The soil is the most valuable possession of farmers with the health of the soil arguably the issue of utmost concern to farmers. The health of the soil for crop production is largely determined by its organic matter content and the nutrients present in it.
Soil erosion, water erosion, wind, leaching and some bad farming practices are some factors that cause the loss of soil nutrients resulting to poor soil for production.
However, these challenges are being worked around through ‘modifying soil management’ practices and finding out which compost production is the cheapest.
What is Compost and Composting?
Compost is the final product of decomposed organic matters, while composting is a natural process applied to recycle organic materials for the purpose of soil amendment.
Some benefits of compost include:
- Improved soil structure (arrangement of soil particles and pores between them) and soil porosity (the spaces that are fund between soil particles).
- Increased soil humus.
- Better retention of soil moisture, decreased plant diseases and pests.
- Regulates soil temperature.
- Improves organic matters in soil.
- Improves soil types especially sandy and clay soil by helping to bind soil particles and increasing the soil’s ability to retain moisture and nutrients.
When is it ideal to apply compost?
Compost is applied to the soil before sowing of seeds or transplanting seedlings. It is done by either thoroughly mixing the compost with the soil before sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings, or taking a handful of compost in the hole that has been prepared for placing seeds or transplanting seedlings.
Materials needed to make compost
Compost can be made from any organic material that will eventually decompose and provide nutrients to the soil and also boost soil structure. Some materials required include:
- Animal dung
- Kitchen waste
- Old compost, and
Animal dung, old compost and kitchen waste help to accelerate the process of decomposition while urine and ash regulate the level of acidity.
How to make compost
- Location – Find the right location for your compost bin. You should choose a location which is flat, well-drained and sunny. Warmer location fastens compost work.
- Ingredient placement – Start with a layer of coarse materials ideal for drainage and aeration and cover the layer with leaves. Then simply alternate between layers of green (nitrogen-rich material) and brown materials (carbon-rich material).
- Maintaining Compost – To get finished compost more quickly do these activities:
- When you add fresh material, be sure to mix it in with the lower layers.
- Add kitchen and yard waste as they accumulate.
- During the dry season, water your compost to keep it moist.
- Mix or turn the compost once a week to help the breakdown process.
- Continue to add layer, kitchen waste until the bin is filled and repeat the above activities until you have a crumbly, dark, spongy substance.
What you should not compost
- Diseased plant
- Fish scraps
- Perennial weed