Today, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful staff toured Full Circle Compost’s composting facility at Stewart Prison in Carson City. It was amazing to learn from Craig Witt, founder of Full Circle Compost, about the science of composting and his experiments and research in creating the highest quality product. We discussed how composting is still a new concept for many people, but how awesome it would be if every home in America had a vermicompost bin, which is a bin filled with worms who aggressively assist with the decomposition process.
If you ever have the opportunity to talk composting with Craig, I highly recommend it. He is a farmer, a graduate of UNR, and has heaps (pun intended) of knowledge on the topic of composting and organic gardening. He emphasized the importance of air, water and food being critical elements in the composting process, as well as learning as much as you can about the soil before amending it with compost. He highly recommends taking a soil sample to determine the health of the soil, as well as any deficiencies. For example, in Northern Nevada, the soil is extremely high in potassium. Craig has concocted a special garden boost compost mix, which will help to achieve balance in a potassium rich soil.
Full Circle Compost uses a method of composting called windrow composting, which involves long rows of screened and layered green and brown plant based materials. The windrows are turned by unique machinery designed just for this task (see photo) to bring oxygen to the pile. These piles generate heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (135 degrees F maintained for five days kills pathogens). Full Circle Composts maintains its windrow piles at 140 degrees F for five weeks with a CO2 level of less than 12%. The compost is ready in 10 – 12 weeks.
Full Circle Compost’s website is a wealth of knowledge. This article could get really long if I tried to cover everything there is to know about this subject. I have experienced first-hand the magic in Full Circle Compost’s final product. My community garden’s tomato plants were massive last summer, thanks to compost from Full Circle. I also started a home vermicompost bin, which you can purchase from Full Circle Compost.
Composting is easy, interesting and helps us to reconnect with one of the most basic earth processes. The end result involves less waste going to the landfill, less need for toxic chemicals and fertilizers, and a healthier food system.