Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic material. Naturally occurring soil organisms recycle nitrogen, phosphorous, and other plant nutrients as they break down organic material to form rich soil. Keeping organic matter out of your waste stream can reduce your trash output by as much as 50%.
Composting does more than reduce our need for landfills. It reduces trash hauling and disposal costs, pollution, and provides a valuable soil additive.
It's easy to compost and Amherst makes it even easier by offering home composting bins at a discounted price. If you don't want to compost yourself, you can bring your food scraps to the transfer station to be composted (you'll need a sticker for the transfer station to do this).
How Compost Helps Plants
Compost replenishes nutrients in the soil, making it easier to work and reducing the need for fertilizer. It makes plants healthy, so they can survive pests, reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides.
The following are some of the effects of compost on your plant soil:
It increases the organic matter in soil and helps build sound root structure.
It balances the pH of the soil.
It makes nutrients in soil more readily available to plants.
It attracts earthworms, considered the “Earth’s greatest recyclers.”
It makes clay soils airy so that they drain better.
It improves the ability of sandy soils to hold moisture and resist erosion.
It raises the vitamin and mineral content of food grown in a compost-rich garden.
It reduces reliance on petroleum-based fertilizers.