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.