The Scoop On Poop


Country MoonNothing is free, so they say in this world. That is not quite true, for there are a few things left that are free for the taking with only a little bit of effort. One of those is compost. Whether you choose animal or vegetable, all that is required to make this nutrient is a little work with what you probably already have on hand.

I started composting by mistake. There was barbed wire strung around an old stump when we moved in. It was just natural to throw leaves, weeds, food scraps and other unwanted organic material inside just to dispose of it. I soon noticed after some rain and time that it was turning into a mulch-like substance. I had created a crude form of compost without really trying!

With a little more research, I learned that compost helps put valuable nutrients back in the soil and, at the same time, it cuts waste and reduces trash by using what you are already disposing of anyway. And it’s free! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Actually, there are quite a few benefits to composting. It emulsifies the soil, helps retain moisture, and suppresses plant diseases and pests. It does this by encouraging production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to waste humus, a rich, nutritional field material. During this process, it reduces methane emission for landfills and lowers the carbon footprint on the land. It also drastically reduces the need to supplement the land with chemical fertilizers, which is not only better for consumers, but also better for our pocketbooks.

When folks think of compost they usually always turn their attention to plant-based. However, compost can be not only plant organic material, but also animal-based in the form of manure. Both of these have specific benefits and drawbacks. Animal manure is compost in its truest sense. If you have animals, or have access to someone who does, you know that there is a steady supply of manure, and if anyone wants it, farmers are usually more than happy to oblige in giving it away.

Manure composts easily and is already a perfect combination of nitrogen and carbon. It requires no specific container, usually a big pile in the open is sufficient. You just pile it and leave it alone and it quickly becomes a beautiful (never thought I would be describing manure as beautiful, but the finished product is beauty to a gardener’s eyes!), crumbly, black and odor-free fertilizer. Yes, if composted correctly, there is no odor to the finished product.

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