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Compost

Compost is decomposed organic matter, managed to:

  • grow beneficial microbes
  • concentrate nutrients
  • build humus

The benefits of compost as a soil amendment include:

  • improved soil structure
  • increased water holding capacity
  • improved soil aeration
  • slow-release fertility
  • stimulation of plant growth.

Compost can be made in open windrows or enclosed bins; both approaches can be found on the Cannon Hort Plots.

Composting, and field applications of compost, are regular parts of the fertility program on the Cannon Hort Plots. Both are commonly covered during beginning farmer and resilient farmer trainings.

Related Publications and Videos

Cattle Dentition Video

This is a video of David Sparks, D.V.M., from the 2011 Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock conference, explaning how to determine a cow’s age by looking at her teeth.

Compost & Soil Humus Resource List

Extensive bibliography, step-by-step outline, and list of common materials giving carbon:nitrogen ratio for each.

Compost Presentation Notes

This handout includes a table of different compost feedstocks and their approximate carbon-to-nitrogen ratios.

Electric Fencing Closeup: how to attach an insulator

In this short video, learn how to attach an insulator to an electric fence.

Electric Fencing Closeup: how to tie a flexible end loop

In this short video, Ralph Harris of NRCS Arkansas demonstrates tying your electric fence to end poles, using a knot that allows maximum flexibility.

Electric Fencing with Ralph Harris, part 1

NRCS electric fencing expert Ralph Harris leads a hands-on workshop at the Wilson Indian Community Center in Wilson, Oklahoma in June 2011. Part one of three.

Electric Fencing with Ralph Harris, part 2

NRCS electric fencing expert Ralph Harris leads a hands-on workshop at the Wilson Indian Community Center in Wilson, Oklahoma in June 2011. Part two of three.

Electric Fencing with Ralph Harris, part 3

NRCS electric fencing expert Ralph Harris leads a hands-on workshop at the Wilson Indian Community Center in Wilson, Oklahoma in June 2011. Part three of three.

Electric Fencing: How to Splice Wires Together

Ralph Harris of Arkansas NRCS demonstrates how to splice two electric fence wires together with a knot that is smooth and conducts electricity well at a workshop sponsored by the Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association in Wilson, Oklahoma, in June 2011.

Hot Composting with the Berkeley Method

This intern report describes the results of a summer project that attempted to make finished compost in 14 days using the Berkeley method.

How to Make Compost, with Luke Freeman

Learn how to make compost with Luke Freeman at the Kerr Center.

How to Take a Soil Sample to Yield an Accurate Soil Test

Tools, tips and techniques for taking a soil sample that will result in an accurate soil test. Presented by Kerr Center Horticulture Manager George Kuepper. Testing your soil is essential for getting the best results…

On-Farm Composting and Vermicomposting

This presentation discusses the composting options for fertility in market farming/gardening.

On-Farm Mortality Composting of Livestock Carcasses

This is OCES Fact Sheet BAE-1749.  It has been used as a handout at several Kerr Center livestock workshops.    

Organic Soil-building

"Start with the soil." "Feed the soil, not the crop." "Weed the soil, not the crop." These are common catchphrases in organic agriculture - here are the dirt-under-the-nails details on how the Cannon Horticulture Program...

Tire Tanks: Installation

In this video, Kerr Center Livestock Program Assistant Daryl Davis demonstrates how to plumb an old tire converted for use as a watering tank.

Tire Tanks: Preparation

In this video, Kerr Center Livestock Program Assistant Daryl Davis demonstrates how to prepare a used tire for conversion to a watering tank for cattle.

Using a Bed Shaper

Horticulture Program Assistant Bill Edgar demonstrates using a bed shaper to form raised beds for planting.

Vermicomposting at Kerr Center I

Composting with earthworms– the basics. Consultant Luke Freeman explains how vermicomposting works and details of the Kerr Center project. The center’s Canon Organic Horticulture Project uses vermicompost in its soil building program. Also featuring Kerr Center intern Jon Pollnow.

Vermicomposting II- Bins & Management

Discussion of vermicompost bins: commercial black plastic, cinderblock sides and straw/hay bale sides. Pros and cons of each, Kerr Center experience, and discussion of how to manage the worms.

Worming the Way to a Greener Future: Vermicomposting for Municipal Organic Waste Disposal

This paper, by a former Kerr Center intern, explores the pros and cons of large-scale vermicomposting.

Vermicomposting at Kerr Center I

Composting with earthworms– the basics. Consultant Luke Freeman explains how vermicomposting works and details of the Kerr Center project. The center’s Canon Organic Horticulture Project uses vermicompost in its soil building program. Also featuring Kerr Center intern Jon Pollnow.

How to Make Compost, with Luke Freeman

Learn how to make compost with Luke Freeman at the Kerr Center.

Vermicomposting II- Bins & Management

Discussion of vermicompost bins: commercial black plastic, cinderblock sides and straw/hay bale sides. Pros and cons of each, Kerr Center experience, and discussion of how to manage the worms.

On-Farm Composting and Vermicomposting

This presentation discusses the composting options for fertility in market farming/gardening.

Compost Presentation Notes

This handout includes a table of different compost feedstocks and their approximate carbon-to-nitrogen ratios.

Compost & Soil Humus Resource List

Extensive bibliography, step-by-step outline, and list of common materials giving carbon:nitrogen ratio for each.

Hot Composting with the Berkeley Method

This intern report describes the results of a summer project that attempted to make finished compost in 14 days using the Berkeley method.

Worming the Way to a Greener Future: Vermicomposting for Municipal Organic Waste Disposal

This paper, by a former Kerr Center intern, explores the pros and cons of large-scale vermicomposting.

On-Farm Mortality Composting of Livestock Carcasses

This is OCES Fact Sheet BAE-1749.  It has been used as a handout at several Kerr Center livestock workshops.    

Organic Soil-building

"Start with the soil." "Feed the soil, not the crop." "Weed the soil, not the crop." These are common catchphrases in organic agriculture - here are the dirt-under-the-nails details on how the Cannon Horticulture Program...

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