Composting garden waste
Composting has been a strong component in gardening and food harvesting since ancient times. The principles by which compost is built on are quite simple fundamentals. Following the easy steps to composting will leading to an efficient and successful outcome in regards to the strength of a harvest. There have been studies that have shown composting can result in removing 700 pounds of waste materials per household from the waste stream. Utilizing composting methods is an extremely efficient way to avoid throwing away perfectly good natural resources and instead using these resources to create high quality and inexpensive soil improvements.
The act of composting is the organic transformation of plant matter through the metabolic reaction of decomposition. The result of this transformation is a soil-like material called compost. Small organisms such as insects, earthworms, bacteria and fungi aid this transformation. It is a natural form of recycling and occurs within nature without any human help.
There are a number of different reasons why an individual would like to implement composting into their gardening techniques. In just the United States alone, yard and food waste make up about 30% of the waste thrown out by households. By utilizing this food waste in a compost pile, the amount of waste needing disposal can be diminished by almost 25%. The addition of compost to a garden improves the fundamentals of the soil in numerous ways including water retention, aeration and texture. By adding compost to the soil, the compost will supplement things such as erosion, pH balance, and correct development of the plant roots.
A compost pile is made by the process of decomposition. Decomposition is a naturally occurring process that will happen anywhere plants are growing naturally. As mentioned before, microorganisms and insects are an intricate part of the process, as these are responsible for attacking the plant once it dies. Once this process happens, the plant is decomposed to humus. It is through this process that the nutrients in the plant are recycled into the ecosystem. Insects and microorganisms are needed through their inherent need for oxygen and water to survive. As a result, the byproducts of carbon dioxide, water and heat are released into the soil and in turn, nutrients that are needed for the soil to be enriched are constantly replenished.
There are a number of different factors that affect the composting process. These factors not only affect the after product in terms of richness, things such as carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, surface area, moisture as well as other factors can also affect how fast the decomposition process takes place. Decomposition is a natural occurrence and all organic materials will eventually participate in this process. The rate at which the decomposition occurs depends on a number of factors that can be facilitated and aided by human contribution with the goal in mind of a better fertilization outcome.
Carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is an important factor determining the speed of decomposition. Both of these elements are essential elements needed for a successful decomposition. Carbon is used as an oxidizing agent by the fungi and bacteria, utilizing the stable element as a food source. Nitrogen, on the other hand, is used by the bacteria as a digestive enzyme.
Surface area is another important factor determining the rate of decomposition. Decomposition is going to take place in places where the bacteria and the food particles being digested can be in contact with the air since oxygen is an essential need for the bacteria in order of them to digest the organic particles. Increasing surface area can be done by mixing or chopping up the pile with a pitchfork or a shovel. This brings air in from the outside and allows the microorganisms to digest more material, while also allowing the microorganisms to multiple quicker and thus expedite the process even more.
Microorganisms have very specific environments in which they can operate and in order for them to digest the organic materials it must be dissolved in water. For ideal decomposition to occur, the compost pile should have a moisture content of 40-60 percent. Without this moisture level the level of decomposition will slow considerably as the microorganisms are not able to work at their optimal level. Moisture content should resemble that of a well-wrung sponge if a handful of the compost pile is squeezed with the hand.
Composting has been around for a number of years and utilized by people around the world. Whether it is a large scale in order to produce rich, fertile soil for sale or just a small compost pile in the backyard, composting is a process that works on many levels. Reduction of your carbon footprint has become the new environmental idea of today and through composting everyone can make a slight reduction in their own while reaping the benefits within their own garden.
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