This International Composting Awareness Week (1st - 7th May) we take a look at why Composting is so important for the environment and the health of our planet.
Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertiliser that can enrich soil and plants. At the simplest level, composting requires gathering a mix of 'Greens' and 'Browns'. Greens are materials that are rich in nitrogen such as leaves, grass, and food scraps. Browns are more woody materials that are rich in carbon, such as stalks, paper, and wood chips. The resulting mixture is rich in plant nutrients and organisms such as worms and fungal mycelium.
Why is composting important?
Composting our own garden and household food waste gives us an amazing soil food of the highest possible quality, for all the biological life our soils need for plants to grow and produce healthy, nutrient dense food for us.
It can also be a great community-enhancing physical activity that reduces both waistlines and waste miles - so less fuel costs, less carbon emissions, and lots of lovely carbon locked up in humus where it makes our soils healthier for years to come.
Soil and the stars
We spoke to John McClean Master Composter who says:
“When we make compost, we are working intimately with natural forces & natural processes. Within our compost bins are some of the building blocks of the universe itself, created in the distant past the core of stars, the very materials every living thing, including ourselves, are made from. With our compost we help plants extract from the soil those elements they need to live and thrive.”
“Our compost is the perfect environment for microbial life to thrive. Microbial life helps make these nutrients available to the plants in a format they can easily absorb. At the end of the day the moral of the story, if you want healthy, sustainable, nutrient rich plants, is to feed the soil with quality organic matter in the form of compost, not the plants themselves.”
Watch John’s fascinating video on composting below and head to our 'Composting' playlist on YouTube to see more vidoes featuring John.
Join the Community Composting Network - an independant network of people interested in composting supported by SF&G - find out more
If you are new to composting, or just want to improve your existing compost heap, our team in Northern Ireland have put together the top tips and resources to help you get on top of your compost!