Common Uses for Home Compost
Did you know that the US military uses compost at more than 30 munition sites across the country to remediate munition-contaminated soils? You too can reap the benefits of adding compost to your soil. By using compost at home you can improve plant health, increase water retention, and help remove harmful substances from the soil and prevent them from entering local waterways. Do your part to help recreate our earth’s natural cycle. (Source: EPA)
What is Composting?
Composting is the controlled aerobic, or oxygen-requiring, decomposition of organic materials like food scraps, yard trimmings, and paper by microorganisms into a dark colored, sweet-smelling soil amendment called compost. Compost adds needed nutrients to the soil, improves plant health, increases water retention, reduces the reliance on chemical pesticides and fertilizers, increases the carbon sequestration capacity of soil, and helps prevent nutrient runoff and soil erosion. It can also greatly reduce the amount of material going to our landfill. Organic substances require oxygen, sunlight, and beneficial microorganisms to successfully breakdown. Landfills, however, are anaerobic, or oxygen-depleted, environments where organic substances take longer to decompose and give out higher amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, during the decomposition process.
Tips for How You Can Use Compost At Your Home
1.) Compost can be easily applied as mulch directly to the surface of established landscapes to aid trees, shrubs, and other plants. If you do not have your own home compost source you can always purchase compost from a commercial compost facility like Vail Honeywagon.
2.) Compost can also be used as a soil amendment. It can be incorporated into the soil for new plantings like creating garden beds, to re-establish vegetation in disturbed areas, and as backfill for excavated areas.
3.) Compost also makes excellent potting soil for indoor planting. As always with incorporating compost into established soil, research the ratio of compost to soil for what you are planting and how often you should be adding compost to your soil.