When most people think of composting, they think about all the stuff that goes in - from kitchen scraps to lawn clippings - but not so much about the end product. While it’s pretty amazing how effectively composting can recycle your organic waste, what comes out the other side is just as exciting!
So, what is it?
The end product of compost (as any hardcore gardener will know), is a form of natural fertiliser, also known as soil conditioner, also known as “black gold”. This fertiliser has countless benefits, including restoring soil health, sequestering carbon, boosting nutrient content, retaining moisture and helping plants grow. Pretty amazing that you get all of that from the waste you’d usually put in your bin.
The quality of the fertiliser is going to depend massively on how well you compost, what goes in and how long it decomposes for. If you don’t do it right, your compost could go “anaerobic” and promote the growth of microbes that may actually damage the soil you use it on. If too many contaminants get in, the content of the fertiliser could be seriously toxic. If it’s not fully matured, the fertiliser will leach nutrients right off plants.
So yeah, compost doesn’t end with just chucking your organic waste in, it’s a sophisticated, complex process that produces an incredibly valuable end product.
Hold on, you might say. Why is fertiliser that important?
Well, it may surprise you but over half our food supply is grown by fertilisers, except they’re not the sustainable, recycled, organic fertilisers compost produces - they’re artificial.
There are a whole lot of problems with artificial fertilisers. People like to use them in agriculture because they work like caffeine to plants - just a sprinkle or splash of the synthetic chemicals on your crop and you can double output! If you’ve ever done a three-day bender on Redbull alone though, you’ll know that you need a whole lot more than just caffeine to survive.
Artificial fertilisers add the main nutrients that plants need for growth but fail to replenish all the microbes, soil structure and micronutrients that are just as important. Every new season, the soil gets more and more depleted until it’s completely useless, no matter how much plant caffeine you pump into it.
Composted fertilisers, on the other hand, have all those countless benefits, with the plus of also recycling over half your home's waste stream!
Are you a gardener? Or maybe you just love a good batch of black gold? Let us know and make sure to check out the rest of our blog for all kinds of compost content!