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How to make compost and use mulch

The only way to produce good conventional compost is to have a source of animal manure plus lots of organic matter stacked in layers with humus rich soil with a high soil bacteri and organism count .The temperature in this compost should never be above 55 deg.C as above this all the living organisms will be destroyed. To control this the compost has to be turned regularly, or aired in some manner, which is very time and labour intensive. The method we prefer is to use earthworms on animal manure and other organic material as a mulch in the fields . This is less labour intensive and the earthworm composting can be done close to the source of manure . Any type of manure can be used but chicken and pig have additional requirements due to high ammonia levels. The earthworm compost or vermicompost is full of organisms that are beneficial to the soil and once they are in the soil, together with the conventional soil earthworms, the organic material will be converted to humus in a very short time.

For large scale operations there are mechanised solutions available to plant seeds or seedlings in mulch. The most important thing is never to turn the soil. A narrow tine may be used but only at a slow speed and when absolutely nesessary . The reason for this is that every time you turn the soil, the organic matter gets destroyed by the hot sun and the whole object of composting is defeated.

Published:2006-02-14

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