(NaturalNews) No one knows who discovered the benefits of composting by planting seeds in the refuse of human, animal, mineral and vegetable waste materials. Regardless of its origin, it's clear that life grows from death. Drawing new life from the leavings of the past has been happening on earth since the beginning, and mankind can make use of this divine gift by turning raw materials into nutrient-rich compost for organic sustainability.
Organic gardening principles developed with earth herself; and it's only a matter of artistry, trial and error that man has discovered how to intensify the conditions that supply the benefits of composting. The bottom line is that the best compost is little more than rotting organic matter.
Successful composting requires a basic knowledge of the process that operates in a compost heap; and, the realization that no matter what you do or how many small mistakes you make, you're still going to have reasonably decent compost.
Rather than getting bogged down in numerous complex formulas and techniques, start simply and follow basic guidelines for making good compost. You can complicate it later.
The benefits of composting
Compost adds nutrients and micronutrients to the soil and boosts plant growth and yields. Nutrients are released at a rate related to the plant's needs, depending on the temperature and available moisture.
Compost binds with soil improving its texture and structure. Healthy soil organically sustains your plants, providing better moisture, oxygen for root growth and improved drainage. It increases the soil's capacity to hold 200 percent of its dry weight in water.
Composting attracts nature's soil builders in the form of earthworms and friendly insects that rejuvenate the soil and increase plant growth. It also helps balance the pH in the soil and acts like a buffer making plants more resilient and less dependent on specific pH levels.
Organic composting materials
A basic guide to achieve composing benefits is to build your compost from two parts vegetable matter and one part animal matter -- manure. Materials included must be biodegradable and contain nutrients that are available and usable to microorganisms. Examples of organic vegetable matter include pond algae, wood ashes, coffee grinds, feathers, organic kitchen garbage -- except grease, oil and animal fats --, dry dog food -- which activates nitrogen --, eggshells, flowers, grass clippings, leaves, weeds, and kelp. There are many more.
Activating organic compost
By adding an activator, you speed up the process to obtain composting benefits by providing a nitrogen-protein source and enzymes to feed the microcommunity. Organic activators include finished compost, compost tea, and well-rotted, dried manure. For vegetarians who prefer not using animal manure, protein meal can be used as an activator.
Additional factors in making a decision before deriving the benefits of composting are locating your compost pile, maintaining its appearance and size, proper drainage, aeration, and insulation for those in colder climates.
Breaking down the raw materials into nutrient-rich organic matter is the goal and speeding decomposition is usually necessary to gain optimal composting benefits. Adding moisture as you build the pile, wetting it down periodically and aerating with frequent turning of the materials in the compost pile increase microbial action for breaking down materials at an accelerated rate.
Getting started is the most important thing in establishing organic sustainability by utilizing the benefits of composting for organic gardens. Plant some seeds; start your compost pile and learn as you go. Borrow what you need from the earth and give back what you have in abundance to stay in the natural flow.
JB Bardot is an herbalist and a classical homeopath, and has a post graduate degree in holistic nutrition. Bardot cares for both people and animals, using alternative approaches to health care and lifestyle. She writes about wellness, green living, alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and naturopathic medicine. You can find her at The JB Bardot Archives at www.jbbardot.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jbbardot23 or on Twitter at jbbardot23 or https://twitter.com/jbbardot23