Composting is absolutely necessary to organically farm.
When we first started our suburban farm we had terrible crops, our vegetables and greens were small, infrequent, and bug-ridden. Not until we discovered composting. Well, really it was composting mixed with knowledge, worms, and some secret natural ingredients, but you get the point, composting truly made the largest impact on our growing season compared to anything else, and it can for you too, let me explain.
Composting and the many benefits: Although most people reading this know what composting is, I’ll go ahead and explain it in case there are any newbies around. Compost is made up of organic material, specifically made in a compost pile or heap (although this could also include trench composting methods). Compost is made by piling organic materials and keeping them moist, those materials are then processed by insects. bacteria, and good molds. Specifically, it is made up of a mix of both green (high nitrogen) items and brown (lower nitrogen typically higher in trace nutrients) items, both of these properly mixed together create a heated healthy (non-smelly variety) bacteria-rich environment that turns your waste (those same green and brown materials), into pure gardening gold. Organic farmers may, and in most cases do find compost necessary for a healthy garden or farm.
Now let me get into a few ways composting helps. Composting helps regulate moisture for different soil types, especially helping sandy and clay type soils the most. We have 100% clay soil here in south texas and our plants did NOT like it, but with the help of compost, and plenty of it along with worm dirt and nutrients we’ve really transformed our clay soil into just soil, but this takes a long time so don’t expect instant results, you’ll need to stick with it if clay is your issue.
Composting greatly increases the micro/macronutrients needed for quality, healthy plant growth. Nutrients in most areas are lacking, ever wondered why your plants are yellow, droopy, or dying? Try compost, chances are it’ll help, you may see a night and day difference just like us.
Composting greatly reduces the need for pesticides, synthetic-nutrients, and harmful chemicals, mostly because of the way it increases plant metabolisms and lets them fight off harmful insects and diseases better. At the same time, the increase in beneficial bacteria from compost helps plants thrive, plenty of good bacteria in your soil is necessary for a healthy garden.
Composting greatly decreases waste and landfill usage, if everyone composted the world could possibly see tremendous benefits long-term and short-term.
Heat: Now this is a big one for us and anyone else who has 100-degree blistering heat yearly, composting helps plants resist the heat. I’m serious, it really does, we’ve had plants near death from the sun only to be revived using compost at their base. Compost insulates your plants roots and the soil near its roots keeping it cool when it’s needed most, at the same time compost will help insulate your plants from the cold in the winter, insulation works both ways.
How to compost: It’s easy, start with a pile of green material such as grass cuttings, kitchen scraps, or greens mix a brown material on top, we usually use leaves, this stops any temporary nasty smells. After a week or so mix it with a pitchfork or shovel if you don’t have one, make sure it stays moist, water is absolutely necessary for proper composting. It should look browner the closer to soil it looks, when it looks like the picture near this paragraph it’s ready to use, but the longer the better.
It’s easy, so go start your compost today, it’s free and really makes an impact on the world, as well as your garden. Feel free to ask me anything in the comment section below, we’ve been doing this a while so I’d be happy to share any info I’ve gathered.