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Snapper12
06-26-2011, 08:59 PM
What are the effects of using anaerobic compost on turf and beds?

Is there any information regarding health issues in humans using Anaerobic Compost.

Can compost that has become anaerobic still be usable?

Thank you!!

Smallaxe
06-27-2011, 12:43 PM
I pulled some anaerobic compost out of a pond and put it in a large pot and planted a bunch of carrots in it the first year and a broccoli in it the second year, w/out ever using any kind of fertilizer just to see what it would do...

Unless yoour anaerobic compost come from a sewer, I wouldn't worry about it too much... composted leaves and twigs don't become monsters just because they breakdown in the water... :)

JDUtah
06-27-2011, 02:30 PM
anaerobic compost is used allllll the time as fertilizer for crops. Don't let the aact hype about oxygen fool you. It is simply broken down by different organisms.

ICT Bill
06-27-2011, 11:27 PM
anaerobic compost is used allllll the time as fertilizer for crops. Don't let the aact hype about oxygen fool you. It is simply broken down by different organisms.

actually anaerobic compost (the same with putrefied material) has very little nutrient value, it is basically fluff it has been all used up and mostly gassed off.

whether it has bad guys in it depends on the parent material and the environment it was in

Just because people use it in ag doesn't mean it is a good choice or that they are doing themselves any favors, just making more work for themselves in my opinion

a good finished compost should not have recognizable parent material in it and have an earthy smell, if it smells like ammonia or rotten eggs leave it, it should not be warm or hot either. finished compost is cool and earthy smelling

Smallaxe
06-28-2011, 10:39 AM
Our discussion abut 'Black Gold' a few years ago brought up the same issues. Once the black gold was out of the water and decomp continued or changed gears, whatever the stuff was 'earthy' smelling and like I stated, was fertile enough to grow 2 crops w/out extra fert...

So whatever explanations there are, they must meet with reality... and remember, compost isn't very good fertilizer as far as NPK are concerned, but it is very valuable in soil fertility... :)

JDUtah
06-28-2011, 12:06 PM
actually anaerobic compost (the same with putrefied material) has very little nutrient value, it is basically fluff it has been all used up and mostly gassed off.

What exactly has been 'gassed off'? What nutrient values specifically are lower than aerobic compost? Please expand as I surely do not believe this claim.

Snapper12
06-28-2011, 10:36 PM
ICT Bill, what is warm or hot compost? What temp are you talking about.

ICT Bill
06-28-2011, 11:37 PM
What exactly has been 'gassed off'? What nutrient values specifically are lower than aerobic compost? Please expand as I surely do not believe this claim.

JD give me a break, you and I both know the answer

do you want me to site 50 different peer reviewed paper? probably not

if you do not believe it then take 2 plants and put one in a pot with anaerobic and another with aerobic, send us the photos
keep one aerobic and the other anaerobic

Smallaxe
06-29-2011, 08:55 AM
How do you keep soil/compost anaerobic, as you try to grow a plant in it?

N can be volitized or gassed off, but wouldn't minerals that are part of the original plant material still be in the compost whether aerobic or anaeroobic?

JDUtah
06-29-2011, 12:38 PM
Yes Smallaxe, the gas losses besides carbon dioxide and methane (which have little to do with soil plant nutrition) include hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. No other nutrients are lost through gassing (leaching is another story, but that holds true for both types of compost).

However, if using a pile with proper proportion of feedstock (C to N ratio) you don't have to worry about gassing off to much regardless if it is aerobic or anaerobic. And even if you do get the losses, they are relatively minimal.

No other nutrients are lost! The claim that "[anaerobic compost] is basically fluff it has been all used up and mostly gassed off" is exaggerated. Only two plant nutrients are potentially lost as gas and this loss is minimal.

Besides, you aren't applying compost for it's nutrient value anyway! You are applying it for its "fluffy", "nutrient sticky", and relatively stable organic compounds.

Now, growing a plant in media that is anaerobic is a completely different story. Don't confuse the guy by combining the two issues please (anaerobic digestion in compost, and anaerobic soil conditions). If you are going to apply anaerobic compost it is best to let it dry then turn it. This will allow the phytotoxic gasses to escape. Once incorporated into your soil you do not really need to worry about it returning to anaerobic conditions.

So again... YES use that compost! Just air it out before you do and you will be fine!

JDUtah
06-29-2011, 12:56 PM
ICT Bill, what is warm or hot compost? What temp are you talking about.

warm or hot compost refers to the concentration of mineral nutrients. it doesn't directly refer to how warm your compost is. particularly N. if the compost is not mature enough the soluble nutrients are too concentrated and you can burn your plants like you can by applying to much chemical fertilizer.

Smallaxe
06-30-2011, 09:34 AM
Yes Smallaxe, the gas losses besides carbon dioxide and methane (which have little to do with soil plant nutrition) include hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. No other nutrients are lost through gassing (leaching is another story, but that holds true for both types of compost).

However, if using a pile with proper proportion of feedstock (C to N ratio) you don't have to worry about gassing off to much regardless if it is aerobic or anaerobic. And even if you do get the losses, they are relatively minimal.

No other nutrients are lost! The claim that "[anaerobic compost] is basically fluff it has been all used up and mostly gassed off" is exaggerated. Only two plant nutrients are potentially lost as gas and this loss is minimal.

Besides, you aren't applying compost for it's nutrient value anyway! You are applying it for its "fluffy", "nutrient sticky", and relatively stable organic compounds.

Now, growing a plant in media that is anaerobic is a completely different story. Don't confuse the guy by combining the two issues please (anaerobic digestion in compost, and anaerobic soil conditions). If you are going to apply anaerobic compost it is best to let it dry then turn it. This will allow the phytotoxic gasses to escape. Once incorporated into your soil you do not really need to worry about it returning to anaerobic conditions.

So again... YES use that compost! Just air it out before you do and you will be fine!

So the idea that generations of twigs and leaves that fall into a wetland and turn to unrecognizeable black material and even becomes a rootzone for aquatic/swamp plants, would be different than twigs and leaves turned into unrecognizeable black material above the water is really nothing of great significance?

Another interestting source of non-human developed compost is the bottom of a forestted valley that has the accumulation of generations of twigs and leaves...

Do we think that the compost we make out of the same materials in a few weeks, is somehow of higher quality than what was formed naturally on the forest floor?

JDUtah
06-30-2011, 09:21 PM
So the idea that generations of twigs and leaves that fall into a wetland and turn to unrecognizeable black material and even becomes a rootzone for aquatic/swamp plants, would be different than twigs and leaves turned into unrecognizeable black material above the water is really nothing of great significance?

Another interestting source of non-human developed compost is the bottom of a forestted valley that has the accumulation of generations of twigs and leaves...

Do we think that the compost we make out of the same materials in a few weeks, is somehow of higher quality than what was formed naturally on the forest floor?

Of course they are different, especially in the different ecosystems. However, as something to add to your soil you can use both for similar reasons. My point is simply that the OP CAN and SHOULD use his compost even if it hit a stage of anaerobic decomposition (as most piles do at some point)

Smallaxe
07-02-2011, 09:40 AM
Of course they are different, especially in the different ecosystems. ...

What would be different?
Let's stick with the common twigs and leaves in any given area.

Smallaxe
07-03-2011, 05:46 AM
OK... all bs aside... and the semantics that go with it...

What does twigs and leaves turn into, when they are decomposed into their constituent elements... If there was Fe, Ca, Zn in their bodies when they died, do those elements 'disappear' under anaerobic conditions?

I'm not sure what is complicating the discussion, but calling it EM or Compost, one could just call it decomp.

Different microbes do things a bit differently, but don't they all come up with the same result?

Dchall_San_Antonio
07-04-2011, 01:51 AM
Snapper12 asked, "ICT Bill, what is warm or hot compost? What temp are you talking about. "

When organic materials decompose, heat is generated. Under the proper conditions, compost will heat to 120, 150 and even 170 degrees F. One San Antonio compost professional has even cooked a turkey in his compost. As the decomposition proceeds past the heated state, it cools off. Hot, or even warm compost should not be used as it can heat plant tissues and kill them. Finished compost is distinguished by having cooled off to room temperature. If it is moist it should feel cool. If it is dry, it should feel the same temp as the surrounding air. If it is warm, don't use it until it cools off.

Anaerobically processed sewage waste is used all the time in agriculture; however, I suspect the OP is not talking about that material. If your personal compost pile becomes anaerobic, then just fluffing it up will restore the air to the pile and it will quickly become aerobic again. If there is a hurry to use it while it is still in the anaerobic state, I would resist simply to allow it to get some air.

Anaerobic compost will likely be offgassing nitrogen (ammonia smell) and carbon (methane smell). In the first case you have wasted valuable protein, amino acids, and ultimately the nitrogen value from those materials. In the second you have wasted carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are organic matter. They are food for bacteria and critical to the life of a pile and soil. Dry leaves and finished compost have the amazing ability to absorb the gasses and hold them for proper compost and decomposition. If you have a pile that has gone anaerobic, the fix is to fluff the pile and cover it with several inches of dry leaves or finished compost from another part of the pile.

Tim Wilson
07-04-2011, 03:19 PM
Thank you David for the straight story.

JDUtah
07-06-2011, 02:30 AM
Please explain how Methane (CH4) somehow releases more carbon than Carbon Dioxide (CO2)?... as it seems this is what is believed.

Btw, most the smell of anaerobic decomposition isn't from the methane, but rather the Sulfur being released (which isn't lost carbon)