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The horticultural media came to C-Wise early this year to look over the production process and to find out about the newest developments in high maturity composts.

Some of the visitors names will be as familiar as family others perhaps not yet. Sabrina Hahn is much loved for her ABC Radio show Roots and Shoots plus her column in the Weekend West. John Colwill is a member of the Beyond Gardens team that does so much in educating gardeners through regular seminars. Janine Mendel is both an author and a Landscape designer specialising in compact gardens. Addy Arnold is a landscape contractor who works very closely with Janine. Kath Bafile is originator of Smarty Plants - plants for kids program which includes an innovative website (www.smartyplants.com.au) and product line of edible plants for kids. She also advises Better Pets and Gardens on things marketing. Sue Torlatch has her own landscape design company Wild about Gardens and has edited a number of landscape industry magazines. Peter Coppin is a member of Beyond Gardens and has his own blog plus talks regularly at small farm seminars. Nick Bell I call the "godfather of turf" in WA. He regularly delivers talks on radio and has recently embraced the square foot garden which he has exhibited at the Perth Garden Festival. Andrea Whitely is a garden designer and writes for the Hort Journal as well as contributing to ABC radio. John McWilliams has his own landscape company Nirvana Landscapes and also is a member of the Beyond gardens team. Garry Heady co-founded Great Gardens and continues to inform gardeners through the Beyond Gardens group.

Maturity in compost has only recently been recognised as a significant characteristic.The latest Australian Standard for composts and mulches recognises three different stages of composted product. Pasteurised is level one. Here moist components are mixed and allowed to heat up to the point where internal self generated temperatures of 55 degrees C or more are achieved. This constant heat over days at a time kills off insects, disease organisms and weed seeds.This represents maturity index 1.

Ongoing composting involving turning and aerating of the pile can take the mix through to an Index 2 product. This yields a still active material which typically has some quick releasing nutrients. It also can have a sniff of ammonia about it.

Further aeration and turning followed by a maturation stage can produce, what are now referred to as, Index 3 mature products. These are extremely stable materials which have slow releasing nutrients. However their chief claim to fame is that these act as switches to turn on the native biology present in all soils.This is where these highly concentrated materials get their greatest result.

 

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