Organic Composting

Asked October 11, 2016, 10:18 AM EDT

I am working with some coffee farmers in the Dominican Republic, and some of the community women would like to start a composting business for new and adult coffee plants. Do you have any research available for tropical balanced composting like this? My name is Linell Stabler.

Pennsylvania organic production

1 Response

Composting is composting. Your location will only change the ingredients to your mix. The rest of the composting process stays the same. You will need to experiment with the available ingredients to get you balance C:N ratio. We have very little information on the carbon and nitrogen content of tropical plants. We aim for 25:1 to 30:1, in the pile. If we have too much carbon, it will slow down the process. But if we have the time and the right moisture composting will happen. Your nose will be your guide. with help of your touch Even the ingredients that we know are too variable, the exact carbon and nitrogen content is a estimate, and we must adjust as we go. Generally we call organic materials greens and browns. Greens are low carbon, high protein. Browns are low nitrogen, hard materials. Oxygen is a necessary ingredient, Aerated piles are working piles.

Key principles:

  • Lack of moisture- slow composting, but no offensive smells. Add and mix more water.
  • Too much moisture - septic/pungent odor. Fluff and add dry material.
  • Too much carbon - slow composting, no smells. Add more greens.
  • Too much nitrogen - ammonia smells. Add browns, may need fluffing.
  • Process slows down - needs turning, remixing and fluffing.

The locals will pick up on this process. I suspect that you will just need to be willing to get them started. We ave also been composting farm mortalities. They are very moist and high protein (nitrogen) so the pile must be adjusted to account for that. Large animals take a lot of time. Odor is well controled. It just takes a lot of the brown ingredients.

Good luck!