January 18, 2010

Compost Lackey by Day . . .

Floral Designer by . . . Other Days.

As you can see (above), my day job at Intervale Compost Products is pretty hot and steamy. Even in the dead of winter, the thousands of bacteria that turn carefully blended foodscraps,  yardwaste, and manures into rich, black soil are cranking out enough heat to bring these piles' internal temperature up as high as 170F (below left). To replenish the bacteria's oxygen supply, a very talented  and knowledgeable gentleman turns the piles regularly (below right). This also cools things off a bit, thereby keeping average temperatures at more bacteria-friendly levels.


After about two weeks of cooking and turning, the compost is removed to a larger pile to cure for many months (below). Then it is screened and sent off to enrich the lawns, potted plants, and gardens of Chittenden County and beyond.



Composting is a great way to keep valuable organic materials out of landfills, where anaerobic decay releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. If you are unable to compost at home, contact your municipality to find out if a composting facility exists in your area.

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