Saint Louis Composting Visit

saint-louis-composting-01

I visited Saint Louis Composting with my Meramec Grounds Management Class.  Roy was our leader. Roy Gross at rgross@stlcompost.com or 314-581-6372

Here are my notes

Composting is done mainly in Belleville’s unit.

Takes 180 days to make mulch from bags to finished product.

Black Gold is all compost – includes food products. I could use this for mulch.

From bags to compost, it loses  2/3 of it’s volume.

They turn it every ten days

Leaf mulch are just chopped up leaves – use for perennials – not composted.

Black Forest – mulch and compost – what I like for a mulch.

Colorized mulch is their biggest seller for commercial sites

Forest fines – double ground mulch with compost added.

Mo Bot Garden Compost is Black Gold compost – note the bagged product is much more expensive than the bulk.

Soil dome – dry soil plus Black Gold- 6% compost

Compost can combust.

They get material from all over STL. 5 areas
Belleville is 5 times larger 110 acres

Dyed mulch …..
Mulch is made of ground up logs
Dye is the same toxicity as table sugar and is environmentally safe
The advantage is that the color lasts for a longer time
Color is safe.
It’s probably the biggest volume of material they make
Don’t spread 48 hours before a rain or it may bleed,

Compost weighs 1150 pounds per square yard
Dye they use is Colorbiotics.

Rain Garden mix – Very sandy..60% or greater sand – Less than 10% clay

Green rooftop mix…
Has hatite (not sure on spelling) light weigh aggregate + sand + compost
Hatite is a rock which is heated and expanded and has a lot of micro pore space.

IDEA …..could I use hatite instead of charcoal?

There is no soil in this product
Has high porosity
Mercy hospital has a huge courtyard in between the buildings which has this material. They may call it their healing or meditation garden.

They do a lot of growing mixes.

They make the mix for Missouri Wildflowers
Compost

They also take in food waste from grocery stores restaurants and produce row
Get 550 tons per week that they add to the compost.
Started 4 years ago.
Brought up to 155-160 degrees
He says this is just a small amount of what is generated. He estimates this is less than 1% of the actual waste.
USDA says we waste 30-40% of the food produced.
They don’t take meat – only vegetables and a little dairy plus bread products

Problem with dog waste in plastic bags that people put in yard waste. Plastic doesn’t decompose!

They water their compost to help the process.
Turn the rows every ten days

Top dressing a lawn
Core aerate seed etc. Then spread compost over the top.
http://stlcompost.com/get-the-key-to-a-beautiful-lawn/

In St. Louis, these companies do this.

Shady Creek Nursery – Fred Stumpf

West County Gardens – Midland and Lindbergh

You can use Black Gold – It’s a little larger in size.
Let it set for a week and then use a mulching mower to go over it.

They have a machine to do this for large lawns

They make a finer compost than the black gold.
It’s the same only smaller size particles.
It’s called Field and Turf Enhancer.
Roy has a guy who applies this …maybe I can get his name
Try this next year.
Synthetic Fertilizer are basically salts and if you keep adding salts to the soil,you’re beginning to kill off the microbial action.

Study at Harvard – added compost to lawn?
When you get the organic matter in the 5-10% range,then the microbes will take nitrogen out of the air and fix it into the soil. This is the same as adding 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre.

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