Let’s first of all, talk about what compost is. Compost is a soil-like mixture containing decaying organic matter with active microorganisms that help with the decomposition process. Organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves, food scraps, eggshells, e.t.c make up the compost. Compost has a lot of benefits, some of which are explained below.
1) Revitalization & Filtration of Local Water Sources
Compost has the capacity of holding up to 20× of its own weight in water, this, adding compost to the soil increases the amount of water that is able to penetrate into the soil.
This means that water can seep down to the impervious rock layer. There, it swells up and replenished lakes, ponds, as well as local springs. In the process of moving through compost, soil, and rock layers, the water gets filtered by the time it gets to these water sources.
2) Erosion Control
Excess water is the major cause of erosion. Due to its inability to penetrate the ground, water gets swelled up on the surface and takes a rush down to lower elevations. In the process, the topsoil gets washed off along it causing a depletion in the land. Compost helps to allow more water to infiltrate the ground and keeps the topsoil intact without it being washed off.
3) Promotes Healthier Plant Growth
Compost comes with a lot of benefits to the plant which gives such plants healthier growth. Some of its functions include a balance of soil density, addition and retaining nutrients, keeping away pests and diseases, as well as weeds amongst many other benefits.
In the balance of soil density, compost helps to loosen the soils found to be too tight and clumps together soils that are too loose. It also balances the soil pH. In the suppression of pests and diseases, compost helps vegetation to stand up to pests by balancing nutrients when they are imbalanced.
4) Water Conservation
With compost, water is conserved in a few different ways. Compost helps to retain and efficiently transfer water through the soil thus, allowing surrounding plants to maximize water for growth.
Due to the fact that compost helps with porous infiltration, it helps to prevent water from laterally flowing off the land and instead, into sewers and storm drains. The ability of compost to retain water more efficiently is due to increased absorption.
5) Waste Reduction
Compost helps to reduce waste and also diverts waste from filling up landfills. The reason behind this is due to the fact that compost is made from waste such as food scraps, organic by-products, e.t.c which could be rotting unproductively in landfills.
6) Improve in Soil Health
With compost, the biological, chemical, and structural health of soil can be improved. Not only does it help the plants growing in that soil but it also supports the ecosystem of bugs, worms, microbes amongst others. Compost also helps to bind heavy contaminants and metals thus, making them less available for uptake by plants where they could have access to human and animal populations.
7) Combat of Climate Change
The climate is benefitted from compost in many ways including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at landfills, promotion of the uptake of carbon dioxide by vegetation, and also, by making projects and gardens more resilient to the effects of climate change.
In the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, compost diverts organic materials from landfills where they would break down and get emitted into the atmosphere as methane.
8) Assistance in Wetland Reclamation
Compost can help to protect and create wetlands. In the protection of wetlands, compost acts as a filter for pollutants and protects sensitive environments from contamination. The reclamation of wetlands supplies the highly organic material required by wetlands to thrive.
9) Reduction in Project Management Costs
Compost can be known to protect and benefit your plants and ecosystem which gives a lower long-term maintenance cost. Replanting costs are reduced as the compost provides water and nutrients required by plants to thrive and by reducing the pests and diseases preying on them.
Planting with compost will give a lower plant mortality rate and ultimately gives a reduced cost to remobilize onsite and replant at a later time. Not only that, compost helps to save more money by retaining soil water and thus, giving a reduction in the irrigation costs.
These savings can give a greater impact on large commercial projects which most times, can’t pass inspection until plants have sufficiently taken roots and thriving also taking place.
10) Acts as an Organic Fertilizer
Compost is a carbon-rich fertilizer obtained from organic materials or mixed materials and which are used to supply nutrients to the soil. With compost, soil structure is improved by the addition of carbon and plant nutrients provided. Not only that, it also helps in improving the physic of chemical and biological properties of the soil.
With all these, compost can be used in the absence of or inadequate fertilizers and can also improve food production. Note that when making use of compost which include the use of sewage sludge, animal wastes, organic residues, e.t.c, consideration should be given and moderation applied to the process to avoid any damaging effect on humans, animal, soil health, and the environment at large.
11) Feeding of the Soil Food Web
When compost breaks down, important nutrients are released into the soil. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are three important constituents of compost that can be fed to the plants growing in the soil. Not only that, but it also increases the number and variety of beneficial bacteria and fungi present in the soil and this also aids plant growth.
12) Cleaner Oceans
Due to the fact that compost possesses the ability to filter water as it penetrates the ground, it gives cleaner oceans as ll water eventually finds its way to oceans. Acidifying fertilizers and other harsh chemicals used in farming are one of the biggest pollutants of the oceans but with compost, the water runoff which diverts these chemicals into the ocean is reduced and also reduces the need to use such artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides.
Compost has a lot of benefits to the soil, the plants, and the environment at large. Thus, cultivate the habit of using compost in your garden. For details about composting, check our guide about the best composting books here.