What is compost? A mixture of decayed organic materials decomposed by microorganisms in a warm, moist, and aerobic Environment, releasing nutrients into readily available forms for plant use. Composting is the process of producing compost through aerobic decomposition of biodegradable organic matter. The decomposition is performed primarily by aerobes, although larger creatures such as ants, nematodes, and oligochaete worms also contribute. This decomposition occurs naturally in all but the most hostile environments, such as within landfills or in extremely arid deserts, which prevent the microbes and other decomposers from thriving.
Why Use Compost? There is a need for sustainable production through integrated nutrient management. Compost produces less methane than uncomposted rice straw when incorporated in the soil. It solves the problem of declining yield. It corrects micronutrient problems such as Zinc deficiency.
Benefits of Using Compost Big savings,increased farmer self reliance Increases water holding capacity of the soil. Acts as buffer to changes in soil pH Provides humus or organic matter, vitamins, hormones and plant enzymes which are not supplied by chemical fertilizers Different material can be blended or mixed which can increase the nutrient content of the compost fertilizer.
Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic matter. Rather than allowing nature to take its slow course, a composter provides an optimal environment in which decomposers can thrive. To encourage the most active microbes, a compost pile needs the correct mix of the following ingredients: Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen (from the air) Water
Types of Composting Home composting Microbes and heating pile Worm composting Industrial composting
3 ways of Making A compost Traditional method- 3-4 months before farm wastes are fully decomposed and ready to use as a compost fertilizer Rapid Method- with the aid fungus activator TRICHODERMA HARZIANUM. Bio-Enriched Method- Employing both Fungus activator and nitrogen fixing bacteria.
Materials for composting Some ingredients with higher carbon content: Dry, straw-type material, such as cereal straws Autumn leaves Sawdust and wood chips Some paper and cardboard (such as corrugated cardboard or newsprint with soy-based inks) Some ingredients with higher nitrogen content: Green plant material (fresh or wilted) such as crop residues, hay, grass clippings, weeds Animal manures (choose vegetarian horse manure, cow manure, llama manure, etc.) Fruit and vegetable trimmings Seaweeds Used Coffee grounds
Process of Composting Step 1: Gather Materials gather rice straw, weeds sugarcane baggase, corn stalks and stovers, mungbean, cowpea, soybean crop residues and animal manure.
Step 2: Prepare Compost Area Choose a shaded and well-drained area.
Step 3: pile materials Traditional Method- a layer of compost materials consists of three parts rice straw, one part manure, soil and ash lime spread on top of each other. Rapid Method-A layer of compost materials consists of three parts rice straw, one part mixture of animal manure and leguminous materials , and thin layer of fungus activator. Bio-enriched Method- mix all rice straw, animal manure and leguminous materials into a proportion.
Step 5: water compost heap Water each layer of compost heap until it is sufficiently moist.
Step 6: Cover compost heap Cover with plastic sheet, used sacks, banana and coconut leaves to increase temperature and prevent too much water into compost heap which could leach the nutrients.
Step 7: Rotate Compost Heap Traditional Method- turn upside down or rotate, or mix compost heap after 3 weeks, then again after five weeks. Rapid-Method- turn compost heap from top to bottom after 2 weeks. This step, however, is optional. Bio-enriched Method-remove cover after 2-3 weeks or when the compost heap has decomposed. Separate undecomposed materials for further composting.
Step 8: add bacteria inoculum applied only on Bio-enriched Method For every ton of compost material, spread evenly on top of each compost layer.
Step 9: harvest compost Traditional method- harvest 4 weeks after second rotation of compost heap. Rapid Method-harvest 1-2 weeks after rotating the compost heap. Bio-enriched Method- after 1 week incubation of the bacteria inocula,the compost is ready to use.
Health Precautions the decomposing compost heap can generate heat up to 60 degrees celcius. exercise care handling the compost while rotating it. Wear protective gloves or foot gear so as not to scald your hands and feet. Composting materials and microorganisms may cause allergies, although they are non- pathogenic. To avoid inconvenience from itching, cover nose and mouth with mask, use long sleeved clothes, and wash body and hands after working on compost