5 Things You Never Knew About Composting
Composting is something most environmentalists and garden enthusiasts are familiar with. A lot of us see composting as a way to control waste in our household. While minimizing the waste in our house is one major benefit of composting, gardeners can benefit from utilizing nutrient-rich compost to improve soil composition.
For those who aren’t familiar with composting, here are a few points for you:
- Compost is organic matter that has been recycled or decomposed as a fertilizer and soil amendment.
- Compost is a key component of organic farming.
- Composting organisms require carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water to work effectively.
- Microorganisms found in active compost include bacteria, actinobacteria, fungi such as molds and yeast, protozoa and rotifers.
Using compost can result in various environmental benefits.
Here are a few of the most important benefits of composting:
- Compost enriches soils. Compost helps regenerate poor soils. The process of composting makes way for the production of beneficial microorganisms, mainly bacteria and fungi, which in turn break down organic matter to create humus. Humus is responsible for increasing the amount of nutrients in the soil. Humus also helps the soil retain its natural moisture.
- Compost reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers are primarily made from non-renewable sources, including fossil fuels. While they are very effective in growing the plants, they have nothing to contribute in terms of sustaining the soil. In fact, they can even alter the composition of soil and destroy the natural habitats of microorganisms. Repeated use of chemical fertilizers may only lead to toxic buildup of chemicals that can eventually make their way into the food that you prepare.
- Compost helps remediate contaminated soil. The process of composting is said to absorb odors and treat semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds. These compound include heating fuels, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and explosives. Compost also binds heavy metals together and prevents them from migrating to water or being absorbed by plants.
- Compost helps prevent pollution. It’s pretty simple. Composting minimizes the buildup of trash in landfills. Composting organic materials that have been taken away from landfills avoids undue methane and leachate production. Compost also prevents pollutants in storm water from reaching surface water resources. Composting can also stop soil erosion on roadsides, hillsides, playing fields and silting on embankments parallel to lakes, rivers and creeks.
- Compost has a number of economic benefits. Compost reduces the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides. It serves as a low-cost alternative to standard landfill cover and artificial soil amendments. Composting also prolongs municipal landfill life by taking away organic materials from landfills and provides a more cost-effective alternative to conventional methods of cleaning contaminated soil.
The most ideal spot for composting is within your backyard. Choose a dry, shady spot located near a water source. However, if you do not have enough space, you can do it indoors using a container. You can look for composting bins for sale – these will keep the stench out of your home while you turn your old kitchen scraps into a very healthy compost for your garden. Be sure to add brown and green materials such as leaves, branches, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps to the bin or pile. Moisten dry materials once they are added to the pile. Once your compost pile or bin is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile. Bury the kitchen waste (fruits and vegetables) at least 10 inches under the compost waste. You can leave the compost pile as it is to keep it moist, or you can cover it with a tarp. You will know when the compost is ready once the material’s color has gone darker. It usually takes two months to up to two years for the compost to develop.
Do you have more tips in composting at your home? Share it with us here!