One of my clients, a first time gardener, shot me an email yesterday. She asked some pretty interesting questions about composting her garden prior to planting. I was glad she’s aware that with composted soil, plants can grow effortlessly. With infertile soil, plants just peter out.
Composting is the process of converting organic matter to obtain compost. It can take place in any home by simply using a composting bin. There is no mechanism, no par engine or any maintenance expenses needed.
In my training as a gardener, I was fascinated by the impact of composts on soil and consequently on plants. The whole fascination came after realizing something important. What we feed the soil makes or breaks how our harvests turn out.
So today I want to share with you, my tribe, the benefits of composting the right way. But first of all, let’s define a compost for you.
What is a Compost?
Compost is decayed organic matter used as a fertilizer. Organic matter is a wide-ranging name by the way. Examples include leaves, banana peels, lawn clippings, twigs or food processing wastes. These naturally break down into a nutrient-rich fertilizer when mixed in a compost heap.
Composting isn’t hard but it does need some effort to set up. The results are worth it and it’s a clear win-win situation.
The composting process recycles different organic matter (waste products) and produces this compost. Which is also a good soil conditioner. Adopt a habit of adding compost to your garden soil, to win every planting season with its nutritious soil benefits.
Garden compost can be added to soil in several different ways. And it can be added as an amendment. It reduces the need for those chemical fertilizers you buy at the store. And that makes it one of the biggest key elements of organic farming.
You build it by creating a heap/pile of wet organic matter. You then allow it to decompose over an extended period of time. It can be aerated through turning it after some time. During the decomposition process, it gets richer and richer in chemicals like ammonium.
Ammonium is a form of nitrogen which is very useful compost for plants. Compost doesn’t have to cost you anything except your time since you can use waste from your home or community. Mainly because the regular ingredients of compost are our yard waste and food scraps.
However, you should have the right combination of materials to achieve the nutrient-rich compost you need for your crops. Most compost is merely created from an equal mixture of brown and green materials.
By “brown” materials, I’m referring to things like twigs, dead leaves or branches that add carbon to your compost mixture. And by the “green” materials I mean waste that consists of household wastes. Grass clippings, coffee grounds or food wastes for example. These provide nitrogen.
It’s good to compost, it minimizes waste in your yard and home. It improves your soil structure and increases your harvests.
Why Compost your soil?
What is compost used for? For starters, composting is a contribution to healing our natural world. How? You may ask. Well, the daily waste from our households contains 40% organic matter. You can recycle and return it to the soil as humus for your compose fertilizers.
This simply means you can obtain 30kgs of compost from every 100kgs of organic waste. It helps reduce the landfill wastes and it produces five times fewer greenhouse gases than industrial composting.
Composting neutralizes the soil. It prevents the soil from becoming too acidic or too alkaline. Composted soil tends to be perfect for plant growth.
Soil composting fertilizer adds the creation of new, nutrient-rich soil. It’s a superb enhancement of overall soil quality of your garden. You’re literally boosting the production of your plants.
Compost reduces erosion and increases the plants’ ability to harbor root systems which prevents soil runoffs. As a matter of fact, a 5% organic material addition increases the amount of water absorption capacity by 4 times.
It creates a healthy soil structure with its ability to stimulate soil particle clusters. Adding compost to soil increases the amount of air pockets and channels. It allows the soil to hold water, air, and nutrients. Which helps the soil with an ability to support root structures of your crops.
The process of composting betters the overall quality of the air around us. Composting is air-friendly compared to burning the yard waste. Burning waste may release deadly chemical dioxins into the air.
What to add to Compost
Let me guess the question running through your mind right now. What is compost made of? Anything that quickly and easily breaks down while providing nitrogen and moisture to the soil. You can throw in anything that was living. Frankly, if it grew from the ground, it belongs in your compost pile.
Throw in cucumber ends, apple cores, avocado pits and/or vegetable peelings or fruit scrap into your compost heap. You can also add grains sprout from the soil, such as stale bread, cereal, or pasta into your compost. And (uninfected) cut flowers or plant trimmings can be included also.
Some of the acceptable things are coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves, herbs, spices, and nut and egg shells. Also think fallen leaves, cardboard egg boxes, or scrunched up paper you’ve been throwing into your trash can.
Plant composting is a form of next level gardening. This is where you go further than adding your food wastes onto your compost pile. This is when you practice growing plants to add to your compost. Making it even richer. compose fertilizer are way better than store fertilizers.
Composting in garden or farm set ups feeds the soil. Whereas fertilizers feed the crops. Garden compost is best for plants. And it’s important to keep in mind that compost and organic fertilizers can work well together. The compost’s organic matter gets the fertilizer nutrients ready for plants’ use.
You could use fertilizers without compost, but why not use it and increase soil fertility and moisture. Regularly composted soil often requires less fertilizer compared to soil that isn’t.