Newsletter Paragon
Aerated Compost Systems

Regenerative Agriculture

We would like to share an excerpt from an article written by Leah Zerbe, MS, NASM-CPT, NASM-CES: April 22, 2021 for the Dr. Axe website.

This specific section of the article reviews the differences between "Regenerative Agriculture vs. Permaculture vs. Organic Farming/Gardening".

Regenerative Ag2

While there is some overlap between regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and organic farming and gardening, there are notable differences, too.

Organic Farming/Gardening

“Organic agriculture provides a base set of standards. It’s all about minimizing toxins and slightly maximizing nutritional value, although the studies are mixed,” Jordan Rubin, founder of Heal the Planet Farm explained. “The main gist is producing food not laden with chemicals.”

That’s certainly good news and a vast improvement from industrial farming. After all, scaling up chemically produced food means we now have a “dirty dozen” list of foods to avoid. I’m so thankful organic is getting carcinogens, neurotoxic substances and bee-killing chemicals out of the food chain.

It also can go much further to become a truly sustainable system that can feed the world. One problem? Many organic farms produce annual crops and raise meat and dairy animals on outside food sources.

“That’s not necessarily regenerative,” Rubin explained. “It could be creating a system that needs loads of inputs.”

While organic farms are much healthier for people and the environment because they don’t rely on harmful chemicals, many larger organic producers may not encourage biodiversity as much as regenerative farming models.

Organic farms often also plant annual row crops that are more disruptive to the soil. Trucking in off-farm inputs, even though they are more natural and approved for use in the organic program, are common.

Organic farming is often not a closed-loop system.

The full article is located on our Blog.

Composting 101


Invariably, when you first start to think about composting, the phone will ring and the person on the other end of the line will try to sell you a miracle device or a secret additive that will enable you to produce finished compost in “JUST 3 DAYS”. They either don’t know what they are talking about or they are lying to you outright – probably both. You have been forewarned.

The truth is that composting is a “biologically mediated process” and it takes time. 

The initial stage of composting is referred to as the “Active Phase”. This is largely a bacterial driven process whereby the readily available forms of carbon (simple sugars, carbohydrates and proteins) are consumed, with the net result being the production of heat. The Active Phase typically takes 21 to 30 days and is generally characterized by a very rapid increase in pile temperatures followed by a gradual drop-off.

The Active Phase transitions slowly to what is called the “Curing Phase”. Curing is predominantly a fungal driven process. It is not at all unusual to see mushrooms growing out of the pile and a white filamentous material “marbled” throughout the pile. This white material is called “Actinomycetes” (pronounced: Ak-Tin-Oh-My-Seats); and it is ubiquitous in the natural environment. It is a cross between bacteria and fungi and it breaks down the more resilient forms of carbon in the mix (complex carbohydrates, hemi-cellulose, cellulose and the lignin component of woody materials).

The Curing Phase takes anywhere from 30 to 60 days and it is during this stage where the majority of textural change will take place. However, curing can also take much longer than 60 days for compost with a high proportion of wood.

Nature’s ultimate goal is to convert all organic materials to humus (pronounced: Hu-Muss), which is dark brown or black organic matter that is highly resistant to further decomposition. Producing humus from raw feedstocks can take many years.





Direct quote from one of our clients ...

"It smells like compost.
It tastes like compost.
It must be compost!"



QUESTION:  I add wood pellets to the compost but I can still see wood particles that have not broken down. If I add fewer wood pellets, my moisture content would be too high. Could I add some alfalfa pellets to offset the excess carbon?

ANSWER:  When we prepare the initial compost mix, we strive to attain a moisture content of 60 to 65%. If the manure is too dry, we can adjust the moisture by adding water and if it is too wet, we can add a dry "bulking agent" such as wood chips, shavings, or wood pellets.

As you point out, the finished compost with added bulking agent will include wood that has not broken down completely, and a woody compost may obligate nitrogen out of the soil to keep breaking down over an extended period of time, resulting in a need to fertilize your pastures.

Alfalfa offers an organic form of nitrogen to the compost mix and alfalfa pellets would also help you adjust the moisture content to within the desired range. The added nitrogen will help stimulate the biology of the composting process and would likely result in higher pile temperatures, helping to destroy pathogens, parasites, weed seeds, and fly larvae.

The resulting compost would also have a lower final C:N ratio (i.e. high in nitrogen), which would help your pasture grass or landscape plants grow more vigorously. Adding alfalfa pellets to alpaca and llama manure (typically low in energy) would also result in a more biologically active composting process.

Client Testimonial

John & Stacy Cline
New Earth Farm - St. Louise, MO
Composting Since: 2020


"We are a small urban farm composting on our own property with neighbors 10 feet away from one of our compost bins! We wanted to work with an industry expert and have found Peter Moon to be really helpful and knowledgeable. The O2Compost system allows us to aggressively keep down and manage any smells so that we can be good neighbors. The designs are straightforward and it's ingenious how the Micro-Bin panels can be used in different configurations in our limited space. Totally worth it."


New Micro-Bin System

Elberson FB

Owner:  Kathleen E.
Location:  Sadler, TX