troubleshooting relates to the moisture content of the compost mix.

  • The bad news is that a dry pile eventually happens to everyone.
  • The good news is that it is easy to fix, simply by adding water.
  • The bad news is that the pile will need to be broken down to rewet it - you cannot evenly rewet the compost mix by spraying the top of the pile.
  • The good news is that if you ultimately have to "waste" a pile, you are much closer to getting it right the next time around.

And when you get it right, you will have an "AH-HA!!!" moment, and it will all make perfect sense.

Previous Rules:

Rule 1 - Start With the End in Mind  (April Newsletter)
Rule 2 - To Learn to Compost, One Must Compost  (June Newsletter)
Rule 3 - Every Question About Composting Has Only One Answer - "It Depends"  (July Newsletter)
Rule 4 - Oxygen is the Secret to Composting  (August Newsletter)

Frequently Asked Question

At what point is manure "too old" to compost?


Our rule of thumb is that if manure is not more than six (6) weeks old and has not dried out excessively, it can be composted. Older manure may contribute progressively less energy to the system and OLD manure will not contribute any. We recommend that old manure be mixed in with the fresh stuff at about 20% of the mix. It will still compost down, which is good, but it will be "riding on the coattails" of the fresh manure.

A New Compost System Comes On-Line

  Renfro Newsletter

OWNER:   Kathleen R. 

LOCATION:  Virginia Beach, Virginia

14 horses on wood shavings bedding

See article from Virginia Beach Beacon
for more information about Heron Creek Farm. 


Coming Events

September 24-27, 2014
ASP Hands-On Workshop
-Snohomish, Washington
This 3-day event bridges the gap between the classroom and the field.
Although this workshop is FULL, you can register now for April 2015. Email sherri@o2compost.com  

October 20-24, 2014
Washington Organic Recycling Council's 5-Day Training Class
 Puyallup, Washington
This is an excellent course for those interested in gaining practical experience in the science and art of composting. It is co-taught by industry leaders in composting, including Peter Moon from O2Compost. Go HERE to learn more.

October 26-29, 2014
AASHE Conference
 Portland, Oregon
We will have a booth at this event and would love to meet you in person.
Visit the AASHE website for more information.

Week of December 8, 2014
 New York City
A series of presentations and hands-on training workshops titled "All Things Compost" will be hosted by O2Compost and Compostwerks. Dates and locations are being considered and details will be provided in future Newsletters.
If you are interested in attending any of these events, you may pre-register by sending an email to info@o2compost.com.  

January 20-23, 2015
United States Composting Council (USCC) Conference
- Austin, Texas
Peter Moon will conduct a workshop titled "Aerated Static Pile Composting: Applications and Advancements".
Visit the USCC website for more information and to register for the conference.

Protecting Our Land, Air and Water Resources

Price-Moon Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 1026
Snohomish, WA 98291

Phone:  360-568-8085
Email:   info@o2compost.com


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