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Introduction to Composting

Introduction to Composting

Composting is the natural process of decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms. Organic materials from composted crop residues and animal waste enhance soil fertility when used as a soil fertiliser. Composting recycles the soil nutrition level and improving soil sustainability by providing the soil with a diversity of nutrients and microorganisms. It also increases soil stability, improves drainage and helps retain moisture.

Why compost?

  •  Cost reduction with a natural form of fertiliser, less chemical fertiliser cost incurred
  •  Reduce wastage of resources in disposing of/managing organic materials
  •  Improve soil fertility
  •  Protecting land from chemical runoff and acidification

Compost can comprise any organic material in any form. The decomposition of organic matter creates compost, and these organic materials will eventually breakdown into its simplest form to provide nutrients for the area it is being applied.

What is compostable?

  • Animal Manure ( cows, sheep, goat)
  • Plant matter
  • Food processing by-products
  • Any organic matter/ waste
  • We do not encourage composting human waste unless the necessary technology/knowledge is present
  • Unprocessed/improperly process human waste can caused sanitation issues and the spread of diseases.

To determine the type of compost you can make, it will have to be dependent on the raw materials that are available on your farm. All organic substances are compostable, but the process of making it might differ due to the resource available.

Types of Compost

Liquid composting

  • Liquid composting is the fermentation of liquid waste to create liquid-based compost fertiliser.
  • Composted waste liquid from aquaponics, freshwater fish rearing, animal urine and by-products of manufacturing are suitable for agricultural use.

Buried composting

  • Buried Composting is a relatively easy method as all one must do is to dig and drop the organic materials.
  • One key indicator that the compost is ready is when grass/weed starts to grow over the compost pit.

 Above ground composting

  •  Above ground composting is one of the fastest composting methods as it exposes the organic materials with the maximum surface area.
  • In arid areas, one can cover it with a tarp to prevent drying up and in wet conditions, preventing wash off and the compost from getting too soggy.

 Vermicompost /Worm farms

  • Vermicomposting is the technique where the composting is aided with worms to breakdown the organic materials.
  • Vermicompost can be created by composting food scraps, and the result is a nutrient-rich compost.
  • Worms bred in the compost also provided an additional source of income as they sought after by farms as an animal feed or as pet food
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