Easy methods for making compost manure: step-by-step guide

Compost manure

Compost manure is decayed plant materials mixed with animal waste products. Compost supplements the soil with both micro and macro nutrients. The main reason for composting plant materials, organic matter and animal waste products is to help in minimizing the cost of production.

Benefits of compost manure

  • Maintenance of soil structure due to addition of humus
  • Easy supply of natural nutrients in the soil
  • Improvement of excellent air, water and nutrients circulation
  • It also enhances good water retention capacity in sandy soils
  • Prevention of soil deterioration

What is the process involved in composting

Composting involves the process of compiling natural waste products in layers for faster decomposition. Microorganisms decompose organic matter into a rich soil nutrients product biochemically.

Composting helps in production of natural fertilizer that is well balanced for easier nutrients accumulation by plants.

Compost manure is very effective for infertile soils. It is also useful in areas with short rainfall where most of the times, artificial fertilizers are ineffective due to lack of moisture.

Advantages of compost manure

  • Waste products in your home are put in to good use
  • It’s not complicated to make for any farmer/gardener
  • Compost manure is effective in the soil just like artificial fertilizer
  • Saves capital, since no capital will be spent on purchase
  • Ordinary farm manure provokes excessive growth of weeds which is not the case with compost
  • Healthy food production

Best and easy methods for composting

There are two main simple methods for making compost manure:

Heap method – heap method is the process of decomposing natural waste products on the ground surface. Mostly practised in regions with high rainfall.

Pit method – This method is done by digging a small rectangular hole that is 2 to 3 feet deep. It’s mainly suitable in areas with low rainfall.

Heap/pile method

Heap method of making compost
Heap method of making compost
  1. Select a location covered from winds, sun , run off and rainy showers. The heap must not be too wet or overly dry. Optimum moisture must be maintained.
  2. Make a rectangular measurement of four feet by five feet. However, the length depends on the raw materials in possession. Be careful not to make it too wide than 4 feet as you would encounter problems while working on it.
  3. Put soil on the exterior after digging a small pit of about 15 centimeters deep
  4. The next step is adding rough materials like shredded maize stalk or hedge cuttings while sprinkling some water.
  5. The second layer is putting dried vegetation and grass. And just like the first layer sprinkle a little water. This is because the compost needs to be moist at all times, therefore make sure not to forget this important detail.
  6. On the third layer manure from cows is added. This is important because animal manure contains essential microorganisms for faster decomposition. Failure to add, it will take forever to decompose.
  7. Above this layer, sprinkle a little wood ash at the top. Wood ash helps in supplying of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus nutrients. It also helps in counterbalancing acidity levels produced by animal wastes.
  8. The fourth layer involves addition of green leaves especially those from leguminous plants.
  9. Add top soil on this layer. Top soil encompasses useful bacteria for swift decomposition process.
  10. Repeat the process of adding above layers in order until 5 feet tall. Remember to continuously sprinkle water after every layer.
  11. Completion of this activity is done by covering the heap with top soil and dry vegetation like banana leaves. Banana leaves helps in keeping the heap at optimum moisture while top soil helps in preventing nutrients from breaking out.
  12. Now the remaining step is putting a sharp pointed stick through the compost heap which will act as a thermometer. You will be able to discern whether the heap is too hot or cold.
  13. After every 3 days sprinkle water on top of the heap but if there is rainfall no need to do it.
  14. Wait until third week and turn around the heap.Turning should be done after pulling out the thermometer stick and you find white substance as this shows decomposition has ended. Mixing up the layers helps to decompose any materials left.
  15. In about about one month decomposition will have completed. However, you must make sure thermometer stick is not warm before starting to feed your plants.
  16. After confirmation that decomposition has completed, store the natural fertilizer by covering with a polythene bag.

It should be applied at a rate of 8 tonnes per acre.

Pit method for decomposition

Pit method of making compost
Pit method of making compost

This method is mostly practised in areas with low rainfall or dry zones. This is because the pit method helps in the conservation of moisture which is very useful in decomposition.

  1. Dig a rectangular pit that is 4 to 5 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep. It depends on the materials you have
  2. The process of adding layers is the same as the first method.
  3. Repeat the process of adding layers until 30 centimeters above ground level. After some time, you will notice that the heap will start shrinking. This is because of the decomposition process.
  4. The next step is turning over the heap while adding water which is done at three intervals;
    After 15 days, 30 days, and 2 months.
    Turning over helps in good circulation of water and air.
  5. Make sure at the third turning to remove partially decomposed organic matter outside and back in the pit. This is essential as it helps bacteria take nitrogen from the air.
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