Vegetations and farm waste can be used in making fertilisers. What can be used includes maize and bean stovers, finger millet, rice and sorghum straws, potato vines, banana, cassava or potato peelings, grass, animal wastes or kitchen (slurry) wastes.
Dig a pit of 45cm deep. Place the soil on one side. Put four poles (2m long) one for each corner of the pit. Chop the materials into small pieces and put the first layer.
Pile up to 45cm then sprinkle 10 litres of water. Add a second layer of cuttings to about 20cm and sprinkle water. Place a third layer of animal, poultry waste or slurry, this provides microorganisms that are essential for decomposition.
Sprinkle ash since it contains essential minerals. Add the fourth layer (about 20cm thick), consisting of green materials from leguminous plants such as Calliandra, Leucaena or Tithonia.
Sprinkle a thin layer of top soil up to 5cm thick. The soil contains bacteria, which helps in decomposition. One can repeat the placement of layers above starting with dry vegetation, animal or poultry waste/ slurry, ash, green vegetation and top soil.
Remember to sprinkle water on every layer. The final pile should be 1.5m to 2m high at most with vertical sides and a flat top. Cover with a thick layer of top soil (about 10cm).
Cover the compost pile with dry vegetation such as banana leaves to reduce moisture loss.
Decomposition starts three days after the piling. Drive a long pointed stick at an angle to check the decomposition. The stick should be left in the pile and only removed once a week. When you pull out the stick from the pile, it should be warm and moist but not wet. This confirms that decomposition is in progress, while a cold stick is an indication of no decomposition.
Sprinkle 20 litres of water on the pile every three days during dry spells. After two to three weeks, turn the pile. Compost is ready after six to nine weeks, depending on the type of material used.
Ready compost should have a fresh soil smell and no grass, leaves or animal waste.
Store compost by covering with polythene or banana leaves or under a roof. Compost can be stored for three to six months.