Composting offers a clear environmental advantage, as it keeps waste out of landfills and is a non-chemical addition to the garden. Yet if you wish to save money in your garden, the financial benefits of using compost are as great as the benefits to the environment. Compost offers the ability to grow a healthy garden while benefiting both the environment and your wallet, making it a worthwhile endeavor.
In areas that charge collection fees by the bag or charge for a separate yard waste cart, composting your yard waste lowers these fees. Further lower collection fees by adding vegetable and fruit kitchen waste, coffee grounds and tea leaves and shredded paper or cardboard to the compost pile.
The rich organic matter present in compost makes it a suitable nutrient-rich amendment for gardens beds. While it does not eliminate the need for purchased fertilizers for all plants, it helps reduce the amount needed. This allows you to save money by purchasing less fertilizer. Use compost as a soil amendment by first adding a 2- to 4-inch layer over the bed then tilling it in. Compost also works to aid drainage in clay and sandy soils, allowing you to produce healthier crops so you require less plants. Working in compost one to two times each year allows the compost nutrients to build in the soil over time, thus improving the quality of the bed.
Mulching preserves soil moisture, which leads to less watering and a lower water bill. If you use compost as mulch, there is no need to purchase mulch from a garden center. In addition to decreasing water evaporation, compost suppresses weeds and keeps the soil cool. As the compost mulch breaks down the nutrients in it seep into the soil where the plant roots benefit from it. Use compost as mulch by applying a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost over the top of the bed, but don't till it in.
Potting Soil Replacement
Quality, well-draining potting soil is necessary to grow healthy plants in containers, or for starting seeds indoors. Potting soil is expensive if you must buy large quantities of it. Blending potting soil with your own compost allows you to stretch the purchased potting soil up to twice as far. You can also combine 1 part compost with 1 part peat moss to create a soil-less potting mix that is suitable for starting seeds.