Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6 Benefits of Backyard Composting

Attention all organic gardeners; are you composting? If you answered no, you should be. Backyard composting has many benefits that fit naturally into organic gardening. It’s easy to get started and unless you buy a compost bin, it won’t cost you a penny. The big plus is you’ll be cutting down on decomposable household waste and feeding your garden with organic ingredients.

Slow-Release Plant Food

Compost slowly releases its nutrients over time. This benefits your organic garden because it gets fed all season long without the need for chemicals. In early spring and late fall when the soil is cool, compost releases nutrients at slow rates. As soil temperatures warm, the release of nutrients speeds up when plants need them the most to produce flowers and fruit.

Over time, nutrients build up in the soil making it healthier and better able to retain the nutrients left behind from compost. Healthy soil needs less amending, i.e. less and less compost season to season.

Better Soil Aeration

Soil that doesn’t get enough air circulating through it becomes compacted. Compacted soil prevents water from soaking through which leads to pour seed germination and brittle, dry plants. Adding compost helps prevent this problem by allowing air to circulate and water to penetrate.

Fewer Plant Diseases

Did you know a touch of compost helps to prevent and control plant disease? Well, it does. According to a handful of studies referenced in Organic Gardening’s Make Compost in 14 Days, compost helps to prevent certain kinds of plant rot, turf diseases and mildew.

Drought Protection

Soil that contains compost has an easier time retaining moisture. Soil granules form in compost rich soil. These granules sop up water and hold on it. Furthermore, once compost has completely broken down it turns into humus. Humus rich soil is incredibly moist meaning you’ll spend less time watering the garden.

Put an End to Erosion

Loose and compost free soil has a hard time retaining water; when heavy rains and strong winds hit, they tend to wash it away. Mixing compost into the soil will help it retain moisture and grow strong plants preventing erosion. Humus rich soil is even better at preventing erosion.

Benefits the Environment

Composting benefits the environment in many ways. First, it cuts down on the amount of biodegradable kitchen and yard waste that takes up room in landfills. It also returns nutrients to the earth, naturally benefiting the environment around it. Using compost eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers as well.

Besides feeding my garden and being good for the environment, saving money is one of my favorite benefits of composting. Composting doesn’t cost a thing unless you invest in a composting bin. All the compost ingredients are found in and around the home and using compost in the garden eliminates the need to spend money on chemical laden fertilizers.

Additional Composting Articles

Reference: Organic Gardening (2007). Make Compost in 14 Days. Rodale Inc.

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