Organic Compost

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Compost produced by Almstead using
local, organic source materials

The science behind composting is both simple to follow and incredibly complex, with billions of microorganisms hard at work behind the scenes. The natural process of decomposition is as old as plants themselves, and it's practically unavoidable. Whether it's a forgotten item in the fridge or flowers past their prime, we've all witnessed the beginning stages of decomposition. The microorganisms responsible for breaking down organic materials into smaller and smaller particles are all around us. The act of composting is simply a streamlining of this process.

Hot Composting

There are a variety of composting methods, including vermicomposting (utilizing worms) and cold composting (an easy, relatively unmonitored process), but hot composting is probably the most popular. As they metabolize organic matter, microbes actually produce heat. A hot compost pile is thick enough to trap that heat in the center. The benefits of this are twofold. First, thermophiles (heat-loving microorganisms) become active as the pile heats up, and they are faster decomposers than those active at lower temperatures. The heat also cooks out harmful pathogens from the compost and prevents weed seeds from germinating.To do their job effectively, the microbes at work during hot composting also require air (which is introduced by occasionally turning the pile) and water.

Composting at Almstead Nursery and Mulch

At Almstead, we actually build our compost piles in long rows that are shallow enough to allow water to percolate through, but deep enough to create the necessary amount of heat for hot composting. What's more, each row of compost is contains a pipe system that moves air into the center of the piles, ensuring that we are producing well aerated, healthy compost that will get the best results for plants in the landscape. The feedstock for Almstead compost  is one hundred percent organic green and agricultural waste. Agricultural products used in our compost come from  local New York State certified organic farms.

Benefits of Composting

When compost is incorporated into the soil, microbes continue consuming tiny bits of organic matter and releasing nutrients that plants can use. Compost also contains humus, or very small particles of organic matter. These particles are an excellent addition to soils and are particularly effective in increasing water retention. This improvement to soil structure, in combination with increased beneficial soil biology activity, lead to more sustainable landscapes that require less fertilizer and less irrigation to maintain healthy and strong plants.

Almstead Nursery & Mulch is an affiliate company of Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Company - The Science of Preserving Nature Since 1964