All information in this post has been copied directly from Cornell Composting, a great resource for students, teachers, and anyone else even mildly interested in the Science behind composting. I’ve added in tidbits to aid student understanding.
Compost is created when microorganisms (teeny tiny critters) break down organic matter and produce carbon dioxide, water, heat, and humus. Soil invertebrates also contribute to the decomposition process. Together with bacteria, fungi, and other microbes, these organisms make up a complex food web. All of the work that those critters do will generate heat, and that’s how we will know our system is working- a compost pile can heat up to 66 degrees Celcius! Different communities of microorganisms will be more abundant during different stages of the composting process- fascinating!
Stay tuned tomorrow for an amazing story about a long lost object found in the compost.