The resources listed on this page provide a wealth of information. However, my comments are only my opinion and do not neccessarily reflect the merit of the site or publication. They are included because I have found the information they contain interesting and potentially useful.
Here, then, is an incomplete list of publications and links to websites that will help you expand your knowledge of the fascinating world of bacteria, actinomycetes, earthworms and general decay:
http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/ Cornell Waste Management Institute
(Cornell is my Land Grant College and I am one of their Master Gardener Volunteers. However, every Co-operative Extension is a valuable resource, and you should not hesitate to contact the extension for your state. When searching the internet for information, add "extension" to your search criteria, and you will be directed to sites where you can be sure that the information is research based. Even so you will be amazed at how much the reports can vary!)
University of Illinois
The Secret Life of Compost
(The "How-To" & "Why" Guide to Composting - Lawn,
Garden. Feedlot and Farm), 1997. A very practical book, based on his experiences. While his is a large-scale operation, he started as a farmer and has tips for composters of every size.
Let It Rot!,
Storey Communications, Inc.,
1975 Probably the best starter book (until mine is published!) with enough science to explain how compost works, and why some methods work better than others.
Hills, Lawrence D,
1977. Only a small section on compost, but a good look at the big picture.
The Humanure Handbook, a
guide to composting human manure, Joseph Jenkins, Inc, 2005. The must-read of this list, with incredibly far-reaching implications. Available online.
Lowenfels, Jeff and Wayne Lewis, Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, Timber
Press, Portland, Oregon, 2006. Several reprintings and a revised
edition out in 2010. An easy-to-read look at the incredibly complex
and active life of the soil which provides many insights into the
Magdoff, Fred and
Harold van Es, Building
Soils for Better Crops: Organic Matter Management (Our Sustainable Future),
L. and Grace Gershuny (eds), The Rodale Book of Composting, ,
Easy Composters You can Build,
and Deborah L. Martin, Compost Gardening: a new time-saving system for more
flavorful vegetables, bountiful blooms, and the richest soil you've ever seen,
2008. A big, glossy, photo-filled book, packed with useful information and mostly practical tips
1959. The book that started it all. Quaintly dated in many respects, but definitely worth reading.
On-Farm Composting Handbook,
NRAES, 1992. Give this to your favorite farmer and encourage him to put it into practice.
Solomon, Steve, Van Patten's Organic Gardener's Composting, Van Patten Publishing, Portland, OR, 1993. In spite of the title, this is a somewhat maverick approach to composting as it takes several potshots at Rodale and the organic movement in general. A good book with lots of good information. That said, I would be ashamed to put my name to the book as editor as it contains more spelling, syntax and other typographical errors than your average college paper.
And a few on natural gardening/farming methods:
Can organic crops compete with industrial agriculture?
The Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture
Organic mulch lets insect pollinators do their job
Organic farming more drought resistant: Report
Earthworms, ants and termites: the real engineers of the ecosystem
Earthworms as nature's free fertilizer