Using Compost in Organics
Maintaining and increasing soil fertility.
The Australian Organic Standards state the basic aim of ecological soil management is to maintain and increase soil fertility. Balancing the biological, physical and chemical components of the soil is important. The quantity of organic matter and microbial life and the interactions can turn grey lifeless soil into brown active soil. Cycles that allow the flow of nutrients to plants are interconnected and need the help of living organisms.
Compost is one way organic growers can return organic matter to the soil.
Compost in the form of organic matter feeds the soil microbes and the plant and provides a source of macro and micro nutrients.
It is not possible to determine compost quality, nutrient content or plant performance levels by looking at compost. Laboratory analysis is the only reliable way to determine compost quality.
To use compost properly requires a systematic approach to farming of any kind. This means that we should address a range of issues that will affect the health of the soil and the effectiveness of the compost. A biologically active soil is the key to a low chemical input systems. By inoculating the soil with composted organic matter and microbes we are starting on the road back to healthy soil. Healthy soil contains microbes that actively breakdown organic matter into nutrients that can be used by plants. Natures system feeds plants by cycling these nutrients through the soil. Healthy soils have nutrient cycling through organic matter management.
For the nutrient cycling to occur at the optimum level for plant growth we need to ensure that the soil is balanced in three ways:
- Chemically – nutrients
- Biologically – microbiological
- Physically – structure
We have been helping growers use compost for 20+ years.
We can help organic growers:
- Set up their own compost site
- Develop programs using compost to ensure crops receive the nutrients they require