Composting 101

While most of you were having a great date night on Friday, Chelsie Anderson, the Natural Gardener and I were on a fascinating tour of the Hop Compost facility in Calgary.

Kevin Davies created Canada’s first inner-city compost facility, Hop Compost, right here in Calgary (expanding to Vancouver and Toronto.)

On Friday, Kevin graciously toured ten gardeners through his facility and thoroughly explained all the steps involved with converting mostly restaurant food waste into compost: garden gold.

He shared some of the problems with creating a viable composting business. When he began, the closest composting facility was an hour outside the city. Delivering waste to the facility and bringing finished compost back to the city required  up to four hours of driving! The environmental impact was not acceptable to Kevin.

Kevin explained that NIMBY (Not in MY BackYard!) is a real concern for composting facilities. It’s about smell.

The “Hoperation” uses technology to manage the  process and virtually eliminate odors. A sophisticated computer system measures heat, moisture, oxygen, even pH, via probes in the huge “cookers”.  As required, the ingredients are churned with giant electric motors.

There was almost no smell. In fact Kevin said  we were smelling the food waste in the bins ready to go into the next batch.

The final product is rich, brown, fluffy compost awaiting delivery to gardens across the city, where it will feed your soil and the micro-critters (as Chelsie calls them),  the farm hands.

Red Wrigglers
www.GrowFoodCalgary.com

When asked his advice for home gardeners, Kevin said without hesitation, “worms!”

He said worms produce consistently, high quality compost with minimal effort and are ideal for home gardeners.

Compost is an integral component of the Natural Garden. Worms and worm farm receptacles are available from Chelsie Anderson

Learn more at Grow Food Calgary, starting Earth Day, April 22 at the Calgary Zoo.  Register.

We are delighted that Kevin is one of Grow Food Calgary’s experts.

Hop Compost site.

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