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

  • 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.
Compost Benefits the Soil Chemistry

  • 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.

  1. Compost Home
  2. Compost Benefits