The Benefits of Composting
As soil quality continues to deplete, composting becomes more popular and essential. With the increased use, the benefits of composting have become more measurable and evident. Many of these benefits go well beyond the immediate benefits of a lush, green garden or yard. In fact, the best benefits of composting are long-lasting.
Improved Physical Structure
For growing, soil must possess an optimal physical structure. Dense soils make the planting process more difficult. These dense soils can also stunt plant growth, and in some cases, even make it impossible. Sandy soils can make root formation very difficult for plants. Composting, on the other hand, changes the soil’s physical structure.
For both soil types, composting can add the needed structure to planting soil. This results in a reduction of erosion, increased water permeability, and soil workability. As a result, plants are able to achieve proper root formation, proper growth, and water retention.
Studies have shown that an increase in specific microorganisms found in compost can reduce diseases in plants. Diseases like pythium, fusarium, and nematodes have been reduced in plants that have been planted in composted soil. Protection from these diseases results in increased plant fruit production and a decrease in plant death.
Soil contaminates can create dangerous living conditions for more than just plants. Heavy metals, like lead, can seep into water sources and pipes, causing increased lead inside the home. This can have serious health complications, especially for children.
According to studies, compost has the ability to bind these contaminants. While research is still being conducted, there is indication that replacing native soil with compost may reduce the level of contaminants found within the soil.
Wetland areas have suffered dramatically from a decrease in native plants. In recent efforts, wetlands have undergone restoration with compost soils. The characteristics of the compost soils have been found to closely resemble the characteristics of wetland soils. These restoration efforts have led to a reestablishment of native wetland plants.
Composting can provide numerous benefits to plants, soils, people, and our planet. While there is still much to be learned about composting and its benefits, research continues to prove that it is well worth the efforts.