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Defining Compost and Teas
I have been following the discussion of how to identify whether compost and teas are "good" or "bad". Should we focus on the ingredients, the process, the end product, or all of the above? I suspect that different permutations and combinations of ingredients and composting methods may give the same results, and the same combinations may give seemingly different results. I find that the raw materials are generally not adequately defined. Manure is a description that can cover a broad range of materials (with and without pathogens and contaminants), as can crop residues (ditto). I have all too often seen composting used as a garbage disposal or a means of bioremediating undesirables.
In the broader context, using Steiner's concept of the farm as a potentially closed system, the cycles between the farm soil, crops, and animals must be considered, as must all the inputs and farming and husbandry methods. There should be a symbiosis between the waste from animals and crops that return to the soil to produce more crops and animal feed, and subsequent waste for the compost operation. Would it be necessary to micromanage (pun intended) a farm that operates as a synergistic organism?
Alan Ismond, P.Eng.