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24 Terms About Compost

Composting Terms Defined

Definitions For 24 Commonly Used Terms Relating to Making Compost

Author: Patricia Bass

When I started thinking about what I could do with my vegetable scraps from the house I did a little research. What I found was information about making compost. However there were many terms. Some terms are used one way by a writer and another way by the next writer. What I have attempted to do is create a short reference of composting terminology. The words are grouped somewhat categorically rather than alphabetically.

Organic - once living, containing carbon, generally considered to be chemical free

Inorganic - not involving living organisms, composed of minerals

Compost- mixture of decayed vegetable or other organic matter often used by gardeners as fetilizer

Humus - often used interchangeable with the word compost, a dark brown organic component of soil derived from decayed organic matter

Mulch - protective covering for plants or soil from compost or wood chips which prevents erosion and helps retain moisture

Anaerobic - without air, absence of oxygen

Aeration - to add or allow airflow

Bacteria - plural for bacterium, single celled often parasitic organism responsible for decay, fermentation and nitrogen fixation as well as some disease

Fungus - spore producing organism, absorbing nutrients from organic matter, fungi is plural

Microbe - living organism which transmits disease, which is so small it can only be seen using magnification such as a microscope

Microorganism - word used interchangeably with microbe

Pathogen - something that can cause disease

Bin - container for making compost, may be open or enclosed

Barrel - container type for making compost that is enclosed and often is rolled to mix contents

Tumbler - container type for making compost that is enclosed and is often on a stand that allows easy turning of contents using a handle

countertop - container used indoors that holds components for making compost to be put into a larger container located outdoors

Decomposition - breakdown or decay of organic materials into simpler form

Mineral - inorganic substance occurring naturally

Carbon - nonmetallic chemical element needed for all living organisms - matter high in carbon is considered a brown material in composting

Nitrogen - nonmetallic element needed for proteins - matter high in nitrogen is considered green in composting

Leached - lose a mineral dissolved in rainwater - drained away in soil

Hot Compost - the temperature of the material which is composting is 141 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit

Cold Compost - A pile that decays very slowly, very little maintenance is required

Vermiculture - using worms to create compost

These 24 terms defined previously are commonly used whenever the topic of making compost is discussed. Each word was given a definition as it pertains to compost.


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