The Basic Commercial Composting Process

Making Windrow Compost

You may have wondered How is compost made? Why should I use compost? Is compost good for the environment? We've the answers to all these questions here - and if you want to find out more please feel free to contact us and you can buy organic compost online.

Open windrow composting

Windrow composting is used for processing garden waste, such as grass cuttings, tree timber, pruning and leaves in an open air environment where the material can break down in the presence of oxygen.

Windrow composting cannot be used to process organic materials which include catering and animal wastes as these have to be processed via in-vessel composting (IVC) or anaerobic digestion (AD) due to their Animal By-Products Regulations (ABPR) categorization. There is no food waste in Olus compost and is made with just Organic garden waste, oxygen, water and hard work.

  • All garden and green arising’s are deposited in the shredding yard where they are sorted to remove any contamination which is not suitable for the composting process.
  • The remaining materials is then put through a large industrial shredder which reduces the size of the material, increases the surface whilst homogenising the constituents.
  • Depending on the moisture of the material, water is added at this stage to maintain 60% moisture content.
  • Once the material has been shredded, the material is placed into a large prism shaped piles known as windrows this is when the composting process really begins.

There are three main phases of composting:

  1. The Sanitisation Phase (Weeks 1 &2)
  2. The Stabilisation Phase (weeks 3 to 10)
  3. The Maturation Phase (weeks 11 to 12)

Sanitisation Phase:

High temperature between 65 - 80ºC must be maintained to kill off weed seed and pathogens.The material now begins to heat up naturally as it begins to compost. At this stage, monitoring of both temperature and moisture content commences on a daily basis. During this phase the temperature of the compost must be kept over 65 degrees Centigrade for a minimum of 7 consecutive days. The heat is generated by the microbes and Bactria that break the garden waste down. During this 2 week sanitisation phase, the compost is turned a minimum of two times to maintain aerobic decomposition throughout the windrow.

Stabilisation Phase:

a further 7 weeks of actively managed composting, where temperatures are maintained at >55 degrees C. Temperature and moisture levels of the compost are continuously monitored once a week during this phase. The compost is also turned at least 6 more times. After a minimum period of 12 weeks of composting, turning and monitoring, the compost is ready for screening to remove the entire un-composted oversize fraction.The compost is screened into 3 grades: 10mm 20mm and oversized.

Maturation Phase:

After screening, the compost is stored in stock piles where it matures for a minimum of two weeks before it can be used to fertilise gardens and farmer’s fields across the country.

JCB at Screener Clamps

Uses for Compost

Compost can be applied in a range of end uses, within gardens, on Brownfield sites, landscaping and full scale agriculture.

The screening grades the products to between 0mm and 30mm particles which, dependent on grade, can then be used as soil improver, mulch, topsoil constituent, turf dressing, and growing medium.

Heritage Products the products side of Olus bag their own compost and supply local retail outlets, this is marketed as Easi- Grow, Heritage Products can also deliver in bulk bags or in bulk quantities anywhere in the UK, you can order one cubic meter or one thousand cubic meters at a time, Heritage products pride themselves that no job or customer is too small or too big. We have supplied major developments with several thousand meters of quality compost or just a 40 litre bag for someone’s back garden or allotment.

Benefits of using compost for turf care and landscaping needs

There are many benefits associated with using compost:

  • Reduced need for inorganic fertilizers - compost contains slow release nitrogen and many other key nutrients, including potassium and phosphorous.
  • Faster plant development - without leading to excessive growth.
  • A full analysis of the compost can be provided.
  • Improved plant colour and growth encouraged by slow release nitrogen, iron and magnesium
  • Improved soil drainage
  • Increased water holding capacity - leading to cost and labour savings related to irrigation
  • Reduced nutrient leaching - Compost can retain nutrients and make them available to the plant for a longer period. Grass, therefore, remains green without excessive growth, or increased mowing frequency.
  • Reduced soil compaction - compost helps to improve the structure of soil.
  • Increased Plant disease suppression compost contains beneficial micro-organisms which can suppress many plant and turf diseases.

Compost being added to soil

Sports turf applications for compost 

Grounds Managers, Groundsmen and Greenkeepers across the UK are increasingly turning to compost as a practical, sustainable and cost-effective solution for all kinds of turf care and landscaping needs. Heritage Products do a range of mixed Rootzone and Top dressings to suit all kinds of applications and requirements. Compost can be used in a variety of situations including sports grounds, athletics fields and golf courses for a number of ground care applications including turf establishment, topdressing and divot repair. Compost contains beneficial micro-organisms which can suppress many plant and turf diseases including Fusarium patch (Microdochium nivale), red thread (Laetisaria fuciformis), and brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani), particularly when applied as a top dressing or a root zone amendment

Environmental benefits of compost

As well as providing many direct benefits to the soil and turf to which it is applied, compost produced from recycled garden waste also makes financial and environmental sense. Disease suppressive effects also allow for the reduced use of herbicides, and improved soil structure accounts for less erosion.

Echinacea with Butterfly

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