compost questions

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by t608, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Posts: 91

    Last year I had a good pile of compost I made from fall clean ups and such. I turned the pile over once week with my kbota and watch the steam come off the pile. Everything broke down fine but I'm not happy with the color. I was expecting to see a rich black, it was more of a brown in coloring.

    I will be doing more composting again this fall. What do I need to do to get this rich black. Would adding ringer plus compost activator help or is that just to speed the process up? Here is a photo of the pile. http://sdrv.ms/16wejAN
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Looks like you got good results,,, and you're right about the color being different than normal... experiment and see, becuz I don't know what would make the change...
    Good job though... :)
     
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Be less concerned with color and more concerned on whether it has been properly finished.
     
  4. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Posts: 91

    What do you mean, it doesn't look like its been properly finished?
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I mean, not all finished compost will be black. Stuff I have used over the years has ranged from black to various shades of brown. Generally speaking, the color will be dark, but not necessarily black. In fact, I have seen some black compost that was not properly finished. Color, while it can give you some indication that a compost is reaching maturity, it is not the sole determining factor of a finished mature compost.

    Screen your pile and if you can still identify your starting materials in the compost or if it is still hot and/or stinks then it is not finished.
     
  6. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,576

    Kiril is correct, color is not an indicator of finished compost. In fact I've been told by one expert that black indicates the compost is not finished.

    One way to test if it's finished is to put a handful of compost into a zip-lock bag and leave it sealed for a week or so. Then open the bag and smell it. If you detect an ammonia or sour odor, the microorganisms are still at work and you need to let your compost finish curing. Test it again in a week.
     
  7. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Posts: 91

    I assumed it needed to be black because you hear everyone call it black gold and there is a mulch place that sells compost and it is dark black.
     
  8. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,576

    It's a common myth.
     

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