Composting is a natural process of using biodegradable wastes like animal manure, crop residues, food wastes and leaves to make highly nutritive humus like product which is added in the soil for the improvement of its quality enriching the macro and micronutrients.
Do You Know:- Compost Is Called Black Gold!
Generally- The preparation of this type of organic fertilizer is done on a small scale. People who are involved in growing vegetables and doing agriculture in small land areas produce it on their own. They use the organic waste products available in their house to make bio-fertilizers. This homemade process of preparing natural and organic fertilizer is in practice for the 1000's of years.
But-With the advancement with technologies, scientific knowledge, research and procedures- Commercial level of decaying the organic wastes is now growing as a large-scale business.Commercial composting is also the procedure of preparing organic and highly effective bio-nutrient sources but on a very large scale. This works at the industrial level.
Actually-What happens at the commercial level is- Big companies collect all the degradable wastes from large areas and sometimes they even make contracts with governmental bodies for bio-waste collection. This large scale collection is subjected to the preparation of organic manure inside the industries with the help of advanced techniques and machines.How the concept of making organic food at home started and what phases it passed from centuries to reach up to the commercial composting of the 20th century is explained in detail in this article. So- Enhance your knowledge by reading till the end.
Let's get started…
History Up To Commercial Composting
Decomposition of organic wastes and converting into valuable supplements for the land is an ancient art that is passing from generation to generation. With the advancement of civilization, studies and research-The techniques of preparing this organic compost are changing regularly and it has changed from the traditional way to a more commercial way.
The development of ideas and techniques for making organic manure has a golden history. When the people started doing Agriculture-Use of different supplements in land for better production also started.
However- The knowledge of using these bio-waste has changed over time. Different decomposition techniques have evolved and many of them have vanished. Some ways are accepted by people and some are rejected.
So- We can divide the history of making and use of commercial bio-fertilizers into 2 parts which are explained below:-
Composting Before 20th Century
At first-When people keep animals-They deposited or piled their animal waste products in one place. They weren't aware of its benefits. Later-People noticed that in the place where they kept the animal wastes-Crops are growing tall and dense. This makes them think of the cause. As they have seen the good growth of crops near manure- They started adding animal manure in the whole crop field. And guess what- They got amazing results. The production becomes high. Then onwards- The culture of adding bio-degraded waste evolved and changed the way of doing agriculture.
Do You Know:- In the very early days, People don't get settled in one place. They go on travelling. Don't think travelling was their passion! It was their need.
Actually-What happened at that time was- People do agriculture in one area. They cut off and burn trees. They cultivate in that land. As they go on cultivation in the same land again and again-The production becomes low. When the production decreases they go to another place and do agriculture there. This is called "Slash-Burn Agriculture"
Now- When people started keeping animals and got information on the benefits of animal waste. They started adding animal manure and other leaves in soil. The nutrients of soil remain retained for years due to the adding of bio-fertilizers. Now-people needn't need to travel from one place to another. They started to settle in one place and form communities.
Thus- The development of biodegradable wastes in agriculture had also helped in the development of human civilization.The oldest reference of composting is found on the clay tablets of the Akkadian Empire of Mesopotamian civilization in 2300BC during the reign of King Sargon.The process of using biodegradable wastes and crop residues was also in practice among Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.All Greeks, Romans and Egyptians were aware of the benefits that Compost provides in their Agricultural works. They collect animal dung and mix it with straw, husks and other leaves and spread it in the field.
As described in a book called "De Agri Cultura" written by one Roman general, People mix the dung of cow, buffalo, horses, goats with chaff, straw husk and use it in 3 different ways. The mixture works as organic fertilizer and they used it as:-
- Direct spreading of compost in the field.
- Straws were soaked in animal urine and used in the field.
- Mixing of organic materials and street sweeping in dunghill outside the city.
The use of dung as a source to enrich soil nutrients is also mentioned in the holy book Bible.
Chinese were aware of the use of organic wastes. They were using anaerobic composting. What they did at that time was- They laid the crop residues on the road. The carts move over the residents, crushing them finely. At the end of the day, people take those crushed crop residues in the field and mix them with animal manure and use them as fertilizer.
American first president George Washington was also aware of the benefits of the use of decomposed organic waste products. He had made a pit (15*30*4) ft where the organic waste products are filled. From above it is covered with a wooden roof. Later the finished product i.e Compost is used in nearby fields.
These kinds of processes went on and on. People started to develop new technologies and there was more research and studies on Composting which results in the commercial compost business.
Compositing In 19th To 21st Century
This includes the time period from 1801 to onwards. During 19t, 20th and 21st centuries- lots of experiments were carried out and different techniques, technologies and ideas were discovered from making bio-fertilizers.
In 1850's-Stephen Hoyt and Sons developed a technique where they decompose about 2 lakh fishes mixing with manure. This technique got popular as the production was very good. But- the Chemical revolution in late '80s and early '90s replaced it.
Before 1841-People believed that the main source of nutrition to crops was humus I.e from solid black soil particles. But when Justus von Liebig proved that plants take nutrients from the solution-Then it destroys the earlier concept and new techniques evolved. When the chemical revolution takes place- This idea of Liebig plays a great role. People knew that crops don't eat soil. They eat nutrients from the soil. So-They added chemical fertilizers in the soil which was a very easy job to do and production was also good.
This idea greatly reduced the use of organic bio-degraded compost from the early '90s.Many people were using chemical fertilizers at this time. But-There were some people who still focused on the use of organic fertilizer and organic farming as it is the long-term solution for preserving the fertility and productivity of the soil.
In 1905-British scientist-Sir Albert Howard went to India. In India, he did research different bio-decomposing techniques and organic farming. In 1931- He started composting by making pits. He made pits of size(30*14*2)fill and fill organic wastes on them. He filled the pit with straws, animal dung, soil mixed with urine. Then the decomposition process starts. After 3 the organic fertilizer was ready to use in the field. This method is popularly known as the Indore method.
Later- Sir Albert Howard found that the best combination of vegetation and animal manure to be filled in a pit in the ratio of 3:1(C:N ratio). That means 3 parts of vegetation and 1 part of animal wastes.
Now- In the updated method the Compost pit is filled in the following way:- The base layer is of vegetation, the middle layer of animal manure and at the top layer of soil. The heap should be kept moist and organic manure becomes ready within 3 months.
Later- I.E Rodale continued to research the Indore method and urged all gardeners to use organic Compost. This causes an increment in the use of organic eco-friendly supplements for soil.
After the 2nd world war-Private companies also got involved in the composting business. The use of vermicompost increases rapidly. On one side- Different awareness programs about the harmful effects of chemicals in soil and at another side availability of readymade organic fertilizer encourages people to do organic farming.
In this modern-day, We see different kinds of products. One new product releases on every new day. The same thing applies to bio-manures also. There are different types of compost available in the market such as Loam-Based, Peat-Based, Peat-Free and Organic compost. It becomes a herculean task for people to choose the right product. Don't worry. Considering this problem-We have reviewed the best bio-fertilizer among all available in the market i.e Peat Based Compost.
Peat is a type of moss that forms from plant debris. It contains 20% of completely decomposed organic matter and 80% of dry weight. It forms in anaerobic condition like in large stagnant water.
Originally peat moss wasn't used as compost. Later- People got an idea of the benefits that peat moss provides. Then they started using it as a soil additive.
The use of peat-based compost gets its kick from the mid 20th century. During that time gardening has grown as a passion of many individuals. As peat was excellent growing media for plant-people prefer it more. In the present time- When we buy organic compost from the market, That contains a large part of peat moss.
There are 3 types of peats which can be used as a soil amendment. These are:-
- Blond Peat
- Black Peat
- Brown Peat
Blond and black peat is derived from Sphagnum moss.
Peat based compost is peat moss added with some organic manure, soil, sand and other nutritive amendments. One of the best things to add in peat moss is seaweed. Seaweed is excellent in preventing fungal diseases. It also increases the water-holding capacity of moss. Furthermore- It also adds Nitrogen and Phosphorus to the soil.
Why is Peat-Based Fertilizer the best over others?
Peat-Based bio-composts are a great medium to grow any kind of flora. Mostly- Gardeners use it. Here we have listed some of the benefits of using peat as a compost:-
- Increases water holding capacity of the soil. So- It can be best to use in sandy soil.
- Peat moss is a sterile medium. That means- It is free from weeds seed, harmful pathogens and chemicals. So-It is best to grow weak and tender plants.
- As peat has low pH- It is excellent for acid-loving plants like blueberries.
- Peat moss reduces soil compaction. Compact soil is a very bad medium to grow any plant. So-If you have compact soil in your garden, try adding some peat compost.
- Peat moss holds the soil nutrients and makes them available to plant by increasing the Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) of soil.
- Peat makes the soil fragile which helps in good aeration in the root zone of plants. Due to this, plants perform better.
Working Of Industrial Composting
The industrial or modern commercial method of decomposing organic wastes uses large networks. People from different parts of cities are asked to keep their waste products in a bin. The bins are different for different types of wastes. Eg:- For decomposable waste, one type of bin and for non-decomposable waste, another type of bin.
The companies also do partnerships with governmental bodies and collect all the waste products. They collect the wastes from a large area which makes them able to manage tons of degradable waste.
In factories, they use different methods like Windrows, In-vessel and Aerated static piles to decompose the waste products to make high-quality organic fertilizer which they sell back to the people. In this way commercial composting works.
Finally- We have learned so many things about the compost- Its Definition, History and What type of Compost should we choose.
Next time when we go to the market to buy bio-composts, we should think about what is best for our garden.However-We still recommends you to use peat-based compost integrated with seaweed like kelp. Kelp provides about 70 vitamins and minerals to crops. The best thing is of course it is renewable because of its fast growth rate.
If you have any queries- Feel free to ask!
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