Compost: Part 1 – What Is Compost & Why Do It?

harry.compost

Like me I am sure you have composted at least once in your life from your left over school lunch box sitting in your bedroom for a week* to throwing veggie scraps out the window of a rental to feeding your chooks left over food scraps. Composting is a great way to reduce your household waste and the benefits of using your own compost in your garden is very rewarding.

So what is compost exactly you ask? Compost is natural organic material that is decomposed and broken down in a state that you no longer recognise.  By putting leaves, grass clippings, veggie scraps into your compost and after some time the final product is a soil like substance that can be used around your garden to promote a healthy living environment for your plants.  Composting has been happening naturally around us since trees first existed on the earth. The leaves, bark and other organic matter that fall to the forest floor from the plant eventually break-down and enriches the soil surrounding the base of the plant. This is creating a healthy environment for the plant to grow stronger and get the nourishment it needs. Living organisms that live around plants like insects, birds and other animals also produce waste to give to the decaying leaves and beneath the leaves living in the soil are worms and micro-organisms that break down that waste above. It’s a small natural eco-system surrounding a plant.

If you are wanting to be sustainable or self-sufficient composting is the best way to cut your household waste. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics our landfill in Australia is 50% organic waste this could be halved simply by composting. Now that is making an impact on our future. The next installment I will look at items that can be put into your compost or worm farm from your house.

Another great reason to get into composting is to enrich your soil in your own backyard. It doesn’t matter if you only have 6 large pots, 2 raised garden beds or a veggie patch 3m x 3m, compost can be used through your veggie patch, flower beds and around your fruit trees – it is versatile for all plants. Composting also helps prevent weeds and reduces the amount you need to water your garden. If your soil is happy your plants will be happy and if your using compost on your veggies they absorb the nutrients around it to promote healthier plants that fight off disease and pests. Which then provides healthy clean food for you.

COMPOST SERIES:

COMPOSTING PART 1: What is compost

COMPOSTING PART 2: What goes into a compost

COMPOSTING PART 3: Hot, Cold the best system for your backyard

COMPOSTING PART 4: Using compost in the garden & problem solving

 

This week is International Compost Awareness Week starting yesterday 6th May 2013.

*That wasn’t me it was my sister. Her lunch all squashed together and found two weeks later in a rather stinky mess but it did decompose.

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3 Comments

  1. I loved composting at my old place. I had three huge wooden bins and we’d turn it from one bin to the next til it was cooked. I even had one of those big screwey things to lift stuff up from the center if I thought it was overheating. Good stuff for the garden.

  2. Really looking forward to running this series! I hope to adapt any tips for a balcony garden.

  3. Lizzie this is just what I need! I want to set up compost soon.