There are many benefits of composting and using it in your organic garden.
Compost is organic matter that has been broken down my microorganisms. Although there are many benefits of composting, there are three that stand out to me. We use compost to quickly increase the:
- number and diversity of beneficial microbes and small animals,
- organic matter content,
- and nutrients in our soil.
…all of which are often low because of past gardening or other land use practices.
Obviously, I don’t have time to show you how to compost today. You get advanced lessons on making it in the Smiling Gardener Academy.
Today I’m just buying it. When buying compost, it should smell good, not like garbage, and I don’t use compost that has been made with sewage sludge because that contains toxins that aren’t all removed during the composting process. It should look like dark, rich, fluffy soil, and should contain earthworms.
To make a new organic garden bed in a soil without much organic matter, dig 2 inches of the compost into the top 8-10 inches of soil. That’s generally too much compost to use more than once in the same garden, but for a soil that is low in organic matter, it’s useful to get that in there in the beginning before there are plants in my vegetable garden.
The second source is coming up after I prepare the bed.
Did I leave anything out about home composting and organic matter that you want to know about? Feel free to ask below.
Benefits Of Composting Video Transcript
Today’s video is about the benefits of composting.
I talked before about how one of my main goals is growing food – nutrient-dense food.
And I also want to get flowers growing in here and I want trees and shrubs and I really want to get a bunch of diversity, but one thing I really want to make sure I have is food.
The food that’s coming out of our industrial, conventional agriculture is getting to be very poor quality, 60-70% lower in nutrients than it was before this whole green revolution started in the last century.
So, I want to grow food that has a lot more nutrients in it than that. During that time we’ve increased pesticide use by 1000% and that we’re still getting crop loss from insects alone, crop loss has doubled.
So the pesticides aren’t working every well and they’re contributing to this loss of nutrients in our foods.
If you’ve read my blog you know that I don’t really like to spend to much time complaining about it. I certainly have spent time about being down about it, especially when I was first learning about all this stuff.
But then I started to realize that we can make a difference starting in our own organic gardens.
We can grow nutrient-dense food, we can restore the topsoil that’s been degraded, we can clean out the water in our area, capture rain water from the roof and we can really create these inspirational gardens that are beautiful and provide us with really healthy food if we learn how to really get in there and build up the soil and all that stuff.
That’s one of my main goals and compost is just one of the most important tools to make that happen. There are really two sort of organic matter tools that I focus on in my vegetable garden and the first one is compost.
Obviously I can’t show you how to make compost today, that’s going to take a month or two. I get into that into detail in the Academy.
What I want to talk about today is that often when I’m in a new place when I’m starting a new organic garden, I’m just going to have to buy compost.
What I’ll do here is maybe zoom in on this compost here and show you a little bit about how to buy it and how to use it, because that’s going to be an important thing, especially when you’re just getting started when you haven’t made your own compost yet.
So, when you buy compost, you want it to be nice and dark like this. You want it to be, you don’t want to be able to discern the raw materials too much, and here I just have to do this so I can see.
You know, a little bit of woody material is okay, this happens to be kind of a rough compost. The reason I’m okay with it is because I know the guy who makes it. I know the materials that go in it and I’m happy with it. So I don’t mind it being a little rougher. I could screen it out if I wanted to.
But when you want compost, when you’re looking for it, you want it to smell good. You want it to smell really nice like a forest floor, like really rich. You want it to be dark, fluffy, moist and you don’t want it to have garbage in it or anything like that.
You don’t want it to have been made with any sewage sludge – that’s definitely a no-no. And, it should just smell and feel good and you know, ideally you would kind of ask what goes in it and you don’t want to have toxic waste or any kind of weird stuff that often gets into compost piles.
So, just go for that really nice dark stuff that hasn’t been made with paper mill waste or sewage sludge or any of that kind of stuff.
Then when it comes time to use it, one thing that I like to do even if I don’t need it yet. I bring the compost onto my property as long as I, a month or two or three, then it will cure a little more than perhaps it did at the composting facility.
I like to have that curing time. So then what I’m going to do is you’ll see that when I prepare the soil, I’m going to take at least a couple of inches, a couple inches of this, put it on my soil and incorporate it in there with the rototiller or with the pitch fork or somehow.
I don’t like to do too much tilling of my soil in the long run. When I’m making a new bed, especially one that slow in organic matter, I want to incorporate that compost in there as deep as I can really.
And I know that’s actually going to hurt the soil a little bit when I’m tilling or when I’m digging like that, but I need to get that organic matter in there in the beginning.
So, I will show you how to that when I get doing it. And I’ll talk about the other organic matter material when I’ve installed some stuff.
So, compost, really useful to learn how to make it but until then it’s useful to know how to buy it. You definitely want to use that.
I guess I kind of skipped an important step there, because some people don’t know exactly the benefits of composting. Maybe I’ll put the camera back up here and talk about that because that would be a good thing to talk about, wouldn’t it?
So, what compost is, is its organic matter that has been broken down by microorganisms largely, they do the work of breaking down the organic matter and that can be manure, it can be grass clippings, leaves, straw, any kind of, anything that was once alive.
What happens then, is the reason we use it, there are kind of three main reasons.
1. We want the organic matter because we want some of that to turn into humus in the soil and that does a lot of things. It holds water and holds nutrients and allows for air in the soil and it just does a lot of good stuff for us.
2. Also, it’s going to have nutrients in it because when the microorganisms broke down these foods scraps, manures, leaves, all that stuff has nutrients in it and so it can’t be technically called a fertilizer but you can kind of think of it like that. It’s a broad spectrum organic fertilizer that has a lot of different nutrients in there. Especially if it was made with a lots of different sources of organic material.
3. But then the third reason is, people are starting to talk about it more but to me it’s the most important or certainly up there, is the microorganisms are still in here and we need them in our soil because they do so much. I’ll even make another video on them because they’re just so important.
So, were inoculating our organic garden with these beneficial bacteria and fungi and protists and even little animals, even little worms, insects, we want all of them in our vegetable garden because they do everything to make the soil healthy and alive.
So maybe I’ll talk about that more when I talk about microorganisms but that’s why we want to use compost in the soil, so I hope you will get into composting and using it as soon as you can.