Garden Compost Facts

Overview

Compost is the rich, crumbly result of the decomposition of organic matter. It improves all types of soils and benefits flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs. A home compost pile reduces the strain on overburdened landfills.

Compost is a gardener's best friend. image by Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jose Oquendo

Significance

In heavy clay soil, compost loosens soil so that roots can spread more easily and air and water can reach the roots.

Effects

Compost increases the water retentiveness of sandy soil, helping plants to take up more water and nutrients.

Benefits

"Good" bacteria, worms and insects thrive in compost-improved soil. These organisms help to aerate soil, break down organic components and suppress plant diseases.

Considerations

Compost neutralizes soil, raising the pH of acid soils and lowering the pH of alkaline soil. These soil conditions help plants take in more nutrients.

Potential

Much of the waste brought to landfills is kitchen and yard waste, including grass clippings, leaves and kitchen scraps--all of which could be composted.

References

  • Washington State University Extension
  • South Dakota State University Extension
Keywords: garden compost, organic matter, aerate soil

About this Author

Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.