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Composting for healthy soil at Rancho El Petacal

Composting for healthy soil at Rancho El Petacal

If you have ever done any gardening, you know that proper soil nutrition is critical to the success and health of your plants. The same concept applies to Nutrilite’s certified organic farms around the world.

When home gardeners need to enrich the soil they are using, they often add compost to the dirt, providing nutrients that will enrich and fortify the garden plants for months.

Many of the farms do the same thing, but on a much larger scale. In fact, at Rancho El Petacal in Jalisco, Mexico, they make their own compost. In doing so, the farm staff knows exactly what nutrients are in the compost, and, more importantly, what’s not. As a certified organic farm, many common fertilizers used around the world are not allowed here.

Composting the organic matter is a process that takes six to seven months, and cannot be rushed. They often start with alfalfa cuttings, because the plants must be cut every month or so during the growing season, even when they are not needed for production.

“So if we don’t use it at the plant, we have to make a pile, or a windrow like this and start decomposing the organic material that is added on the windrow,” says Agriculture Manager Alberto Vega.

A specially-made tractor travels the windrows, or rows of compost, churning and turning the material over time, adding aeration to speed up the decomposition.

After a few months, once the compost is mature, they add additional components, mixing all of this together to make the base fertilizer, called “the amendment,” a special blend of natural ingredients like elemental sulfur, sugar cane and chicken manure composts.

Once the decomposition and mixing process is complete, the compost is added to every furrow that is scheduled to be planted at the farm. The rich nutrients will keep the plants growing and healthy until it’s time to harvest them.

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