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close this bookSoil Conservation Techniques for Hillside Farms (Peace Corps, 1986, 96 p.)
close this folderSoil fertility and its maintenance
close this folderOrganic fertilizers
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentManures and crop residues
View the documentGreen manure crops
View the documentComposting
View the documentComposting with earthworms


The use of organic fertilizers is another method of correcting soil nutrient deficiencies. Although it is more labor intensive than chemical fertilization, it has the advantages of being locally produced; maintaining soil humidity; improving soil organic matter content, structure and texture; adding a better balance of micronutrients, and improving the soils capacity to hold nutrients. Organic fertilizer refers to a number of types of organic matter which can be incorporated into soils or left as a mulch on the surface. This may be as simple as incorporating crop residues or manure, or as complex as planting a green manure crop, making compost, or raising earthworms to produce materials which will be incorporated into the soil at some later date.

A traditional practice in many areas is the burning of residues left when initially clearing land or after a harvest. Although some nutrients are returned to the soil in the ashes, much of the organic matter and nitrogen present are lost to the air. m is loss of organic matter affects all of the just mentioned soil properties.