Nurturing the soil biology is crucial if you want healthy soil that will support healthy plant growth, healthy animals and healthy people, and the absolute best way to get started with fueling your soil biology is with compost.
Compost has been a basic component of agriculture for at least 4500 years, with the first recorded documents being the clay tablets of Akkadian in 2700 B.C.! I would call this a time tested practice, and who would want to argue with an Akkadian?
Composting is a simple process that just takes a little dedication and practice. There are many different ways it can be done, and many opinions on what makes good compost. With a little help you will figure out what is best for your operation.
How Compost Leads to Healthy Soil and Healthy Plants
In a healthy natural system, biology is the driver in the soil. It consists of the following main organisms;
Now, you can manage soils without paying attention to soil biology as plants will take up nutrients in solution, but eventually your system will be compromised as your plants will get more and more reliant on you feeding them and less able to source nutrition on their own.
Composting is a tried and true strategy for taking advantage of the everyday things already present on your farm or property to charge up the biological engine of your soil, and ensure your plants get everything they need from the soil, without becoming reliant on external feeding.
Assess Your Resources, and Choose the Right Composting Method For Your Operation
The materials you have to compost, the quantities of those materials you have available, and your personal style and ambition will determine what type of composting you will undertake as well as the equipment you will need to get the job done.
As a simple starting point, first choose between Aerobic and Anaerobic Composting. Here are some of the key points about Aerobic and Anaerobic Composting, to help you decide:
Aerobic Composting – With Oxygen
•Easy to monitor
•More consistent results
•More diversity of organisms
•Less potential environmental problems
Anaerobic Composting – Without Oxygen
•Better with toxic materials
•Better with dead animals
•Produces higher humus content
•Can produce greater nitrogen levels in finished product
Once you know whether you will be using an Aerobic or Anaerobic Method, you can choose the type of system you wish to employ. Here are some of the options:
•Worm Farms and Bins
•Dead Animal Composting
Once you've assessed your situation and made your choice of system, you can start learning more about it and putting it into practice. Our e-book A Simple Guide To Starting Your Compost goes in-depth into each of these systems and more, and is the perfect resource to support you on your composting journey.
We Live and Breathe Composting and Soil Fertility!
We have been perfecting the art of farm-scale composting for the past three decades, and we now run workshops here at Chaos Springs to share what we have learned and help spread the word about how composting boosts your on-farm fertility. We have taught our Precise Composting Methods to hundreds of people over the years and we make our own organic compost using these methods.
Give us a call about getting some compost directly from us, or talk to us about organising a compost and soil fertility consultation on your farm or property.
Tell us your favourite tips for creating compost in the comments below - we would love to hear from you!