Growing up my family had a small area of the yard designated for dirt and food scraps. When I was a kid, I didn’t see compost, but instead I saw it as just another chore on the list of things to do before I could watch tv. I was told, “Go outside, add the food scraps from the kitchen and stir the soil around”. But now, an avid gardener, I see it is not just a compost pile, but a pile of gold!
Hopefully these 9 tips on why you should compost will open your eyes to the world of composting.
ONE STEP CLOSER TO LIVING GREEN!
I never thought it was harmful to throw away banana peels or apple cores. I use to assume that it would make its way to the landfill and harmlessly decompose amongst the other waste. I couldn’t have been more wrong! To my surprise, I discovered that organic materials (like that banana peel) produce methane as a byproduct when decomposing in an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment. Methane is 30 times more potent as a heat trapping gas than carbon dioxide! So, that banana peel decomposing in the landfill does a lot of damage in the long run. Composting puts that banana peel in an environment with plenty of oxygen, allowing it to decompose in a safe and earth friendly way.
IMPROVE THE SOIL NUTRITION
Plants need food. Well, not exactly. Plants need the nutrients available to them within the soil. In nursing school I learned about all of the electrolytes and minerals that the human body requires to maintain appropriate functions. Plants work in a similar way. They extract nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and many other nutrients from the soil to allow them to flourish. Similar to you and me, if we don’t get the nutrients needed, then we become sluggish and weak. Nothing changes with our plants! When organic matter breaks down in compost it leaks these nutrients into the soil which then gets scooped up through the roots of your garden. This process helps the plants thrive.
IMPROVE QUALITY & NUTRITIONAL VALUE
The quality of the veggies and fruits that come from a garden tells you whether it was grown with compost or not. The veggies and fruits from a composted garden have a stronger taste, brighter color and higher nutritional value. It’s like having two Olympic runners, one who eats balanced meals everyday and one who indulges in McDonald’s more often than they should. Who do you think is going to come in first?
SAVES YOU MONEY!
If you don’t make your own compost, then you most likely use store bought fertilizer to feed your plants. It’s common for people to buy several bags of top soil and maybe even a store mass produced version of compost. When you compost at home you’ll never have to buy soil or fertilizer again. Because I grew up with a
gold mine pile of compost in my back yard, I never saw a bag of fertilizer till I attempted gardening on my own.
Now that I make my own compost, I buy one or maybe two bags of top soil each year. Compare that to the 6 or 8 bags I would have normally bought and you’ll see a savings between $30-$40. If you use your compost like me (adding it to plants throughout the season and to house plants year round), you’ll soon realize how much you truly save.
Compost is a porous, spongy type of soil. Because of those features, it is able to retain up to 30 percent more water than other soils. So, during the hotter, dryer summer days your garden won’t need as much watering compared to plants without compost. This will help your plants survive those terribly hot summer days, while also helping you save money on your water bill!
ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING
I don’t know about you, but when I get a new idea for a project, I develop tunnel vision. So, when I decided to build my own compost bin, I changed the way I ate at home. I became so excited to finally be able to compost, I wanted to add food scraps to it right away! So, when my fiancé and I went to the grocery store, I made sure to buy more fruits and vegetables. I looked up some meals that required veggies, simply so I could have food scraps that can be added to my compost. By the end of the month, I noticed I didn’t think twice about buying fruits and vegetables. It had become second nature.
Don’t think of compost as a chore like I used to when I was a kid. It’s super easy, great for both your indoor and outdoor plants, and it’s fun! It’s cool to take the garbage from your kitchen and turn it into nutrient rich soil for your plants.
Don’t forget to come back next week, I’m going to show you how you can build your own compost for the apartment or townhome dwellers like myself!