In this unit, we’ll take a quick look at the benefits of using compost and of making your own.
In a nutshell, compost has a dual function.
It improves the structure of the soil – which means the soil will be easier to work, will have better aeration and water retention, and will be more resistant to erosion.
Compost also provides nutrients for plant growth and soil life, and its organic acids make nutrients in the soil more available to plants.
“Whatever type of soil you have, compost will improve it. I’ve heard people talk about how compost is only a ‘soil conditioner’, as though somehow this was not really important. I think they mean that compost does not add much in the way of nutrients to the soil, but this is not the point.
Soil conditioning really means adding humus to the soil. Humus is a stable organic matter in the soil and it acts like ‘glue’, holding on to nutrients and water.
In effect humus adds life back to the soil: doing this is the most important thing we can do for the soil and it’s ridiculously easy.” – Nicky Scott, author of How To Make Compost, The Ultimate Guide (our emphasis)
The following are just some of the benefits of adding compost to your soil:
- Compost feeds your soil, which feeds your plants.
- Compost adds life in the form of microorganisms.
- Compost improves the physical structure of the soil.
- Compost ‘buffers’ the extremes of acidity and alkalinity in the soil.
- Compost improves aeration. (It opens up clay soils.)
- Compost reduces the need to water. It improves the water-holding capacity of free-draining sandy soils.
- Compost reduces the need for fertilizers.
- Compost reduces the need for pesticides. (Healthier plants means there is less need for pesticides.)
- Compost reduces the need to dig.
- Compost locks up carbon.
- Compost reduces waste and landfill.
- Compost promotes more biodiversity.
But why make your own? Why can’t you just buy it from the garden centre?
First up: making your own is the best ‘Earth-Friendly’ thing you can do. Making it at home also saves money in many ways.
But here’s the thing: the quality of store-bought compost is usually so poor that you’d be better off not adding it to your soil at all. Not that I’m saying that all store-bought compost is worthless. There are indeed manufacturers that produce a reasonably good product. But they are few and far apart.
You need to bear in mind that a commercial compost manufacturer when confronted with quality versus quantity, will tend to opt for the latter.
When we make compost at home our focus shifts from trying to see how much we can produce to trying to produce the best quality we possibly can. And with this approach, even a complete newbie to compost making will soon produce a better quality compost than anything available on the market.
Making compost at home is not rocket science. It’s not smelly. And it doesn’t take up lots of space or fancy equipment either.
“In the Go Food Gardening System we take compost making (organic waste recycling) very seriously. And I encourage you to do the same.”
1. Take a few minutes to reflect on the above. Then list your top 5 benefits of adding compost to the soil.
2. Then share your top benefit in a Reply below.
3. Take stock of your current organic waste recycling system (composting system). Is there space for improvement? Where? Is it something you should consider adding? Why?Only registered students can access all the units. TAP to UNLOCK the Beginner Class Units.