Composts and Composting

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Date
1937
Authors
Beckley V.A
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Abstract
That humus, organic matter, is essential for the maintenance of soil fertility in the tropics is now generally accepted. The simplest method of adding organic matter to the soil, by green manuring, is unreliable. If conditions are just right, if the green manure is turned under at the correct stage, then the results are satisfactory. But usually these requirements are not satisfied; perhaps decomposition has been delayed and the seed is planted while decomposition is still actively progressing, when either germination is poor or the growth is retarded; perhaps heavy rain has delayed planting so that, when the seeds germinate, most of the soluble plant nutrients, especially nitrogen, have been leached down beyond the feeding zone of the seedlings, and so the crop does not benefit fully. With permanent crops, however, there is a benefit from green manuring and cover crops, provided the material is not turned under too mature at the beginning of the dry season. This view is held in spite of Howard's insistence that the soil must not be called upon to do two jobs at the same time
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East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, II (No.5), p. 384-386