What is it?
Compost is a natural fertilizer or soil amendment obtained from the degradation of food scraps and plant residues (bio-waste) mixed with dry, ligneous materials that act as bulking agents.
Properties of compost
Increases the availability of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), iron (Fe) and sulphur (S)
Increases fertilization efficiency
Stabilizes soil reaction (pH, its acidity index)
Increases macronutrients and micronutrients
Inactivates pesticide residues due to its absorption capacity
Inhibits plant pathogenic fungal and bacterial growth
Promotes microbial activity
Acts as support and food for microorganisms
Increases moisture retention capacity
Retains calorific energy
Improves soil porosity, permeability and air circulation
Allows for more sponginess and water retention
Reduces soil erosion
Increases water retention capacity
Uses of compost
Compost has different uses depending on its level of maturity and the type of plant or crop it is intended for. The best seasons to apply it are spring and autumn because the soil is warmer and adding compost boosts microorganism activity and plant growth.
Fresh compost is the one that has gone through a short maturity period and contains material that has not been yet decomposed. It is used mainly as a protection against temperature and humidity changes, especially against frost. Moreover, it improves soil characteristics and prevents weed growth.
Mature compost can be identified by its earthy texture, dark colour, and forest-like smell. It is mainly used as a fertilizer for crops, gardens and house plants.
Lay out compost for two weeks in early spring (between 0.5 and 4 kg per m2). Then, sow and put some compost by the crops during the growth stage to allow a slow nutrient supply.
Mix in the pot a 20 % of compost with the soil.
Lay out a 10-centimetre-thick layer of compost around evergreen plants in the autumn.
Compost tea. Add several fistfuls of compost to 20 litres of water and let it sit for a couple of days. Mix it daily until it looks like black tea and use it to nurture plants, trees and gardens.