How to Make High Quality Compost from Plants for Your Organic Garden

All right. This is John Kohler with
Today we have another exciting episode for you once again. I’m traveling and I’m here
checking out another cool place and I’m currently here in Houston, Texas. and where I’m at in
Houston is actually the Fifth Ward, and for those guys who don’t live in Houston the Fifth
Ward is maybe not the most upper class neighborhoods, a lower class neighborhood when that maybe
has gotten forgotten about. I mean I was just walking down the street there and there’s
piles of trash kind of sitting in the road. Anyways some people might consider this place
trash, from today but I consider it gold. and where I’m at today is actually Farm Dirt
Compost and they have a plant based, aerated compost and this is their little label here,
02, and their hours of operation. if you want to come here and buy their compost directly,
its nine A.M. to three P.M. Monday through Friday and they also accept vegetative food
waste and clean wood waste only. so yeah I mean besides just gardening, one of the most
important things for me as a gardener is to have good compost, whether that means you’re
going to make yourself like many of you guys already do, or you know in some cases I need
more compost than I could actually create myself. so I go out to visit places that make
compost for you on a much bigger and a grandiose scale. and that’s why I’m here today, to share
this valuable resource with all you guys that live here, in the Houston area. Even the surrounding
cities or even if you don’t live near Houston, actually you can now mail order and get shipped
directly to you, the farm dirt compost that you are going to learn about today. now we’re
sitting outside their shipping container and I can say we’re going to go inside the shipping
container and show you guys what’s inside. But you know what, there’s a packing shed
and not much in there. What we really want to look at is a turn around to the yard here.
And we’re going to go out there and show you guys how they make the compost here in Houston,
using renewable resources that are a waste product for many companies. It’s actually
– let’s go start out by the street and show you guys a really good overview shot of what’s
going on here. So what we’re looking at now, is I’m across
the street from Farm Dirt Compost and as you guys can see behind me, you guys basically
just see a whole big pile or literally a wall of wood chips happening. And this is one of
the primary ingredients they use to make their plant based compost. So their plant based
compost is made out of the wood chips and other you know tree leaves that are chipped
up by landscape companies. the landscape companies then come here and pay a reduced fee to dump
the chips here, instead of taken to the landfill where they basically just rot. And then they’re
combined with another ingredient to make the plant based compost that they’re making here.
So anyway let’s go ahead into the yard and show you guys up close a delivery of the wood
chips they’ve got and then we’ll show you guys the other plant materials that they use
as a source to create their awesome compost here.
All right so what we’re looking at now is one of the primary components of their plant
based composts, right. it’s right here. its basically as I stand here setting up my camera,
a big landscaping truck came in, and they dumped this up. they dump this right here
and what it is just shredded up wood chips or trees, with some of the leaves of the trees
in there and it’s already broken up into a smaller particle size so that can be easily
composted. Now the reason why I want to share with this episode with you guys today on this
particular company doing this work, is because you know not all compost are created equal
and so many times they get gardeners saying, “John, is this a good compost?” because I
don’t know there’s no real legal definition of what a compost is right. Actually some
people would call this stuff, mulch what they’re doing here. Actually all these piles on the
outside are actually mulch piles. But nonetheless I mean there’s no really good term on what
compost is and so I want you guys to be familiar with actually looking at compost to be able
to tell if it’s a good compost or not. And I’ll show you guys near the end of his video
the product they produce here which in my opinion is the good compost by not only looking
it, looking at it, feeling it, smelling it but by also asking for you know certain test
reports to ensure they’re making a good quality product. and unlike many compost that you
guys may buy in the store right. They screen it to a nice size, which we’ll cover in the
episode and they also don’t add inexpensive fillers. some of the places I’ve visited that
make compost, they’ll add fillers like sand to their compost which you know basically
now you’re paying a lot of money for sand and so while this compost here may cost a
little bit of money at present time. It’s like eighty-five dollars a yard. You know
it’s definitely worth it because it’s not like you know; it’s cut with sand. so like
what, say you buy compost for forty-five dollars a yard, or half the price, but it’s 50% percent
sand. well that’s the same price you’re getting now you’re buying sand. hope its good washed
agriculture sand, not just some cheap sand that they’re just using as a filler, or adding
other filler products right. and the other thing that I like here, is that this is one
hundred percent plant based compost. This is their only use in you know the wood chips
and fruit and vegetable scraps that we’ll see in a minute, to make the compost and in
my opinion right to grow fruits and vegetables and fruit trees. We want to feed the plants
what they’re made out of, which is fruits and vegetables and trees right. The best food
for trees is other trees. the best food for fruits and vegetables are other fruits or
vegetables because the fruits and vegetables took up everything it needed. And then when
it composted and decayed down, right, there’s this nutrition that the plant needs. Of course
you know depending on the source of the fruits and vegetables I would also add other trace
minerals, which I’ll talk about a bit later in this episode. Any case, next let’s go over
to an area where they’re getting the shipments of the fruits and vegetables that they use
the compost down. unfortunate because I am here in a Saturday and normally they only
take deliveries on Monday through Friday. They don’t have any fresh materials to show
you. But I’ll uncover some buried material. So besides the wood chips that you guys just
saw, they get dumped off by the tree trimmers. The other valuable source of plant nutrition
they’re getting, comes in bins like this among other ways, from the local produce row here
which is the wholesale produce market here in Houston. They get about one hundred of
these little tote things here filled with you know, rotten fruits and vegetables and
pieces of the chopped up fruits and vegetables right. And this is just basically the waste
product of the produce industry and instead of going to the landfill which where rots
and creates copious amounts of methane gas and other gases, here it is composted properly
to create less of the different gases. But more importantly instead of just rotting in
a landfill and never to be used again, it gets turned into good nutritious organic compost,
that can be added to farms, gardens, your local shrubs and trees and even your lawn,
to increase their growth because compost is the original way that nature fertilizes the
trees, shrubs, the fruits and the vegetables, the ornamentals, the edibles, all the plants
work on compost. And when we start trying to feed these synthetic fertilizers, that
we think man is more intelligent than nature with these water soluble nutrients right.
We’re subverting the whole natural cycle of things and the compost, so I think especially
in this day and age it’s critical for companies like Farm Dirt to take some of these waste
products that would end up in the landfill to make a valuable product out of it, to revive
the local community and more important, us gardeners a good quality compost because I
visit a lot of places and man, a lot of places they’re not making good quality compost like
they are here. So once they get, you know these bins from the produce row they combine
that with other produce waste products from other sources, so this business actually started
when the owner, or one of the owners called the Whole Foods up and said you know hey I
see you chop up all the produce and you have rotten produce that you’re thrown out every
week. Hey can I get some of that produce to compost for my personal garden and Whole Foods
like, no you know there’s like liability issues and all this kind of stuff, anyways one of
the owners has a yard in a landscaping company to like make compost and then he called that
Whole Foods you know later, and said hey well I have a facility to take your compost or
your food scraps to compost. and then once Whole Foods are, oh you have a facility, then
they knew some of the legal issues might be you know diverted and then they’re like yeah
you get our compost and now, you know that was three years ago when they started this
business and oh I do want to say that if you think John that place you’re visiting looks
real familiar. I saw you’re on an episode of the Last Organic outpost in Houston and
you visited the same yard. Well right at that time I showed this yard because this is the
compost of the last organic outpost uses, but it’s a separate entity making compost,
you know for next, the next door neighbors and the community at large to purchase and
buy and to you know sustainably you know reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill.
and I think that’s a big challenge in this society that we live in. we live in a disposable
society. Right. And I want you guys to be producers instead of consumers right. Produce
your own compost instead of come here, but of course if you can’t do that you know and
produce your own, come here and support them, because they are producing something that
would normally you know just went to the landfill and been more of a you know in that whole
consumption, mass consumption craziness cycle we have. So yeah they got they get the Whole
Foods produce crafts as well as the local school district right. the local school district
here wants to be the one of the greenest school districts and they’re working with different
schools in the school district to take their compost and then compost that here and create
an amazing compost. So anyways let’s go ahead and show you guys how the process specifically
works with composting the wood chips and the food scraps.
All right so what you’re looking at now, is an active compost pile I’m sitting on it and
I could actually feel that it is nice in warm. So what they do is they take proper ratios
of the wood chips and the food scraps and they basically pile it up. And normally you
know, they pile extra wood chips on the top, to keep all the bugs and the flies down, if
they’re doing their job properly. Maybe this area, maybe could have a few more wood chips
on top and let’s go ahead and dig underneath here and see what we could find. All right
so what I’m finding is I’m finding a lot of the beer mash, so that the brewery process
places that make brews and things they have the waste, kind of smells like oatmeal. and
then underneath here we look further we find like big pieces – wow this is actually quite
warm – of a watermelon and just the other fruits and vegetables in this mixture here.
we’re going to go and try to mix that back up for ’em. but basically that’s what composting
is. right you add some carbons and the right ratios of nitrogen. The carbon in the wood
chips, the nitrogen is the food scraps and some of the leaves and what not. And compost
happens. So composting is not rocket science right. One of the great sayings is that compost
happens even if you don’t get the ratio right. Everything will break down over time. That
being said, its very important to them here at Farm Dirt to you know, minimize their composting
cycle time. because they get shipments in every week. Lots of materials in and they’ve
got to, as fast as they move this material in, they want to be moving it out, otherwise
they’re going to outgrow their small little space here. So they’ve done procedures and
they’re constantly improving their process to make it more efficient. Since I’ve been
here just a couple years ago looks like they’re really improving their process a lot. and
they’ve got some upcoming changes that they talked to me about, that is even going to
you know take them to the next level. But I might mention you guys later in this episode.
Anyways one of the processes is to increase the productivity and decrease the amount of
overall processing time is a ration of the piles, that cut off a week from their total
processing time, which is from apples as they come in, rotten apples, to the dirt that goes
out, its sixty days. So you guys at home should be able to produce a good compost in sixty
days. I’ve been able to do it in the limit over a month, with my 13:17 composters but
even on this massive industrial scale where they just have piles and piles of wood chips
and food, in under sixty days. You know they have a finished compost product to sell. So
yeah let’s go ahead over to you know, one of the ways they speed up the composting process.
So one of the ways they speed up the composting process, is by active aeration what you see
in this little box here, little house and that’s not a dog house. It’s a blower house.
So this house, houses a blower that has electricity plumbed into it. And they say there’s blower
comes out into this big P.V.C. tubing, then goes down and as you guys can see it just
gets distributed down into these big pipes that then have a perforated tubing go underneath
the compost piles that you know, are maybe five, six, feet tall and basically that forces
air underneath it and forces the air up through the compost. and what this does, this feeds
the microbial action in there right. The compost bacteria love air and when they get air, it’s
like us eating some chocolate cake. Well, I don’t recommend chocolate cake, eating some
chocolate persimmons and we’re so happy and so excited and we’re full of energy. we could
do a lot of stuff. Well when the bacteria get air, they work overtime and they’re so
happy. They’re working faster so they can shave a week off. their, you know the time
that it takes to make the compost, because that’s what it’s all about here. Improving
processes to make the time of the inputs coming in, and going out shorter, so that they could
actually start producing more in less time. Now the next thing I want to do is actually
take you guys over to another space in the yard and show you guys another tip they’ll
be soon using to decrease the composting time. So here I am again sitting on a mound of not
compost, but activated mulch. this mulch here is not just the standard mulch that you’d
buy of wood chips right, even though it looks like nice and dark and brown like some of
them things are painted right, your local big box store. This is actually activated
mulch. and what this is, is they take their finished compost product, they run it through
their sifter that I’ll show you guys in a minute and sift out all the quarter inch and
below small particles. This is what gets bagged up and sold to you right. A lot of compost
places might only sift down a half inch, and then they’re leaving a lot of chunks. I don’t
like a lot of chunks in my compost. So all their chunks go into big piles like this,
that they, they then they sell as activated mulch I think its about forty-five dollars
a yard. And this is the mulch that you guys want if you guys want to like add nutrition.
But also a mulch to your fruit trees and other trees around your property right. The reason
why this is activated, is because it’s already gone through the composting process, it was
in one of those big piles that I saw you, that you guys saw earlier. but it’s not the
finished product they’re selling directly. This is basically, while it does have a lot
of little fine particulate compost still in there, this is a larger chunk. But these large
chunks have already been inoculated with the bacteria in the fungi that’s in there as you
look at it. and as I’m looking at it now there’s bacteria and fungi working on this stuff breaking
it down and breaking up the constituent parts into plant nutrients for your trees and shrubs
and things like that right. So if you are going to be using a mulch right, instead of
just getting wood chips that are not a knock later even start to break down yet, and you
have to go through that process, it be a lot wiser to get something like this it’s already
has the process. Now why am I telling you this? Because when they start a new pile of
compost they take a good percentage of this inoculated mulch stuff, that actually has
the activated bacteria and fungi and all the little microorganisms that make the compost.
they add this to the wood, the virgin wood chips and the food scraps so that now, it
basically kicks starts the process, kind of like using a starter culture, if you’re doing
fermented foods. and this is another thing that I recommend for you guys as home gardeners,
making your own compost right. You could use your, your mulch that you screened off your
last batch of compost, but I like to put in a scoop or two of my last batch of compost
in my new compost, that’ll just make things happen a lot faster.
I don’t know if you guys can see this, but as you guys can see there’s like compost wall
above me. Maybe I should have maybe move the camera back a whole bunch. But there was a
big whole compost wall behind me. this stuff is not quite ready, but it’s getting ready
to get harvested and then sifted out and then sold to one of you guys out there. but basically
I want to show you guys this is because you know they got a nice lot of fungal hyphae,
that’s all like I don’t know if you guys can see, but it’s like a white you know, in
the compost instead of being dark, black and white. So this is definitely a really good
sign. Now the other thing that they’re not yet doing that they hope to implement soon
once they get a seventy-two-hundred-dollar piece of equipment, is they’re going to start
to process their incoming food scraps and grind it to a smaller particle size that will
create more surface area. and at the same time they’re going to pull off some of the
excess liquid off the produce. That then they could take and use to inoculate their, you
know and make compost teas and inoculate their soil and so the don’t have to deal with so
much extra liquid in their compost and they could really dial in the amount of wood chips
to ground up plant matter, or you know, fruit and vegetable scraps. So this is a really
cool and that’s going to help them save time, because once again, once things are broken
down more for the bacteria, it’s going to make it more easy for them to digest it, and
you know finish the process of composting. Now you know, I talked to them about this,
and they’re not going to be basically shredding up their wood chips, they have done you know
studies on grinding up their food scraps which worked really well. and they have home food
scraps grinders for those guys do home composting to speed up your composting process. but they
don’t want to grind up the wood chips because they found out when they did this, there wasn’t
enough airflow in there because the wood chips you know, provide a lot of nooks and crannies
in there. and when they grind up the food scraps, the food scraps will now attach to
the different pieces of wood chips and compost faster, is what they’re thinking and it’ll
be more efficient in their process and be able to save actually a lot of space and so
may be able to move it more, more you know, wood chips in and more importantly, move it
out quicker. Alright the next thing I want to do, is actually show you guys some of the
finished compost that they produce here, that has not yet been screened.
So now I’m sitting on another pile of what, plant based compost. I hate it when I go to
places that have like cow bays to manure bays, chicken shit based compost. Because it’s a
lot smellier than here. Here actually like this finished compost that I’m sitting on,
I mean it basically has no smell. Maybe I smell a little bit of wood something but mostly
it’s no smell and I want to encourage you guys as gardeners out there, you know to feed
your plants other plants. So I encourage you guys to use plant based compost in general.
it’s a lot safer to use then animal manure based compost. Why is this? Well there can
be many challenges with animal manure based compost, a lot of the stuff you buy at a big
box store is number one, coming from the animal agriculture industry where they’re feeding
the animals GMO based corn and soy. and feeding them antibiotics and things like that which
is not good because all that is going into the compost you guys are buying. and that’s
going in your food. In addition, they may be feeding you know or spraying on the G.M.O.
corn or soy, things like roundup, things like bio solids, things like chemical fertilizers
that may have heavy metal contamination. So that stuff gets run through the cow or the
pig, the chicken, in the animal and then when you eat the animal then you’re getting some
that contamination, but it also comes out in their poop. So now when you’re spreading
the poop on your garden now you may be getting some of that contamination as well. and let’s
not talk about E. koi or other you know harmful bacteria that may be present in animal based
manures, if not properly composted or if used in their raw state. and finally of course
with animal based manure, you know you have a higher probability of burning your crops.
I’ve never burn my crops with a plant based compost here and actually the compost here
they recommend even you can plant your vegetables in it straight. and you know try that with
some manure based compost. You know in general it’s not going to be as successful as if you
use a plant based compost and that’s why I prefer a plant based compost. And of course
if you could source and make your own animal manure or composting you know the ingredients,
you know hey that’s pretty good but hey I still like the plant based compost myself.
because that is the natural system no where in nature do we find big mounds of animal
manure that’s being used to grow food. There are copious amounts of plant materials used
to grow other trees and plants in the forest but there’s no big piles, you know shit in
the forest. maybe some you know poop here and there from animals that are in the forest
that will be mixed in with all the plants but no, you know not the massive amount of
poop that’s generated due to the massive you know, a calf O’s and big industrial animal
agriculture where there just really needing to get rid of the animal excrement or poop,
that may actually cause challenges with runoff and all these things as well. So yeah, so
how do you tell if something’s a good compost, because I mean happens a lot. John is this
a good compost and so he sends me pictures or somebody sends me description. this is
what’s in the compost. You know this and this and this and this. you know and by looking
at something, I can’t tell you how good it is, because it’s not, it tells me what’s should
be in there but didn’t tell me what is actually in there until I pick it up see it, look at
it and smell it right. in this compost here I mean, I can see here that this compost is
just really nice rich and black. you know unlike some companies actually may spray things
on their compost to get it to turn darker, so that you think it’s a really rich compost.
They don’t do none of that here I’ll tell you firsthand they don’t have the money to
buy anything extra to do here. they’re basically on a shoestring budget, just trying to keep
their bills paid and keep this operation of flow which is quite sad to me and that’s one
of the reasons I wanted to make this video for you guys, you guys can support them because
they are doing the right thing and I want more companies like composting company here
Farm Dirt to pop up in other cities and other countries even in the world, because this
is really the solution to some of the waste that’s being produced, some of the you know
vegetative waste matter, wood chips and food waste that account for a big percentage of
what’s going to the landfill and this can be diverted to you know create less gases
being emitted into the atmosphere, and to create a valuable product so that more people
and farms could grow food with basically the broken down plant material. So yeah I mean
just looking at this stuff it’s nice, rich and black and this is the green material here
right. I would never buy this for my garden it’s a big problem with a lot of compost I
see. they have a lot of woody matter in there and when places don’t filter out the woody
matter, basically that means they’re making more money off you because they’re adding
things that are going to necessarily be totally ready for your garden to use right now. And
that’s why I like that at this place they screen their finished compost. its what I’m
sitting on and also I’m seeing a lot of that fungal matter with the white in here, the
fungal hyphae’s, they screen it down to a quarter inch. So let’s go ahead and take
a look at the machine that they screen their compost with as well as the finished sexy
compost they make here. All right so what you’re looking at now are
huge gigantic compost sifters and this is one tool that I don’t yet have and I would
like to get. I don’t think I need one this big here this is for their operation and as
you guys can see it’s got a nice quarter inch screen on it. They basically put the compost
that I showed you guys just a minute ago up in this big bin right there. They turn this
machine on and it runs and basically all the finish compost drops out the bottom and then
all the chips in, that you know inoculated mulch comes out the other end and for those
you guys are looking up to start an operation, you want to get one of these guys. this is
called the Settler made in Canada. they work really good this thing’s never broken on them
and they’re at is their website because I know a lot of people, you know get
these industrial things and they break down. so yeah this is definitely a well made unit
here. Let’s next I want to go ahead and show you guys some of the screened material that’s
coming out that is being rejected from the compost the finished compost they sell here.
All right so what we’re looking at now is end of the compost are here and we’re looking
at is all the reject materials. so as much as this was rejected from you know the bad
compost they offer you know they’re still going to use this stuff. the stuff is still
quite viable. You know and as you guys you guys learned earlier, they inoculate, they
use this stuff that’s already been pre-inoculated and still has a plenty of you know of material
in here, that’s you know under a quarter inch in my opinion to inoculate their new piles
and then also they make this stuff available for you guys you know to use as mulch underneath
your trees to you know prevent you know water evaporation and all this kind of stuff. so
yeah this is probably one of the best things you guys can put underneath trees and shrubs,
you know because it is starting to break down and I mean that’s what the goal of you know
feeding trees, other trees and wood chipping right you can put a virgin wood chips but
it takes a lot longer to break, break down than one that’s already you know been through
the process. I guess the next thing I want to do is actually I want to show you guys
some of the finished compost. they just finished up the last batch that they did so I think
there’s a little bit of remnants that I can actually show you guys of what their finished
compost looks like and share with you guys more about what to look for in a compost when
you buy it. So this is what’s left of, this is their area
once it gets screened it goes into here and this is the bagging area, and the area that
they sell the finished compost. I don’t know if you guys can see it, but basically we just
got a nice pile right here behind me and we’ll do a close up for you guys. this is what a
good compost should look like right there. see that it’s nice rich in black. Right. This
is a screen to a quarter inch size so that I like that a lot. there’s not the big pieces
of wood chips or bark and all this other stuff that they had in there. This is pure compost.
I mean it kind of looks a little bit like dirt. But this is not in dirt and you smell
it and it actually has a nice earthy smell, it doesn’t stink, it doesn’t smell, like it
doesn’t smell like wood chips anymore. Actually to me the smells like you’re in the forest.
I should be cool. I want to make a bed out of like fresh compost and like a lie in it
every night. I think that’d be refreshing right. I don’t know that be weird. I think
that’s how we would live like we lived in nature. We didn’t have these artificial mattresses
with polyester and other stuff. I think I might have to try that, but yeah they’re still
smell just, smells really good right. And the other thing you want to do is you want
to take a look at the texture, look at this, see that texture there. I mean this is not
wet at all, it flows really easy and it’s not quite as thin as sand. you know a lot
of companies will cut their stuff with sand and you want to take some between your fingers
and feel it. Roll it like this. it should kind of even if it’s not super way it should
kind of roll into a ball. If you’re rolling it like this and you feel like grains in your
hand like sand like if you’re at the beach then they’re cutting with sand, that’s not
a good thing. And by doing this test. I could tell they’re definitely not doing that here.
And so smell you know, should smell earthy. you want to do the grit tests. No grit in
this stuff you want to you know try to roll it into a ball, you want to just you know
make sure it has a nice consistency. You know little chunks, no big pieces of stuff and
a nice rich and black just like that right. I’ve seen a lot of compost they’re just kind
of like tan in color and they have sand. And these are all ways you could actually physically
look at, and tell if it’s good or not. Right. And aside from that, you know these are some
good indicators but these indicators can always be tricked. they can spray stuff on their
compost to make it look black and people do all kinds of stuff to cheat the system but
what is not cheating the system is what I want to show you guys, that actually have
you guys ask for next right. And you know they have soil testing so most tests that
are done on compost are NPK testing which is standard nutrient testing. and most places
will have this right. But you know while those are good tests right I want you guys to ask
for the extra curricular activity tests, which actually most places do not have, but I believe
they should if more people start asking for them. Maybe they would get them and what this
test is here on the phone here. It’s actually called the Earth Fort biological analysis
soil amendment. and this the kind of gardening I teach. I teach biologic organic gardening.
And that’s why you know this is even more important than just the N.P.K. numbers are
you know aside from adding the nutrients, which the compost does as nutrients. The reason
why I’m really on the compost is for the bacterial and fungal action in the compost because these
are your free labor force. They are your slaves. Compost you are my slaves right here. These
are my slaves. They can sue you for you being their slaves once you own them. But anyway
they’re your workers they’re going to basically break down the organic matter that’s still
left in the compost as well as break down the organic matter that’s in your soil, in
your garden and turn it into nutrients for your plants in a non water soluble state so
these nutrients will not wash away like chemical nutrients will and what the biologic analysis
Soil Amendment testing here does, it basically tells you about all the different bacteria
and fungus in there. So for example, you know if you don’t know how to read these are right
because they have a reference range and you just want to make sure most of the numbers
are falling within the reference range. Now you know depending on the kind of compost
not every number is always going to be within the reference range some might be abnormally
high and some might be in a range some of a bit low but as long as most of them are
in range. You’re pretty good. And of course there’s always going to be numbers that are
higher which is really good. So the best thing to do would be get more to source of composts
with different you know things that are high. So for example this compost here is a really
high end amoeba’s amoeba has the ranges from ten thousand to like a hundred thousand
and this is like I don’t even know it’s like ten million. It’s like some crazy ass big
number. I can’t even read a number that big it’s kind of insane it’s like pushing the
limits of how high the amoeba is can get you know over here we’re looking at the active
bacteria in the active bacteria the expected ranges between three and thirty the active
bacteria on this step is six hundred thirty one and on the total bacteria the total bacteria
is expected ranges between three and three thousand and the number for this compost is
six thousand four hundred eighty four the active fungi you know like I showed you guys
are not the white fungal hyphae’s in there. the active fungi are the ranges between three
and thirty and this is twenty-four point eight. So this is on the high side of the range.
So that’s a really good. Of course some other numbers are limit low but you know what. Not
every compost could meet all these different criteria. So for you know a plant based compost
you know fruit and vegetable companies would shift this is running really good. Of course
in addition to this I would encourage you guys to get a fungal dominated compost that
really focuses on the fungi. and you know aside from the place here, that’s inside the
city limits of Houston, not too far for you guys to drive if you guys want to go to a
place that I visited that has really good compost also but it’s a lot further. It’s
in Conroe Texas known as Nature’s Way Resources. If I remember, I’ll put a video up, with a
link to the video I made there, at their place and besides having a plant based compost like
here which is going to be different, you know they also have a fungal dominated compost
in there which is one of the things I’d recommend for you guys to you know do a mixture of the
fungal plus the bacterial compost they have here. I guess the final step I want to show
you guys actually what this looks like when it’s all bagged up and actually share with
you guys a special way. All my viewers get a special discount on this awesome compost
that I share with you guys today. So now I want to share with the guys the finished
product here at Farm Dirt, in the plant base eroded compost you guys saw the whole process
of how they make this as well as a lot of tips you know that they use here that you
guys could also use for composting at home. Now if you guys want to get some of this amazing
compost that I should do with you guys today that I actually use myself because on previous
trips I’ve actually gotten this compost and I took it back to the West coast with me to
use it in my very garden to plant things in and it works great. Definitely some good stuff
I could totally vouch for it. I hooked you guys up with a special discount. this is sold
here in the Houston area at some better garden centers, but you could go there and pay full
price but if you want to get the special GYG discounted price, you’re going to have to
come here to Farm Dirt on a meal when they’re open or see them at the farmer’s market that
I was just at today. I think it’s on like Saturdays on Richmond, and see I’m there mention
the G Y G code. you’re going to get a special discount, this normally at this time. And
this may be something to change. sells for nine dollars as the regular price but if you
mention the GYG discount you’re going to get a bag one cubic foot for seven bucks and I
don’t think I could make it for that cheap at home actually. That’s definitely a good
price. If you guys want to get a cubic yard They’re not like making a ton of this stuff
right now but also give me a call, mention the GYG discount. They’ll hook you up with
a special discount that I pre-negotiated with them right and what I really want you guys
to know is that they’re making a good quality product here. there may be other places that
make compost in the Houston area and other places and they may be cheaper in price but
you know what a lot of times, you guys get what you pay for. this is not always true
but it’s definitely true here. you know you’re going to pay you’re going to pay some money
for the compost here, but you’re definitely getting some good stuff that’s going to grow
some healthy vegetables, fruits and even ornamentals for you and your family. so I always encourage
you guys if they’ve got some good stuff support them, and support places that are doing good
work like diverting so much of the, you know food scraps and yard waste that would normally
just go to the landfill. so I really applaud them for the work they’re doing here. This
is some dirty work because the last time I was here. It was raining there, you know their
tractors were stuck in the mud and I was just getting hammered with rain and it just wasn’t
a fun day but they’re out here working man. like seems like every time I come out here
they’re out here working. And you know doing really good stuff here to help the city of
Houston be more sustainable but also help us local gardeners. Now for those you guys
that don’t live in Houston, don’t worry. I’ve also hooked you guys up right. Farm dirt compost
is now also just starting to sell, online. and of course the online price is going to
have to be more expensive than the price that you get locally, because they got to ship
it and the shipping actually costs more, unfortunately than the compost does. but nonetheless you
guys mention the GYG code, put that code in on the website. It’s going to give you guys
a special discounted price, so that you guys, no matter where in the fifty states you live,
they’re going to send you a priority flat rate box stuffed full of their good plant
based compost, that you guys learned about today.
So yeah that’s pretty much it. I’ll post links down below to other websites. you guys can
get some of this amazing compost. I’m going to be sure to take some of this compost home
with me today, to use again in my gardening because its some of the best stuff and give
to my you know, my girlfriend’s parents. Garden that’s here locally. They’ve been growing
in it too because I got some of that for them last time and their stuff is growing amazing.
So you know, once again I always encourage you guys to support local compost companies
that are making good products when you can. and after watching this episode you know some
things to look for, when you guys go to buy compost and hopefully this will help you know,
minimize the questions I get. John is this a good compost? I mean, I got to go there,
see how they make it, look and see and that’s the other big thing that’s important for me.
You know, you want to always ask the compost company, “hey! Can I come down and see your
facility, see how you make it?” right, and if they’re just like, “Yeah! Come on down,
we’ll share with you. You know, that’s good because they’re open source, they have nothing
to hide, right. But it’s the companies that say, “Oh no. We don’t want you to come down
here, we don’t want you to bring your camera.” Those are the companies I’m quite worried
about because like, why don’t they want me there. What do they have to hide, what don’t
they want you to know, what are they putting your compost that they don’t want you to know
about right. So I’m really glad that they have an open door policy year and they showed
me around you know, showed me everything and I got to snoop around and see all kind of
stuff happening here right. They’ve got nothing to hide. So yeah definitely some good compost,
some of the best compost, I’ve found here inside the city in Houston. So if you guys
enjoyed this episode learning more about compost, how you guys could make it yourself and how
you guys can get some of the best compost here in Houston and in all of Texas, please
be sure to give me a thumbs up in future episodes when I come back to Houston. I’ll come by
and make more episodes, maybe interviewing some of the compost makers and owners and
all this kind of stuff. Also be sure to click that Subscribe button right down below, to
be notified of my new and upcoming episodes coming out every three to four days, you never
know where I’ll be showing up, or what you’ll be learning on my YouTube channel. and be
sure, finally to check my past episodes out over twelve and up episodes now, a wealth
of information of the different compost yards, how to compost at home yourself, how to grow
your food all aspects so that you guys can be more sustainable and grow food for you
and your family, instead of eating out of the grocery store. Maybe you’re eating out
of the grocery store second hand, because you’re getting the compost made here. in any
case that’s my mission. Hope you guys enjoy this episode. I got to get going. Once again,
my name is John Kohler with we’ll see next time, and until then, remember
keep on growing.

100 thoughts on “How to Make High Quality Compost from Plants for Your Organic Garden

  1. I'm in League City, sub of Houston, and had to go back to Brazoria Cty for good compost. I've bought some of that junk locally you mentioned with sand and chewed up weeds I'll never get rid of. Worse than what big box stores sell. 5th ward is doable but twice as expensive as what I buy on 523. Still good to know. And I make my own compost just not enough.

  2. Another site-source I came across recently (by someone else "reputable", I believe) present facts considering the which that the soil may be "too rich" within nutrient materials, already! Hence, when you're presenting these enormous numbers of some things–maybe that's reflective over something to become wary about (too rich soil composting additive wise), too? Their…soil, being tested, was recommended towards not adding…more: but, rather giving "a rest" towards it's becoming complemented TOO MUCH, right? (If I find that link/video, perhaps, I'll find my way back here to post it. Meanwhile, that…"problem" may well not become everyone's problem, of course?)

  3. Looks like a wonderful source for those in the Houston area… We make a lot of our own compost here on the homestead, the main base being wood chips here too… Thanks so much for sharing… I am sure the Houston folks appreciate it too…

  4. Thank you so much for all this information… I will apply quite a few of your tips! And I ll stop using munuer. Thank you again… you are really inspiring. God bless you!

  5. Hi I'm a 8 month old gardener. how is it that you don't produce enough compost Since your beds are in place? just to refill at the end of season?I don't get that. I mean if you compost your food scraps and everything.
    Also Don't you think it would be a priority. it would make more sense to me. I mean if one can't create enough compost for itself how can we expect people to stop using chemical fertilizers?

  6. Just ordered 4 bags. Comes to a little over $100 even with the $8 discount because of the UPS freight costs. Love adding stuff from many sources to our garden. My plants are all very happy, and so am I.

  7. @28:20 Wow! why cant my compost look like that in my tumbler?! Mine is still brown, kinda looks like broken down pine pellets. Food is breaking about at their own pace, still plenty of green and brown solids, but my 5 or 6 month compost is STILL NOT BLACK!! AND DEF NOT HOT(COOKING) INSIDE even living here in AZ!

  8. Respect to you Sir. Organic everything. I wish people in the medical marijuana industry would care about health and organics over money and riches.

  9. I'm a fan of what you do and learning a lot. I see you have done gardening in Northern California. I am having a hard time finding your videos pertaining to that area and was hoping you might make a playlist based off of your locations to get a better idea of what to expect in the same or similar areas.
    Thanks for your time. Keep up the great work.

  10. Dang… amoebas level in Texas! So, it that a good thing or not? If something is growing in the soil that is NOT good, it's hard to kill it in this grow zone since we have so little real winter.

  11. A town' 2 hrs from me collects all food scraps at the curb each week and makes black shifted compost and I go there and get my compost each year for my garden.

  12. John, i just started watching your videos lately. Recently ive begun my own indoor garden using floating rafts on my two goldfish tank. Currently im expanding to an outdoor shed where i have my potted vegetables. Growing now are, Cabbage, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Red Potatoes, Bantam Corn, Pineapple, Garlic, Kale, Butter Crunch Lettuce, Roma Tomatoes, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Parsley, Basil, Pickling Cucumbers, and last but not least Eggplants.. all indoors all using the fishtank water and solids. I have learned alot from these videos. By the way, all of this is being done in a 1,000 sq ft condo in a complex..

  13. Hey John, I have 2 questions; 1) I have heard that after you composted that it needs for a few months before it can be added to you gardens. Is there any truth to that? 2) I had an old tree removed (it was dying) I was able to use a lot of the chips as cover for gardened areas saved a wheelbarrow of fine wood chips. I was told the these chips steel the Nitrogen from the soil. is this true?

  14. hmmm… with a little bit of ingenuity, they could harness the heat from that compost, turn it into electricity and use the electricity to run the fans.

  15. How crazy is that! I just clicked on the video to check it out without knowing you were in Houston. This is the stuff my husband and I grow everything in!

  16. I am a transplant to the southern boonies where people love to BURN yard waste! so what I see is people gather and burn scraps (wood, grass plus plastics, metals, styrofoam, glass, etc.) Then drive to chemical store and buy chem fertilizers and weed killers… HELP!

  17. Really cool operation! It's no wonder it is located in a lower-income neighborhood, it's too nice for fancy people 😀

  18. I'm running a compost pile right now in LV, but it's only just now hit 85degF after like, four days. It's been going up slow, and at least not going down, but man, finding browns is HAAARRD!!

  19. hey John, thank you for this video. It has helped me decide to draft a proposal to my city to become green. This has added excellent information to support this ideal. So I wanted to stop and thank you.

  20. John, can you do a video on how you take you compost from you bid to prepare it for your garden. Also for worm bins. I have a Rubbermaid tote that I use for my worm bin. It's been a year but I can't figure out how to separate the worms. I have tried putting food on one side but that does't work. Also how to finish off the compost from the bin because it's very moist. Do I dry it sift it? Help!

  21. An amazing addition to add to your compost/tea is mushrooms aka mycorrhizae. Use the ones that already grow in your yard or garden or just go buy some that you like, use them like normal and then add the scraps to your system where you see fit. A rock dust alternative has done well for me too. Expired multivitamins. 1 tablet per gallon works well for me. Thank you very much John, you have been a wonderful inspiration for me and I have used a lot of your information to improve the health of my mother and grandmother. I will be a lifelong subscriber. Mahalo and aloha.

  22. I have 5G buckets with perforated lids (fishing bait lids) and a circle of nylon window screen I lay over top to stop flies. I stack them up with 4 stones between each to allow air in. I rotate these downward as they fill and the worms do their work. By the time my 4th one is done I have 1 bucket with great soil/ worm castings. I mix in some azomite/trace minerals and fish/seaweed fertilizer and let it sit for a week or two, then mix into new soil for planting containers. Works amazing.

  23. Awesome. I live in Houston and didn't know about this place. Somewhat new to gardening and have been obsessed with your videos and the Vegan Athlete guy's videos. Family thinks I'm nuts but won't once we're eating good stuff from the backyard. Got the fruit tress in…vegetable beds next.

  24. Your devotion to spreading the garden gospel is like a breath of fresh
    air and inspiring to most, i'm sure. I've yet to see a video though
    about the amazing benefits of rabbit manure and bunny brew (bunny berry
    tea) for the vegetable and fruit garden.

    For bunny brew (a type of compost tea):
    1. take a handful of bunny droppings (most people give them away for
    free actually, and rabbit manure is better than other manures) and put
    these in a burlap bag and tie it off
    2. put the bag in a 5 gallon bucket with good water
    3. do this in a week with warm weather, and let soak for 3-7 days (max. 1
    4. the water in the bucket can be now used as a great compost tea, and
    the rabbit manure in the bag can be taken out of the bag and directly
    put on or in your gardensoil

    Rabbit manure is a cold manure and can not burn your plants. The
    composition of rabbit pellets is better for soil and plants than any
    other known manure, and because it is a cold manure it also doesn't need
    weeks of composting before applying it. It doesn't smell as strong as
    other manures, it is time released, and small in size so easy to

    Copper; No snails, better soil:

    Another item you might find interesting to feature is how to keep snails
    out of your patches. Many do not know this simple 'trick'. Snails do
    absolutely NOT want to cross copper, and as such many gardeners put
    copper wire/copper strips around their pots etc. to keep the snails away
    from their babies. Additionally, copper gardening tools have been
    proven to benefit the soil and your plants, whilst iron tools seem to
    actually do the opposite. for those interested, search for 'Viktor
    Schauberger copper' for the research and tools.
    – Minute amounts of copper create the conditions for beneficial
    – Copper is not magnetic – so does not disrupt the electrical fields in
    the soil
    – Copper tools are expensive, but, they do not rust and far outlive iron
    tools, and can easy be sharpened with a wetstone

      There you go, two simple and cheap things for gardeners, making
    gardening simpler for everyone!

  25. Hello John. Here in Tennessee we have CO-OP facilities that sale Organic Valley soils, composts, ect. Do you have any knowledge of their products? I dont have enough compost or good soil here. Its mostly red clay, shale, slate, lime and sandstone. Is there a particular type of conditioner i need to use? I asked about the crushed stone supplements, they didnt know what why I was even talking about. Thanks!

  26. What would you think those companies who don't want you to know about what they put in their compost if you want to make a video there? John was asking. I was thinking… what about a couple of dead bodies or more bodies? They make pretty good compost… seriously..

  27. I live in south Texas , when will be a good time to add compost to my garden . I normally have two growing seasons , one starting in Feb and one in Sept. thanks

  28. I noticed I can click to your channel and then go to "videos"
    which is another way to see what all is new.

  29. Sorry you felt the need to describe 5th Ward like that.
    It would be awesome if you went to the local schools & started a gardening program. Black communities are constantly poisoned with low quality grocery stores. Processed foods are widely consumed in low income communities, why not help people when you can instead of insulting them.
    It's set up systematically like that & it takes time & work to in do this constant doing.

  30. Heads up John, just went by before the end of this video to check out a save the link to Farm Dirt Compost, unfortunately they cannot sell online, due to post office regulations, just so your viewers are aware thanks again for all your input and great videos' <3 God Bless you xo

  31. Lots of trees that are chipped by tree trimming companies are cut from roadsides to keep the branches away from power lines. Often these same roadsides are sprayed with chemicals. Also lots of the chips are from the trunks of trees which are extremely carbon dense and very difficult to break down, not making very good compost.

  32. Plant-based manure is way superior to your own poo or other animal poo. Been there, tried it and experienced it hands on.

  33. I also suggest adding a large amount of Red Wigglers to reduce the amount of time it takes to process this large amount of vegetable and plant waste. I was watched a Tedx video about how McCain Canada processes their huge amount of potato waste. They did a national study and figured the best way was to buy millions of Red Wigglers and let them eat the potato food scraps.

    The video also discussed how they were able to reduce methane & carbon that's created compared to using traditional composting methods.

    It took into consideration the fact that they had to truck in leaves and shredded paper to be able to compost the potatoes etc..
    I tried to find the video to provide the link here but sadly could not find it.

    I'm a small home gardener and have tossed 1lbs of red wigglers into my compost piles 3 years ago and I continue to have red wigglers in my compost bins to this date and I live in a city where we have cold weather.

  34. That sifter, you can use a screen trommel with screens of various sizes so you can get the size of particles you need for whatever application in the garden.  If you  have a little down time and feel you want to do a little making/building you can throw one together for $50-$70 dollars and it folds up to store when not in use.  If you have subscribers that prospect your way, they can point you to homemade trommels that you can adapt to your needs.  Just a thought.

  35. These vids are way too long. Just give us the list of things to do dude. No one has time in the middle of the day to watch 45 minute videos

  36. LOL!! Chicken shit compost!!!! I'm so happy to learn about this facility in Houston. I live in the northern suburbs and I have heard about how there is a lack of food available to people living in the inner city!! There are just NO grocery stores that are easy for people to get to or afford. So sad…but sustainable living and community gardens are a wonderful idea as long as people there will do the work. It is hard work though- wait did you just say sexy compost!?!? Love this video!

  37. Hi John… I love your videos they are incredibly informative. I live in Murfreesboro Tennessee and have recently started composting and growing all sorts of different vegetables. I know nothing about composting or growing so I greatly appreciate you sharing your knowledge freely !

  38. I started composting October 2017 because I wanted to start a garden for 2018. It was slow and tedious and I couldn't find enough material. Around April I discovered this channel. Now I shred paper and get leaves and scrap food from my neighbors. Some of the tips you talk about were very helpful and some where not for I live very far up in northern N.Y. I now have 3 pallet composters that I can maintain 130 degrees. No garden this year but thanks to your channel I am very confident I can finally have a garden in 2019. Many thanks friend. Keep on keeping on

  39. 🌻Great video John😊👍, thank you soo much for the work that you do. I have been searching for a site that breaks down, the " How to do" on how to begin my own fruit and vegetable gardening, trees and beds. I truly enjoy your videos, the joy you get from growing your own food and sharing all your knowledge with your viewer's, comes and just shines, thank you. 🌻

  40. Yes John, a lovely bed of earthly compost to ground upon (aka earthing) whilst we sleep. The next home I live in (hopefully diy) shall have dirt floors to promote more earth contact/improved health via "grounding". Love your "sexy compost" comment 😂 ha ha ha

    Highly enjoying your videos! Thank you for your effort…your passion is amazing (relating) and your enthusiasm is infectious 💗

  41. Dear John, I am looking for plant based compost and i am vegan!! Please help where i can get in the area of Dallas!!

  42. Again, an awesome clip, John. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I love your passion and attitude. 👍🏽❤️🌱😃

    Thanks 🙏🏽🌏🌳

  43. Hey man if you take old dirt from farms; and farms being the toxic chemical mecca of the known universe, how yu gunna trust any of it ??

    The lame non- laws that are not- protecting consumers from erroneously thinking Monsanto's Round up is a mouth wash and the crime lords that allow poison being labelled " food " how bad then should we expect businesses flogging dirt to be in regard to honesty and prudence ?????????????????????????????
    I'm only at the 3 minute mark of this vid but i had to bring it up now incase i forget later.

  44. Thank you John. You are a wealth of knowledge. Because of you, I have visited JRN and now I plan to visit Farm Dirt Compost and Natures Way Resources. I am learning so much from your Videos☺

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