Compost: A Beautiful Life Cycle

by Brenda Garfias-Guzman

Compost is an eco-friendly and sustainable process of creating active, nutrient-dense soil for gardening and agricultural use. It is incredibly simple and can be made with what you have at home, either in the kitchen or even what you receive from your mailbox!

Compost is useful for a home-grown garden of fruits, vegetables and herbs; it is an all-natural process compared to mass commercial farming.


Mass farming production is known for using synthetic fertilizer to grow large quantities of food at a rapid rate. Although they are a convenient, cost effective way for food to grow, synthetic fertilizer creates long term damage in a few forms.


According to ecogardener.com, a sustainable online gardening shop that provides eco-friendly gardening tools and supplies, applying synthetic fertilizer is responsible for toxic buildup over time if it is applied consistently in the long run because "it will change the soil’s pH permanently, contributing to the release of greenhouse gases and killing off entire microbial ecosystems." Using synthetic fertilizer is also unsustainable because it creates water pollution when it lingers in water sources during the growth process.

The images a below were a team effort that was made during the pandemic. The compost below was a mix of yard trimmings, coffee grounds, card board, fruit and vegetable scraps. The pile was mixed and watered consistently to create healthy soil!


Compost is made up of two categories: brown and green (list provided by: gardeningknowhow.com) When the brown and green materials are mixed together, they begin to mold into soil; it is normal and healthy for compost to attract worms and small insects as they help with the compost breakdown effectively!


Brown materials are a source of dry materials. They are rich in carbon and help the compost generate proper air flow. The following are considered "brown" materials:

BROWN MATERIALS:

-wood chips

-saw dust

-newspaper

-cardboard

-straw

-hay

-manure

-egg cartons

-dry leaves



Green materials (although not always green!), are a source of wet materials that help produce nitrogen:

GREEN MATERIALS:

-fruit scraps

-vegetable scraps

-eggshells

-coffee grounds

-grass clippings

-recently pulled weeds

-flowers

-tea bags (without the staples)

It is highly recommended to not use the following for compost as they don't contribute to the composting process, they are strong in aroma, and can attract unexpected friends like rodents. (List provided by npr.org)

NOT COMPOSTABLE:

-dairy products

-meat products

-oils

-butter

-anything cooked

This is the final result! What was once excess scraps of food that could have been thrown out, has turned organic soil that can be used to make a garden! What is planted above are snap peas, radishes, and kale! It is a beautiful, sustainable cycle. I highly encourage everyone to take the time to try composting because it gave me a new-found appreciation of the slow, steady process of growth.

Turn your spoil into soil.
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