The week of May 5 - 12 is
International Compost Awareness Week. The theme is
“Compost! …Replenish the Earth for
Generations." Communities throughout the world will be celebrating and
acknowledging the importance of composting to the environment and to our
future. Do your part by starting your own backyard composting pile or finding a
compost provider in your area.
The Compost Awareness Week began in 1995 by the U.S. Composting Council
(USCC) and other international compost organizations. Here are some facts about
compost from USCC:
Compost improves soil structure and
porosity – Compost physically loosens soil and helps create a
better plant root environment. Plants are only as healthy as their root systems
allow them to be!
Compost increases moisture infiltration
and permeability; reducing bulk density in heavy soils while
also improving the moisture holding capacity
of light soils – Water is a precious and limited resource.
Improving moisture infiltration rates, reducing erosion and runoff, reducing
water loss and nutrient leaching, and improving moisture retention are all
derived from compost use.
Compost supplies organic matter
– Organic matter serves as a reservoir of nutrients and water in the soil, aids
in reducing compaction and surface crusting, and increases water infiltration
into the soil. Organic matter is necessary for ongoing soil health, and serves
as a fast-acting nutrient supply, while also working in a time-release manner.
In effect, while plants feed off of active materials, the more stable materials
are gradually converting into usable nutrients. In addition, the stable
decomposing forms quickly absorb available soil nutrients for plant use.
(University of Minnesota Extension).
Compost allows plants to more effectively utilize nutrients,
while reducing nutrient loss by leaching – Chemical fertilizers
are expensive and becoming restricted in many parts of the US due to
environmental concerns over Nitrogen and Phosphorus pollution. Compost allows
the consumer to use less, and to make their use much more effective.
Compost supplies beneficial
microorganisms to soils – Compost is a living product. Healthy
soil is a living material, ideally filled with beneficial microorganisms. As
small as they are, soil microorganisms are the real giants in your garden, and
your garden soil should be swarming with millions of these microorganisms. This
“living-soil-life” helps; keep your soil healthy, decompose organic matter,
replenish soil nutrients, form humus, promote root growth, increase nutrient
uptake, and breakdown herbicides and pesticides. These microorganisms include
bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa.
Labels: benefits of composting, Compost Awareness Week, composting in the garden, how composting works, International Compost Awareness Week