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DIY Permaculture Ideas

Factors Affecting Composting 

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016

There are a considerable number of factors that influence the rate at which composting takes place, whether it becomes successful and the quality and amount of yield it produces. More of this can be learnt at the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute(visit) where experts in the field can give you theoretical as well as practical information on the same. The factors that affect the process of composting include;


288374-o2Oxygen is the overall determinant of whichever process of composting will take place. That is, it can be either aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen). This in turn determines the rate at which the decomposition will take place. Aerobic composting is relatively faster compared to anaerobic composting.


hot-and-cold3Composting relies on the action of organisms or microbes to decompose the dead, decaying organic matter. Heat in itself is a by product of the process of decomposition. However, temperature is a great determinant of the rate of composting and value of compost produced. High temperatures kill organisms, which is fatal if you are vermicomposting (use of worms for the composting process). At the same time, heat also kills harmful bacteria which cause acidity and ruin the value of yield. Extreme cold on the other hand, makes the bacteria inactive thus slowing down the rate of composting. It could also kill the worms in vermicompost.

It is therefore paramount that the temperature remain moderate for the best composting results.


WaterMoisture is also a crucial aspect of composting. Without moisture, the bacteria acting on the compost will not be viable and as such will not work to decompose the organic matter. This is especially the case when composting in dry areas. At the same time, too much moisture is harmful for the compost. Too much moisture will “drown” the compost. It takes up the place of air and deprives the compost of oxygen which in turn affects the compost as explained earlier.

Carbon and nitrogen

These are derivatives of the decomposed organic compounds. Green (contains moisture content) organic matter contains nitrogen while the brown (dried up) matter contains carbon. Both of these are essential in determining the overall value of the quality of compost produced. The acceptable ratio of carbon to nitrogen in an average compost is 20-25 to 1. When too much carbon compounds are used, the compost becomes dry since the carbon sucks up all the moisture. This reduces the rate of composting. At the same time, if there are too high amounts of nitrogen in comparison to carbon, the compost becomes too moist. This is usually what makes compost smelly. Similarly, it could also potentially “drown” the compost there by rendering it inactive.

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Designing a laundry to landscape system

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016

Laundry To Landscape

This is a system that enables you to distribute greywater to multiple plants. The system is cheap and utilizes the power of the washing machine internal pump to put pressure on the greywater, which enable the system to irrigate a flat yard. The hose is connected to a valve that is connected to three pipes allowing it to take the water either to the sewer or the greywater system on the outside. The tubes used should be less than one inch in diameter. Tubes that are larger than that are likely to lower the pressure of the water and cause the water, not to move over a flat surface. On the other hand, if the diameter is too small, the pressure would put the strain on the pump system.

 To maximize the life of your pump, avoid pumping the water for several feet above the rim washer. If the greywater is to be sent over long distances, the resistance in the pipe will affect your pump. To be on the safe side, do not pump to a distance of more than fifty feet on a flat, horizontal surface.

The system is safe and legal to install in many states without a permit as long as you follow the laid down guidelines. Due to the pressure from the washing machine, the water can travel on slightly uphill on the bumps and small ridges on your yard. It can also travel for longer distances than it would if it was traveling without the pressure.

The three-way valve makes it easy to switch between the outside greywater system and the septic tank. When you do not need to use the greywater, you may direct it to the septic tank and vice versa. Moreover, the system requires very little maintenance as long as it is well-installed.


You do not require digging into your yard to have the system in place although you can hide the pipe with shallow trenches. You can also reach out many plants, up to twenty plants with the system and change whenever you want easily.

On the underside, the system requires minor rerouting of the plumbing. The system can shorten the life of your washer by putting pressure on its pump. Some of the parts of the system are not readily available.

For more information on the working of the system, you can enroll at the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute. You will get access to hundreds of resources dealing with water collection, conservation and managing it to save on bills and available resources.

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Anaerobic Composting 

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016

methanisation_venThis is a process of making compost that does not use air. Anaerobic composting is reliant on bacteria and microbes that survive in oxygen deprived states or environments. It is a very slow process due to the lack of oxidation that tends to speed up decomposition. An anaerobic compost can stay for years before it can be considered mature or rather fit enough to harvest or to use. There is no exact way to monitor the compost since most times it is dug underground. Once covered, the compost is first of all decomposed by aerobic bacteria – those that require oxygen. This goes on until all the oxygen that was covered up with the compost is depleted, the bacteria are then rendered useless. Over time, anaerobic bacteria – those that do not use oxygen – begin acting on the compost.

Anaerobic composition gives out very strong odours such as that of ammonia as a by product. The gases are usually because the compost is moist and therefore there is the subsequent mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen to give off ammonia.

turning-the-binHeat is also another by product of anaerobic composting. The heat from this is generally stronger than that of aerobic composting. It is essential for getting rid of harmful micro-organisms and organisms that might slow down the process even further.

Aside from that, there is also a considerable amount of acid accumulation in an anaerobic compost. The acid can be very harmful to plants of the humus is used without waiting for the acid to clear. Generally, the acidity disintegrates by itself over time, therefore you should just give the compost suitable time to let the decomposition process complete fully.

Anaerobic composting is mostly done underground where you dig a compost pit, pile in the organic compounds and cover it up with soil. Alternatively you could use a container  by making it air tight. You just use a container to hold your organic compounds and then seal it shut.

Anaerobic composting is very suitable for individuals who wish to make compost manure but do not have the time to maintain the conditions necessary for aerobic composting such as regular turning of the compost. It also comes in handy in places with regulations about open composts. Some individuals also want to make compost manure but do not want the outlook of an open pit so they can also use anaerobic composting.

Anaerobic Composting

Enroll at the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute where you can learn more about anaerobic composting from experts in the field.

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