The golden rule of gardening says, "If you treat your soil well, it will treat your plants well," and using compost is good treatment for your soil. Vegetables thrive when they are grown in well-composted soil, and they are more disease-resistant as well. Compost increases vigorous growth in vegetables, and many people prefer the intense flavor of organic vegetables.
Compost returns organic matter to the soil in a usable form. It is full of micro-organisms that create a steady cycle of nutrient life in the soil. The nutrients in the soil feed the vegetables. Recent studies have shown that tomatoes grown in organic compost have twice the level of flavonoids. Flavonoids help create the antioxidants that are known to be beneficial in cancer prevention.
Adding compost to a vegetable garden also loosens clay soil. Roots cannot grow well in heavy soil. Compost aerates the soil to allow easier root penetration. When soil is too sandy, adding compost creates better soil structure. It binds soil together for better water retention.
Using compost in the vegetable garden is a simple way to fertilize. Compost is a well-balanced fertilizer, so there is no need to purchase specialty blends for particular kinds of plants. It serves as a soil additive when you are preparing the vegetable bed, as a side dressing to aid growth and as a mulch to keep weeds down.
Creating a compost pile to ensure a steady supply of composted fertilizer for your vegetables also helps reduce waste in landfills. Home garden yard and kitchen waste makes up 20 to 30 percent of an average household's waste products. Home composting reduces pressure on city sanitation services. Composting also helps reduce pollution because it cleans contaminated soil.
Vegetable gardens benefit from the addition of compost. "The application of organic matter to soil adds carbon, which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, which increases the likelihood of healthy plants," according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Home gardeners can increase the quality and fertility of soil by regularly adding organic matter, which is compost.