Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 6 of 6 items for

  • Author or Editor: Francis R. Gouin x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Free access

Francis R. Gouin

Compost varies according to content, comporting procedures, age, storage conditions and particle size. Compost made mostly from wood products will have a much lower nutrient and soluble salt concentration than one made from leaves, grass clippings, sewage sludge, manures or food processing waste. Compost from efficiently managed systems optimizing microbial activity will tend to have higher soluble salt levels than compost from piles that are neglected and/or undisturbed.

Regardless of which organic materials used in making compost it will have a pH between 6.2 and 7.2 when ready for use. The effectiveness of compost as a soil amendment and in formulating potting mixes is dependent on particle sizes and soluble salt concentrations. Particles should not be recognizable and less than 2.5 cm in diameter for optimum plant response. Soluble salt concentrations of the compost will determine rates of application and fertilizer regime.

Free access

Francis R. Gouin

During the past decade, numerous commercial composting systems have been developed. Time, as well as economics, are determining which of these systems are feasible. Systems that take time but can operate at low cost are surviving, as are more costly systems capable of producing a mature compost in the shortest possible time. Which system to use can be determined by the amount of space available and the amount of feedstock to be composted. Where space is limited and the volume of feedstock is high, more intensively managed systems are necessary. When space is not a limiting factor, more passive systems may be adequate. Of the more costly system developed, those systems with the least amount of down time and with a high degree of versatility appear to be surviving. Although it is possible to optimize the rate of composting through good engineering and management, there exists a given time period, depending on the feedstock necessary to produce quality mature compost. Minimizing production time to the point where the quality of the compost is jeopardized will result in wide-spread rejection. As horticulturists, we must stand firm in demanding compost standards with qualities based on our needs. Based on the diversity of our industry, the horticultural industries are likely to be the largest potential users of commercial compost.

Free access

Francis R. Gouin

Full access

Francis R. Gouin

Sewage sludge is being converted to compost by many municipalities. Its use in the production, establishment, and/or maintenance of horticultural crops is dependent on soluble salt concentration, particle size, stability, dewatering procedures, storage conditions, and crop needs. Soluble salt concentration has the greatest effect on the amount of compost that can be used as a soil or potting media amendment. Because composted sewage sludge is rich in plant nutrients, it can supply many of the nutrient needs of plants, depending on the amount used and if the plants are growing in the ground or in containers. However, improper storage of composted sewage sludge can render the product useless due to the accumulation of acetic acid and alcohol that occur under anaerobic conditions.

Free access

Christopher Worden, John C. Bouwkamp, Francis R. Gouin, and Charles McClurg

Vegetable culture with Municipal Solid Waste Compost (MSWC) amended soils was evaluated with the emphasis on crop and soil responses. There were three treatments of 0, 20, and 40 t·ha–1 of MSWC applied in the fall of 1993 to a Matapeake Silt Loam on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The following spring the soil was prepared for planting tomatoes and green beans. All crop management practices were in accordance with the standard procedures followed in Maryland for each crop, except for the addition of the MSWC. Both crop yields were significantly increased with the addition of the MSWC. Following the bean crop, broccoli transplants were established in the fall of 1994. Again, the yields obtained with the MSWC plots as compared to the control were significantly greater. Soil properties were also favorably affected by the addition of the compost. Analysis of soil samples indicated significant increases with MSWC, such as cation exchange capacity, soil pH, percent organic matter, and water-holding capacity.

Free access

Kimberly H. Brown, John C. Bouwkamp, and Francis R. Gouin

Optimum conditions for composting encourage and maintain the growth of microorganisms. Aerobic conditions must be maintained along with a 30 C: 1 N ratio and appropriate moisture levels. Our research found that P along with C and N are primary nutrients required by the microorganisms involved in composting. Phosphorus is a very important component of ATP and ADP, which drive most biochemical processes and are therefore necessary to all energy-driven processes. Results of this experiment show that MSW treatments with a minimum of 120 C: 1 P result in significantly higher temperatures during the composting process; lower final C: N ratios; greater volume reduction; and more available N in the final product. Emphasis of ongoing research is to determine appropriate C: P levels.