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MAYTime Composting News

October, 2013

Community Composting - A Series

When I started MAYTime Composting, I thought it would be wonderful for every neighborhood to have a “community compost pile”. This would reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, and provide most everyone with soil-enriching compost.
As I researched ways to make such “community composting” happen, I learned that small, neighborhood compost systems would be extremely difficult to set up. In fact, they would be illegal – unless you got a state permit to operate EACH NEIGHBORHOOD SETUP. And getting such a permit was not a trivial task.  (It would be somewhat easier now, but that is another story).
In light of this, the vision I had was for MAYTime was to be a Community Composting Service for our region. Do you want to see your household waste composted? Don’t have the time / knowledge / space / energy to compost it yourself? I created MAYTime to serve you, and others like you.
Right now, you are paying to have your household waste buried in a landfill. Your county taxes pay for this. Last I knew, Yancey County was paying $55 per ton to have our trash hauled away and buried. A high percentage of this “trash” is compostable material. Anything you can do to compost your “waste” is a step toward changing that.
Already composting at home? Wonderful!
If you are not – or if you are unhappy with your composting setup, MAYTime is here to  help you.
This month, I have made significant changes to MAYTime’s “Composting Circle”, the home composting service that is MAYTime’s reason for being.  New options, reduced rates, and more. Visit our website ( for more information.
If you still want to compost at home, consider attending one of our Home Vermicomposting workshops – and learn how to use bins of redworms to turn your “waste” into rich compost. The next workshop is November 2.
Next month, I will begin to examine the economics of composting, and what it means for rural areas such as Yancey / Avery / Mitchell counties.

A New Experiment: Mushroom "Composting"

MAYTime is currently receiving about 20 gallons per week of spent coffee grounds in sealed containers. Oyster mushrooms grow quite well in coffee grounds, and are VERY tasty!  Here’s a small test bed I have growing.
 Mushroom Compost


Organic Standards for Compost
and Worm Castings

I am often asked if my compost is “Organic”. This is not always an easy question to answer, as there are no clear standards (that I am aware of) that define “Organic Compost”.  Some customers in fact want compost that is only made from Certified Organic ingredients. Such compost would be extremely expensive and difficult to produce!

Both the USDA and OMRI have guidelines for Compost that is considered “suitable for use on Certified Organic farms”.  These guidelines allow the use of raw materials that are not necessarily “Certified Organic” in origin. All raw materials must be organic (small “o” organic, meaning not synthetic) in origin, and they provide a list of about 20 chemicals that may not be present – mostly specific herbicides and pesticides. Materials must also meet standard time / temperature requirements for reduction of pathogens.
Worm Castings and Vermicompost have an interesting twist under USDA guidelines. If raw manure is fed to a worm bin, the castings produced are treated by the USDA as raw manure. They may be applied to a field or garden, but there must be 120 days between application and harvest.

On the other hand, If the manure is composted first (as it is here at MAYTime), and then fed to worms, no such restriction applies. In this case, the worms are being fed compost, not manure.
I have reviewed all this with the regional USDA Certification specialist, and can say with confidence that the compost and worm castings produced by MAYTime are suitable for use on Organic Certified farms.

Why Use Worm Castings? More Research

This link leads to a brief article and a few vivid photographs showing the benefits of Worm Castings. Take a look!


Home and Small Farm Vermicomposting Workshops

Saturday November 2, 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

Looking for a simple, sustainable way to compost at home? Come to MAYTime Composting Systems for an afternoon session that will teach you how to turn your kitchen scraps – and other organic "waste" – into valuable garden supplements. Each participant will take home a complete worm composting setup – bin, worms and all!
Topics We Will Cover…

  • Care and Feeding of Redworms
  • Bedding Materials
  • Temperature, Moisture, and Other Environmental Factors
  • Potential Problems, and Remedies
  • Alternate Worm Bin Designs and Methods
  • Harvesting Castings – and Worms
  • Using Castings for your House Plants and Your Gardens
  • Research on Worm Compost Benefits

Fee is $45. Workshop is limited to 10 participants. Sign up by emailing, or call 828-231-9352.


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Between 60 and 80% of everything we send to landfills is compostable.
When this material decays, it produces methane - a greenhouse gas.
You can help change this. Join the Composting Circle.


Compost Products for the Yancey / Avery / Mitchell Region of North Carolina

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