At Soil Not Dirt Farm, our main focus is creating a stable, balanced compost with high beneficial bacteria and fungal communities. The goal is to build BIODIVERSITY and a nutrient-dense product, which is important for most crops. Our compost goes through a 10-week aerobic process, breaking down the nutrients of each ingredient into a form plants can easily access. The different ingredients we use are chosen for a reason and a particular purpose in the composting process. They are sourced locally from farms, ranches and smaller homesteads.
Like baking a cake, if the right ingredients, quantity AND quality are used, the cake will be delicious! To grow a garden or landscape a home, a good recipe for your soil will more likely produce happy, resilient plants!
Our farm makes a point of sourcing non-GMO ingredients. Feedlot manure and bio-wastes are NOT part of our compost. Manure is a wonderful ingredient, as it contributes significantly to the biodiversity. However, we are aware of the potentially high salt content it may have. For this this reason, it’s kept at a minimal percentage. The finished compost is stable meaning it went through its full process, it will never be “hot,” and it will not burn plants.
Below is a list of the different parts of our compost. Ingredients may vary depending on what is locally available.
Alfalfa/grass hay- green manure
Oat/wheat/spelt straw- good carbon source
Deciduous wood chips – builds fungal communities
Fruit and vegetable by-products
Cow/horse(sawdust mix)/sheep manure- N-P-K, macro & micro nutrients
Clay – helps create humus compost
Our compost turner, which is powered by a tractor, helps homogenize everything. The turner also brings in oxygen and aerates the windrows. Oxygen is key to beneficial bacteria and humus compost. We turn up to 25-30 times in the process based on the temperatures and the CO2 levels. A water trailer is pulled behind the turner and injects water into the piles as they are turned to keep them at a 45-55% moisture level. After 4 weeks we use specialty compost covers that help protect the windrows from rain, drying out, and seeds that might blow in the wind.
The piles reach a temperature between 130-155 degrees Fahrenheit for the first three weeks, a much-needed step to kill potential seeds and pathogens.
The moral of our story: to grow nutritious plants, we must build nutritious soil! That is why we use bio-diverse, HIGH QUALITY ingredients in our compost. We pay particular attention to the timing, temperature, and purpose of each step in the process of building a balanced, stable compost!