Soil Composting / Conserving Valuable Resources
Composting, often described as nature’s way of recycling, is the biological process of breaking up of organic waste such as food waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, worms, and coffee grounds, etc., into an extremely useful humus-like substance by various micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the presence of oxygen.
Actinomycetes are similar to fungus in the way they grow and spread, but its distinguishing elements are that the types of materials they are efficient at decomposing. The active nature in this microscopic bacteria and the sheer number present (about 10 million per 1 gram of soil), make them highly effective at breaking down materials like tree bark, newspaper, and other hard organic material.
Today, the use of composting to turn organic wastes into a valuable resource is expanding rapidly in many countries, as landfill space becomes scarce and expensive, and as people become more aware of the impact they have on the environment.
Soil Composting / How Does Your Garden Grow?
The soil is vital to the life of your garden. The health of soil determines the health of plants that grow in it. It serves as a medium to deliver nutrients, air and water to the plants. Soil is made up of a variety of organic and inorganic materials, including rock particles, decaying plants and animals, air, water, and microorganisms.
How the soil behaves and reacts to water and nutrients depends upon the manner in which the soil is arranged i.e. texture of the soil. Thus it’s important to become familiar with the texture of your soil, which is established by the amounts of clay, silt or sand particles that exist in the soil.
Soil Composting / Balancing the Elements
Soils that are prominently clay hold water and nutrients sufficiently, but they are tough for the roots to grow through. Sandy soils on the other hand drain well, but in the process nutrients get pulled away – and they dry quickly.
The ideal soil for gardening is loam, which has the balanced amounts of silt, clay and sand. Also the pH level of your garden is a 1-14 scale that measures the acidity of the soil. A score of 7 is neutral; below 7 is acidic, above 7 is alkaline.
Most plants prefer neutral soil, which allows plants to successfully draw nutrients from the soil. When composting becomes a regular, cyclical part of how you interact with your garden, the richness and texture of soil change.
Soil Composting / Compost 101
Composting is a biological process of the decomposition of organic matter into humus by bacteria, fungi and other soil organisms. These organisms require food to do their work and they draw upon the organic matter for this food.
In the process they produce nutrient rich, high-energy product called compost. Digging or tilling compost into garden beds helps to loosen up tight clay soil, making it easier for roots to penetrate and for water to drain through. In loose, sandy soils organic matter helps the particles cling together and hold more water and nutrients.
Soil Composting / Recycling At Its Best
Healthy soil teems with tiny organisms that gradually digest leaves, stems, roots and other debris, breaking them down into simpler substances. As these organisms die, they are in turn digested by those that remain. In the process, essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur are released from complex molecules and transformed into simple ions that plants can absorb through their roots.
The breakdown of organic matter also produces sulphuric, carbonic, and nitric acids, which help dissolve rock and release the minerals that are needed by plants to grow well. This process makes it clear why soil rich in organic matter is fertile and there’s no better method than composting to provide this crucial organic matter to the soil.
Becoming familiar with your garden soil is the key to the success of your garden. Almost all garden soil will benefit from additives, which can improve drainage, retain moisture, provide aeration, and supply organic matter. Garden soil is heavily dependent on organic matter for its successful sustenance of plants and flowers. In a nutshell, composting can be the answer to all your soil’s needs.
For more information on composting follow these links: