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July 2012
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What is a Compost ? What are its types and uses?

Compost is an organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment.


• Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming.
• The process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter.
• They include leaves, “green” food waste.
• The materials are to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months.
• Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process.
• They need measured inputs of water, air and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials.
• The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration.
• It needs regularly turning of the mixture.
• Worms and fungi further break up the material.
• Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium.
• The ammonium is further converted by bacteria into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates which is done through the process of nitrification.
• Compost can be rich in nutrients.

Uses of Compost

It is used in:
• gardens
• landscaping
• horticulture
• agriculture
It is beneficial in ways like:
• soil conditioner
• a fertilizer
• addition of vital humus or humic acids
• a natural pesticide for soil
• erosion control
• land and stream reclamation
• wetland construction
• landfill cover
• generate biogas through anaerobic digestion
• down cycling waste organic matter

What things are required for composting organisms?

Composting organisms require four equally important things to work effectively:
• Carbon: for energy.
• Nitrogen — to grow and reproduce more organisms to oxidize the carbon.
• Oxygen — for oxidizing the carbon, the decomposition process.
• Water — in the right amounts to maintain activity without causing anaerobic conditions.

What are the materials in a compost pile?

• Urine
• Manure and bedding
• Microorganisms
• Bacteria
• Actinomycetes
• Fungi
• Protozoa
• Rotifers

What are common items suitable for composting?

These common items can likely be added to compost with no negative effect.
• Paperboard or clean paper
• Dried-out egg shells
• Leaves, garden trimmings
• Fruits and vegetables
• Coffee and tea

What are types of composting?

1. Grub composting
• Grub composting uses the black soldier fly larvae (BSFL).
• This is to quickly convert manure or kitchen waste into an animal feed for poultry, fish, pigs, lizards, turtles, and possibly dogs.
• The composted residue can be used as a soil amendment or as food for worms (redworms).

2. Bokashi composting
• Bokashi composting uses an aerobic or anaerobic inoculation to produce the compost.
• Once a starter culture is made, it can be used to extend the culture indefinitely, like yogurt culture.
• Bokashi is commonly made with only molasses, water, EM, and wheat bran.

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