The Many Benefits of Compost
The benefits of compost are truly remarkable. When I began building this site I knew that compost was good for the garden but had only a surface understanding of why. I didn't know how much of our garbage is potentially compostable, nor did I know how important compost actually is.
Compost is miraculous. It starts by taking a huge chunk of garbage out of land fill, goes on to make our gardens grow and ends by cleaning up TNT at munitions dumps.
This page is a quick overview of the benefits of compost.
Waste Management and Reduction with Compost
- Compost takes a huge amount of material, up to 75%, out of the solid waste stream.
Global Warming Methane Gas Reduced with Composting
- Compost reduces methane production - a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2.
Compost Benefits the Soil's Physical Structure
Compost Benefits the Soil Chemistry
- In heavy clay soils compost improves drainage and porosity of the soil.
- Makes sticky, heavy soil friable or workable
- Helps soils resist compaction which helps roots penetrate the soil.
- In light sandy soils compost improves water retention.
- The humus in the compost binds together particles in light crumbling soils.
- Very important in preventing erosion.
- Acts as a buffer to the soil's pH modifying and stabilizing it.
- Provides some micro and macro nutrients.
- Helps soil hold nutrients in root zone - prevents leaching.
- Increases the soils capacity for retaining soluble forms of plant nutrients.
- Improves the effectiveness of other fertilizers both organic and chemical.
Compost Benefits the Soil Biology
- Provides habitat and food for beneficial soil organisms from bacteria to earthworms.
- Improves resistance to both plant diseases and insect pests.
- Inoculates the soil with beneficial organisms such as nitrogen fixing bacteria.
Compost Cleans Up Contaminants
- Binds heavy metal contaminants so not taken up by plants
- Filters air and water of contaminants.
- Degrades, and in some cases eliminates, toxic chlorinated and non-chlorinated hydrocarbons, explosives, wood preservatives, pesticides, and petroleum product contamination in soils.
- Valuable in cleaning up abandoned mine sites.
- Erosion prevention on roadways, mine slopes, clear cut hillsides etc.