Compost is Mother Nature’s way of recycling. Composting is a natural process that involves beneficial bacteria, fungi and insects. These busy organisms work hard to transform organic waste material such as leaves, grass clippings and yard trimmings into a dark, nutrient rich soil conditioner.
When used as a soil amendment, compost is a significant source of organic matter. Organic matter is an important supplier of carbon and a dynamic component in plant/soil interactions. It improves soil and plant efficiency by improving the physical properties of the soil, providing a source of energy to beneficial organisms, and enhancing the reservoir of soil nutrients. In addition to organic material, compost adds trace elements such as boron, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc to the soil which are required for plant growth. Compost binds these elements and nutrients in the soil ensuring that they are available over a longer period of time for the plants to utilize them.
Compost improves aeration and drainage in dense soils like clay. The addition of compost to clay soils helps to increase the variety of particle sizes in the soil structure to overcome the poor growing characteristics associated with clay. The result is increased water movement during wet periods and increases the ability of the soil to retain water during dry spells. The larger particles also increase air flow through the soil which allows more air to reach the roots. The increased air movement also speeds up soil warming in the spring.
Compost improves the water-holding capacity and aggregation of sandy soils. The addition of compost to sandy soils introduces organic material to the high mineral content soil. This addition increases the ability of the soil to retain nutrients. The particle size offered by the compost also helps to increase the ability of the soil to retain water. Compost aids soil by improving the resistance to wind and water erosion. Adding compost helps prevent wind and water erosion by increasing the availability of water and nutrients to plants resulting in rapid strong plant growth in areas prone to erosion.
Compost can be used for gardens, lawns and plants: