Mulching with Urban Waste

Elizabeth Parker

Research in various parts of the world has been undertaken to evaluate urban waste as a fertiliser or compost.
In Spain horticultural researchers have investigated the N. P. K. content of the organic contents of municipal solid waste sewage sludges and composts made from both these materials. Not surprisingly perhaps the sewage sludges
showed the highest N. and P. contents. The fresh wastes showed a higher organic matter content than the composts but the organic matter in the composts was nest stable.

Work has been going on for some years to make the Negev more habitable and productive. Water is not considered (l to 1v. ache key to using the v cry sandy soils for agricultural purposes. ‘The real factor is the depletion of organic
matter in these arid soils. The Israelis have been combating this depletion with the use of municipal waste.

Similar work has been done in Saudi – Arabia during the winter seasons of 1990 – 91 and 1991 – 92. Town refuse compost at the rates of 16.5, 33.0, 49.5 and 66.0 Town refuse was incorporated into the soil to a depth of 10cm. The results showed that the application rates for the two seasons of growth correlated Significantly with the improvements in the growth of the wheat crop. The dry weight of the crop, the root weight, the nutrient uptake
the Straw and grain yields, the grain protein yield and the efficiency of the water use was all directly related to the amount of compost applied. Generally a rate of 33.0 T/ha was the optimum. The manure stimulated suitable

conditions for the plant growth and development and acted as a good Substrata for microbial activity.

1. “Evaluation of Urban Wastes for Agricultural Use.” Ayuso M, Pascual J A, Garcia C. Hernandez T “Soil Science and Plant Nutrition” 1996 Vol 42 No 1 pp 105-111

2. “Optimising physical properties of a sandy soil for higher productivity using town refuse compost in Saudi – Arabia” Sabrah R. E.A. Majid H. M. A. Abdelaal S I, Rabie R. K. “Journal of Arid Environments” 1995, Vol 29
No 2 pp 253-262

3. “Production and use of Compost from Urban Waste in Arid and semi-arid climates – The Development of the Negev Desert and the environment. ” Scheinberg E. J. “Fresenius Environmental Bulletin” 1995 Vol 14 No. 9 pp 564 -569

(Reproduced with the permission of B O G Birmingham Organic Gardeners)