Composting is the aerobic, or oxygen-requiring, decomposition of organic materials by microorganisms under controlled conditions. During composting, the microorganisms consume oxygen while feeding on organic matter. Composting is most rapid when conditions that encourage the growth of the microorganisms are established and maintained. The most important conditions include:
- Organic materials appropriately mixed to provide nutrients needed for microbial activity and growth, including a balanced supply of carbon and nitrogen.
- Oxygen at levels that support aerobic organisms.
- Enough moisture to permit biological activity without hindering aeration.
- Temperatures that encourage vigorous microbial activity from thermophilic microorganisms.
Many aspects of composting are inexact. The process occurs over a wide range of conditions and with many materials. The speed of composting and the qualities of the finished compost are largely determined by selection and mixing of raw materials.
Arborganic Acres has refined its process to insure that the proper blend of raw materials, under closely monitored and controlled conditions, produce end products (compost, mulches, enhanced soils, etc.) that are biologically beneficial to the environment in addition to being economically beneficial to consumers using the products.
Temperatures are monitored and maintained at 132 degrees for a minimum of 72 hours to insure “proof of kill” (e.g., pathogens and weed seeds). Mixtures remain on aerated piles for 3 - 4 weeks to complete the initial microbial activity. Afterwards, the mixture is moved to a curing pile for approximately 30 days for completion of the process before it is ready for sale.
At the end of the curing period, the material is screened to separate the pure compost from the mulch. Even after screening, all of Arborganic Acres’ mulches still retain a sufficient amount of compost to provide an additional source of nutrients in addition to all of the other benefits of mulch as opposed to plain, ground hardwood only.