Compost is made by a biological process in the same way that wine and bread are made and needs similar care and control to produce quality compost in a short time.
Compost is the result of the biological action of micro-organisms on organic materials i.e. anything that was once alive, including plants, wood, insects and animals. Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants. Mature compost is a stable material with a content called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell.
It is created by: combining organic wastes (e.g., yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into piles, rows, or vessels; adding bulking agents (e.g., wood chips) as necessary to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials; and allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process.
There is a historic reluctance to include meat and fish into the process, because they can attract flies, rodents, and may contain pathogens like Ecoli 157 or Salmonella. Since the Rocket® composter is a totally enclosed system access to pests is denied and pathogens are destroyed.
When operated properly, it reaches and maintains temperatures of >140°F for more than two days thus destroying pathogens, weed seeds, slug eggs etc. All Rocket® composter models are suitable for producing compost from food waste as they reach temperatures in excess of 140°F for more than 2 days.
The Rocket® composter end product is compost, and when properly made, it is a brown, crumbly, soil like substance which contains all the elements and trace elements necessary for plant growth. Its structure is ideal for plant root generation and it has excellent moisture and oxygen retaining properties. Compost contains many beneficial micro-organisms that actively support plant health, minimizing the need for insecticides and fungicides.
(Mesophilic stage) At the beginning bugs living at ambient temperatures are required and these include Fungi, Bacteria and Actinomycetes. At the same time Acarines, Millipedes and Isopods will ingest the organic wastes. The soft tissue of the decaying plants supports growth of Nematodes and Enchytraieds. These consumers then attract and become food for the next level of consumers – Collembolans eat fungi, Ptiliids feed on fungal spores, Nematodes ingest Bacteria and Protozoa and Rotifers feed on Bacteria.
(Thermophilic stage) The energy liberated during this conversion causes a rise in temperature to between 113°F and 194°F and at this higher temperature a specialized flora of Bacteria, Fungi and Actinomycetes take over. It is then that organic degradation is rapid and pathogens, fly larvae and weed seeds are destroyed.
(Cooling stage) As the Thermophilic activity declines and temperatures fall to 86°F – 104°F another series of organisms capable of growth at ambient temperature enter the scene.
(Maturation stage) Finally they are substituted by a fourth series of organisms to enable the Nitrifying process to begin: Ammonia – Nitrites - Nitrates, the latter being essential for plant growth.