Want to start your zero waste journey? Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material, such as food scraps and leaves into a rich soil amendment, called by gardeners ‘Black Gold’. This organic matter is rich in nutrients, and it promotes soil microbes that aid plant growth. It’s also a great way to reduce your food waste and contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.
How to start? Don’t worry! Composting isn’t as hard (or as smelly!) as you might believe. Anyone can compost in any location – the only thing you need to understand is the basics of this all-natural process. Learn all the secrets of composting here below:
WHAT CAN BE COMPOSTED?
Almost anything that comes from the ground can be composted: this means carrot peels, avocado pits, apple cores, banana peel, etc. What else sprouts from the ground? Grains! Which means you can compost stale bread, cereal and pasta, too.
Plus coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves, egg shells, herbs, spices, and nut are all compostable ingredients. You can also include cut flowers or leaves, as long as they aren’t diseased.
But there’s also a list of things you can’t compost — No meat, fish, cheese, butter, yogurt, milk, or animal products. It’s also a good rule to keep anything oily or greasy out of the pile.
When you mix these items together in a pile, they break down naturally into a nutrient-rich compost that energizes the soil and makes it possible for vegetables to feed themselves more efficiently. In fact, research shows that this organic matter enhances the ability of tomatoes and other vegetables to stand up to common diseases and may improve their flavour, too!
THE BENEFITS OF COMPOSTING
First of all, composting has a positive impact on the environment. Why? Because when the food in our trash goes to a landfill, it emits a greenhouse gas (methane) that contributes to climate change. Composting is a good way to minimize those methane emissions, but there’s more than that! Because compost contributes to the soil health, it reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, which are harsh on the earth. Furthermore, research says that compost is also capable of capturing and eliminating 99.6 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, which can have a harmful impact on our health.
On top of that, compost is also important for farmers because it helps the soil retain moisture, which means the budding plants in that soil need less irrigation. It also tends to facilitate bigger crop yields, giving food producers a better harvest.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPOST AND FERTILIZER?
The simplest way to distinguish between compost and fertilizer is to remember this: compost feeds the soil and fertilizer feeds the plants. Fertilizer adds to the soil’s nutrient supply, but instead of feeding the soil food web, the ingredients in fertilizers are intended to meet the needs of fast-growing plants.
Compost and organic fertilizers can work together. The organic matter in compost sponges up the fertilizer nutrients until they are needed by plants. Compost also provides many nutrients that plants need in small amounts, such as boron.
You can use fertilizer without compost, but you’ll miss the opportunity to increase your soil’s fertility and its ability to hold moisture, in addition to do something great for the environment of course!
Start your zero waste journey today and find some easy eco-living tips here!