There is a new place to buy compost and worm fertilizer in Maryland. Last week I visited Veteran Compost which is a new composting business in Aberdeen, MD, convenient to the Baltimore metropolitan area and to Delaware. Veteran Compost was started by Justen Garrity who was an officer in the US Army. He takes food scraps, manure and garden waste, saving these things from our landfills and creates compost and vermicompost for our gardens, lawns and farms. He is committed to hiring veterans, because their unemployment rate is much higher than the general population.
There was this wonderful smell of flavored coffee when I got out of my car. I learned that he gets coffee grounds from a local coffee shop for composting. He bought coffee bags to package the vermicompost. They actually sell the worm compost in Coffee Coffee, the local coffee shop since they used those coffee grounds in the process. Justen joked around that they hope no one buys the worm compost thinking that is coffee!!! That wouldn’t be so funny when they got it home, though there is a picture of a worm on the package.
Garrity says: “I typically compost 5 cubic yards of food waste a week. I also add at least 10-15 cubic yards of straw, manure and mulch fines to the pile to compensate for all of that food waste. The amount and type of “browns” that I use depends on the moisture content of the food waste, the odor from the food waste, and what I have readily available.
All of that material gets piled together and then watered until we reach our target moisture levels. From there its time to throw on the blower for 30 days. After 30 days we “re-stack” the pile with our loader, and throw the blower on again for another 30 days. Finally, we screen the material and let it cure for 30 more days before it is bagged, tagged, and ready for sale. So, in 90 days we go from organic waste to finished compost!”
Since I am new to composting I don’t have much compost yet. So I bought 10 30 lb bags of Veteran Compost. That should give me a good start on my garden. I also bought 3 lbs of vermicompost. After 30 days of heating up and cooling down, Justen uses some of the compost to put in the worm bins to make vermicompost. His worm compost looks beautiful, dark brown, soft and crumbly. My worm compost is wetter and more mudlike, so I really appreciated his crumbly vermicompost.
There are problems in composting even on a farm in the country. As I got a tour of the farm I saw a couple of big holes in one of the composting piles with seafood debris scattered on top. A local fox digs into the pile for his dinner. So even out in the country there is the problem of critters digging into compost and causing problems. Justen wasn’t too sure what to do about this because he likes the food remains to stay buried to reduce odors.
If you live in Maryland or parts of Delaware and you want some great compost for your garden check out Veteran Compost at 410-935-6404. You can order small amounts from the website. Veteran Compost is also carried by Kendall Hardware in Clarksville, Maryland.