document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));

What is Compost?
By Paula Brett

  Have you ever thought about what actually happens when things rot? It may be that, like me, you have got confused reading garden books, as they are usually full of vague meanings for words like `stabilized humus'!

Many of you may think that making compost is an unpleasant or difficult process - well, I can assure you, it's not!

For a fast track way of changing crude organic materials into humus (something resembling soil) read `a compost pile'. The word humus, however, is quite often misunderstood, together with the words organic matter and compost

Making compost is really a very simple process. It can become a natural part of your yard or gardening maintenance if done properly. If you are mowing your lawn or weeding your flower-beds, making compost doesn't have to take any more effort than bagging up your garden waste.

To me, astounding as it may sound, handling well-made compost is actually a very pleasant experience. Don't but put off by compost's `dirty, nasty' origins. There is little similarity between the healthy-smelling black or brown, crumbly substance dug out of a compost pile and the garbage, leaves, manure, grass clippings and other waste products from which it began.

To define composting precisely, it means 'enhancing the consumption of crude organic matter by a complex ecology of biological decomposition organisms.' Many raw organic materials are eaten and re-eaten by thousands of tiny organisms from the smallest (bacteria) to the largest (earthworms).

The components are altered gradually and recombined. Unfortunately, many gardeners use the terms compost, organic matter, and humus as interchangeable identities. However, there are important differences in meaning that need to be explained.

                                                                  Page 1 2 Next