Composting organic residues before applying them to soil is a tried and true practice that can, if done correctly, eliminate plant disease organisms, weed seeds, and many (but not all) potentially noxious or undesirable chemicals. Compost provides extra water-holding capacity to a soil, provides a slow release of N, and may help to suppress a number of plant disease organisms as well as enhance the plant’s ability to fight off diseases. Critical to good composting is to have (a) plentiful decomposable Cand N-containing materials, (b) good aeration, (c) moist conditions, and (d) enough size to allow high temperatures to develop. It is also necessary to turn the pile or windrow to ensure that all the organic materials have been exposed to the high temperatures. While these and other good reasons to make and use compost are important considerations, there are also good reasons to directly apply uncomposted organic residues to soil.
Cornell Waste Management Institute, https://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/.
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Table of Contents
- About the Authors
- Healthy Soils
- Organic Matter: What It Is and Why It's So Important
- Amount of Organic Matter in Soils
- The Living Soil
- Soil Particles, Water, and Air
- Soil Degradation: Erosion, Compaction, and Contamination
- Nutrient Cycles and Flows
- Soil Health, Plant Health, and Pests
- Managing for High Quality Soils: Organic Matter, Soil Physical Condition, Nutrient Availability
- Cover Crops
- Crop Rotations
- Animal Manures for Increasing Organic Matter and Supplying Nutrients
- Making and Using Composts
- Reducing Erosion and Runoff
- Preventing and Lessening Compaction
- Reducing Tillage
- Managing Water: Irrigation and Drainage
- Nutrient Management: An Introduction
- Management of Nitrogen and Phosphorus
- Other Fertility Issues: Nutrients, CEC, Acidity, and Alkalinity
- Getting the Most From Routine Soil Tests
- Taking Soil Samples
- Accuracy of Recommendations Based on Soil Tests
- Sources of Confusion About Soil Tests
- Soil Testing for Nitrogen
- Soil Testing for P
- Testing Soils for Organic Matter
- Interpreting Soil Test Results
- Adjusting a Soil Test Recommendation
- Making Adjustments to Fertilizer Application Rates
- Managing Field Nutrient Variability
- The Basic Cation Saturation Ratio System
- Summary and Sources
- How Good Are Your Soils? Field and Laboratory Evaluation of Soil Health
- Putting It All Together