Promotion Of Production And Use Of Organic Fertilizer


Steps in Compost Production

Compost is a mixture of decayed organic materials decomposed by microorganisms in a warm, moist and aerobic environment releasing nutrients into readily available forms for plant use.

Selection of a site for compost production

  • Raw materials should be available
  • Water should be available
  • Site should not be in the close vicinity to drinking water well.


Preparation of a production site

  • Choose a shaded and well- drained area
  • Clean the site
  • Remove stone and unwanted materials
  • Level the site if possible




Collection of raw materials

  • Locally available raw materials should be used   
    Green leaves
    Banana leaves
    Banana trunk
    Sow dust
    Vegetable peelings
    Crop waste
    Animal waste ( Cow-dung, Poultry manure)


Materials needed for compost production 

  1. Heap method
    Raw materials / Water / Covering materials / Inoculants / Fork mammoty (Optional)
  2. Cage method
    Raw materials / Water / Stakes to prepare a cage / Coir rope / Coconut frond Inoculants
  3. Pit  method
    Prepared pit / Raw materials / Water / Covering materialsInoculants
  4. Barrel method
    Suitable Barrel or compost bin / Raw materials / Water / Inoculants



Heap and Pit methods

  • To accelerate the decomposition of raw materials maintain the maximum height of the layer up to 15 - 30 cm.  
  • As the 1st layer weeds or tree loping or leaf fall or any other suitable raw material can be used.
  • As the second layer green leaves, grass or Salvenia can be added.
  • Add water if raw materials are dry or not contain sufficient moisture.
  • Then add small amount of inoculants to add microorganisms to accelerate the decomposition.
  • As the 3rd layer add banana leaves.
  • As the 4th layer leaf fall could be used.
  • As the 5th layer Animal waste can be used.
  • Then add inoculants again.
  • As the 6th layer add pieces of chopped banana trunk.
  • As the 7th layer leaves can be added.
  • Then add again small amount of inoculants.
  • Similarly, continue making the pit or heap with different raw materials up to a reasonable height.
  • Finally add enough water and cover the heap or pit with a covering material.
  • In the heap method always keep a space between the cover and the ground for ventilation.
  • Every 4-5 days interval open the cover and check the moisture content inserting a pole in to the compost heap or pit.
  • If moisture content is not enough add enough water and cover the heap or pit again.
  • After 3-4 weeks remove the cover and turn the heap or pit properly (1st turning).
  • During the turning add inoculants to increase the decomposition again.
  •  After the turning half decomposed raw materials arranged as a heap or in the same pit.
  • Again cover the heap or pit as mentioned earlier.
  • Similarly, check the moisture every 4-5 days and add water if necessary.
  • After 7-8 weeks again remove the cover and turn properly (2nd turning)
  • At this stage also add inoculants to increase the decomposition.
  • During the 2nd  turning too if  moisture content is not sufficient water should be added.
  • Partially decomposed raw materials again arranged as a heap or pit and cover as earlier.
  • After the 2nd turning too check the moisture content every 4-5 days interval and if moisture is not sufficient water should be added.
  • After 11-12 weeks remove the cover and turn compost properly (3rd turning).
  •  After mixing make the heap or pit again and cover as earlier.
  • After 3 months in many occasions materials are well decomposed and compost can be used for crop production.
  • In general, use any kind of suitable raw material as any layer of the heap or pit. However, in both methods arrange alternatively slow decomposition and fast decomposition raw materials to accelerate the decomposition rate.

Cage and barrel methods

  • Prepare a cage with stakes or placed a compost barrel or compost bin in a suitable place.
  • Advantage of these methods is raw materials can be added at any time.
  • Cage or barrel can be filled with different raw materials alternatively according to their decomposition rate.
  • In addition, inoculants can be added to increase the decomposition of raw materials.
  • Since drying is fast in the cage method water should be added regularly to maintain the reasonable moisture content inside the cage.
  • In addition, top of the cage can be covered with coconut frond or with suitable covering materials to maintain the optimum moisture content inside the cage.
  • Produced compost could be collected from the bottom of the cage or barrel.

Role of compost in soil fertility is known to improve crop production directly and indirectly, by improving the soil properties. There are several reasons for using compost but its main contribution is as a supplier of humus substances to soil, thus supplementary major plant nutrients and being a good source for providing secondary and micronutrients. One of the important contributions of compost is the high organic matter fraction, which improves the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils.

Benefits of using compost

  • Increase yield.
  • Improves overall soil fertility.
  • Provides humus or organic matter.
  • Provides vitamins, hormones and plant enzymes which are not supplied by chemical fertilizers.
  • Acts as buffer to changes in soil pH.
  • Compost is free from pathogenic organisms, weeds and other unwanted seeds.
  • Nutrients are readily available.
  • Easy to apply when compared to other organic manures.
For more information-
Director (Organic Fertilizer Unit)
Ministry of Agriculture
Govijana Mandiraya
80/5 Rajamalwaththa Lane
T.P. 011 –  2885409
Fax  011 – 2885409 / 2888910

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:08
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