BioBag Employee Sharpens The Saw

Stephen R Covey published his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” in the late 1980’s. The 7th and maybe the most important habit is to “Sharpen the Saw”. Sharpening the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you.  Luckily for me, I work at a company that supports and promotes its employees taking the time to enhance themselves personally and professionally.
To expand my knowledge as well as reconnect with nature, I took a class last week on Composting. I would consider my knowledge of composting intermediate from working here at BioBag, but I could use a little sharpening. I’d like to share with you some tips, that I either newly learned or that were refreshers, from the class. We went over a lot of information that day so I think it best to break it up into parts. This is Part 1.


  • Anaerobic (without oxygen): decomposition that is often called fermentation or putrefaction. It is usually accompanied by the release of methane or the foul odor of hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell). Anaerobic decomposition occurs slowly and little heat is generated.
  • Aerobic (with oxygen): a naturally occurring process in nature where organic waste is converted into humus. There is little to no smell. The process creates lots of energy in the form of heat. The heat is an advantage as it destroys pathogens and parasites.
  • The cast of characters that aid in composting are: bacteria, fungi, millipedes, earthworms and other living inhabitants.

There are 3 types of bacteria:

  • Psychrophilic (low temperature bacteria)
  • Mesophilic (40 – 110 degrees F) they do most of the work in the compost piles
  • Thermophilic (104 – 200 degrees F)
All bacteria need nitrogen and carbon to survive and thrive. Nitrogen provides the microbes with the raw element to multiply. Carbon is the energy source. Bacteria get a complete meal when the carbon to nitrogen ration is 30:1.

Moisture content of 40% – 60% is ideal for bacteria. If it is less than 40%, the bacteria slow down and go dormant. If the moisture content is 60%+, it is too wet which means the pile looses too much air and anaerobic conditions set in.

Turning the pile brings fresh air to the microbes in which their numbers multiply quickly. More microbes = Faster decomposition = Quicker compost

As the pile cools or in the later stages of decomposition, other larger organisms settle in.

  • Fungi are major decomposers in the compost pile however, not as efficient as bacteria
  • Nematodes or roundworms
  • Fermentation mites
  • Springtails
  • Wolf Spiders
  • Centipedes
  • Sow bugs
  • Ground beetles
  • Earthworms

A slight detour. One cool factoid about Grass Clippings:

Grass clippings can be directly recycled by letting them fall back in the lawn as you mow. Clippings are 90% water and break down quickly, releasing nutrients equivalent to one or two fertilizations a year.

Like I said, this only covered a portion of what was presented in the class. Be on the look out for Part 2 next month with a possible Part 3.

If you would like to take a composting class, check out your local county website. My class was put on for FREE by the Florida Cooperative Extensive Service of the University of Florida. There are classes just like this one across the U.S. Take some time for you, our earth and Sharpen that Composting Saw! (Plus you might get a lot of cool composting schwag like I did. I plan to start my own composting pile soon. See photo below.)

Schwag from Composting Class

Free Composting and Irrigation stuff I got from the class

Scrap collection bucket, GeoBin composting system, Compost thermometer, vegetable garden watering system, rain gauge & water hose timer.