Where does one begin to crack the mystery of producing the most enriching, potent, and fertile compost around?
Vermont’s own Karl Hammer joins us today to shed some light on this multi-millennium-spanning mystery. Karl began experimenting with composting and field soil management on his Vershire, Vermont hill farm in the 1970s.
Well over 40 years later, the operations of Vermont Compost Company have been refined to an art and a science, filling the needs of farmers and alleviating some of the biggest challenges organic growers face. Tune in to today’s episode and soak up some of the most impactful knowledge in modern composting and soil production!
What Vermont Compost Company is all about 1:55
How they approach logistics for materials 12:21
How long the composting process takes from start to finish 18:20
What sets Fort Vee, Karl’s flagship product, apart from typical compost 21:17
About the benefits of compost vs. a soilless mix 26:06
How to deal with pests in your compost piles 31:02
Why Vermont Compost Company’s composting operation isn’t often replicated 40:11
Who Karl’s mentors were in his business 51:52
What Karl would do differently if he could start over 1.00:02
What Karl sees as the biggest mistakes new farmers are making 1.13:13
If Karl will be offering education/training on composting in the future 1.23:50
Where you can learn more about Karl and Vermont Compost Company 1.26:55
About the Guest
Karl’s fascination with farming, commitment to composting, and sensitivity to soil health began over forty years ago. He first started experimenting with composting and field soil management on his Vershire, Vermont hill farm in the 1970s. In the process of transitioning from dairy farming and commercial vegetable production, Karl started his first commercial composting business in the 1980s. The evolution of Vermont Compost Company brought operations to its current Montpelier location in 1993.
Karl is a farmer, a compost specialist, and a humus connoisseur. A comprehensive understanding of soil and plant science, combined with practical farming experience, allow Karl to understand the needs and challenges organic growers face. Recognized as a pioneer in the field, Karl is committed to crafting consistent, living, compost-based soil mixes to ensure grower success and the revitalization of soil health.
Resources and mentions
Vermont Compost Company Website, Instagram
Local Line Website
And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!
We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.
duane KarlMarch 19, 2020 3:15 am
I would love to hear more from Mr Compost.
Question I would ask:
I am interested in asking how “they” Government agencies classify biological substances, like food waste that if put on your lawn would be decomposed in weeks if not days, as solid waste. This solid waste classification should seem to be used to classify less environmentally degradable or metabolize-able substances.
I think in his defense of feeding organic matter to poultry he needs them to define solid waste in common use and understanding
Most things that are 50+% moisture are by no means solid waste in my opinion.
Thanks for what you do.