Reasons to start using compost in your garden:
If you’ve been thinking about how to enrich your soil in a cheaper yet effective way, using compost is your answer. Check out all of these reasons to start using compost in your garden!
What is compost?
Compost is a very valuable asset to every gardener who has a small or large garden. It is the mixture and recycling of organic matter such as leaves, trash, food scraps, and dead plants.
All these materials decompose and become fertilizer that enriches the soil and plants. It’s very cost-effective and reduces waste and the number of toxic emissions in the atmosphere.
All the biodegradable items can be huddled together and nature will break them down into a substance that looks like mulch. You can then add small amounts to the base of your plants for added nutrition.
Advantage of composting:
Many gardeners have realized the benefits of compost and are now using large quantities in their edible gardens.
It may surprise you that the use of compost has advantages outside of your garden. Here are 7 reasons to start using compost.
1. Composting reduces waste at landfills
Landfills are expensive and damage the environment. There are many things that you often purchase at the store or even yard waste that you’d eventually throw in the trash.
I’m talking about things like food scraps from vegetables, fruits, eggshells, and coffee grounds. There are also other items like leaves during autumn, dead plants, weed clippings, insects, sawdust, and twigs.
Up to 60% of the garbage that in some households is considered non-recyclable can actually be turned into compost.
Instead of piling some of these into bags of plastic to be transported to landfills, you can use them to make compost.
2. Compost has humus
As the different materials break down, they have a certain level of humus in them. Thanks to fungi, bacteria, earthworms, and other organisms.
Once the decomposing process is complete, the by-product of compost is humus. This allows the soil to remain moist due to the amount of humus in it and its ability to absorb water.
3. Compost reduces soil erosion
If your garden is situated in an area that has frequent landslides that could be a problem. Can you imagine working for hours in your garden to produce the best vegetables, flowers, and other plants, only to have them washed away by heavy rain? I’d be discouraged and upset too.
Compost, however, would limit the possibility of that happening. Layering pounds of compost at the roots of your plants and other areas in your garden would limit erosion. This is because the compost absorbs the water that would erode a slope with frequent rainfall.
4. Compost helps fight disease and pests
At times plants may display visible signs of disease infection. You can tell by the leaves becoming yellow, white powdery spots appear on the leaves, or growth slows significantly. This is often caused by overwatering or parasitic nematodes.
Nematodes are whitish transparent threadlike worms that aren’t visible to the human eye. They occupy almost every habitat on earth including soil and water.
Compost helps to control them by giving sufficient nutrients to the soil which produces organisms that fight and destroy the nematodes. Compost also increases plant health and reduces their vulnerability to pests.
5. Compost is organic
Compost is a natural food supplement for plants. It can be utilized by local farmers as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. Besides, it’s free and a lot healthier.
As a result, you are now what you consume and don’t consume. It’s a lovely cycle. If you prefer not to wait on the decomposing process, you can always purchase a bag of compost from your local flower shop.
So not only will your plants get the nutrients they deserve, but you’ll also be supporting a local small business that processes the waste.
6. Compost conserves water
If you’re living in an extremely dry climate, watering your plants frequently is like a second job. Plants need to stay hydrated and chunks of dry dirt won’t retain much water.
Compost on the other hand would limit the number of times per week that you need to refill your watering can. The more layers of compost you add, the lower your water bill will be per month.
Using chemical fertilizers is effective but you’ll have to consistently add more so the soil can remain moist.
Compost, on the other hand, has a greater benefit. The more that you add year after year the healthier your plants will be.
7. Compost boosts soil microbes
The way soil microbes work in the soil is complicated, but the fact is a lot of the fruits and vegetables we love so much wouldn’t be here if they didn’t exist.
This is because plants can’t take in nutrients without them. Compost feeds soil microbes that in turn act as a biofertilizer when they die, then release vital nutrients.
Plants would not be able to thrive without the steady flow of nutrients provided by microbes. They also create hormones and other substances to drive plant development in addition to nutrient cycling.
How to make compost at home?
Composting with dead leaves is quite easy and autumn is one of the best times to do it. You can begin to make your own homemade compost by following these instructions.
Get a large container that can hold the amount of compost that you like to make. The large container should also be bottomless so the leaves are in direct contact with the ground.
While gathering the leaves in your container leave it in a single location. Keep the pile at no more than 5 ft tall to ensure there is proper temperature regulation and airflow between the leaves.
You need an equal balance of nitrogen, carbon, water, and air to compost well. The green elements you use will include nitrogen, whereas the brown matter will have carbon.
It’s best to crush chunky items before layering them in the container. You can add shredded newspapers, cardboard, old herbs and spices, and peelings.
A few things you want to avoid using are dairy and meat trims. These attract pests and if you have pets would create a mess in your yard. Other high processed foods also take much longer to decompose.
The pile should remain moist at all times. If you live where there is little to no rainfall then you may want to use your watering can or hose.
Do not leave the pile extremely wet or it will take too long to process. If you’re eager to see the final results then shred the leaves by mowing over them before piling everything together.
When you’re adding new contents to the container don’t just toss them on top. It’s better to bury them under the already decomposing pile.
Spin the contents every week or two when the temperature is hot and less often when the temperature becomes cooler. You’ll know when it’s time to rotate the compost as it will begin to develop a foul smell.
The process is complete when the huge heap you started with shrinks to half the previous size. It could take between five to nine months.
At that time the compost would smell earthy with a darker color and feel warm in your hands due to all the microbes that live inside.
When to add compost to soil?
When your compost is fully processed you can add it to your garden already filled with plants or while preparing your garden bed.
It’s best to add it in layers approximately q to 2 inches thick in the early parts of spring. Allow the compost to set in approximately a week or two if you have not planted anything as yet.
If you’ve already planted a number of seedlings or developed plants you can use the technique called “side dressing”.
You would apply the compost a few inches away from the delicate seedlings to protect the stems from active microorganisms.
For more educational posts on gardening trends, vegan recipes, and lifestyle, continue to visit my website so you can learn more about how to make healthier steps.
Other related gardening articles:
- Herb Gardening For Beginners
- Coffee Grain Compost
- 10 Organic Gardening Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier
- Growing Strawberries In A Raised Bed Garden
- Benefits Of Community Gardening
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