Have you got a green thumb? A 2014 study by the Australian Institute revealed that more than half of all Australian households are growing their own food. That’s 4.7 million households who are personally tending their own gardens.
There’s a special joy in seeing something grow and flower from your own hard work. Scientists even discovered that gardening releases endorphins, the hormone that the brain secretes that gives you a euphoric and happy feeling.
Aside from endorphins, gardening can also relieve mental tension and stress, allowing you to switch off from daily life.
If you’re interested in starting your own backyard garden, chances are you’re considering whether or not you should use composts, or maybe you’re just interested in the environmental benefits.
What is composting?
Composting is the process of recycling and repurposing organic waste into a form of fertiliser that allows the soil to retain valuable nutrients. Through these compostable materials, the soil’s retention ability increases.
Your compost can be used to help you grow high-quality plants, thanks to the nutrients retained by the mulch produced by the composting process. That means tastier fruit and vegetables for your dinner table.
Contrary to popular belief, creating a compost bin is not as time consuming as you might think. All you need is a suitably sized hole, some tarp to prevent runoffs or leaks, some food scraps such as a few eggshells and coffee grounds to start the pit and you’re good to go.
There are different styles of composting. Anaerobic composting is the slow and steady style, which is typical in landfill and can take several years, while aerobic makes use of a drum and good air circulation. Vermicomposting uses earthworms to help the composting process.
Choosing the composting style to fit your lifestyle and living conditions is key. However, all of them lead to the same ending. Excellent soil and better crops and fruits are just some of the perks of composting.
Why compost to create fertiliser when you can buy pre-made fertiliser in stores?
Chemical-based fertilisers and pesticides are inherently bad for the environment but more importantly, they’re bad for your health. Non-organic fertilisers and chemical pesticides can leak into groundwater and from there into our seas and oceans.
That’s not considering the carbon footprint left by the manufacture and sale of these chemical based products. With composting, you don’t have to worry about any of that.
If you’re still convinced that composting isn’t worth time and effort, here are some benefits that might change your mind.
Alternate way of waste disposal
Each Australian is estimated to personally throw away 540kg of household waste per year. Majority of that goes to landfills as only a little amount of waste gets recycled. This needs to change.
One way of reducing the amount of trash you throw out in a year is to recycle or repurpose these. Composting is a good way to repurpose organic matter and food waste into vitamins for your plants.
Composting isn’t limited to organic waste though. Eco-friendly products like bamboo toilet paper, tissues and paper towels can also be thrown in a compost pit.
Other garden waste like yard trimmings and grass clippings are also good ingredients for those looking to start a compost pile. Yard waste that were once alive themselves are vital in creating a nutrients-filled garden.
Composting is a different way of addressing the growing trash problem, without contributing to the increase of methane and other greenhouse gas emissions every year.
Composting also produces carbon dioxide, but unlike those released from harmful emissions this CO2 contributes to your plants’ food processing, known as photosynthesis. This kind of CO2 is organically turned into oxygen.
Fresh, breathable air through repurposing CO2 into oxygen helps in the fight against climate change.
Aside from allowing you to recycle organic materials and some garden waste, a compost bin is also an efficient way to improve the quality of your flowers and plants. That means juicier tomatoes and high-quality sunflowers!
We mentioned chemical-based fertilisers earlier. While these products do provide micronutrients to your plants, an organic fertiliser provides better produce without worrying about pollutants.
What makes composting so good for plants and the soil for your garden is it also strengthens water and mineral retention making it easier for your plants to grow stronger and healthier.
Composting also works to prevent certain plant diseases. The microorganisms present in a pit not only strengthen and provide nutrients to your plants, they also protect your plants from grey mould and the like.
Investing time and effort in a compost pit is fruitful in the end, pun intended. For fresher and crispier salads to blooming flowers, a compost pit is your best friend.
Keeps costs down
Investing in branded fertilisers and pesticides can get costly. You already know about their effect on the environment, but their cost alone turns off a number of people from gardening.
That shouldn’t be the case. Your garden’s upkeep shouldn’t break the bank.
Composting is a good way to reduce gardening expenses. As it only needs your food waste and other organic matter, a compost bin is a low-cost option which creates quality fertiliser.
Having the ability to create your own source of fertiliser allows you to invest in other areas like better tools. That’s not the only way composting can help you with your expenses though.
Composting and gardening can give you a great harvest of fruit and veg, saving you costs at the supermarket. Your food scraps can be turned into mulch and help with growing vegetables in your own backyard and reducing spending on groceries along the way.
These savings you accumulate will accrue to your wallet, making the effort to start that compost bin worth it in a lot of ways.
Give composting a swing
With lots of benefits and few drawbacks, composting is one practical way to reduce your carbon footprint while ensuring good soil for your plants.
It might be a little bit gross at first, but give it enough time and your compost pit efforts will bear fruit sooner than later. Don’t be afraid to give it a go and dig that hole now. Guilt-free gardening has never been this easy.