What Is Compost And Why Does My Garden Need It?
By Anthony Tripodi
Some people think compost is a just a bunch of manure. Others think it's what
happens to your body when you die and get buried, "My uncle Joe died last year
and his body has been de-compostin' ever since." Compost is defined in the
dictionary as "a mixture of decaying organic matter, as from leaves and manure,
used to improve soil structure and provide nutrients." That's a great definition
but it really doesn't tell the whole story. It should say, "Compost is the
greatest thing ever!!!" Well the dictionary probably won't ever say that but I
Compost is created when yard & food waste decomposes. Micro organisms &
invertebrates (also known as little buggers) feed on the waste, live their brief
lives, reproduce, die and then they become waste too. This repeating cycle is
how the soil gets it's nutrients replenished. Like Mufasa said, "We all have our
place in the circle of life." When it comes to compost, it 's just a very small
Compost will happen on it's own without any help from man. Look down at the
ground in a dense forest. The leaves fall from the trees and decompose. This
creates a rich soil that in turn feeds the trees. Compost just happens naturally
and has been since the dawn of time. But man has figured out how to speed up the
process. By mixing the right ratio of greens (grass clippings, coffee grinds,
food waste, etc) with the right ratio of browns (leaves, hay, shredded
newspapers, etc) and keeping the pile moist and well aerated you will create
compost much quicker than nature.
Are you still asking what's the big deal about compost? Add some of this stuff
to your garden bed and you'll know. Your plants will grow bigger and healthier.
Sure you could add fertilizers and get the same results, for now. You see
synthetic fertilizers eventually break down and after a few years will leave the
soil salty. At some point you won't be able to grow anything without lots of
that fertilizer (they planned it that way to sell you more). It's like raising a
crack baby at that point. Well maybe not that bad but you get the idea.
Adding compost to the soil is creating healthy soil. You're doing what nature is
already trying to do but your just doing it faster and more efficiently.
Compost is not only great for your plants but it's great for your soil and even
for the environment. They say that in the United States that 30% of all garbage
is lawn and garden waste. Instead of putting those leaves and grass clippings
out at the curb they could be composted. That would not only cut down on the
space needed in land fills but it would make everyone's gardens grow bigger,
healthier and less dependent on synthetic fertilizers.
I've described the benefits of compost and hopefully you're ready to build or
buy a compost bin and get started. Remember that nature is going to decompose
your yard waste at it's own pace anyway. Why not lend a hand and speed up the
About the Author: Anthony Tripodi is the webmaster of WatchItRot.com - The
Compost Guide. For more information about Compost including ideas and equipment,