Fertilizer is expensive. Maintaining a landscape takes an ample amount of money, planning, and upkeep, and most landscapers look for ways to cut costs wherever possible. That’s why many are switching from using traditional fertilizer to composting. Not only is it a way to trim the fat from your landscaping bill, it’s great for the environment as well.
Composting – What is it?
Before we can delve into how composting can save you money, it’s important to understand what exactly it is. Composting is the act of breaking down organic matter into a substance called “humus”. When you add humus to soil, it enriches and nourishes the dirt with a healthy mix of microorganisms and other organic matter. When soil is at its nutritional best, your plants will be more vibrant, healthy, and beautiful as a result.
When composting, the finished product should have an earthy aroma – never a trash-like smell. It should crumble and have a fine texture. Typical compost has all the “musts” for the landscaping in your yard – essential potassium, nitrogen, and other nutrients that plants need to thrive. You will know you’ve made a good batch of compost when it has a pH-neutral reading.
How to Compost
There is no simple way to explain how to compost completely in one simple article – entire books have been written about the subject. It’s a complex process with many variables, and if you’re serious about composting, it will take a bit of a learning curve and some trial and error to get it right.
For this article, however, let’s look at a basic overview of how to compost. To make compost, decide which area of your yard you are willing to dedicate to the process. Remember that you will be add to the pile everyday – sometimes even multiple times each day – so choose a space that’s out of the way but still within a reasonable distance of your kitchen.
In a nutshell, you will continuously add “green” and “brown” material to your compost pile and allow it to decompose for use in your garden. Green materials include organic matter such as scraps from your kitchen (never animal parts; think tea and coffee grinds or fruits and veggies), fresh lawn clippings, and weeds you pick from your yard. Brown organic matter includes things like sawdust, straw, and dried grass.
Benefits of Composting
First and most importantly, compost is free fertilizer for your landscaping – and nothing beats free! Second, composting is just about as green as it gets. You are truly sustaining your household full-circle when you compost.
For example, if you grow tomatoes, you harvest the tomatoes at the end of the summer, use them in your cooking, and give some away. Your leftover tomatoes, from meals and those extras that went unused, go into your compost pile. Those tomatoes decompose into nutrient-rich compost, which you can use to fertilize your garden veggies for the next season.
Nowhere in this scenario did you need outside help to make this happen, and you wasted nothing you took from the earth. What a way to take care of the planet and your pocketbook at the same time!
Composting is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Green living and sustainability are fantastic movements, and composting is a key practice that helps reduce dependence on chemicals and artificial fertilizers for your lawn.