Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. It is an essential ingredient in organic farming and involves using things we usually trash (banana peels, apple cores, fall leaves, weeds, etc.) into a matter to use in gardens. While those who compost see it as a way to control household waste, gardeners enjoy additional perks when utilizing nutrient-rich compost.
First, in regards to soil structure, adding compost to your garden helps neutralize pH and improve the cation exchange capacity (CAC) of soils, thus increasing their ability to hold nutrients for plant use. If you have trouble getting certain fruits and vegetables to grow properly, soil structure may be to blame and the issue may be addressed by compost.
Compost also contains a full spectrum of essential plant nutrients and contains those that are often absent in synthetic fertilizers. It also releases nutrients slowly, over months or years, unlike synthetic fertilizers.
Microorganisms in compost assist in breaking down organic matter into plant-available nutrients so that plants are able to grow stronger. Additionally, when added to soil, compost increases the amount of moisture the soil retains so you have to water them less, which helps conserve in other areas.
In general, compost is also good for our planet. Materials that can be composted – fruit and veggie scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, animal manure – are turned into something useful for the earth and produces stronger plants, fruits and vegetables. This is a better option than having these same items be trucked off to the dump where they would end up producing methane (a damaging greenhouse gas), further harming the atmosphere as they decompose.
To find out more and tips on composting, check out How to Compost.