In the past few weeks Steamboat Mountain School's Sustainable Agriculture Program (SAP) has started a campus wide composting program. We are collecting food and biodegradable scraps from the school’s kitchen, dorms, cafeteria, and faculty housing and processing it in a 50 gallon tumble composter. Each day we collect about 5 gallons worth of scraps to be added to our aerobic, hot composting system. Microorganisms and heat in the tumbler break the scraps down; two to three weeks from now we will have some very nutritious compost to add to our greenhouse beds. The students are excited to participate by learning what goes in the compost bin and through tending to it in their daily chores. Science classes and SAP students have taken on leadership roles in teaching the community what it means to compost our waste and in regulating waste sorting. Students will also learn about soil nutrition as we use the final product to grow more food. Paired with our tumble compost program we have three working worm bins in which we can process about one gallon of food scraps each week. Unlike our tumbler composting process, Vermicomposting is an anaerobic cold composting system in which microbes are replaced by worms and other beneficial insects to break down the waste. Although the decomposition process is longer (about four months) it is a more hands on and visible way to compost. Students will have the opportunity to compare the two compost products with diverse greenhouse experiments monitoring heat, speed of decomposition, plant viability and other traits of the soils produced.

On Thursday, February 12th, the SAP Academic Explorations class will present about their progress.

Composting at Steamboat Mountain School


Friday, February 6, 2015