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Compost Microorganisms

Microorganisms are essential in the composting process. These microscopic organisms are the tiny guys and gals, that break down raw, organic compost matter.

In the composting process, micro-organisms produce carbon dioxide, heat, water and humus.... finished compost that is ready for use by your plants.

There are a wide variety of microorganisms at work during each stage of the decomposing process. 80% to 90% of the micro-organisms are bacteria. Other microorganisms include:

  • Fungi - including molds and yeasts

  • Actinomycetes - bacteria similar to fungi

  • Protozoa - single celled, feeds on organic matter

  • Rotifers - feeds on organic matter, bacteria and fungi

Three stages of decomposition, where micro-organisms are at work:

  • Mesophilic, warm up period:  Aerobic bacteria is at work. Temperatures are 70-90 degrees F. Aerobic microorganisms, which require oxygen, are working on the compost.

  • Thermophilic, high heat period: Temperatures reach 100 to 170 degrees F. The microorganisms dominant in this stage, are anaerobic. This stage usually lasts 3-4 days. With high heat, weed seeds and other seeds are killed.

  • Cool down period: Temperatures cool off and aerobic micro-organisms take over once more.

Micro-organisms are present in your garden soil, on plants, and in any compost pile. To kick-start the decomposition process, you don't need compost activators. Just add a shovelful of dirt, or finished compost from your last batch, to the raw materials.

Related Topics:

Composting Health Hazards


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