MarilynRWilliams
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Compost - The Ultimate Form of Recycling!

Oct 5th 2010 at 8:08 PM

What is Composting?

Composting is recycling your kitchen scraps and yard trimmings and turning them into a valuable resource for your garden or yard.  Composting is accomplished by speeding up the process that the materials go through on their own – decomposition.

Compost is not soil; compost is humus.  It is a common misconception that the end-result of composting is the dirt that the ground is made up of.  The humus that compost becomes is a substance that acts as a fertilizer (by enriching the soil) to grow stronger and healthier plants.

Before you start composting there are three choices to be made – what type of container to use (or not use), what organic materials you will use to make your compost out of, and where you will locate your bin or pile.

After you have made your choices, how you convert your waste into compost happens the same way as nature uses.  It is a breakdown of organic materials as they are digested by microbes (bacteria and fungi). We have all seen rotting plants or trees in the forest, that is natures way of recycling nutrients.

The microbes are the workers of the composting equation.  They need air, water, and food to do their job and it is up to you to supply it to them in the right amounts. The compost pile is a breathing, living community of organisms and needs to be treated as such.

If you have heard that having a compost bin or pile creates a bad odor, that is not true. If a compost piles smells bad, it is most likely the result of not having enough air circulating throughout the materials.

Without air, the material will still breakdown but it will be done by anaerobic microbes (organisms that do not need oxygen) as opposed to aerobic (ones that need oxygen) microbes. And, it is the anaerobic microbes that create the bad odor.

So if you do have an unpleasant smell coming from your compost bin or pile all you need to do is rotate the material to let in more oxygen or add something to create space so that the air can circulate throughout the pile.  Small twigs and large plant stems are an easy way to keep the air circulating for the aerobic microbes.

Composting is good for the environment and for your garden – it eliminates the amount of waste you throw into the landfill and enriches the soil your plants grow in. As I say in my guide book, "Your Easy Organic Gardening Guide," compost is the ultimate form of recycling!

3 comments
Please to comment
Oct 11th 2010 at 11:53 AM by Arnljotb
Very informative Article! :-) The part about:"The compost pile is a breathing, living community of organisms and needs to be treated as such" -Reminds me of human Beings!
   
Oct 6th 2010 at 2:35 AM by yhbecpublisher
Thank you, I've always wondered why it was important to turn the pile every so often.
   
Oct 6th 2010 at 1:35 AM by Siamak
Thumbs up!
   

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