Compost is an inexpensive alternative to chemical fertilisers, and it is less likely to harm sensitive roots. Chemical fertilisers can be extremely harsh on plants. Have you ever read the warning label on a bag of fertiliser? It warns you to carefully mix water with it to prevent it from burning up the plants you are trying to help, or even burning your eyes or skin as well as the feet of your pets.
It can also leave heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium that can build up over time. A big shock of chemical fertiliser can also kill the very microbes that make soil fertile, resulting in people having to depend on using chemical fertilizers over and over again. Compost is rich in nutrients. It is used, for example, in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, urban agriculture, and organic farming. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways. It acts as a soil conditioner, a fertiliser, it adds vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. In ecosystems, compost is useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover.
The Composting Process At the simplest level, the process of composting requires making a heap of wet organic matter (also called green waste), such as leaves, grass, and food scraps, and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of months. However, it can also take place as a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials.
The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture when open piles or "windows" are used. Earthworms and fungi further break up the material. Bacteria requiring oxygen to function (aerobic bacteria) and fungi manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide, and ammonium. It is an aerobic method (meaning that it requires the presence of air) of decomposing organic solid wastes. It can, therefore, be used to recycle organic material. The process involves decomposition of organic material into a humus-like material, known as compost, which is a good fertiliser for plants. it requires the components such as human management, aerobic conditions, development of internal biological heat.
A gardeners' how to guide: Composting
Benefits of Compost Many chemical fertilisers are made from and other non-sustainable sources. Their price seems to get higher every year due to rising oil and shipping costs. On the other hand, compost doesn’t use any oil and doesn’t require much transportation. Using it reduces our dependence on foreign oil and boosts soil health. Instead of throwing away valuable nutrients, many gardeners choose to compost their grass clippings, leaves, trimmings, and vegetable scraps. Here are some of the reasons why compost is popular these days:
- Cheaper than chemical fertiliser
- Gradually releases nutrients
- Reduces disposal fees
- Diverts waste from the landfill
- Less stressful on roots
- Loosens soil
- Allows roots to spread out widely, preventing erosion
- Retains water like mulch
- Accelerates nutrient cycling
- Reduces oil dependence
- Sustainable improvement to the soil
- Reduced runoff and water pollution
- Reduced irrigation bill
There are plenty of ways to save on your purchases online. Most online UK shops such as Amazon, Homebase, Argos, and Wilko have regular sales, seasonal clearance, and flash sales where you can get up to 70% off on a wide array of compost for sale. There are even retailers that have 3 for 2 and 2 for 1 offers on select items. Also, the best time to get huge savings is during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day where an extensive selection of products like peat free compost and Miracle Gro compost from your favourite UK retailers are reduced to clear.
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