The Benefits of Composting
Besides a free and nutrient rich fertilizer for your soil and plants there are
many other benefits to starting a compost in your yard. A few of the benefits
of composting are listed below.
* You can reduce or eliminate weeds in your garden by using compost as it
prevents weed seeds from sprouting and prospering. This is a natural
alternative to pesticides.
* Mature compost material has been used to stop or prevent erosion in certain
areas. The binding capability in the compost can keep the soil in place and
prevent dangerous drop-offs.
* Reducing the amount of organic material that goes to a dump unnecessarily –
in turn this reduces the amount of methane gas a dump creates
* In wetlands areas that are in trouble, compost has been used to revitalize the
soil and surrounding plant life.
* Healthier plants, compost material can prevent your plants from
diseases that kill or spread to the rest of the crop or garden.
* Can create a stable and healthier pH balance in your soil.
* If your soil is overly dry (sandy), adding compost to the soil and
mixing can help the sandy dirt retain more water keeping it moist.
* If your soil is clay-like, you can make the dirt easier to work with and less
dense by adding mature compost.
* Provides important nutrients and micronutrients to the soil and
* Increases the temperature of the soil creating a conducive environment for
plant growth and health.
This is just a few of the important benefits that can be derived from using
compost. It helps the environment, your garden, your plants and the planet.
The small amount of time that it takes to set-up and maintain a compost bin or
pile is well worth the time and effort.
Different Types of
The most common way to compost organic material into usable fertilizer is to make
use of the naturally occurring microbes to use the material as food and
energy. Other than ensuring your pile has enough water, food, and air you can
leave the rest of the job to the ever helpful fungi and bacteria.
The types of microbes you want to inhabit your composter are aerobic, meaning
they need oxygen to thrive and live. You can make sure they have enough air by
aerating the compost heap (turning it over with a rake). Another way to ensure
there is good air circulation is to add a material such as wood chips or hay –
both are bulky and are not easily compressed. This makes sure the air can get
in and do its job.
The other kind of microbes that can convert your waste are anaerobic (they do not
need oxygen to survive). This may sound like a great alternative – not having
to worry if enough air is available. But the unpleasant side effect of having
anaerobic microbes in your compost bin is the smell. Without enough air, there
will be a distinct rotting garbage smell emanating from your bin.
Another way to compost is to use red worms to help
decompose the organic waste. This form of
composting is known as vermicomposting. The red earthworms can quickly turn your table scraps into compost. To help the process along it is
recommended that you chop or cut the organic
material you add to the composter first. This is an optional step but will yield faster results. Only food scraps, paper or yard waste is
recommended for this type of composting. You
can purchase the red worms at your local pet or fishing supply store - these are not the same worms that you find crawling in your