We love composting at Pott Farms. It is fun to watch a mix of recognizable source material (our basic recipe includes wood chips, garden cuttings, and sheep manure) transform into dark brown rich compost. It is even more satisfying to watch our healthy, resilient, and productive hemp plants growing in it.
Using compost and compost extracts on our fields is one of the ways that we cultivate living soil. Living soil means that is it full of beneficial microbial life that make up a complete soil food web. There are so many benefits to growing this way including:
- Improved water retention - The microbial life in the soil build structures (i.e. aggregates) which create spaces for water to be absorbed and held in place for longer.
- Nutrient retention - When water is absorbed and held instead of running off the land, the nutrients stay in place.
- Nutrient cycling - Living soil optimizes the cycling of all of the nutrients that healthy plants require.
- Protection from disease and pests - Healthy plants can take care of themselves. Disease and pests only attack weaken plants.
- Weed suppression - Weeds grow in poor soil. Improving soil health will discourage and eventually eliminate weeds.
- Carbon capture and storage - Fungi, one of the key microbes in soil, are expert at storing the carbon that the plant photosynthesizes out of the air.
- Habitat for biodiversity - The food web continues up the chain attracting predatory insects, spiders, small rodents, snakes, and birds making for an exciting life on the farm.
We use the thermophilic method of composting, and tie together heat-treated pallets to create separate bins for turning. We source most of our materials from our farm, and find high-nitrogen inputs (e.g. manure) from local farms with livestock.