Mkulima today the cost of farm inputs has gone up significantly. With the increase in demand for healthy meals, I would recommend you use compost manure on your farm. Today we cover how to create simple compost manure for your farm.
Composting is the process of breaking down solid organic materials by micro-organisms to a final material that can be useful as fertilizer.
The final product is uniform, dark brown mass, crumbly with a pleasant smell. The organic fertilizer produced is balanced in plant nutrients.
Compost improves the soil structure, circulation of water, air, and nutrients.
It improves drainage, reduces erosion, and makes heavy soils lighter this makes it easier for your plant’s roots to penetrate with ease resulting in quick growth and maturity.
Compost is good for soil life and plant growth. It helps to stop the soil from drying out and increases water retention in sandy soils. Compost improves the soil quality and makes it easier for plants to take up the nutrients.
This can help to produce better yields. Compost becomes immediately available as plant food without the need to be first broken down. It improves the production of crops.
Select an area protected from strong wind and sun. Dig a shallow pit about 4 feet wide and 5 feet long and 1 foot deep.
Spread evenly, chopped dry plant materials such as maize, millet or sorghum stalks at the bottom-most layer to make a layer of 30cm.
Sprinkle ash then water making sure all the material is moist but not wet. Add a second layer of dry vegetation, weeds, or grass about 15 cm thick. Sprinkle water on this layer too.
The pile should be moist throughout. Add a third layer of animal manure. Sprinkle some ash or lime on this layer. How to create a simple compost manure is a guide on how you can produce healthier produce with reduced costs.
Add a layer of green leaves from trees like calliandra, Leucaena, and sesbania or hedge cuttings of plants like Tithonia and sprinkle water.
Tithonia is (Kirurite) Embu; (Ilaa, Mulaa) Kamba; (Maruru) Kikuyu; (Amaua, amaroro) Kisii; (Amatwele) Luhya; (Maua makech) Luo; (Emaua) Teso.
Sprinkle on a little topsoil. Topsoil contains bacteria that are useful in the decomposition process. Sprinkle water on each layer as you add it.
Add more layers, starting with dry vegetative materials, then animal manure, wood ash, green vegetation, and topsoil. Sprinkle water on every layer.
Cover with a layer of topsoil about 10 cm to prevent nutrients from escaping. Cover the heap with dry banana leaves to reduce moisture loss.
Site selection is very important on how to create a simple compost manure. Select a site that is protected from high rainfall, flooding, strong sunlight, and wind, e.g. in the shade of a tree. Select a site that is easily accessible for receiving the materials, including water and/or animal urine, and for frequent monitoring and follow-up.
Remove stones and weeds from the site. Mark out the length 1 meter and width of 1 meter for the heap and dig a trench 20-25 cm deep.
Collect straw, maize, and sorghum stalks and use them as livestock bedding for one or two nights so that they get broken up and mixed with urine and dung.
Put the materials into the trench to make an even layer 15-25 cm deep. Sprinkle some water over the layer so it is moist but not wet.
Cover the layer with a little soil and some banana leaves or even a sheet of plastic to prevent the materials from drying out or being blown away. Cover the final heap with wet mud mixed with grass with or without cow dung or wide leaves of banana or pumpkin.
Cover on both the sides and the top of the heap. This will prevent water from getting into the heap and keep heat inside the compost.
Make a small fence around the heap from branches to protect it from animals. Leave the compost untouched until there is mature compost inside it.
If the compost is turned over, sprinkle water over the layers. Mix all materials together, then added in layers about 20-25 cm thick.
It is not necessary to make the different layers when turning over the compost. Mature compost will be ready in four months.
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