Scott Hortop presents benefits of innovative method of composting leaves
December 16, 2020 / Almonte, ON – On Friday, the Honourable Senator Rob Black met with soils enthusiast Scott Hortop to learn more about his leaf composting project in Almonte. Hortop presented the benefits of fungal-dominant compost, which yields a fungi-rich black soil that is particularly useful to farmers wanting to regenerate their farmlands.
Scott Hortop explains that the Johnson-Su method of static, aerated composting is an effective way to make productive use of leaves that would otherwise be transported to dump sites. Hortop says, “Fungal dominant compost is literally alive with diverse microbial fungi. Healthy soil has a powerful army of beneficial fungi who provide an amazing range of services to the roots of a plant.”
“Soil that has been overworked with intense industrial farming has often lost much of its fungal workforce,” says Hortop. “At planting time, farmers who are looking to build back the health of their soil can drill or spray a small amounts of this compost into the seedbed to replenish and activate “fungal workers.””
Hortop adds, “I would love to be a part of a community effort to compost our bagged leaves each Fall and provide this resource to our local agricultural community.”
“Soil is one of Canada’s most precious resources,” says Senator Black, who is currently calling on the Senate’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry to undertake a soil health study. “I’m pleased to see members of the local community – such as Scott – take up the challenge of regenerating and improving the quality of Canadian soil in their own backyard.”
Local horticulturist Allan Goddard, along with Kris and Rob Riendeau, were present for Friday’s tour. Both Goddard and the Riendeaus are strong supporters of Hortop’s efforts to promote a broader understanding of the benefits of this special leaf compost. The Riendeaus are hoping to raise greater awareness of practical ways Mississippi Mills residents can help the environment.
The process Hortop employs to compost leaves is somewhat different from usual composting. He will chop brown leaves, thoroughly wet them, and store them undisturbed in an aerated cubic metre cage for two winters and one summer. Each cage produces one cubic metre of black soil which can be used to inoculate 460 acres of farmland.
For more information:
Director of Parliamentary Affairs
Office of The Hon. Rob Black