Fork & Shovel

Compost Care

Live is fragile when you are a soil microbe.

Learn how to take care when handling them.

Taking Care of Fresh Compost

Our compost is alive.

It is filled with beneficial microorganisms and must be cared for if not used within 3 days of receiving your package or bulk delivery.

Moisture is important to micro-life.

Use a spray bottle or mist nozzle and chlorine/chloramine free water to keep this small amount of compost moist. Mist the top as necessary to keep the moisture at the right level.

The material should stick together in your hand, like chocolate cake would if smashed into a ball.

Extreme heat or cold can change the microbial environment.

Keep the compost out of direct sunlight, UV causes damage to micro-life. Store Indoors at ambient temperature.

Overwatering can lead to anaerobic conditions

If you ever feel you have gotten the material too wet, just spread it out a bit and make sure oxygen can get to all parts of the compost. If the material becomes completely dry remoisten slowly to avoid overwatering.

Taking Care of Compost Extract

Extracting microbes from compost.

Use a paint strainer bag or compost tea bag add two or three handfuls (2-3lbs) of compost inside the bag and then using a 5-gallon bucket as a vessel for water make the extract by moving the bag of compost around in the water.

Agitate the material without smashing or grinding the compost. You will see the water turn a dark chocolatey color as you extract.

Apply the extract evenly on the soil around the plants you are focused on.

Application rates can vary greatly depending on the goal. For a very strong extract you can use up to one pound per gallon.

For a very light inoculation as little a 20 pounds per acre can be used. Dilute as necessary for covering the space needed.

Taking Care of Compost Tea

Actively aerating the compost tea from a compost extract.

If you would like to make compost tea with this product it is best to extract the compost first and then aerate it properly for 12-24 hours.

It is important to use a microscope to monitor microbial growth with compost teas.

If too much food resource is added bacteria can multiply quickly, using up all the oxygen and creating an anaerobic environment. Taking a look with the microscope shows us which microbes are present.

If you do not have access to a microscope, use very little food, for example fish hydrolysate would be added at just a few drops for a five-gallon bucket or 10 mil for 20 gallons.

Inoculate Your Compost

Adding microbes to your compost

Compost starter can be mixed into your thermophilic, static or worm compost. Mix it throughout the pile as you build. Use 5-10lbs per one yard of organic material for best results. Sprinkle compost throughout your worm bin bedding material, worms are great microbe farmers.

Solid Amendment

Compost can be mixed throughout the growing medium up to 20% of the total volume of the soil and as low as a dusting before tilling the soil.

Sprinkle around the root zone of your new plantings and transplants.

Top dress around plants and scratch the compost in under the surface as much as possible, if necessary, cover with mulch to protect from sun.

Our store is ready to ship compost to you.Check it out now.