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Composting 101

Compost bins

An introduction to Composting

If you've thought about composting but never knew where to start, this is for you. We'll be creating a thorough section on composting in a number of entries that will give you all the details you need to be successful.

What is compost?

Compost also known as humus comes from natural decomposed materials. Everything from tea bags, veggies and leaves to paper and hair can be composted. If you've been in a nicely forested area you may have noticed that the soil there-in is a beautiful rich almost black earth. This comes from composted material in large part due to the vegetation that dies, decomposes and returns to the earth.

In this way the forests have a natural healthy lifecycle. As they grow they remove nutrients from the soil and when they die or go dormant they return nutrients back to the soil. A good example of this process would be deciduous trees each growing and then losing their leaves with the seasons.

Your composted material (humus) is dark brown, smells pleasantly rich and earthy and is not just loaded with nutrients for your garden, but is capable of retaining moisture.

The key factor in compost is that it isn't just rotting materials; healthy bacteria and fungi are responsible for the breakdown from your veggies to humus. Later in this series we'll discuss how to take these beneficial lifeforms and turn your compost into a super hero for your garden.

What's important here is that we recognize that our gardens will be healthier and thrive if we support and encourage this natural cycle.

Why Compost?

  • Save Money

  • It's environmentally friendly

  • Reduce waste

  • Fights disease

  • Retains water

  • Feeds your soil

A rich healthy soil is better for your plants than the chemicals you buy at your local home store. You'll find compost is better at feeding them then nitrogen based ferlizer, and with healthy invigorated plants they'll be more capable of fighting off predators and disease.

Compost is a significant part of your garden's life cycle. The millions of microbials living in your compost help break it down even further into particles that your plant can then uptake.

One thing that you should note here is that when you put chemicals into your garden you are killing off all of the healthy microbial life required for your plants health. Initially your plants may do well, but after time you will notice that your garden will have problems. You will have to use more and more chemicals to get results and you will have more pest problems.

What happened? You have killed your soil.

Remember that your soil is living and it's your job to keep it healthy and vital. In return it will reward you year after year.

*next section: Composting methods


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