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Basic ingredients/directions for fermented compost

October 13, 2009

Ingredients:

Following are some of the basic, essential ingredients necessary for the fabrication of high-quality, low-tech, fermented compost

Charcoal
Charcoal  (carbon) improves the physical characteristics of the soil by facilitating aeration and absorbtion of humidity and nutrients. The high porosity of charcoal is beneficial to micro and macrobiological activity, it also acts as a solid sponge of sorts, absorbing, retaining, filter, and gradually release nutrients useful to plants. Carbonaceous materials in compost are essentially serves the same function as carbohydrates do for people , they provide energy food for microorganism to break down organic matter. Soils low in carbon have a higher degree of nutrient leaching. (For our purposes, carbon in small particulates is better then large chunks. Large chunks can, however, be broken up).

Chicken manure
This is one of the best, most easily acquired sources of nitrogen used in the  fabrication of composts. Nitrogen’s primary function is to provide protein that micro organisms need to break down carbonaceous materials (most commonly in the form of dry leaves). Nitrogen activates the compost, heating things up and enabling them to break down. Chicken manure improves the fertility of soils, introducing or making available such nutrients as, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and boron.

The best quality chicken manure comes from laying hens raised under a roof on a covered floor. It has been demonstrated that chicken manure from factory farmed chickens raised for meat still carries residue of hormones and antibiotics fed to chickens for increased growth rates.

Rice husk
Rice husk improves the physical characteristics of the soil, providing carbonaceous material, aeration, absorbtion of humidity and filtration of nutrients. Rice husk is also beneficial in improving macro and microbioligical activity, enhancing the growth of a plant’s root system. Additionally, rice husk provides significant quantities of silica, which enhances the plants resistance to attacks by parasitic organisms. In the long term, rice husk breaks down and becomes a source of humus.

Cane syrup
This is the principal source of energy for fermentation, helping the spread of microbiological activity. Cane syrup is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and it contains an array of micronutrients, primarily boron.

Pulidura de arroz
Pullidura de arroz is the deshecos from a rice processing facility, including fragments of husk and rice kernels, kind of a course powder with chaff.

Baker’s yeast
Innoculant to initiate biological activity

Cal agricola
Cal regulates acidity that becomes abundant during the fermentation process. Depending on the origin of the cal, it can contribute other useful minerals to the soil.
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Quantities:

Following is a list of ingredients and weight or volume for the production of 68 quintal bags of organic compost:

20  quintal bags chicken manure (from laying hens)
20 quintal bags rice husk
20 quintal bags normal soil
6 quintal bags of crushed charcoal
1 quintal bag of pulidura de arroz
1 quintal bag of cal agricola
1 gallon of cane syrup
2 pounds of yeast (granulated or in a bar)

Water

Directions:

Lay down consecutive layers of rice husk, soil, chicken manure, charcoal, pulidura de arroz, and cal.

Mix water, cane syrup, and yeast in a bucket
Thoroughly moisten the pile of ingredients

Mix/homogenize all of the ingredients into a large pile
cover the pile and let it sit for a day.

Test the temperature. Within the first days the temperature will tend to rise very fast, as high as 80 C, this should be avoided by frequent turning, twice a day (once in the morning, once in the evening)

As a general rule the pile should not heat over 50 C.

After the first five days of twice-a-day turning, the fermentation slows and the pile can be turned once a day for the remaining 7-10 days, or until the fermentation process has completed (pile not generating heat).

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