Many of us have been on the composting bandwagon for some time, having long ago realized the benefits. If you are not currently a composter or if you are on the fence about doing so, now is a great time to seize the day and start composting! There are several reasons to embrace composting, all of which are beneficial to the soil and environment around you. Composting helps form a symbiotic relationship of sorts between mirco-organisms that live in and process soil, in turn invigorating that soil and making it more beneficial for use by you.
If you are plagued by poor quality soil and want to do something about it, composting could be the answer you are seeking. The process of composting soil enables the breakdown of nutrients that will ultimately be beneficial to that soil. Items that go well in your compost pile are leftover kitchen scraps that are vegetable in nature (do not use meat). Used coffee grounds are also great for compost purposes. These items will decompose to create an organic material that is nutrient-dense and will help your soil better hold moisture, which results in a higher crop yield. Some of what is added back into your soil through composting is nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc. These items are not always present in commercial fertilizers, which is just another reason to give composting a try.
Compost has also been shown to limit plant illness as well as unfavorable pests, which in turn limits the need for pesticides and allows for healthier, cleaner crop growth. While pests will be put off by compost, earthworms will not, but let it be known that worms are friends of composting. They consume and process components of soil, amending it into a more usable form. Once worms have passed soil through their systems, the result is a crumbly soil that is made up of aggregates. These aggregates break down, or crumble, which allows air penetration and moisture retention without trapping an excess of water. Worms are thus one of the key components of a good compost pile. Other friends of composting are redworms, centipedes, sow bugs, and other soildwelling creatures.
In addition to composting being great for your crop growth, it also has positive environmental impacts. Items that go into compost bins or piles are items that stay out of landfill, which helps prevent the formation of methane and leachate in landfills. In addition to keeping undesired things such as these from being present in landfills, it can also keep them out of your garden; compost usage is capable of preventing polluted runoff from contaminating precious water resources. It also goes a long way towards the prevention of erosion, which can save you a lot of time, labor, and money in the long run when you no longer have eroded areas to repair or replace.
With all of this in mind paired with the fact that compost saves money on the fertilizer you will no longer need to buy, composting seems like a logical choice. Whether you compost in bins or a pile and whether your compost is fast and hot or slow and cool, do consider creating compost. Remember that a dark brown coloration and crumbly appearance with an earthy odor signifies your compost is ready to go. All that remains is getting that compost going in the first place!