With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning… Why do we love compost? Let us count the ways…
1. There is no better soil additive
Simply put, there’s no single thing that you can add to your soil to make it better for gardening than compost. You can add sand to improve drainage, you can add manure to boost nutritional value, you can add lime or sulfur to change the pH, and you can add humus to build better structure in sandy soils. But, none of these changes alone will do as much for your soil as adding compost. Compost may not be the only thing you need to improve your soil; but compost will always improve any garden soil. And, your soil is the foundation of your garden.
2. Compost is Easy to Make
While compost may seem mysterious to some, it’s a very natural product that is actually very easy to make. You’ll need some space, a container of some sort, some ingredients to get started, and some time. For a thorough and easy-to-understand explanation of making compost, read our article on composting. You may want to learn more about the Mantis ComposT-Twin composter. Or see the full line of Mantis Composters. It’s a two-bin composter that lets you “bake while you take”. Once you start making compost, you’ll quickly discover the rewards.
3. Making Compost is Environmentally Responsible
Those of us who maintain a compost pile or bin contribute less waste that would otherwise need to be transported and handled by municipal or private trash haulers. We reduce the amount of stuff that would otherwise go to landfills, and we reduce the amount of fuel used to get it there.
4. Compost is Almost Free
Once you cover the cost of buying or making a container for your compost, the ongoing process is almost free. If you have deciduous trees, a lawn, coffee grounds and kitchen scraps, and leftover vegetation from your annual garden, you have the ingredients to make compost. You may need to occasionally add a little bit of water, but you won’t have to buy any compost ingredients to get started.
5. Compost Provides Balanced Nutrition
Your vegetable and flower plants, and even your lawn, will benefit greatly from frequent applications of compost. Well made compost provides balanced nutrition for your plants, in a natural slow-release form. Admittedly, using compost on the lawn is a little tricky, as you’ll need to sift the compost and you want to be sure that you don’t spread a lot of weed or tomato seeds on your lawn. But, well aged, sifted compost can be a great additive to build significantly healthier soil for your lawn.
6. Compost Helps Prevent Plant Diseases
Because compost will build stronger plants and better soil, it also helps to prevent plant diseases. Plants fed with good, balanced compost are less stressed than those fed with commercial chemical fertilizers.
7. Compost Smells Good
Some beginners fear that their compost will smell like manure or a garbage dump, and this fear may prevent them from getting started. Anyone who has walked in the woods and experienced the good smell of the forest floor has smelled good compost. Balanced compost smells good; and keeping your compost pile balanced is not difficult at all.