What is Composting? (2009)

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Composting is a natural biological process, carried out under controlled conditions, which converts organic material into a stable humus-like product called compost. During the composting process, various micro-organisms, including bacteria and fungi, break down organic material into simpler substances.

Why does composting matter?

Making compost is inexpensive and reduces the need for buying synthetic fertilizers. Compost is biologically active, supplying a range of micro-organisms that enhance the health of both soil and crops.

Incorporating good compost into a garden makes the soil improves the quality (or health) of soil for producing healthy plants. It helps plants develop stronger root systems so they can take up more nutrients and be more productive. Soil with lots of organic matter also resists erosion.

Adding composts to soils can improve their water holding capacity and reduce the need to fertilize, resulting in a more productive soil. This can significantly lower irrigation requirements.

Composting helps bring much of what we consume back to the earth, while preventing organic material from unnecessarily ending up in landfills. Composting can play an important role in the integrated waste management plans of any community.

Approximately 50% of the waste in landfills is organic matter. BC’s main fruit-growing regions are near large urban areas as well as poultry farms, both excellent sources of organic material for composting.

Sarah Godin
Regional Communications Officer, AAFC
(604) 666-3679 sarah.godin@agr.gc.ca

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