In a nutshell, compost is decomposed organic matter. Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material such as leaves and vegetable scraps into a rich soil amendment that gardeners fondly nickname Black Gold.
Correspondingly, is compost considered soil?
Compost is the recycling of plant and kitchen waste as a fertilizer and soil amendment. It is dark and crumbly and, when done correctly, smells like good soil. Compost improves soil and plants by returning organic matter to the soil in a usable form. Compost helps break up heavy clay soils, improving its drainage.
What does compost contain?
Compost also adds nutrients to your soil. Compost contains a variety of the basic nutrients that plants require for healthy growth. In addition to the main three; nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, of special importance are the micronutrients found in compost such as manganese, copper, iron, and zinc.
If you want to get compost in a hurry, there are a few things you can do to speed the process along.
- Size it right. Compost piles that are about 1 cubic yard (3 ft square by 3 ft high) get hotter quicker.
- Turn it over. Microbes need oxygen to do their work.
- Keep the combo right.
- Keep it moist.
- Shred it.
Benefits of Composting
- Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests.
- Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.
- Dog and Cat Poop. Horse, cow, chicken and rabbit droppings are great additions to your compost pile.
- Tea and Coffee Bags.
- Citrus Peels and Onions.
- Fish and Meat Scraps.
- Glossy or Coated Paper.
- Sticky Labels on Fruits and Vegetables.
- Coal Fire Ash.
- Sawdust From Treated Wood.
In loose, sandy soil compost helps to bind these particles together and increase the soil's ability to retain moisture and nutrients. Compost also adds nutrients to your soil. Compost contains a variety of the basic nutrients that plants require for healthy growth.
Put the right stuff in. Good things to compost include vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, plant prunings and grass cuttings. These are fast to break down and provide important nitrogen as well as moisture. It's also good to include things such as cardboard egg boxes, scrunched up paper and fallen leaves.
- Grass clippings.
- Brush trimmings.
- Manure (preferably organic)
- Any non-animal food scraps: fruits, vegetables, peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves and tea bags (preferably minus the staples)
- Old wine.
- Pet bedding from herbivores ONLY — rabbits, hamsters, etc.
- Dry cat or dog food.
Compost returns valuable nutrients to the soil to help maintain soil quality and fertility. Compost is a mild, slow release, natural fertilizer that won't burn plants like chemical fertilizers. Provides organic matter and nutrients which will improve plant growth and lead to better yields.
Compost is decomposed organic material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen waste. It provides many essential nutrients for plant growth and therefore is often used as fertilizer. Compost also improves soil structure so that soil can easily hold the correct amount of moisture, nutrients and air.
100 Things You Can Compost
- Fruit and vegetable scraps (G)
- Egg shells (crushed) (B)
- Coffee grounds (G)
- Coffee filters (B)
- Tea bags (Make sure they are made of natural materials like hemp or cotton, and not rayon or other synthetics.
- Loose leaf tea (G)
- Spoiled soy/rice/almond/coconut milk (G)
- Used paper napkins and paper towels (B)
7 Easy Steps to Composting
- Choose Your Type of Backyard Compost Bin. You can use either an open pile or a compost bin.
- Choose Your Composter Location.
- Alternate Layers.
- Add Kitchen and Yard Waste as They Accumulate.
- Continue to Add Layers Until Your Bin is Full.
- Maintain Your Compost Bin.
- Harvest Your Compost.
Composting biodegrades organic waste. i.e. food waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, wood, feathers, crop residue etc., and turns it into a valuable organic fertilizer. Composting is a natural biological process, carried out under controlled aerobic conditions (requires oxygen).
When it's hot and the pile is moist and has a good ratio of carbon to nitrogen (20:1-100:1 in this case), a three month decomposition is possible. But outside of those parameters, it may take up to a year. Also, a family of five will produce much more compost material than a single person living alone.
More Composting Examples. Worm composting: using worms to recycle food scraps and other organic material into a valuable soil amendment called vermicompost, or worm compost. Worms eat food scraps, which become compost as they pass through the worm's body.
Microbes, worms, snails, insects and fungi decompose organic material aerobically, which means they use oxygen as they breakdown the materials in the pile. Bacteria are the powerhouse of a compost pile. They break down plant matter and create carbon dioxide and heat.
That being said, a good rule of thumb is to turn a compost tumbler every three to four days and the compost pile every three to seven days. As your compost matures, you can turn the tumbler or pile less frequently.
Use finished compost in a layer on top of your soil to nourish the plants underneath. Water will carry nutrients down, into the soil. This is called top-dressing. You can top-dress a garden, a tree, even a lawn (just sprinkle it in).
Composting is not only great for those who use the compost but it has many environmental benefits as well.
- Compost reduces greenhouse gases.
- Compost improves soil quality.
- Compost helps clean up contaminated soil.
- Compost helps control erosion.
- Compost makes and saves money.
Smart Compost Shopping: Buying Bagged Compost at the Store. You can make your own compost or buy bags of compost from your local gardening store. Up to 4 inches of compost can be mixed into soil each season to improve its texture and boost its organic matter content. They need compost.
Helps soils hold or sequester carbon dioxide. In addition to emission reductions, compost replenishes and revitalizes exhausted farm soils by replacing trace minerals and organic material, reduces soil erosion and helps prevent storm water runoff. Recycling is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gases.