As you plant your garden, consider using compost to enhance your plants’ health while reaping its many other benefits. As we become more aware of how our actions impact the environment, composting is becoming more popular as an easy way to leave a positive carbon footprint on the earth. Read on to see how this humble process benefits your garden and the environment.
Composting releases nutrients into the soil as the different types of matter decay. Additionally, as insects such as earthworms feast on decomposing materials, they burrow tunnels into the soil and provide valuable aeration for plant roots. Plants that live in composted soil can thrive with all of the additional nutrients available to them.
Composting, whether you do it yourself or buy mulch, is very safe for the soil, your family and pets, and the environment. Many chemical fertilizers and pesticides exist, but the hazards and pollution are not always a worth-while trade-off.
Making your own compost is an easy way to recycle. It is beneficial for your garden and pocket book, and can even be fun. Try different forms of composting to see which works best for your garden. Some people chop up old kitchen scraps and plant or grass clippings into uniform pieces, spreading them over the top layer of their garden soil. This works especially well when you combine old, dead leaves and twigs with freshly-cut grass, green-leafed branches and fruit or vegetable left-overs. You can also do “lasagne” composting. Just place layers of material down, water them and let them go to work. Use old newspapers, hay, manure, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, old natural-fiber fabrics and anything else that is biodegradable.
Reduce your monthly water bills and increase your conservation efforts by placing thick layers of compost in all of your garden beds. The compost stays moist and helps keep water in the soil rather than letting it evaporate. This not only helps stabilize the environment for your plants and keeps them from drying out, it allows you to water less often. Additionally, the moisture helps the compost continue to decompose and release more nutrients into the soil. Additionally, compost can bind together contaminants such as heavy metals, and act as a filter for storm water to minimize the leaching of different pesticides into the soil.
Improve the overall quality of your yard’s soil with composting. While matter decomposes, it improves your soil’s density and porosity, which provides a better growing environment for plant roots. Additionally, it can improve and stabilize your soil’s pH, and can keep certain plant pathogens suppressed or at least under control. Heavy soils become more permeable and moist due to compost, which helps avoid erosion. Additionally, some of the microbes that grow in compost can actually degrade certain organic, toxic compounds such as petroleum.
As you can probably see, composting is easy and offers a way to re-purpose resources that normally would have headed to the city dump. A layer of compost benefits your plants, saves water and protects your garden from environmental deterioration. Your composting efforts will be handsomely rewarded with a beautiful, fruitful garden for many months to come.