EFFICIENCY OF NITROGEN SOURCES AS COMPOSTING STARTER AND DECOMPOSITION OF PARTHENIUM WEED INTO A QUALITY COMPOST
Nitrogen starter is an essential component of successful composting. Parthenium weed, being high nutrient accumulator from agricultural soils, was composted under different sources of nitrogen viz chiken manure, blood meal, soybean meal, cotton seed meal, urea, and a control to evaluate their relative effectiveness for composting starter and decomposition into a a quality mature compost. Composts treatments were evaluated after each month for physico-chemical properties and the results indicated the highest pH (8.33) and mineral N (10.68 g kg-1) and the lowest bulk density (1.03 g cm-3) for soybean meal whilst the maximum total N (27.68 g kg-1) and P (3.04 g kg-1) for cotton seed meal treated composts. Chicken manure treated compost indicated the highest electrical conductivity (EC; 2.14 dS m-1) and total K (201.3 mg kg-1). Micro-nutrients Fe (639.15 mg kg-1) and Mn (558.7 mg kg-1) were maximum in the compost treated with Urea as N starter. Water holding capacity (47.9 %) was maximum in the compost treated with blood meal. The experiment concluded that use of N from organic sources and urea were equally effective as N starter in composting with the maximum favorable effect on compost quality, however, Soybean meal and Cotton seed meal were distinct with respect to improved physico-chemical properties of the mature compost.