Composting Stages* Mesophilic Stage - Temperatures below 113 degrees F, Microorganism multiplying and breaking down easily available carbohydrates begin to heat up pile and pH begins to drop as acids are produced. * Thermophilic Stage - Usually 130 - 150 degrees F and Heat should be controlled.* Curing Stage - Growth of actinomycetes and fungi which digest hemicelluloses and appears to be critical for development disease - suprressiveness of composts. Taken from the UF/IFAS Compost and Citrus Workshop Nutrients from Natural and Organic FertilizersVegetables need a number of nutrients. A primary nutrient refers to Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), which are used in considerable quanties by crops. Secondary nutrients refer to Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur (S), which are used in moderate quantities by crops and influence soil pH. Sometimes, primary and secondary nutrients are grouped together and called macronutrients. Micronutrients, tracor, or minor elements refer to the essential plant nutrients used in relatively small quantities. These micronutrients include boron (B), Cu, iron (Fe), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and Zn. Taken from the UF/IFAS Organic Gardening in Florida
As more and more compost is produced and utilitzed as the body of end-use related research grows, the benefits of using compost have become more evident and measurable. Because of its many atributes, compost is extremely versatile and beneficial in many applications. Compost has the unique ability to improe the properties of soils and growing media physically (structurally), chemically (nutritionally), and bilogically. Although many equate the benefit of compost to lush green growth, caused by plant-available nitrogen the real benefits of using compost are long-term and related to its content of living -ogranic matter.
Physical Benefits - Improved Structure - Compost can greatly enhance the physical structure of soil. Moisture Management - The addition of comost may provide greater drought resistance and more efficient water utilization. Therfore, the frequency and intensity of irrigation may be reduced. Recent research aslo suggest that the adition of compost in sandy soils can facilitate moisture dispersion by allowing water to more readily move laterally from it's point of application. Chemical Benefits - Modifies and Stabilizes Ph; Increases Cation Exchange Capacity and Provides Nutrients Biological Benefits - Provides Soil Biota and Suppresses Plant Diseases. Additional Benefits - Binds Contaminants, Degrades Compounds, Weland Restortion, Erosion Control and Weed Control