There are many environmental benefits for turning vegetation waste into compost. We won’t even scratch the surface of those in this article. We’re simply going to talk about how using compost on your garden, lawn, farm, and indoor plants is an easy step that benefits your plants long term. We’ll also talk about compost basics, application, and the specific compost we have here in Marshfield, MO and available for delivery in Springfield, Lebanon, and everywhere in between.
What is compost?
Compost is what happens when you collect dead organic matter and subject it to certain conditions. Once in a pile, bacteria starts to break the matter down and the inside of the pile heats up. Turning the pile introduces more oxygen, which the bacteria need to thrive. The whole process can take from a month to two years, depending on if the conditions are just right and what is in the compost.
What can be composted?
Grass clippings, leaves, tree cuttings, and plant kitchen scraps are the most common items in compost. You can also add straw, cardboard, shredded paper (black printing only), animal droppings (only from herbivores), and garden trimmings.
What can’t be composted?
While experienced composters may add additional items to their compost, it’s not recommended for beginners. This is because these items may carry disease or need to be heated to a certain temperature to kill off any harmful pathogens. We don’t recommend you add animal bones, animal fats, manure from omnivores or carnivores, or paper with colored printing. It’s also unwise to add organic matter that has been sprayed with pesticide, any part of a black walnut tree, clippings from garden plants with diseases, or weeds.
If you can’t compost yourself, no worries! At Grass Roots Garden Center and Gift shop, we stock compost in bulk to get you started off right.
Why Should You Use Compost on Your Plants?
Compost-Amended Soil Requires Less Chemical Fertilizer
Adding compost to the soil provides micro nutrients like carbon, magnesium, and sulfur that usually aren’t part of bottled or bagged fertilizer. Compost also holds onto these nutrients for years, like a time-release fertilizing powerhouse.
Compost Allows You to Water Less
Compost helps soil stick together, making room for tiny pockets. These pockets hold air, water, and nutrients.
- Better aerated soil- Did you know roots need oxygen to grow?
- The right amount of water- These pockets allow for water to drain, keeping just enough moisture in the soil to keep the plant healthy.
- Accessible nutrients- Nutrients can hang out in the air pockets and be ready when the roots need to absorb them.
- The pockets also make it easy for a plant to spread its roots.
- Amending your soil to have 5% organic material allows it to hold four times the water it normally would!
Compost Reduces Plant Disease
When “good” microscopic life, like certain fungus and bacteria, have a chance to thrive in healthy soil, it reduces the chances of “bad” micro organisms taking over. This can mean less disease and harmful fungus taking over your plants.
Compost Reduces Garden Pests
Since plants are better able to grow in compost-amended soil, they’ll be better at fighting off pesky garden insects. If the garden gets an infestation, you’ll have more time to discover and remedy it before losing your entire crop.
How Much Compost Should I Use?
We’ve created a handy chart to show you just how much compost to use and how to properly apply it.
Nature Wise Compost
At Grass Roots Garden Center and Gifts we carry Nature Wise Compost, a product made by Missouri Organic Compost out of Kansas City. They collect yard waste, grass clippings, cut trees, and food waste.
Once mature, the compost is tested to verify that it’s free from pesticides and herbicides. There are no additives mixed in, making it safe for the people applying it and any animals who may come into contact with it.
Get Compost in the Marshfield and Springfield, MO Area Delivered
We offer Nature Wise Compost by the 5 gallon bucket. We also deliver to the Southwest Missouri area by the dump truck. No matter the size of the project, we’re here to help your plants thrive.