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Organic Compost Preparation.
Organic Compost Preparation.

Organic Compost Preparation and Methods

Organic Compost Preparation:

The following is all about steps involved in Organic Compost Preparation.

ORGANIC COMPOST PREPARATION

Organic compost includes plant and animal by products such as oil cakes fish manures and dried blood from slaughter houses. Before their organic nitrogen used by the crops it is converted through bacterial action into readily usable ammonical N and nitrate N. These manures are therefore, relatively slow acting, but they supply available N for a longer period.

  • This material requiring proper handling and high perishability ability.
  • There is no knowledge on appropriate composting technologies.
  • There is high competition from familiar type of synthetic fertilizers and lack of supporting policies for organic compost. Advantages Organic compost
  • Organic compost supply plant nutrients including micronutrients.
  • Organic compost improve physical properties of the soil, water holding capacity, hydraulic conductivity, infiltration capacity of the soil.
  • Organic compost supply energy (food) for microbes and increase availability of nutrients and improves soil fertility.
  • Green manures can fix atmospheric nitrogen leading to nitrogen economy in crop production and green manures draw nutrients from lower layers and concentrate them in the surface soil for the use of succeeding crop.

ORGANIC COMPOST PREPARATION – WHAT IS AN ORGANIC COMPOST

What is compost? well. compost is a manure derived or produced from a decomposed plant residues usually made by fermenting waste plant materials put in a pit usually in alternate layers with a view to bring the plant nutrients in a more readily available form.

Super compost: Compost fortified with super phosphate is called as super compost. Starters are the materials added to the composting organic wastes, which provide the decomposing organism. Pig dung slurry is a valuable starter and provides necessary organisms. Even cow dung slurry can be used as starter. Generally ammonium sulphate and super phosphate are added to the layers at the time of furrowing the composting heap to enrich nitrogen and phosphorus status of compost respectively. Fertilizers accelerate and hasten the decomposition of organic matter or wastes.

Organic Compost preparation

Site selection in Organic Compost preparation

The space is most important requirement for composting preparation. A shaded flat piece of land is most ideal for compost preparation. When selecting the site space should include a sorting place and proximity to a water source need to be taken into the consideration.

Labour requirement in Organic Compost preparation

After selection of site the most important is a labour intensive activity and labour requirement need to be planned for carefully taking into each step of compost preparation. It is necessary to consult with someone with good knowledge in compost preparation.

Equipment requirement in Organic Compost preparation  

Before starting any activity with organic composting, you should make sure the required equipment such as wheelbarrows, pangas, shovels, sieves and, packaging materials are in place.

STARTING A ORGANIC COMPOST PREPARATION

Sustained supply of green (wet) and dry waste types is very important. These two waste types could be composed of the materials listed below:

  1. i) Green (wet) wastes
  • Food remains including egg shells, bones (without meat or fat)
  • Fruit and vegetable peelings
  • Freshly cut grass, tree leaves, weeds etc
  • Tea leaves, coffee residues

These materials are considered as high quality because they contain high amounts of nitrogen.

  1. ii) Dry wastes
  • Dry grass, tree leaves
  • Saw dust from timber workshops
  • Straw, maize stalks etc

PIT METHOD IN ORGANIC COMPOST PREPARATION

Generally , pit composting is very easy and similar as in a forest environment for example, dead organisms keep piling one on top of the other, and over a period of time those underneath decompose and turn into humus. In this method, organic wastes are piled into a pit daily and as time goes on those underneath decompose into compost. The method is suitable for use in institutions like hospitals, boarding schools, children’s homes, etc, where daily production of organic waste is high. The process uses the following procedures. Identify a space of land in preferably under shade and dig a pit of 3.5 meters x 3.5 meters x 1 meter dimension.

Layering the waste

All the organic waste should be evenly spread out in the pit. At the end of each day cover your waste with a thin layer of soil and remember to moisten with water where necessary. This process should be continued on daily basis till the pit is full. The full pit should be covered with soil and be left to decompose. The decomposition period will vary between 6 months to 10 months as it is an anaerobic process. Ready compost could be removed for use in the garden, however if the pit was of the size of a garden bed it could be planted with crops directly. To ensure health and safely the materials being decomposed in the pit need to be carefully sorted to exclude inorganic.

VERMICOMPOST IN ORGANIC COMPOST PREPARATION

This is the combination of biological processes, designs and techniques used systematically and intensively to culture large quantities of certain species of earthworms and at the same time to speed up stabilization of organic wastes materials. The waste are eaten, ground and digested by the earthworms with the help of aerobic and some anaerobic micro flora. So these will be naturally converted into finer, humified microbially active faecal materials, where important plant nutrients are held in a form much more soluble and available to plants than those in the parent compound.

Vermicompost Preparation (Pic Source hgtv.com).
Vermicompost Preparation (Pic Source hgtv.com).

Generally, earthworm culture can perform at the same time three major and useful functions:

  • Reduce the pollution potential of organic waste.
  • Make good use of organic residues by their bioconversion into casts (a plant medium).
  • Produce more earthworms; this can either be useful to extend the vermicompost areas, or as a high quality protein meal, suitable for inclusion in various domestic animal rations.

VERMICOMPOST PROCESS IN ORGANIC COMPOST PREPARATION

Preparation for bed in Organic Compost preparation

Prepare a bed with a concrete, wood or plastic sheet bottom and construct walls 20 cm to 30 cm in height using wood, logs, stones or any appropriate material especially if recoverable from the waste. Place a wooden board across the bottom and line with chicken wire for better handling and aeration.

The layering procedure resembles the windrow composting. You should place a 10 cm to 15 cm layer of coarse organic materials such as banana trash, , coffee husks, maize stover and other crop / plant residues on top of the chicken wire. The materials must not contain chicken manure as the uric acid is harmful to the worms. Composted poultry manure is however suitable as feed.

Add watering to material in Organic Compost preparation

Place a 5 cm to 10 cm layer of manure on top of the coarse material. Cattle, pig, sheep and goat manures are suitable and preferred. Green manure, such as tree leaves or grass cuttings may be used as well. Mixing grass cuttings, bean threshing, maize or wheat bran and brewery waste are recommended. If the fine material is in short supply, then apply it to specific areas where the earth worms are placed in the compost pile. Moisten the organic materials prior to the introduction of the worms. Sufficient water should be applied so that pockets of dried material remain. Wet materials such as banana trash and fresh manure need little watering while dried materials may require as much as 30 litters per m3 of bed.

Adding earthworms into the bed in Organic Compost preparation

You should release the earthworms into the moist bed. You should avoid handling them individually and place small handfuls of compost rich in earthworms in to “holes” or “wells”  spaced about 0.5 meter apart.

Covering the bed in Organic Compost preparation

Cover the bed with plant materials or dark polythene sheet. Make sure to check the bed at regular intervals during composting phase for moisture and plant residues or leaves used to cover the bed as earthworms can eat the older organic materials. Earthworms do not like direct light, control this by keeping the beds covered. Ants will usually leave the bed if the underlying chicken wire is violently and repeatedly shaken.

Feeding the bed in Organic Compost preparation

Organic materials should be applied to the bed at the regular intervals as additional layers. A common practice is to periodically apply additional organic wastes by burying them in different positions within the bed. Vermicompost is ready after approximately 3 to 6 months. Additional feeding prolongs the vermicompost process but yields larger amounts of compost which is beneficial factor. You should withhold feed about 20 to 21 days before the vermicompost is collected to obtain a finer and more homogeneous and finished product.

When the vermicompost is ready, worms should be harvested and compost should be processed.  Make sure to place a fine feed material on the bed prior to vermicompost harvesting to facilitate the collection of worms from subsequent  batches. Brewers’ waste or fresh cattle manure or wheat bran are particularly good feeds that lure earthworms for composting.  The collected worms may also be fed to fishes or poultry birds. You can spread vermicompost in the sun to collect other pockets of worms by hand as the vermin compost dries.

After collecting the worms, the vermicompost cycle may be repeated. The finished vermin compost is uniform, dark and fine textured. It is best used as the main ingredient in a seedling or potting medium after passing it through 5 mm or 10 mm mesh.

GREEN MANURE AND GREEN LEAF MANURE IN ORGANIC COMPOST PREPARATION

Green manuring is the act of growing of quick growing crop preferably legumes and ploughing in situ and incorporated into the soil. Whereas green leaf manuring is incorporation of green matter into the soil transported from elsewhere.

Compost Preparation.
Compost Preparation.

Green Manure

  • Sun hemp (Crotolaria juncea).
  • Manila agathi (Sesbania rostrata).
  • Daincha (Sesbania aculeate).
  • Pillipesara (Phaseolus trilobus).
  • Sesbania (Sesbania speciosa).
  • Kolinji (Tephrosia purpurea).

GREEN LEAF MANURE

  • Glyricidia (Glyricidia sepium).
  • Pongamia (Pongamia glabra)..
  • Neem (Azadiracta indica).
  • Gulmohur (Delonix regia).

Sesbania aculeata and Delonix elata are very effective green manures and green leaf manures respectively used for reclamation of sodic soils. Daincha (Sesbania aculeata) is highly resistant to both drought and water stagnation and salinity and alkalinity. It can be grown in soils with pH 4.5 to 9.5. It produces green matter of 20 tonnes/ha in 3 months.

Daincha contains 3.2% of N and 34% of Ca on dry weight basis which helps to replace Na from sodic soils. The acid juice (pH 4.0) and high seed protein content (58%) seems to be the cause of its resistance to sodicity stress. During the reclamation of sodic soils gypsum @ 50% of gypsum requirement (GR) has to be spread uniformly over the field. The surface soil is to be ploughed to mix the gypsum in the sodic soil. Irrigate the field with 10 cm to 15 cm depth of water and maintain the same water depth for 3 to 4 days. At this stage, the sodium content in clay particles are replaced by the calcium ions from the gypsum, allowing the sodium to wash out of the field as Leachate. The field has to be kept with stagnant water for 3 times to 4 times after each drainage process.

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