Composting is fundamental to sustainable farming and sustainable waste management. It is the natural process of bacteria, fungi, animals, and plants breaking down organic matter into the complex mixture known generally as dirt.
The human's main job in the process of composting (apart from what they contribute as "humanure") is organizing the conditions in which safe and effective composting can occur.
In most cases these conditions include:
- Balance of nitrogen and carbon: Kitchen compost typically need to be mixed 50/50 with a high carbon material such as straw or wood chips.
- Aeration: A non-anaerobic environment that allows internal air circulation and oxygenation is generally recommended.
- Moisture: Compost enhancing flora and fauna thrive in a moist but not waterlogged environment. This can necessitate protecting compost from rain or watering it dry weather.
- Temperature: Composting may happen between 1 and 99 degrees Celsius but compost thrives around 30 degrees.
- Inoculation: Composting can be optimized by introducing beneficial insects, bacteria, and fungi. These can often be transplanted from an existing composting project.