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Composting is the process of biodegradation of the organic waste material into the nutrient-rich substances. Compost can be used to improve the organic matter content in the soil.

Composting can be done by using rotten garbage. A seasoned gardener, however, can picture the compost providing all the essential nutrients to plants. A garden full of tomatoes, ornamental flowers, and rose bushes strike his mind when he looks at a pile of compost.

Composting is not just perfect for gardening; it is also good for the environment too. While composting, you work with nature to make the best use out of organic waste material. 


What Is Compost?

Compost can refer to the garden compost you make yourself or a bag of peat compost you purchase from the garden store. Whatever, they are the same thing as both are produced from the decaying of organic matter. In simply, ‘’compost is a biodegraded organic matter’’.

How is compost made?

There are many different types of compost, and all are made using different methods.

Garden Compost

Garden compost needs two to twelve months for production. It is rich in nutrients and friendly bacteria and other beneficial microbes. You can easily make your own garden compost by adding organic waste materials such as kitchen scraps, dead plants, leaves, etc. in a compost bin. It will slowly rot down to a black or brownish soil like substance over a period.

Peat Compost

Peat compost needs thousands of years to form. It is made of ancient organic matter, and it has no nutritional value. Peat moss can only improve the soil structure. It does not have any essential nutrients in it, though commercially available peat moss may contain artificially added minerals.


Red worm feeds on vegetable scraps and other organic material to produce compost. Red worms break down this material into high-quality compost called worm casting. Worm castings are essentially earthworm waste, also called as worm poo.
One pound of worms can consume around half a pound of organic material every day. Wait for three to four months to let the worms work on organic waste before you can use worm casting in your soil. Once, your worm casting is ready to use; you can use it around the base of your plants.


How To Use Worm Casting?

  • ·         Place a handful of casting around the base of your plant.
  •           Gently work it into the earth without damaging the roots.
  •       When plants begin to bear fruits, sprinkle worm castings over the soil bed before watering.

What are the benefits of using compost?

Many people do compost as a method of waste management. Minimizing the waste is one benefit, but composting has many more benefits associated with it. Let’s see what are they;

Improving Soil Structure

Soil structure refers to the pattern in which different soil elements bind together. Inorganic particles, clay, silt, sand, humus, organic material and compost combine to make the soil bed fertile for the growth of plants and trees.

A healthy soil structure is crumbly and provides enough room for air, water, and nutrients to move. Compost improves the soil structure and binds the soil particles together and leaves enough room for the free movement of water and nutrient molecules.

Enhancing Nutrient Content

Organic waste material decomposes into a compost pile to produce the soil food web.
Soil food web is considered the best fertilizer for your plants. It is a community of small organisms that live in the soil. This community includes microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and organisms such as red worm, beetle, etc.

These organisms contribute to the production of many macronutrients and micronutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Iron, etc.

Reduces Water Requirements

Fertile soil has a greater water-retention capacity and needs less water for the growth of plants. Organic matter such as compost increases the water holding capacity of the soil and reduces erosion.

Cut off Greenhouse Gases emission

The organic waste material cannot decay efficiently in the landfills and produces methane. Composting the organic material prevents the emission of methane gas in the atmosphere. Methane is a known contributor to the global warming as a greenhouse gas.

Clean Contaminated Soil

Composting process absorbs odors and treats volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as fuels efficiently. Many soil contaminants such as pesticides, hydrocarbons, wood preservatives are effectively treated during the composting process.

Control Soil Erosion

Compost can significantly help in controlling the soil erosion. Embankments parallel to lakes, rivers, creeks, roadsides, hillsides, etc. are more prone to the soil erosion. Adding compost can improve the structure and reduce the run-down.

Save Money

Compost acts as a natural fertilizer, so you don't have to spend money on purchasing fertilizers much. Compost also reduces the water requirements of the soil and treats many diseases as well, thus brings down your cost of maintaining your garden.

Waste Management

Composting reduces the burden on the landfills. It is a natural waste management technique for maintaining a healthy ecological balance. With effective waste management, you do not burden the earth with your choices. The organic matter is reabsorbed into the soil and does not produce any toxic substances at the landfills. 


Soil Biology

Composting adds beneficial microbes to the ground. These microorganisms produce mucus that helps in binding the soil particles together.

Besides soil aggregation, they also play many other roles. They assist in the reduction of plant diseases and establishing the Mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal fungal filaments act as soil inoculants and work with plant roots to help them absorb nutrients and water from the ground.

Balance pH

Compost helps in neutralizing the pH of the soil. It improves the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the ground which helps in holding the nutrients for the plant growth.

Control Plant Diseases

Soil treated with compost produces plants with fewer pest problems. Compost nourishes the soil bacteria and fungi, and they can check a broad range of plant diseases.

What nutrients are in garden compost?

Compost is a dilute fertilizer rich in nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Besides the major nutrients, compost contains many other micronutrients and trace minerals such as Sulfur, Magnesium, Carbon, Calcium, Copper, Boron, Iron, Zinc, Iodine and Manganese.
Compost not only contains nutrients for slow organic release but also makes them available for easier absorption by improving soil texture and quality. 


Macronutrients in Garden Compost

After application, approximately one/third of Nitrogen from the compost becomes available for plant absorption. Remaining Nitrogen becomes available in the subsequent years and at a slower rate than the first year. Repeated application of the compost can make the soil very fertile.
Nitrogen is an essential component of chlorophyll, and it is necessary for photosynthesis.

Phosphorus is a component of the nucleic acid structure in plants. It regulates protein synthesis, aids cell division, and development of new tissues.
Manure compost is typically high in phosphorus content along with Nitrogen and Potassium. Cattle dung, chicken poop, and other animal wastes are perfect raw materials for producing the Phosphorus rich compost for your garden.

Potassium from compost is readily available for the plant absorption. Plants need Potassium for protein synthesis. Potassium plays a role in the opening and closing of stomata to facilitate gas exchange.

Micronutrients in Garden Compost


Sulfur in the garden compost acts as a soil conditioner and helps in the balancing of sodium concentration.


Magnesium is required in the central atom of chlorophyll. It plays a significant role in the process of photosynthesis.


When a plant produces chlorophyll, iron is involved. It gives plants their healthy green color.
Other micronutrients such as Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Boron, etc. are also involved in complex biochemical processes that are necessary for the growth of plants.
Compost contains these micronutrients which are required in small quantities but necessary for the growth of plants.

To Sum Up

Biodegradation of the organic material produces compost. It offers a large number of benefits such as improved soil structure, better waste management, balancing pH, regulating moisture, better water retention, reduce plant diseases, etc.
It contains a lot of micronutrients that are often missing from the commercially available fertilizers.

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