One of the easiest things you can do to boost your garden soil’s health, composting takes only minutes a day and will cut down on your energy and water bills, too!
By the end of last summer, my compost piles were heaped with organic matter: spent tomato plants, giant leaves from zucchini, and long spirals of vegetation created by watermelon and cucumber plants. Add grass clippings and trees’ leaf debris to that, as well as kitchen scraps, and the mix was ready to stew through the winter months creating a new, rich compost to add to gardens and flower beds.
There are many reasons compost is the best renewable resource for enriching soil. Here are six of my favorites.
1. Compost Reduces Pollution
According to Stan Slaughter, named Grassroots Compost Educator of the Year in 2000 by the United States Composting Council, approximately 16 percent of residential trash is food waste. Breaking down in landfills, food waste slowly produces methane gas, which is then released into the air. While there are a limited number of programs working to siphon methane gas from landfills and use it as alternative power, the processes are inefficient, capturing only about 10 percent of the gas being produced.
These same food products increase the load put on sewer and water treatment plants when put down garbage disposals. The most efficient way to handle non-meat food scraps is through backyard composting.
2. Your Backyard Heap Is Energy Efficient
Many municipalities offer composting of woody brush, leaves and other organic matter. However, these processes are energy-intensive, requiring the use of heavy machines and large spinners to compost garden waste. Homeowners wishing to take advantage of city composting services require fuel to haul it home and personal energy to load, unload and distribute to beds.
Commercially produced composts also have the carbon footprint of travel from wherever they are composted to retail stores to the home of the person wishing to add it to their garden beds. Composting at home not only saves you a trip, it saves you money by gaining new organic material through recycling kitchen, garden and yard waste just steps from your back door.