Why Use Compost ?
“Composting” means the controlled decomposition (decay) of organic material, such as yard trimmings, food scraps, wood shavings, cardboard and paper. “Compost” is the humus-rich material that results from composting. Often called “Black Gold”, it is considered by many to be the most important form of organic matter. Composting is also a way to recycle organic matter which, of course, reduces the volume of waste that goes into landfills.
Benefits of Composting
Improved Soil Health
Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants = Healthy Environment = Healthy Food = Healthy Humans!
- Compost promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms, insects and worms, which support vigorous plant growth. A teaspoon of healthy soil contains about 4 billion organisms! These beneficial soil creatures help keep landscapes healthy. [epa.gov/GreenScapes]
- Compost bacteria break down mulch and plant debris (and even nitrogen from the air) into plant-available nutrients.
- Compost reduces the need for chemical pesticides because it contains beneficial microorganisms that protect plants from diseases and pests. High quality, well-made organic compost is an EXCELLENT FERTILIZER.
- Compost helps bind clusters of soil particles (aggregates). Soil rich in aggregates is full of tiny air channels and pores that hold air, moisture, and nutrients like a sponge, allowing you to water and fertilize less.
- Compost helps sandy soil retain water and nutrients which would normally wash right through. It breaks up tightly bound particles in clay soils, allowing roots to spread, water to drain, and air to penetrate. You will get a much more viigorous root growth if you add compost to your soil.
- Beneficial insects, worms and other organisms are plentiful in compost-enriched soil; they burrow through the soil keeping it loose and well aerated. Any soil with compost added to it is going to be easier to work and cultivate.
- “Sick” soil, i.e., soil that has been polluted with hazardous waste, chemical fertilizers, etc., can be restored with the help of high quality organic compost.
Healthy Plants = Healthy Environment = Healthy Food = Healthy Humans!
- Compost contains all the essential plant nutrients, including micronutrients such as iron and manganese that are often absent in synthetic fertilizers.
- It releases the nutrients slowly, over several months or years. It allows plants to more effectively utilize nutrients, while reducing nutrient loss through leaching.
- Compost contains humus which assists in soil aggregation and makes nutrients more available for plant update.
- Compost balances both acidic and alkaline soils, bringing pH levels into the optimum range for nutrient availability. It enables the soil to retain nutrients longer and buffers soil pH.
- Soil enriched with organic compost retains fertilizers better than lifeless soil does, reducing runoff and water pollution. Organic compost can reduce or eliminate your use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
- Compost contains growth promoting hormones for plants that encourages them to develop a large, healthy root zone (wider and deeper). This helps plants tolerate drought conditions, insects and disease.
- It prevents many soil-born diseases such as “Brown Patch”, “damping off”, and many others.
- Adding compost to your soil makes sure that rainwater and city water stays in the root zone of your plant beds, right where it needs to be, rather than draining off and being wasted. Nutrients are added to the soil and water is retained.
- For every 1% organic compost added to it, each cubic foot of soil can hold an additional 1.5 quarts of plant-available water. [Sullivan, 2002].
- Using mulch and compost on landscapes and gardens can reduce the need for outdoor watering by 30 to 60 percent. [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality]
- Rainfall runoff pollutes water by carrying soil, fertilizers, and pesticides to nearby streams. Compost helps reduce runoff pollution by increasing soil’s ability to absorb and retain water.
- Organic compost reduces the need for fertilizer.
High Quality Organic Compost: A Win-Win Solution!
The more compost is used in city landscapes, the more the benefits above will be realized. In draught-prone areas such as Central Texas, compost plays a critical role in helping to conserve and maximize the benefits of water. Erosion control, improved soil quality, vibrant and healthy plants, disease and pest control, etc., are just a few of the ways compost benefits a local environment.
An added bonus for a municipality making use of compost is the materials that are used to create the compost are diverted from local landfills.
Each year we use compost, the soil becomes healthier and healthier, and we get better plants. Using compost impacts bottom line! Homeowners save; cities save. And we’re building a brighter, healthier future for the generations to come.
For more information on the how/what/why of compost, check out our blog!