Hi all I understand this may not be so popular around here but i was wondering if it was possible to add inorganic fertiliser to a compost pile in order to fix the nitrogen and potassium and prevent it from being washed out too quickly also would the organic nitrogen load need to be reduced to allow the artificial fertiliser to be absorbed
my understanding is that inorganic fertilisers wash out of soil and compost easily, so there'd be little point in doing this. whereas nutrients in decomposing plant matter and soils are much less liable to washing out. i have read scientific explanations for this but cannot repeat it accurately.
if it's loss of Nitrogen that you're worried about - well that's not a problem as so long as you have green sappy plant matter to put on your heap you will be adding plenty of N. if you really can't get any and you only have dry woody matter in your compost heap you could pee on it instead to add lots of N. one thing that can take N out of compost piles is turning it - some N gas will escape. so you could not turn it if you are worried about that.
there will be some weeds in your area that are rich in Potassium, probably, look them up and throw them on.
i think it's a shame to use inorganic fertilisers which have been extracted from other parts of the world when we have most nutrients we need all around us.
Thank you for the heads up I was hoping to bind the commercial fertaliser with the compost in order to prevent it frim being washed out so easily my area has very sandy soil with very little organic matter to hold moisture its often dificult to get enough manure type stuff to get a heap to cook
Location: Pennines, northern England, zone 7b, avg annual rainfall 50"
Compost as it breaks down will settle into a bit of a balance between carbon and nitrogen. Artificially disrupting this balance will just make it tip back again (excess nitrogen leeches out, excess carbon breaks down fungally).
It sound like your problem isn't in the compost heap it is the state of your soil. I'd look to build better soil by adding lots and lots of organic matter. Focus on a small area and mulch the surface really well (like 8 inches plus of woodchip) and gradually expand the area as you get more materials. Spread it too thinly and you dilute the effect across too large an area.
You could also try planting some deep rooted bio accumulators - these bring up nutrients from deep in your sandy soil and return them to the surface when the leaves are cut and decompose - think comfrey, plants in the thistle family (cardoons, globe artichokes). Along with nitrogen fixing legumes you could make a big improvement.
I'm not personally familiar with developing sandy soils however, so others may have more ideas.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
george patterson wrote:Thank you for the heads up I was hoping to bind the commercial fertaliser with the compost in order to prevent it frim being washed out so easily my area has very sandy soil with very little organic matter to hold moisture its often dificult to get enough manure type stuff to get a heap to cook
Not compost, biochar. Biochar will have more capacity to bind nutrients in the commercial (chemical) fertilizer than compost does. This is because during the charring process many vacant sites for chemical bonding are opened up as the water is driven off and the carbohydrates in the char material are turned into carbon.
One of the negatives of biochar is that if it is freshly applied directly after the burn, it can act as a nutrient sponge because of all these vacant sites. It needs to be loaded up with nutrients, either from manure, compost tea, or if you have it on hand, commercial chemical fertilizer.
Always look on the bright side of life. At least this ad is really tiny: