admin | August 28, 2017
This week’s Farmer story from Ethiopia talks about land preparation in soils that are often waterlogged. Did you know that adding compost to your soil also helps water drain out of the soil more easily, so plant roots do not become waterlogged and die? Our Script of the week explains what compost—sometimes called composted manure—is, explains why it’s good for your soil and plants, and offers instructions on how to make a compost pile.
Compost is a dark brown or black material that looks and smells like soil, but is lighter in weight and more crumbly. It can be made of plants, animal manure, and other types of organic matter. It also contains the remains of tiny creatures called microbes which eat the organic matter, breaking it down into tiny pieces. These tiny creatures eat and break down plant and animal materials all the time in the forest or on the farm. You have probably seen how plants and animal parts rot over time.
When you make a compost pile, you are just speeding up this natural process of rotting, or decomposing.
Mixing compost into your soil or using it as a mulch has many benefits for your plants and your soil. Just as people need food that contains nutrients, plants need nutrients too. And compost can provide those nutrients.
Adding compost to your soil makes it softer and easier to plough. Roots grow deeper and more easily in soil that is rich in compost. Compost helps your soil hold moisture, so that it does not dry out.
You could use this script as background information for programs about compost on your station, or as a starting point for call-in and in-studio discussions.