Compost preparation in Jiffarong

The first compost in the community garden in Jiffarong is now ready. Composting is a key component of sustainable development. It is a good way to recycle for example food scraps and it is a central part of the operations of organic farming as it offers a natural alternative for chemical fertilizers. In its essence, composting is the decaying of organic materials (such as vegetable waste, animal remains, top soil etc.) into a usable form by plants.

So, how is it prepared and how does it work?

The heap preparation begins by first drawing a circle 3 meters wide to the ground and digging it 20cm deep then thoroughly watering the entire area. On the first layer, spread dry grasses until you completely fill the 20 cm depth gob, apply animal waste on top of the spread grasses and then apply green grasses (if available) on the animal waste. After that, apply wood ash to start the second layer, then add vegetable waste of different kinds. On the third layer you gently apply topsoil and then finally cover the heap with dry grasses or plastic. The compost should mature for 3 months and it should be turned at the end of each month. Re-applying of materials/layers can be repeated as many times as possible if backed by enough organic materials. A heap can be 5-7 meters wide.

The heap should be watered immediately after completion of the organic layering and after that, two times per day (preferably early in the morning and late in the evening) up to one month since built, then once per day (preferably late in the evening). Keeping the compost well watered and moist, helps the micro-organisms to settle quickly and commence the breakdown of the organic particles and it also creates a comfortable atmosphere for the micro-organisms which results in rich and fertile compost.

The processing temperature of the heap should be 35-40c, which maximizes the effectiveness of the laying sequence and helps to break down hard organic materials in 2 weeks time at latest. Three long wood sticks  of 2-3 meters length are usually plugged into the compost heap; 2 sticks are plugged sideways to serve as the thermometer of the heap and one at the middle of the heap to use as the breathing/ventilation point of the heap. It helps to ease breakdown for particles. When the temperature goes below 20c it means that the compost is mature and ready to be used in the field. 

The compost heap should be free from all kinds of iron, plastic and stones as they can create excess heat to the compost, hindering its maturity period and later declining the value of the compost.