What is Compost?
Compost is the product resulting from the controlled biological decomposition of organic material that has been sanitized through the generation of heat and stabilized to the point that it is beneficial to plant growth. It contains plant nutrients but is typically not characterized as fertilizer.
How is compost produced?
Compost is produced through the activity of aerobic microorganisms. These microbes require oxygen, moisture and food in order to grow and multiply. When these resources are maintained at optimal levels, the natural decomposition process is greatly accelerated. Compost can be produced from many feedstocks. State and federal regulations exist to ensure that only safe and environmentally beneficial compost are marketed.
Benefits of compost:
Compost is extremely versatile and beneficial in many applications. Compost has the unique ability to improve the properties of soils and growing media structurally, nutritionally and biologically. Although many equate the benefit of compost use to lush green growth, caused by the plant-available nitrogen, the real benefits of using compost are long-term and related to tis content of living-organic matter.
Benefits of Using Compost
1. Improved the soil structure, porosity and density, thus creating a better plant root environment.
2. Increases infiltration and permeability of heavy soils, thus reducing erosion and runoff.
3. Improves water holding capacity, thus reducing water loss and leaching in sandy soils.
4. Supplies a variety of macro and micronutrients.
5. May control or suppress certain soil-borne plant pathogens.
6. Supplies significant quantities of organic matter.
7. Improves cation exchange capacity (CEC) of soils and growing media, thus improving their ability to hold nutrients for plant use.
8. Supplies beneficial microorganisms to soils and growing media.
9. Improves and stabilizes soil pH.
10. Can bind and degrade specific pollutants.
Source: US Compost Council
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