- What is compost?
- What is composting?
- How old is the composting practice?
- Are there different kinds of composting?
- Is composting recycling?
- Understanding compost
- Does the weather affect the composting process?
- Does composting reduce global warming?
- How does composting benefit the earth?
- How does compost benefit the soil?
- Can compost replace petroleum based fertilizers?
- What are all the advantages of composting?
Compost is dark in colour, sweet smelling and nutrient rich material. Compost is more than just an important addition to soil – it is absolutely crucial. Compost is a material created by nature.
Composting is the decomposition of plant remains and other once-living materials to make an earthy, dark, crumbly substance that enriches soil. It is a process of recycling your kitchen and garden wastes, and is a critical step in reducing the volume of garbage needlessly sent to landfills for disposal.
Composting is not a new idea. In the natural world, composting is what happens as leaves pile up on the forest floor and begin to decay. Eventually, nutrients from the rotting leaves are reclaimed by living roots. This completes nature’s recycling process.
Yes, there are three kinds of composting;
1. Aerobic composting (composting with air – in the presence of oxygen)
Daily Dump uses this process.
2. Anaerobic composting (composting without air – in sealed spaces)
3. Vermicomposting (composting that is speeded up by earthworms)
organic materials + water = carbon dioxide + methane + hydrogen sulfide + energy
organic materials + oxygen + water = carbon dioxide + water + energy
Good composting is a matter of providing proper environmental conditions for microbial life. Compost is made by billions of microbes (fungi, bacteria, etc.) that digest garden and kitchen wastes that you provide them. If the pile is cool enough, worms, insects and their relatives will help out the microbes. However, like people, these living things need air, water and food. If you maintain your pile to provide for their needs, they'll happily turn your garden and kitchen wastes into compost much more quickly.
Composting microbes are aerobic - they can't do their work well unless they are provided with air. Without air, anaerobic (non-air needing) microbes take over the pile. They do cause slow decomposition, but the pile tends to smell like putrefying garbage! For this reason, it's important to regularly stir your pile.
Some compost ingredients, such as green grass clippings or wet fruits and vegetables, mat down very easily into slimy layers that air cannot get through. Other ingredients, such as straw, shredded paper or dried leaves, are very helpful in allowing air into the center of a pile. To make sure that you have adequate aeration for your pile and its microbes, thoroughly break up or mix in any ingredients that might mat down and exclude air.
Ideally, your pile should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge to fit the needs of compost microbes. This means that there is a thin film of water coating every particle in the pile, making it very easy for microbes to disperse themselves. If your pile is drier than this, it won't be very good microbial habitat and composting will be significantly slower. If your pile is a great deal wetter, the sodden ingredients will be so heavy that they will tend to mat down and exclude air from the pile, again slowing the composting process (and perhaps creating anaerobic odor problems).
Fruit and vegetable wastes generally have plenty of moisture, as do fresh green grass clippings and garden trimmings. In hot, dry climates, it may be necessary to water your pile occasionally to maintain proper moisture. If you are using dry ingredients, such as dried leaves or straw, you'll need to moisten them as you add them to the pile.
'Browns' are dry and dead plant materials such as straw, dry brown weeds, leaves and twigs. These materials are primarily composed of chemicals that are long chains of sugar molecules linked together. Browns are a source of carbon and energy for compost microbes.
'Greens' are fresh plant materials such as green leaves and garden clippings, kitchen, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc. Compared to browns, greens contain more nitrogen which is a critical element in amino acids and proteins. So greens can be thought of as a protein source for the billions of multiplying microbes.
Browns, tend to be bulky and promote good aeration. Greens, on the other hand, are typically high in moisture, and balance out the dry nature of the browns. A good mix of browns and greens forms the best nutritional balance for microbes. This mix also helps maintain aeration and moisture levels in the pile.
The above explanation is a simplified way of understanding compost - for a more detailed scientific explanation see this site - according to us, it explains compost very well - http://www.composterconnection.com/site/science.html
Research shows that harmful emissions are reduced if large volumes of organic waste are scientifically managed and converted to compost. The resultant compost is very rich in nutrients for the earth and replenishes top soil without adverse side effects.
Also composting reduces your volume of waste that you throw out. After you convert your organic waste into compost, you can reuse the compost in your garden. There the compost recycles nutrients back into the soil and plant life. Increased plant growth helps to restore the green cover of your neighborhood. This way composting benefits the earth.
Compost benefits the soil by recycling nutrients into it. It improves soil structure, texture and aeration along with its water holding capacity. It loosens clayey soil and increases water retention in sandy soil. It encourages healthy and abundant root development; plants grow with more resistance to disease and pests in the long run.
Yes. Soil needs what compost’s life processes give; nutrients that release their nutrition gradually and in small doses over long periods of time.
Synthetic fertilizers provide quick jolts of nutrition to the plant roots, but in the process they stymie root development, while compost-enriched soils encourage healthy and abundant root development. Without the life processes that distinguishes composted soil from soil fertilized with synthetic ingredients, the skin of our planet will quickly degenerate into an inert, barren landscape.
Compost increases organic matter in soils
Compost builds sound root structure
Compost makes clay soils airy so they drain
Compost gives sandy soils body to hold moisture
Compost attracts and feeds earthworms
Compost balances pH (acidity/alkalinity) of soil
Compost reduces water demands of plants and trees
Compost helps control soil erosion
Compost reduces plant stress from drought and freezes
Compost can extend the growing season
Compost improves vitamin and mineral content in food grown in compost-rich soils
Compost generously applied replaces reliance upon petrochemical fertilizers