Composting is the natural process of decomposition actively managed in order to accelerate the process and provide a contained valuable soil amendment. Decomposition returns nutrients to the soil, improves soil texture, and supports new plant growth. We can speed up this natural process by composting food and yard waste in a managed backyard composting bin. The finished product is dark and crumbly, bearing no resemblance to the original components Composting enlists the use of decomposers including microorganisms to break down organic material in the presence of oxygen to a point where it can be safely stored, handled and used. Compost piles are habitats for both chemical and physical decomposers. These include bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, mites, centipedes, springtails, nematodes, worms and many others. We provide them with shelter, warmth, food, air, and water and they, in turn, provide us with a sweet, invaluable product known as finished compost.
Composting is an essential part of reducing household wastes. Easy to do, composting can be practiced by every household. The reward is having homemade, finished compost to use in any number of ways to benefit the environment as a natural soil amendment for use in the garden, landscape, or farm.
Soil is the basic building block for a healthy, productive garden that yields nutritious food – with no worries of contamination in the form of chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMOs. Good garden soil is teeming with life – a living, breathing community of micro and macro organisms essential to healthy soil and vegetation. According to Oregon State University researchers, “one teaspoon of good garden soil to which compost has been added contains 100 million bacteria and 800 feet of fungal threads!” Soil is comprised of roughly 25% air, 20% water, 45% minerals and 4-7% organic matter. That 4-7% of organic matter is what supports life on his planet. That’s compost! Organic matter in our soil provides the nutrients that make plants grow. The organic matter found in compost introduces vital nutrients to the garden, including macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, as well as micronutrients like manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Even if you don’t garden you are doing the earth a service by composting. Spread it on the earth, the lawn, under a tree or bush – anywhere that the nutrients can return to the soil. You’ll be feeding the earth and reducing the amount of material ending up in landfills.