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                        BDAI Secretariat, #20, 16th 'C' Main, 2nd 'A' Cross, 4th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560 034, India
bdaind(at) or Secretary at secretary(at)         Tel: +(91) 9448 067 088



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Abstracted from Biodynamic Agriculture in India by Peter Proctor

Compost Heap

Plant nutrients are maintained in the soil by addition of composts, made from animal manures which are usually combined with plant materials, such as green legume crops and dry strawy material, where the organic materials are converted into a stable humus through a fermentation process.

Composting the organic materials, will avoid the nutrient losses from oxidation or leaching that would happen if these organic materials were to be applied directly on the ground. Various rock dusts can be applied through the compost heap to supply depleted essential mineral elements.

Compost Making
Compost Bed

Making quality compost is very important as a way to maintain humus in the soil. The method is relatively simple and the best way to understand the making of compost is to do it.

Use a mixture of protein rich materials
e.g. animal manures, lawn clippings, fresh green grass, leaves and shoots of legume trees such as glirisidia, erythrina, crotalaria

Green Protein Material

and carbon rich materials
e.g. shredded coconut fronds, coir pith, paddy straw, hay, wood chips, dry leaves and grasses

Dry Carbon Material

in a proportion of  60% protein and 40% carbonaceous.

Compost tunnel

Attention must be given to the aeration of the material. Without air, the heap will not heat up and it will become anaerobic and smelly.

Build an air tunnel at the bottom of the heap, with layers of hay from a bale, or corn stalks or similar. This stops the heap from settling down too much.

Compost green layer

Usually a compost is best made in a layering method, with the carbonaceous layer about 10cm deep, alternating with the protein material which is about 15cm deep.

In this way the protein of the green will supply the nitrogen, that the bacteria require for their growth, to break down the carbon material.

Keep the layers loose, do not firm the material down too much, as that will exclude the air.

Making Slurry

The animal dung should be made into a slurry and watered onto the carbon layer. This will bring the animal effect into the compost and also feed the micro organisms which will break down the dry material.

Throwing slurry on heap

Dry matter in water

To have a successful fermentation, attention must be given to getting the right amount of moisture as well as the right air content and then ---the right temperature will arise, which is about 60C for 2-3 weeks during which time fungal activity is evident - changing gradually to bacterial activity.

Therefore, care must be taken that the dry carbon material is moist enough. Generally it is best to wet any dry material before it is put on to the heap. A test to assess proper moisture content is that water should drip out of the material when it is squeezed in the hand.

Wetting the heap

Wetting the heap

Sprinkling lime



Add hydrated lime to the green vegetation layer. Just a dusting like sugar on dosa.

Sprinkling lime

Sprinkling rock phosphate

If the soil needs phosphate, rock phosphate can be also applied to the heap, approx 25kgs per 5m3. It can be sprinkled on the carbon layer. The theory is that the organic acids in the heap will gently work on the phosphate rock and make the phosphate available.

Throwing soil on heap

Compost Minerals

Compost Tea Estate Kerala

Compost Gujarat

Making Compost

Shaping HeapThe heap should be built as a windrow. The dimensions of the heap should be two metres wide at the base and one and a half metres high and as long as is practical. Basically 5 metres long appears to be a convenient length.

One metre length will give approx one cubic metre, or one tonne approx, of finished compost, depending on the nature of the materials. Some farmers make heaps of bigger proportions than this, but usually they will run into a breaking down problem due to compaction of the large volume and consequent lack of aeration. The small garden can have a windrow style heap of smaller dimensions.

Compost Heap

When the compost heap is completed then
 Make 5 deep holes in the side of the compost heap
 Put 1 gm each of the BD 502-506 preps in the holes 1 prep/hole
 Make a hole on the top of the heap
 Stir 10ml of BD 507 in 1 litre of water for 10 mins and pour of it into the hole on top
 Sprinkle the remaining BD 507 evenly round the heap in a clockwise direction
 Insert a stick into the heap to measure heat
 Water regularly

Compost Heaps

Turning Compost HeapIt is best to make compost where there is shade. Such trees as bananas, sesbania or mangos are beneficial to compost making and will provide valuable shade during the hot dry months. Avoid building heaps under trees with rampant roots eg. prickly accacia or Sububul.

Compost Heap in shade

CompostHeap in shade

Turning Compost Heap

The heap should be turned regularly. Probably after about 6 weeks. This will aerate the heap and it also will give a chance to check moisture content. The compost should be ready in about 4 months depending on the ambient temperature. It will be a brown, crumbly humus.

For heavy feeding vegetables -- 10m3 per acre
For paddy (rice), fruit trees, coconuts, grapes, citrus -- 5 to 10 m3 per acre
For tea / coffee gardens -- 3 to 5 m3 per acre.

Compost Heap
One more compost heap in India!


BDAI Secretariat
#20, 16th 'C' Main, 2nd 'A' Cross, 4th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560 034, India
bdaind(at) or Secretary at secretary(at)         Tel: +(91) 9448 067 088