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Composting and Soil Building

Part of "Soil Basics"


This Course segment gives you a starting point into the fascinating world of soil and composting.


The ideal soil has a loose, crumbly texture. It holds both water and air well yet drains quickly.  It is loaded with microorganisms and can hold nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and minerals. It has the proper acid/alkaline balance (called "pH") for the particular plants being grown.  

But few soils have all these qualities. Improving the soil by encouraging it to sustain a vibrant biodynamic system through composting and other techniques is vital to a successful garden or farm.  

This segment will show you the different components that make up a healthy, living soil. It provides composting and "soil building" tips to meet the needs of small gardens as well as large growing areas. The links in this segment cover several ways to compost, including using worms (vermiculture).

Starting with the video Life in the Soil, move on to the video 6 Ways to Compost and review the articles and guides that provide the technical detail to perfect your composting practices.

> Back to Course 3: Soil Basics

Useful Links:
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Short video about the living organisms in soil and how to amend soil to increase organic matter.

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Composting Instructions

A comprehensive guide to backyard composting in Hawai‘i from UH Mānoa's CTAHR.

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A quick guide to a range of composting methods and tips on how to compost effectively. From the Rodale Institute.

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Using Worms to Create Compost: Vermiculture

An introduction to vermiculture for beginners. Use worms to enrich and speed up the composting process. From the Rodale Institute.

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A great summary of 6 ways to make compost for a small garden and container gardening.

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Compost Piles for Beginners

A great article for beginners on setting up your first large compost pile for larger gardens.

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Enhancing Soil & Plant Health with Local Inputs

A great overall manual on the range of techniques used to feed soils and nourish plants in Hawai‘i.

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A graphic that shows how soil organic matter is taken up by fungi, nematodes and arthropods and enters into the larger ecosystem.

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