Compost. The natural fertilizer for organic food production

Essay, 2015
7 Pages, Grade: A+


Population and its mouth feeding growth is despicable that the worldwide demand for edibles will increase for years (Raynolds, 2004). The multi-layered and linked global strategy will be a goal to enhance endurable and justifiable food security systems (Godfray et al., 2010). The international organic agriculture production and its reasonable trade movements will establish important encounters to the natural and social goals that characterized the agro-food systems (Raynolds, 2000).

Critiques of the chemical agricultural production and consumption patterns find another avenue of producing a more sustainable world agricultural food system (Godfray et al., 2010). The international organic food producers will emphasis on re-embedding crops and livestock production in the natural way (Raynolds, 2004). Raynolds (2000) postulated that the organic food certification would provide a central governance, shape product stipulations, production restrictions, and food production enterprises (Raynolds, 2000).

The need for a sustainable agriculture is mutually accepted and agreed on globally, but the progress remains indefinable (Rigby, & Cáceres, 2001). The scope to this sustainable agriculture production may have many operating meanings (Raynolds, 2000). Agricultural sustainability may measure the relation in organic agricultural production to chemical in many countries (Godfray et al., 2010). The protagonist of this regulation in the use of artificial agricultural chemicals, the amount of self-sufficiency of agricultural systems, and the measure of production realization toward the sustainability goals (Rigby, & Cáceres, 2001).

Natural agricultural grown produce are vended for a finest price over chemical fertilizers crop produces (Godfray et al., 2010). There are links between the organic grown produce, returns to growers, willingness of consumers to pay higher prices, and the cosmetic appearance, which dictates the total supply and demand for the organic crop produces (Hughner, McDonagh, Prothero, Shultz II, & Stanton, 2007). The result suggested that the available organic outlets and most important motivation that consumers exhibit when purchasing organic produce is significant (Govindasamy & Italia, 2004).

The important distinctive feature of organic agricultural production connotes to the consumers health and well-being rather than to the other culture is of artificial chemical fertilizers and pesticide deposits (Govindasamy & Italia, 2004). Some themes reflect the various justifications used by consumers when deciding to purchase organic food (Raynolds, 2000). Literature indicated that the word organic has many meanings that consumers of organic foods were not homogeneous in their demographics and that further research could help better describe the constituencies that are lumped up as organic food consumers (Hughner et al., 2007). The organic and broader food industries must better understand the variety of motivations, perceptions, and attitudes consumers hold regarding organic foods, their consumption on long-term interests, and other stakeholders of food marketing to patronize (Raynolds, 2004). Organic food production is growing rapidly in the United States. Many consumers are willing to pay premium prices for organic fruits, vegetables, meat and are convinced that, they are helping the earth and eating healthier foods (Hughner et al., 2007).

In this modern time, it is a routine to provide distinct facilities for disposing of the different waste products of built-up communities, specifically, household garbage, sterile sewage, yard, street, and garden trimmings (Carothers, 1973). Disposal facilities envisage on recycling processes that produce as by products air and water pollutants detrimental to the environment (Carothers, 1973). The objective of the present development resides in the provision of a method for pretreating and scrupulously collaborating the household garbage and trash, the organic yard, and garden wastes (Carothers, 1973).

Without spending much money, the ultimate garden fertilizer is made (Carothers, 1973: Rajhel, 2014). An important characteristic of compost is an ideal ingredient supplier with some fertilizer values (Rajhel, 2014). Natural decomposition of leaves, plants, and animal manures by microorganisms forms the compost (Farrell-Poe, Koenig, Miller, & Barnhill, 1997).

Compost improves the soil structure, texture, aeration, and support the soil water holding capacity (Rajhel, 2014). Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which are plants major nutrients are produced naturally by the feeding of the microorganisms on organic waste to become a compost (Rajhel, 2014). In my opinion, the addition of compost increases soil fertility and stimulates healthy root development.

Number of different structures are used for compost making, but the cheapest is the heap composting (Newbury, 1995). First, you need to find out if your community has any local regulations pertaining to composting. The right location is important for the successful compost piling and making. Choose a leveled area with good drainage and sunlight (Scott, 2009).

The tools needed for composting are a four or five-fined fork, a garden hose or watering can, pruners, matchet or shredder, and a compost thermometer (Rajhel, 2014). Materials that are good for composting are as follows; leaves, sawdust, grass clippings, annual weeds, uncooked vegetable waste excluding onions and citrus peals, uncooked fruit wastes, straw, shredded bushes, and animal manures (Pleasant & Martin, 2008 : Rajhel, 2014). However, exclude that of pigs and pets, which may carry microbes and diseases to the garden or farms where the compost might be used in. (Rajhel, 2014)

A smaller pile may not heat up enough for an efficient breakdown, thus slowing the process of compost pile decomposition. A larger pile might hold too much water not allowing air into the pile’s center (Newbury, 1995). This would create an anaerobic condition for the microorganisms not to survive to carry on with the decomposition process (Pleasant & Martin, 2008).

The reason why air circulation is an important element in compost piling is that most of the organisms decompose materials with the help of oxygen (Scott, 2009). There are other ways of keeping compost piles breathing (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). Inserting of tree brunches and ventilation tubes maximized air circulation in compost pits and heaps (Scott, 2009).

You can start the compost piling at any time of the year, but the most appropriate time is the fall season, when most nitrogen from cool season lawn mowing and fallen leaves with carbon dioxide are readily available (Newbury, 1995). Never add more of any single ingredient or either skips a layer in the construction of the compost (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). Layering is done when starting a new pile, and once it is active; add more materials by burying them into the center or incorporating them when turning the compost pile (Rajhel, 2014).

The recommended size for a home compost pile should be larger than 3ft by 3ft by 3ft and smaller than 5ft by 5ft by 5ft (Scott, 2009). It is recommended to start the compost piling on the bare ground allowing aeration and microbial contacts (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). Start with the bottom layer and continue to build it up, until reaching the top most layers. Firm and lightly water each layer as it is added, but do not compact (Rajhel, 2014).

The first layer can be organic materials and should be between 6 to 8 inches thick (Newbury, 1995). Bulky organic materials decompose best in the first ground layer. The second layer, which is made up of animal manures or fertilizers serve as activators accelerating the heating of the pile (Galloway et al., 2008: Pleasant & Martin, 2008).

These materials provide nitrogen, proteins and enzymes for the decomposing microbes (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). Dung from grain eating animals are added one to two inches in the layer (Rajhel, 2014). If this not available, add one cup of commercial fertilizers NPK 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 per 25 square feet (Galloway et al., 2008: Pleasant & Martin, 2008).

Follow the labeled direction on the commercial fertilizers (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). The top layer can be top soil or active compost materials to introduce microorganisms into the new compost pile (Galloway et al., 2008). Normally, one to two inches layer is enough. After the third layer is filled up, another first layer is started on the top of it, alternatively until enough pile is made (Newbury, 1995).

Temperature plays an important role in the composting process (Rajhel, 2014). Putrefaction occurs quickly around 110 to 160 F. within two weeks (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). A worthy sign that the compost pile is in good condition with the firmest break down (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). The average compost pile should be turn once in every 4 to 5 weeks interval. (Newbury, 1995).

The turning helps in mixing the fresh materials with the older ones, adds air to the pile, and allows the compost maker to add water to the pile (Rajhel, 2014). If new materials are not added, turn, and water the pile 5-6 weeks after the initial warming (Pleasant & Martin, 2008). Make sure to turn the outside of the old pile into the center of the new pile for aeration (Galloway et al., 2008).

The compost should be ready and usable in 3 to 4 months period (Rajhel, 2014). The result of this composting process is a dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling material called compost (Farrell-Poe et al., 1997). When applied to soil, compost increases organic matter content, improves soil structure, and provides nutrients for plant growth (Rajhel, 2014). The organic matter in compost provides food for microorganisms, which help in keeping the soil healthy (Farrell-Poe et al., 1997).

Compost is the best quantifiable available to invigorate the soil no matter where it is used (Coannouer, 2015). Adding compost to garden soil is a long-term venture and becomes a permanent part of the soil structure for years to come (Coannouer, 2015: Moore, 1995). In addition, compost dispensing to a planting hole of annuals and perennial plants is valuable way of producing organic food crops to the global consumers (Godfray et al., 2010: Pleasant & Martin, 2008). Farmers testified that, healthier soil grows healthier plants, which are naturally resistant to diseases, insects, and pests (Farrell-Poe et al., 1997).


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Godfray, H. C. J., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J.F., Pretty, J, Robinson, S., Thomas, S.M., & Toulmin, C., (2010). Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People. . Science, 5967. Doi: 10.1126/science.1185383

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Scott, N. (2009). How to make and use compost: the ultimate guide. Retrieved from


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Compost. The natural fertilizer for organic food production
Walden University  (Management and Technology)
International Seminar
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ISBN (eBook)
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486 KB
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Franklin Atadja (Author), 2015, Compost. The natural fertilizer for organic food production, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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