The beauty about organic farming is that it’s comprised of many principles or activities, for example composting. So even if you have a conventionally farmed property you can still start to integrate organic principles into your everyday work flow.
This is how Lily Of the Valley Organic Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet got started. One of the owners got very sick from the use of commercial farm products so he researched alternatives and discovered organic practices. Today they run a fully- fledged organic farm. So you do not need to ‘jump in with two feet’ – you can dip a toe and work slowly at converting over and adding more and more effective principles.
Composting is one of the effective organic farming principles. So instead of burning waste organic materials you can compost them. To speed this process up it’s best to shred the materials. Lily Of the Valley Organic Farm soleved their problem of not being able to source a good quality and priced shredder from within the Philippines so they decided to build their own! A few years on and after trial-an-error, they now have tried and tested shredders available.
You can find Lily Of the Valley Organic Farm contact details in our main organic farm listing on this page.
How to use a shredder to maximise the use of organic materials
Here is one BIG rule to following in farming – never burn anything! Instead compost it. There are many ways to compost these days traditional and modern. Modern methods now use EM (effective organisms) to break materials down very fast – within a month. To facilitate fast composting though requires the best conditions which are :
- Small organic particle size with large surface area
- Moisture content around 40%
- Ambient temperatures around 25 to 35 degrees C
- If doing aerobic composting (with air) then the material should not be compacted and should be loose and not too wet
A shredder will take organic materials such as branches, stems, thick grass and leaves and turn it into bite-sized pieces that is full of oxygen. Once you have this material you can add more water if needed and add a composting ‘inoculate’ such as EM1. You can make this mixture and others for a few pesos – you do not need to buy it. The ‘inoculate’ should be sprayed on to your composting materials as you build the composting pile. The pile of compost should not be covered – you need air to get in – but if there is too much air you need to just cover the top so the mixture does not get too wet and turn aerobic. You can tell a compost pile has gone aerobic because of the smell of ammonia or simply a horrible smell. Aerobic bacteria do not produce a fowl smell usually.
If you do not have a shredder and you have a lot of source materials your composting process will be a lot slower and can take 5 to 6 months to break down. The investment in a shredder will be one of the best things you bought for your farm allowing you to create valuable compost for virtually no cost and at the same time stop the burning of valuable organic wastes.