Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener
We all know that composting is essential to any organic and sustainable gardener’s routine. More than simply reducing waste, composting produces the nutrient rich soil needed to grow a strong and healthy harvest. However, some of the benefits of composting might not be so obvious.
Here are the ways composting at home can save you money, time, and improve the environment.
Changing the world:
In 2015 food waste made up 22% of the volume in American landfills. That’s approximately 30 million tons of food waste, which is only a slight improvement from the 35 million tons dealt with in 2012. It might be surprising, but the number 1 material sent to landfills from your home are food scraps. That’s 1/3 of your weekly trash. Food waste in landfills has a hugely negative effect on the environment. Food that is sent to landfills it is decomposed anaerobically (without oxygen). This produces methane, and can take upwards of 20 years to fully decompose.
More people decide to make the subtle change in their daily routine to begin composting every day. If you don’t have your own garden, consider giving your compost to your neighbor or researching composting pickup services in your area online. All over the world we are getting more creative with how to keep food out of landfills. In parts of the UK; garbage is sorted and if not compostable is sent to an energy recovery facility where it is incinerated. The energy generated from it is then used to heat the city! It’s exciting to know that there are people working to improve the environment on a larger scale, but these things would never happen without the effort of everyday people.
When food decomposes, the living enzymes in it breaks down and all of the energy is transformed to create new soil. Dust to dust. Literally. Tilling in compost returns living nutrients back to the soil, or can be applied directly to the top of soil as a living mulch to save drought stressed plants from dying. Good compost is made up of an even amount of what are called G (green) and B (brown) materials. G’s and B’s are materials that are either high in nitrogen (G) or carbon (B), ex. lettuce scraps (G) and dried leaves (B).
Composting will even out the ph levels of whatever soil it is added to. When compost is used it increases the water retention capacities of the soil by enhancing soil structure. This keeps moisture surrounding your plant through hot temperatures. Runoff and evaporation rates decrease when water retention improves, and saves your water bill from going overboard from over watering your garden. Because of the ideal ecosystem composting creates for your plants, they will grow hardier and will be more protected in extreme weather conditions. Composting will also save you from spending money on fertilizers and pesticides. If you pay for trash pickup, you’ll be amazed by how much your trash goes down when you eliminate food waste.
MIgardener has lots of resources on composting! Learn more on our Youtube channel @MIgardener.
Are you a long time gardener just looking for inspiration? Are you brand new into gardening and looking for guidance? Let us know in the comments.