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“Compost builds permanent fertility into the soil by adding to its humus content and its natural rock-mineral reserves. Like practically all natural fertilizers, compost is a carrier of insoluble plant food. That means it starts working quickly, but it doesn’t release all of its nutrients into the soil at once, as does a soluble fertilizer. Compost will keep working for you for months and years, so that you are fertilizing not only to supply immediate plant-food needs but also to build up reserves that future crops can draw upon.”
-The Rodale Guide to Composting
Compost is arguable the best addition to garden soil. It helps sandy soil hold more water and also loosens soil too high in clay. It helps the soil retain moisture, nutrients and air.
As the saying goes, when you’re finished with something, put it back where it belongs. Using kitchen and yard waste for compost makes the best use of a valuable resource. It saves millions of community dollars in hauling and handling waste.
Compost prevents soil erosion. When soil has been organically depleted, it will dry and blow away. Hectares of topsoil have been washed to the ocean every year for decades.
Concentrated chemical preparations kill micro-organisms in the soil. It is estimated that in a handful of soil there are more life forms than people on the planet. If you stretched out the tiny fungus hyphae it would stretch for 10 km. But chemical fertilizers create an imbalance in the soil that actually destroys soil life. Organic farmers will tell you that you just need to grow your soil and the soil will in turn grow your plants.
Check out Composting 101 to learn basic composting methods. The links page will lead you to some of our favorite sites where you may learn more about composting, growing your own food and more.