What Is Composting & Why You Should Start
Composting begins with raw, organic materials, like coffee grounds and eggshells. The organic material is broken down into organic matter by microbes and the surrounding environment. You can actually see the difference between organic material and organic matter. When held in the palm of your hand, you should not be able to identify the food of origin. The shells, peels, and other food scraps you started with should be dark and crumbly, and smell like fresh earth. This is organic matter or compost.
Most flowers, vegetables and plants can survive in soil with little to no organic matter. Surviving is not flourishing. There are many benefits to using compost in your garden. Perhaps, the most important contribution is the large number of beneficial microorganisms from compost.
The Need for Microorganisms in Soil
A healthy ecosystem contains millions of microorganisms, which sustain structure and fertility within the environment. The microorganisms work cooperatively with plants and provide tremendous benefits for the surrounding soil. In exchange for the food and nutrients they take from plants, the beneficial microorganisms:
- Convert nitrogen from the air into a reusable resource.
- Make water available to plant roots.
- Release nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur, and iron into the soil.
- Breakdown pesticides and various chemicals in soil.
- Suppress harmful pathogens – plant enemies - that lead to disease.
Overuse of chemical-based fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides destroy these natural organisms that are so vital to plant health. Applying your kitchen compost is a sure way to reintroduce the microorganisms and repair soil damage.
Read our recent blog post to learn how you can make your own composting kit with bokashi bran.
The Benefits of EM Technology
Another useful product to enrich your garden is effective microorganism (EM) technology. EM-1 products act as natural, kitchen compost accelerators. Combined with compost mixtures, EM-1 Microbial Inoculants significantly improve seed germination and plant health.
EM products consist of a broad range of beneficial and non-pathogenic microorganisms. EM-1 is produced naturally, neither chemically nor genetically altered. The Microbial Inoculant comes in a liquid form and has no adverse effects on plants, humans or animals. Just add one fluid ounce to every gallon of water, and spray over plants and soil. You'll notice the benefits in no time!