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Composting site

Choose an easily accessible location

if possible, sheltered from the sun, wind and water.

Build a shelter

a useful means of protecting compost from excess water and/or sunlight.

Heap compost

in wet areas :                                  - in a pile 1 m high x 1.5 m diameter,
- in an air-permeable wooden crate (1 m³),                                    - or in a windrow 1 m high x 1 m wide (length as needed) [4].

Dig drainage channels

around the compost heap in wet areas.

Compost in pits

to conserve moisture in arid areas.

Plant quickset hedging

around the compost site to help maintain moisture and provide plant materials.

Ensure contact between compost and soil

soil is a natural reservoir of organisms that allow materials to decompose.

Create a line of 4

4 compost heaps/bins are generally necessary to turn the compost 3 times
during maintenance.



make successive layers:                - Dry organic materials 
- Fresh organic materials 
- Animal manure
- Optional: thin layer of bone powder rich in phosphorus (P).
- Optional:  thin layer of ashes rich in potash (K)

For correct decomposition, a good C/N ratio (carbon/nitrogen) of materials used is important.


it is also possible to alternate layers of dry organic materials (DM) with fresh organic materials (FM) or animal manure (AM):

Water well between each layer to start the decomposition process!


successive layers to reach minimum height 1 m.


the surface from sun and wind and keep the compost moist by covering with straw, palm leaves, soil (in dry areas) or other local materials.

To ensure the biological quality of the Artemisia crop, care must be taken to use only ORGANIC materials, free of any trace of chemicals. Animal manure must also come from an organic farm, which does not use antibiotics or feed with chemical additives because these would then transfer into the compost and ultimately into the Artemisia plants and be consumed in herbal tea.


2 weeks after

assembling the layers, check that the rotting process is well underway by inserting a stick for 5-10 minutes into the middle of the compost. The stick must be warm (60 -70°C). [8]

If it is not the case:

  • Wet any dry areas of the compost;
  • Add fresh materials or animal manure as necessary (to redress the carbon/nitrogen ratio) [8].

once a week in dry areas so the compost remains moist OR in case of drying out in wet areas.

Monitor moisture

regularly by checking a handful of compost from the middle of the heap and squeeze hard:

  • If liquid trickles from the compost when squeezed it is too moist, so water less frequently;
  • If no liquid trickles from the compost when squeezed and it crumbles when opening the fist, it is too dry and requires increased watering;
  • If no liquid trickles when squeezed, or only a few drops, and the compost remains compact when opening the fist, then moisture levels are correct.
Monitor compost

temperature regularly with stick method.

Turn the compost to another space (or pit) when it drops in temperature (stick method), generally every 2 - 4 weeks.  This will maintain good aeration. After turning, the compost must be as homogenous as possible, with layers mixed and the edges turned into the middle.


at each step to relaunch the rotting process with correct moisture levels (squeezed handful test).

If the compost smells bad

or if there are midges, poor aeration, excess water or excess of nitrogen rich materials (low C/N ratio) have caused fermentation and anaerobic moist areas.

To correct this, turn the compost and add carbon rich materials.


The compost is ready

when it is homogeneous (the original materials can no longer be distinguished) and does not heat up, 2 to 4 months in dry areas, 3 weeks in wet areas.

It should be light, moist and aerated, dark brown in color and smell like forest soil.

Sieve coarsely

before use to remove any un-decomposed material (wood, stems, ...) which can be recycled in the initial preparation of the next compost.


1. Mustin, M. Le compost : gestion de la matière organique. François Dubusc. 1987.
2. Sougnez A. Étude des principaux facteurs de la production de l’armoise annuelle (Artemisia annua L.) sur le domaine de l’organisation « Le Relais – Sénégal) : Effet de la densité et de la fertilisation. Master’s theis bioengineer in agronomic sciences, under the supervision of Pr. Guy Mergeai, Gembloux, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (ULiège). 2017. (Study of the main factors in the production of annual mugwort (Artemisia annua L.) in the field at “Le Relais – Senegal: Effect of density and fertilization).
3. World Health Organisation. WHO guidelines on good agricultural and collection practices (GACP) for medicinal plants. 2003.

4. AGRISUD. L’agroécologie en pratiques – GUIDE édition 2020. 2020 (Agroecology Best Practices).

5. Ahmadreza Fatemi, Keramat Asasi & Seyed Mostafa Razavi. Anticoccidial effects of Artemisia annua ethanolic extract: prevention, simultaneous challenge-medication, and treatment. 2017.

6. Naidoo et al. The value of plant extracts with antioxydant activity in attenuating coccidiosis in broiler chickens. 2008. Abstract available at:

7. Amintou Fall BA. Etude de l’effet antiparasitaire de l’incorporation de la poudre d’armoise africaine (Artemisia afra A.) dans des rations pour moutons de race peul-peul au Sénégal. Mémoire de fin d’étude pour l’obtention du diplôme d’ingénieur agronome, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agriculture (ENSA), Université de Thiès, Sénégal.  2018. Abstract available at:

8. Inckel M. et al. La fabrication et l’utilisation du compost. Agrodok 8. 2005. Available at: