What Exactly is Composting?
In this time of over-flowing land-fills, of Extreme Rubbish and the need for controlling our carbon footprint, composting as part of a recycling programme is all-important.
Composting is a vital part of the cycle of life, in which decaying matter is converted int0 into a highly desirable mulch and/or source of nourishment and amendment for plants and soil. At the same time, this re-cycling process provides food for the microscopic life-forms, known as micro-organisms, and the tiny insects and other creatures, which enthusiastically perform this miracle.
The scientific side of composting has teased scientists and gardeners for many years and gradually research and experimentation has yielded many of the secrets of this amazing natural activity.
Nature undergoes recycling under its own steam, all the time, as can be seen in the layers of soft, black humus on a forest floor. Humus is comprised of the decaying remains of leaves, branches and small animals and insects. It acts as a mulch, a protector of the tree roots beneath the surface, while providing insulation, moisture and food for the earth, trees and vegetation above. The action of worms, small creatures and micro-organisms is what turns this organic mulch back into what we call ‘compost’ and is arguably a first equal in the processes that are crucial to life on our planet. This is recycling on a planetary scale.
When we make compost we are, at the most basic level, imitating nature. Instead of sending our organic waste to land-fills, we put together a rough pile of organic material, leave it to decompose and in a year or so, we spread it on our gardens or, if we are feeling energetic, we dig it in. Already, we are taking responsibility and in doing so are helping to minimise our own carbon footprint. Sometimes, we deliberately ‘use’ nature, as when we establish a worm farm or a compost bin. The benefits are very evident. For little cost, composting gives us a wonderful soil conditioner, a nutrient-rich fertilizer, a quality mulch and a method of recycling household and garden waste – no mean victory in this age of over-utilised land-fills and ‘Extreme Rubbish’!
So – to answer our question, What is Composting? We could say that it is a set of opportunities.
It is an opportunity:
- to be pro-active in re-invigorating our individual patch of ground
- to get rid of chemical pollution.
- to reduce our collective carbon footprint
- to reduce our individual carbon footprint
- to reduce the amount of material sent to land-fills.
- to make the best fertiliser for our plants at very little cost.