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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Building a compost at home

Trinidad and Tobago

Recognize the problem

Composting is a simple way to turn yard trimmings, food scraps and manure into fertilizer.
Compost makes the soil easier to work, adds nutrients to the soil and causes water to be retained.
Using compost makes the soil softer and helps the roots grow through it. Compost is cheaper than commercial fertilizer.

Background

Compost is created when small living creatures break rubbish down. These living things need water and air.
You can make compost out of anything that was once alive, or which came from a living thing. Any plant material, animal manure or parts of plants or animals can be used to make compost.

Management

The compost pile should be at least 1 metre (3 feet) high, 1 metre (3 feet) wide and 1 metre (3 feet) long.
Start the pile by scraping away 2-5cm (1-2 inches) of soil to expose the compost to the soil, which has living things which help make compost. Build the compost pile by putting any household or farm rubbish onto it.
Do not put plastic, metal or glass onto the compost pile, because these do not break down.
If the compost pile is over 1m wide, you can put a big pole into the ground, and build the compost pile around it. When the pile is built, pull out the pole, so there is an air hole leading into the compost pile.
After some days, the compost will get hot. After three or six months the compost will cool off again. Then it is ready to use.
Break the compost pile apart and spread the compost on the surface of your garden, or plough it into the field. It is good for all crops and other plants.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: Trinidad and Tobago

Authors: Richarda Jones
Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment
tel: 1868-6471167 email: ianragri@yahoo.com
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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