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The Mini Farming Guide to Composting: Self-Sufficiency from Your Kitchen to Your Backyard

The Mini Farming Guide to Composting: Self-Sufficiency from Your Kitchen to Your Backyard

by Brett L. Markham


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Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, a farm, or the wilderness, it’s time for you to start composting. Let Brett Markham, the author of the bestselling book Mini Farming: Self Sufficiency on ¼ Acre (over 300,000 sold) show you the way.

Maximize your vegetable output! Increase your self-sufficiency! And be kind to the ecosystem!

Brett L Markham is here to help you get started in his new handbook that covers everything you need to know about composting. Whether it's your mini farm or flower garden that need nourishment, Markham explains how to compost just about anything you can grow - and reminds us that developing your own composting practices not only can be fun but also saves money and encourages self-sufficiency. His guide includes:
  • Soil Microbiology
  • The Nutrient Cycle
  • The Science of Compost
  • Sustainability and a Positive Bottom Line
  • Biochar
  • Indoor Composting
  • And more!

Learn to make a backyard compost structure with Brett's easy-to-follow directions and learn the science behind how your food scraps become food for plants. In the Mini Farming Guide to Composting you'll find easy instructions that make composting simple.

“Nearly all books that cover compost concentrate only on aerobic composting with a special emphasis on thermophilic composting. But this is not, in my opinion, enough to make someone self-sufficient. For example, maybe you have noticed that you need compost for soil blocks when you are starting your onion seedlings in January, but your outdoor compost pile is going to be frozen until April so it won’t do you any good. Or maybe you have a back or leg injury, and turning a two-ton thermophilic aerobic compost pile is simply not feasible. Because nature is on your side, there are a lot of different ways to create compost, and all that is really necessary is an underlying understanding of the nature of the processes at work and an eye toward safety to adapt numerous methods to your situation. I personally use many methods both indoors and outdoors, and this book will help you do the same.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616088583
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 03/06/2013
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Brett L. Markham is an engineer, third-generation farmer, and polymath. The author of the bestselling Mini Farming series, he runs a profitable, Certified Naturally Grown mini farm on less than half an acre. Brett works full time as an engineer for a broadband ISP and farms in his spare time. He lives in New Ipswich, New Hampshire.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Chapter 1 Introduction to Composting 1

Why Use Compost? 3

Why Make Your Own Compost? 7

Chapter 2 Starting with the Soil 13

Analyzing Your Soil's Water Characteristics 14

Analyzing Your Soil's Biological Activity 17

Analyzing Macro-nutrients and pH 23

Interpreting Soil Test Results 25

Compounding Your Own Fertilizer 26

Micro-nutrients 32

pH 39

Chapter 3 Biochar 47

Biochar Application Rate 49

How to Apply Biochar 50

Commercial Sources of Biochar 51

Making Your Own Biochar 52

Chapter 4 Compost Science and the Nutrient Cycle 57

Biology and Chemistry of Compost 64

Pathogen Destruction 69

Pathogens and Composted Manure 73

Prions 76

Moisture Content 76

Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio 79

Humic Substances 84

Chapter 5 Anaerobic Composting 89

Anaerobic Microbes 91

Overview of Anaerobic Techniques 93

Open Pile Anaerobic Composting 94

Anaerobic Container Composting 95

Buried Composting 96

Garbage Bag Composting 96

Septic Style Composting 97

Caution 100

Chapter 6 Aerobic Composting 103

Mesophilic Phase 106

Thermophilic Phase 107

Maturing and Curing Phase 107

Ingredients 108

Moisture 110

Aeration and Turning 111

The Process in a Nutshell 115

How to Check Compost Maturity 116

Where to Put Your Piles 117

Compost Bins, the Easy Way: With Chicken Wire 118

Additives 120

Chapter 7 Indoor Mesophilic Composting 123

Indoor Mesophilic Compost Ingredients 126

Carbon Sources 126

Making the Drums 128

Making the Rotation Cradle 130

Making the Bucket Screen 132

Chapter 8 Vermicomposting 135

The Mighty Earthworm 136

Your Worm Bin 139

Bedding 140

How Many Worms Do You Need? 142

What and How to Feed Your Worms 143

Unintended Critters 145

Dividing Your Worm Herd 148

Harvesting Your Vermicompost 149

Chapter 9 Composting Human Waste 153

Why Is Urine Yellow and Why Are Feces Brown? 154

Urine: What Is It? 156

Feces: What Are They? 158

Contextualizing the Hazards of Human Waste 159

Your Emergency Toilet 164

What to Add to Your Waste 165

Composting Human Waste Outside 167

What if You Can't Compost in an Emergency? 170

For More Information 172

Chapter 10 Sheet Composting/Lasagna Gardening 175

How It Works 176

Establishing the Bed 177

What to Put on the Bed 178

Planting 180

Maintenance 181

Chapter 11 Compost Tea 185

Some Science Regarding Compost Tea 186

What Kind of Compost Is Best for Tea? 189

How Long Should the Tea Be Aerated? 190

Additives for Compost Tea 191

Your Compost Tea Brewer 192

Smell It! 194

Chapter 12 Composting for All 197

Index 201

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