Compost Use Demonstration
The objective of the Compost Use Demonstration was to demonstrate the practical application of compost in landscaping, erosion control and agriculture.
The compost product used was produced by Vision Recycling in cooperation with the County of Santa Cruz. Feedstocks included food scraps, food-soiled paper, yard trimmings and horse manure. The compost was processed aerobically in an enclosed system for three months, then cured to achieve a mature and stable product. The product was tested in accordance with the U.S. Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance.
Project participants were provided with compost at no cost, but hauling and application was the responsibility of the user. Participants were responsible for any associated soil analyses or application recommendations related to their use of the product.
Outreach component included collection of information on the compost application and performance via interview, photos and video footage with a goal of sharing information on compost use with landscape, horticulture and agriculture professionals as well as residents of Santa Cruz County.
Agricultural Use of Compost
Compost is typically incorporated prior to planting row crops, orchards or vineyards to improve soil physical properties and fertility. Compost can also be used to topdress existing orchards and vineyards.
Landscaping with Compost
Before planting lawn seed or laying sod, compost can be used to improve soil texture, moisture-holding ability and fertility. Compost is also used to amend soil before planting ornamentals. Compost is especially important for improving sandy soils and clay soils.
Compost Use for Erosion Control
Compost is used as a topdressing to reduce run off and soil sedimentation, and is mixed with soil to improve water holding ability and resistance to compaction. The micro-organisms in compost aid in the formation of soil aggregates, the building blocks of good soil structure and tilth. Bacteria and fungi attach themselves to soil particles and bind them together, forming aggregate crumbs. When soil particles are aggregated together, they are less likely to erode during rainstorms.
Compost Use for Home Gardens
Compost can be incorporated into the garden during soil preparation in the spring. Typically, a 2-3 inch layer of compost is used and it is tilled into the top six inches of soil. Compost can be used in vegetable gardens, annual flower beds, and around new perennials as they are planted. Compost is a good surface mulch for flower beds, vegetable gardens, or around trees and shrubs in landscape beds.
Agricultural - Compost spreader at Live Earth Farm.
Landscaping - The sandy soil at Scott Park was amended with compost prior to planting grass seed.
Erosion Control - A blower truck was used to apply two-inches of compost to a slope at the Buena Vista Landfill.
Home Gardens - Master Gardener Brenda Wood mixes compost with her sandy soil before planting roses.