What is compost and why should I make it?

Compost is made from rotting down garden and kitchen waste. This includes dead leaves, grass-cuttings, weeds and vegetable peelings. Over time this waste or organic matter is broken down by worms, beetles, bacteria and fungi. Once the compost is formed, all of the nutrients in the waste have been recycled and can be applied to the garden as an organic fertiliser and soil conditioner. There are loads of great reasons why you should compost:

  1. Compost is a free soil improver and fertiliser. It can be totally organic and reduces your need to purchase artificial fertilisers.
  2. Compost can be used to replace peat-based products. Lowland peat bogs are under threat from commercial peat extraction, and the wildlife these valuable habitats support is being lost.
  3. Compost reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill. Digging holes in the ground to create landfill sites damages or destroys the wildlife that existed there before. The organic waste buried there can't rot down properly. It produces nasty black slime that pollutes water courses when it escapes, as well as methane which contributes to global warming. Up to a quarter of household rubbish can be composted. By reducing the waste you produce, you are also reducing the amount of money and energy involved in rubbish collection.
  4. Composting is a smoke-free alternative to burning garden waste, reducing smoke, soot and smells.
  5. Composting helps wildlife by providing a home to beetles, slow worms and toads.

Find out what you can put in your compost.

Posted in: Sustainable Gardening on 30 April 2015

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