As recycling continues to prove a worthy effort, the benefits of using compost have been extensively studied. The results reveal physical, chemical, biological, and environmental benefits. There are many uses for compost, all of which have proven beneficial in some way.
Compost benefits the soil where it is used by improving drainage and moisture absorption, especially in soils that are otherwise poor quality. This makes growing in various types of soils easier and more productive. Compost also benefits the plant matter grown in the soil by providing nutrients to the plant’s growing area. Compost does not make an effective fertilizer for vegetable and ornamental plants, but it helps reduce runoff, making the use of fertilizer more productive and keeping it out of the water.
Environmentally, the use of compost has been shown to remediate, or clean up, contaminated soils by reducing toxic runoffs, binding certain toxins that might otherwise escape, and it prevents erosion when used near roadways, lakes, rivers, and streams. In addition to the biological, chemical, and environmental benefits of compost, the use of compost creates economic benefits. Using compost reduces the amount of fertilizer, water, and pesticides needed to produce healthy plants, and it is cheaper than artificial soils.
Many municipalities utilize a yard waste recycle center to create compost for use by the city and its residents. If your city has a yard waste recycle center, you can most likely drop off your leaves and grass clippings there. This not only helps the city in its efforts to be environmentally responsible, but many cities also offer the finished compost to their residents for gardening use.
If you decide to start your own compost pile, remember that you can add organic material rather than throwing it away. The nutrients in organic matter will enhance your composting pile. Be sure to keep your composting pile where scavenging critters can’t easily access it. Your compost pile will need to be turned to aerate about once a week, and in very dry conditions, you will need to add water. Compost is ready when the putrid smell has disappeared and it smells earthy, looks dark, and is relatively crumbly.
You can spread compost in your garden, on flower beds, around trees, and even on top of your lawn. Woody compost can be used as an alternative to synthetic mulch as well. When using compost, you can not only congratulate yourself on being environmentally responsible, but you can also enjoy the long-term benefits compost provides to your garden and flowerbeds.