Why Use Farm Compost?
Organic products are part of nature itself. Rather than relying on artificially synthesized chemicals, organic products are harvested from the natural cycles happening all around us. In the instance of organic soil (compost), we utilize microbial activity to break down manure and high-carbon materials into forms that are much more accessible to plants. Make compost your garden fertilizer. Rely on soil microbes as your source of fertilizer rather than fossil fuel-powered nitrogen plants or mines that unearth phosphorus and potassium. Nature is our friend. Let it work for you.
Improved Soil Structure
An advantage to using organic soil (whether pure compost is mixed into your soil or you use a pre-mixed composition), is that, in addition to increasing your N-P-K levels, compost will add structure to your soil. Soil structure refers to the sizes of the various particles in soil. A soil with good structure will have both large and small particles in it. The large particles create spaces in the soil so the plants can breath, while the smaller particles help in moisture retention and nutrient uptake. A strategy that helps me remember this is to picture myself laying in the bottom of a ball pit–the large balls leave air spaces so that I can still breath even if I’m at the bottom of the pile. Also, if someone drops a candy into the pit, it would be able to fall through the balls and end up in my mouth. Plants need to have a soil like the ball pit; it needs to allow them to both breath and eat. Mixing compost into your garden will add that extra structure to your soil.
Compost is neither acidic nor alkaline. Nature makes sure this happens by employing microbes that thrive in neutral Ph conditions. If conditions are too acidic or too alkaline, the microbes will have a difficult time living in the organic matter and the composting process will be much slower or end prematurely. Luckily, as long as you mix the materials correctly and maintain favorable conditions for decomposition (plenty of aeration, acceptable moisture level, low bulk modulus) nature will ensure that the finished compost is Ph-neutral. The microbes know what they’re doing, when they’re finished making the compost it will be safe for any of your planting needs.
Compost is like a sponge. It can hold many times its own weight in water. This water-wicking characteristic helps your plants use water more efficiently and allows your plantings to be more drought-resistant.
Microbes take the nitrogen from organic materials and convert it to forms that plants can use. An analogy I picture in my head is the voltage conversion between European outlets and American outlets. Without a special plug-in, our appliances shouldn’t be used with the 240V European system. The same thing happens for plants only microbes are like the special adaptor–the microbes take atmospheric and organic nitrogen and eventually convert it to nitrates and Ammonium. Ammonium is desirable because it is resistant to leaching, which means that it will stay in your soil for your plants to use rather than getting washed out.
More Soil Critters
Compost is teaming with beneficial microbes and larger decomposers that will help your plants out. With the increased nutritional value of your soil, worms will thrive in your garden.