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Top 5 Reasons to Compost

Updated on June 14, 2012

What It Is

When I use the term “compost”, do you know what it means? Well, the scientific definition of compost is this:

“The relatively stable humus material that is produced from a composting process in which bacteria in soil mixed with garbage and degradable trash break down the mixture into organic fertilizer.”

The scientific definition of “backyard compost” reads like this:

“Backyard Compost is the diversion of organic food waste and yard trimmings from the municipal waste stream by composting them in one's yard through controlled decomposition of organic matter by bacteria and fungi into a humus-like product. It is considered source reduction, not recycling, because the composted materials never enter the municipal waste stream.”

Composting is one of several methods that have been used down through the centuries and cultures to grow gardens. It is the opinion of this writer that it is the best one to use especially if you are growing your own fruits, veggies and flowers in your own backyard. Why do I think it is the best method? Come along with me while I discuss my top 5 reasons why I like to compost in my garden.

Goes Back to the Garden of Eden

Suffice it to say that you just can’t go much further back than the Garden of Eden so we’re getting back to “In the beginning…” Gardening in early times was not what it is today. They didn’t have the pesticides and chemical fertilizers that we have developed today to help them control pests, weeds and provide rich soil in which their plants could grow. And, they didn’t have these products leaching into the ground water. Vegetation simply grew, flourished in the normal life cycle and then died…just as it does today. The dead stuff didn’t get collected and placed on the curb in nice neat bundles or black garbage bags for the Rumpy Dumpy people to pick up weekly and haul to the landfill. And I don’t think they had a rake or hoe back then either, not to mention they had a decided lack of sprinkler systems!

So, how did they grow lush, healthy fruits and veggies? Yeah, you guessed it – they utilized one of my top 5 garden methods – they composted. This natural way of layering vegetation with organic stuff allows for decomposition which leads to natural fertilizers. By layering the weeds, the dead vegetation, dropped fruits and vegetables, pine needles, wood chips and animal feces, the natural way of creating fertilizer began its existence centuries ago. As this material decomposes, natural substances are created that leach into the ground to create rich loamy soil that stays moist and loose so that plants of all types can flourish.

It’s a Great Way to Re-Use Food Scraps

This top 5 reason can be utilized by starting and maintaining a compost bin. You can reduce the garbage that you either throw out or run down the garbage disposal. You can put those veggie scraps that you create when you cut up the veggies for those yummy salads and grilled veggies dishes you prepare into your compost bin. You can put napkins and paper towels into your compost bin. Meat scraps can go in there, too. What do you do with all of that grass and weed clippings that get picked up on horticulture day? All of that can go into the bin along with tree and bush branches that have been chipped up. Are you getting the idea yet? All of this decomposable stuff that we would normally throw out can be sort of “re-cycled” in a beneficial way your garden, your family and your environment.

Protect the Ozone

Yeah, we’re going to talk a little bit about those “greenhouse gasses” that scientists have been telling us for years is destroying the ozone layer of our atmosphere and causing global warming. Some greenhouse gasses occur naturally, like water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and their purpose is to deflect rising heat waves and prevent their escape from our atmosphere. This is a pretty important function if this old planet of ours is going to remain warm enough to support life. But, this cycle has been disturbed by the age of industrialization and we are spewing more toxic gasses into our atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, burning forest lands and mining. The solid waste material that goes into our landfills annually is increasing as well and this is also a pretty major contributor.

One of the top 5 ways we can help reduce global warming conditions is to reduce the amount of solid waste that we send to the landfill. By recycling plastics, glass and paper, we can reuse some of this solid waste and save some of the emissions from the incineration plants from polluting the atmosphere. Another way is to “recycle” our decomposable organic waste by creating and maintaining a composting bin. Most of the garbage that we throw out can be used in a compost setting.

Amazing Plant Growth

Compost gardening can not only save money and the atmosphere, it will also enable you to grow some of the most amazing fruits, veggies and flowers you have ever seen. Not only will the plants flourish in the rich loamy soil, but the fruits and veggies could likely be the sweetest and best-tasting of any you’ve ever eaten. You can continue to grow a garden year after year without a lot of expensive fertilizers, chemicals and minerals to re-energize the soil. Without the use of these man-made products, you are also protecting your ground water as all of that stuff will eventually leach into it. And, you can share the abundance of your crops with friends, neighbors and family!

Make the Garden a Family Activity

By having a compost garden, you can teach your children about the basics of life. They can understand by doing and seeing just how the natural growing process and the cycles of life happen. Not only will they learn a healthier way to live, but you will create some pretty positive memories for them to help shape their future lives.

Compost gardening – a pretty interesting method to consider, wouldn’t you say? I’ll bet you have some other reasons why you’d benefit from this method of growing a garden. What are your top 5 reasons to compost?


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