Why is Compost Important? – Part 1


Santa Barbara Landscaping company

Down to Earth Landscapes Inc in Santa Barbara

Why Compost and What are it’s Benefits?

Do you know about 40% of your garbage can’s contents are useful? Yes, many of the food scraps and yard clippings being disposed of can actually be useful for your backyard garden. You should recycle your kitchen waste along with your cut lawn and fallen leaves to make your own compost. You’re soil’s best friend.

What is Compost?

It is often said that “compost is gold for the garden”. Compost refers to the end product resulting from the decomposition of once living organic matter. When these living organisms die, they decompose and depending on various environmental factors, can form compost. Examples of organic matter around your home that can be used to make compost include straw, grass clippings, leaves, tree branches, certain animal manure, kitchen scraps, and so on.

It is true that over time all organic matter will eventually decompose but with your participation and under proper conditions, organic material can decompose more quickly and form compost to be used in your garden sooner

Please note that compost is not high in nutrients, (N-P-K) and is known more to condition the soil.  Since compost is most valuable as a soil conditioner, it can improve the soil structure, making it firmer to hold plants, can suppress soil borne diseases, attracts beneficial insects such as earthworms, and helps maintain optimum soil moisture and necessary microbial activity.

What is “Composting”.

As we said previously, composting is the natural process of turning organic matter into a more usable organic soil amendment called “compost”. This is nature’s own way of recycling decomposed organic material using microorganisms, nitrogen, carbon, moisture and oxygen.

But for serious gardeners, the composting process is managed to achieve the end result within a shorter time. To be successful, the gardener mixes various types of organic matter (greens and browns) in proper proportions with bacteria and other agents to form the proper consistency and dark color compost is known for. That is why within horticultural circles compost is frequently called “black gold”.

There are three main forms of composting:

a) Backyard composting. To make backyard compost, simply collect and decompose a mixture of straw or fallen leave and greens (food scraps and grass clippings). There are a variety of common methods; hot or cool and pile versus pits versus open bin versus closed bin.
b) Worm composting. Also known as vermicompositing, using red worms (not earth worms). This composting is easily to carry out. The resulting compost is mainly made from food scrap that the worms eat and turn into castings. It is a great fertilizer.
c) Simple Grass-cycling. If you do not want to use grass clippings for compost, you can leave them on the lawn to decompose. This composting is known as “grass-cycling”.

Composting is Good for the Environment

Compost has various environmental benefits. Some of the benefits include:

1) Compost improves soil and plant health
Compost regenerates poor soils by improving their structure. During the composting process, fungi and bacteria are produced and break down the organic matter to create humus. Humus is a material that helps soil to retain moisture and helps plants access nutrients.

Compost also aids in higher yields of agricultural crops, reduces or eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, and suppresses plant and pest diseases. Compost can help prevent erosion and can remedy contaminated soils that have been destroyed by the prior overuse of pesticide.
2.) Ecological
The food, garden clippings, and animal manures used to make compost are not being trucked to dumps or landfills and, therefore, helps avoid the formulation of methane (a greenhouse gas) that can damage our atmosphere. Compost also increases moisture retention in the soil that results in effective water conservations. It has also been shown that compost can aid in the prevention of erosion.
3.) Economic benefits
There are also economic benefits of using compost. For example, the need for pesticides, fertilizers and water can be reduced by using compost. It is a low-cost alternative to artificial soil amendment and standard landfill cover.
The practice of composting also extends landfill life for communities by diverting commonly organic waste products from them and consequently also reducing the use of trucks, heavy machinery and fuel used for municipal waste management.

Please contact us today at 805-765-2553 to ask us a question or book a consultation with one of our experienced team members. Alternatively, you can visit more of our website to learn more about the company and services.

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