Comparative evaluation of leaf litter composting methods in homesteads

Reshma Das, Sheeba Rebecca Isaac

Abstract


A major portion of the nutrients absorbed by trees are returned to soil through litterfall and decomposition. Leaf litters in soil take a considerably long time for decay and release of the entrapped nutrients. An experiment on the effectiveness of different composting methods in hastening the decomposition of litters was attempted in mango and cashew leaf litters during March to November 2018 at College of Agriculture, Vellayani, Thiruvananthapuram. The composting methods included co-composting with poultry manure, composting inoculum + vermicomposting, glyricidia + vermicomposting and natural decomposition. The results of the study revealed that pre treatment of the leaf litters with composting inoculum followed by vermicomposting was the most suitable technology for hastening the decomposition of cashew and mango leaf litters (144 and 110 days respectively), on par with glyricidia + vermicomposting. The percentage recovery was higher in the treatment including glyricidia in both litters. Among the two species composting was more rapid in mango compared to cashew, bringing to focus the influence of litter quality on the rate of decay.


Keywords


compost, C: N ratio, leaf litters, lignin, microbes, quality

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References


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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]