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Nitrogen  (N)

The most often used additive.  We include it here as an additive, although it is also a basic requirement of compost, mainly because most of the time you will probably find that you are able to gather more materials high in carbon than materials high in nitrogen.  Your experiences may differ, but if you find you need to add additional nitrogen to your pile, you definitely are not alone.  As mentioned earlier, manure is an excellent (although not particularly high, 1-4%) source of nitrogen.  If you can't get enough, the alternative is to use a fertilizer, and any garden fertilizer will do.  Some suggested commercial sources of nitrogen are; (organic) blood meal, fish emulsion, cottonseed meal; (chemical) ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate.  [ See also Additive Chart ].

Trace Elements

The trace nutrients that plants need are just as essential as the major nutrients; the plants only need to use small amounts.  These trace elements include; Sulfur (S), Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) ... both of which dolomite limestone will provide, Iron (Fe), Boron (B), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Molybdenum (Mo), Sodium (Na), and Chlorine (Cl).  As mentioned before, if you make an effort to include a wide variety of plant materials in your compost, it is very unlikely that you will find the need to add any of the trace elements specifically.

  Phosphorus  (P)

If soil tests determine a need for additional phosphorus, several choices can be made.  The rock fertilizers are naturally derived, are not highly soluble (will not leach away rapidly), and contain no harmful compounds that would disturb the microbial life in the soil.  They are long-lasting and one application can suffice for several years.  However, they do not decompose fast enough to be of immediate use the first season.  If you decide to use rock phosphate, obtain the finest ground material possible, to hasten its decomposition.  Compost itself aids in phosphorus levels; the organic material contributes some phosphorus, and the organic acids produced by the microorganisms help dissolve additional amounts from the soil (or any rock phosphate you add).  Some suggested commercial sources of phosphorus include; bonemeal, or one of the super-phosphate chemicals.  [ See also Additive Chart ]

Potassium  (K)

If potassium is indicated as being low, wood ashes are a good, readily available source to add.  Commercially available are; granite dust, greensand, fish meal and potassium sulfate.  [ See also Additive Chart ]

Additive Chart
Material Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium
Bloodmeal 13–15 1 5
Bonemeal 4 12–20
Coffee grounds 2 3 5
COMPOST 1.5–2 1.5–3 1.5–5
Cottonseed meal 6.5–8 2–2.5 1.5
Fish meal 4–10 4.5–8 0–4
Granite dust 5
Greensand 0–1.5 6–7
Rock Phosphate 30
Hoof / horn meal 10–13 2
Seaweed / kelp 1.5–4 1–2 5–6
Manures  (dried)      
  "  Cow .6–1 .2–5 .5–1
  "  Horse .7–1.5 .3–1 .6–1
  "  Sheep .8–1.5 .3–1 1
  "  Poultry 1.1–4 .8–2.5 .5–1
Wood ashes 1.5 8
Mono ammonium phosphate 11
Ammonium sulphate 21
Ammonium phosphate 16
Super phosphate 18
Sulphate of potash 53
Potassium sulphate 62

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