Compost Soil in Organic Farming – Design and Uses
Organic farming aims to bring a more “natural” spin to the process of modern agriculture, by using traditional techniques of crop rotation and nutrition to create foods that are free from as many artificial additives as possible. wherever possible, manufactured herbicides and pesticides are avoided; and the introduction of plant growth hormones and food additives, or the sludge from human sewage, is prohibited.
Composting is the natural way to enrich the composition of the soil in which organic crops are planted and grown. At a very basic level, compost is simply a pile of green waste – that is, all elements of approved food waste and existing plant waste – that has been allowed to decompose: hence the name compost.
Compost is used not only for providing soil nutrition, but for forming a number of other vital agricultural functions – many of which have been lost by the large-scale, non organic commercial methods used by farms where extreme bulk production is undertaken. Compost provides warmth for seeds and seedlings, and so is capable of promoting growing conditions when laid on top of soil in which the seeds are planted. It also acts as a natural form of pesticide, because the chemicals produced through composting (which are natural results of the processes by which bacteria and microorganisms convert plant waste into energy) may kill specific species of bug or pathogen.
It must be noted that compost used in commercial organic agriculture must be severely screened for the possible existence of pathogens: any pathogen that survives the composting process will by definition introduce disease to the crops upon which it is placed. Strict controls are also exercised over what counts as green waste and what does not – the understanding being that any waste matter identified as green is safe to decompose and use as compost.
Compost has a key role to play in the overall concept of recycling, which aims to get as much use as possible from the materials we have already used to make our packaging and to fuel our bodies. Composting physically reduces the mass of recycled material (because the bacteria and othermicroorganisms eat a lot of it), and actively promotes the generation of healthy and health-giving new organisms (plants) vital to the ecosystem of the organic farm.
The compost must be managed, while it is being created, in order to ensure that the full benefit is obtained for the soil that will be treated with it. Primarily, compost management is tied up with aerating and maintaining core temperature. This is done by frequent turning of the compost, to allow air to permeate and to move the outside in – this ensures that the high temperature at the heart of the heat is played on everything in the heap, thereby killing off all existing pathogens and pests.
Compost also needs regular dousing with water. The water combines with the oxygen to fuel the essential life processes of the microorganisms that decompose the compost; meaning more proliferation of bacteria, quicker composting and a higher internal temperature.
Author bio: Katie Hill is a freelance content writer with years of experience in writing about various topics. She takes special interest in organic farming and has done detailed research on organic compost supplier in Sussex and green waste recycling to write this article.