Before we discuss some fantastic compost facts, we better know what composting method is that will help you maintain your plants’ health. Composting is a method used to make natural fertilizers. Usually, gardeners use organic material, like leaves and stems, which are collected into a compost bin for fermentation.
In addition, some other ingredients, such as food scraps, vegetable waste, coffee grounds, and grass clippings, can also be ingredients to your compost that invites maggots to inhabit.
These larvae will further break down nutrients; thus, the soil will easily absorb them. Are you ready to discover these exciting composting facts? Alright. Let’s jump into the list!
Table of Contents
- 1. Composting Started 12,000 Years Ago
- 2. You Can Cook With Compost
- 3. Compost Is Toxic For Cats And Dogs
- 4. Worms Will Kill E. coli In Your Compost
- 5. Conserve Water Better!
- 6. Improve Soil Health
- 7. Microbial Activity In Compost Boosts Plants Immune Systems
- 8. You Can Compost Moldy Bread
- 9. Actinomycetes Bacteria Produce Earthy Aroma in Compost
- 10. Urine Is Good For Your Compost
- 11. Lowering Greenhouse Gases
- 12. Your Compost Can Explode
- 13. Alternative To Fuel
- 14. Your Natural Tampons Can Turn Into Compost!
- 15. Not All Plants Can Make Compost
1. Composting Started 12,000 Years Ago
Little did we know that, in fact, composting had been used by our ancestors since 12,000 years ago. Some British archaeologists discovered that Scots (refers to people who lived in Scotland) utilized compost on small-scale farms to nourish their plants.
Instead of creating a compost pile in a different compost bin, they collect compost material and allowed the composting process right in their field. After that, they turned the compost heap into plots and then plant their vegetables on them.
2. You Can Cook With Compost
It is one of the most interesting compost facts that we have found! Compost apparently can generate the heat you may use to cook your meals. This idea was first brought by a New York restaurant, that is yet to be named, to utilize compost heaps as an alternative to regular gas and electric stoves. But, how does it happen?
The heat generated in the final cycle of the compost heaps is a by-product of organic materials fermentation by beneficial bacteria which can reach 160-170’C. This temperature is hotter than most sous vide circulation baths to cook your dishes. Furthermore, it must be taken into account that this heat production is highly dependent on humidity, size of compost piles, aeration, and carbon and nitrogen ratio, while the range of compost temperatures is influenced by ambient temperatures.
3. Compost Is Toxic For Cats And Dogs
Are you a cat and dog lover who also loves gardening with compost? Then, you must pay attention to this one of the most shocking compost facts! As much as you enjoy creating a compost pile, there is a hidden danger if you do not consider the moisture content and proper aeration, as the fungus may grow happily in your compost bin due to decomposition.
This culprit is poisonous for dogs and cats if ingested, even in a small amount, as they produce tremorgenic mycotoxin. This toxin will trigger tremors, vomiting, drooling, seizures, and difficulty walking. Knowing these horrendous compost facts, we recommend you pay attention to the factors in composting to produce compost that is not harmful to your pets and, of course, yourself. Also, keep your beloved animals away from compost to protect them from digging the pile.
4. Worms Will Kill E. coli In Your Compost
In addition to our previous compost facts, we would like to introduce you to worms. This disgusting-looking animal with a soft body and walking creeps plays a vital role in the soil ecosystem. Besides being helpful in fertilizing the soil, they will also kill E. coli that contaminate your compost.
Furthermore, the worms produce light mucus all over their body to help move, keep their skin moist, and surprisingly eliminate those infectious bacteria. It is beneficial considering that E. coli can be dangerous to human health if it contaminates your fruits and vegetables. In that case, you may experience abdominal cramps, fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, or bloody diarrhea.
5. Conserve Water Better!
One of the benefits of composting is conserving the water in your soil. How come? Generally, compost consists of organic matter, like fruit and vegetable waste, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and more, further fermented by bacteria into compost. These compost materials increase organic matter in the soil.
Soil scientists reported that organic matter can help the soil to retain almost 16,500 gallons of water per acre to one foot deep. Additionally, the increase of the organic matter will rise the water volume to 3 quarts per cubic foot of soil. This finding is crucial to better understanding soil behavior in connection to compost. To conclude, when you apply compost to the soil, it will help the soil to hold more water and allow your plants to effectively absorb it for their growth.
6. Improve Soil Health
Besides being beneficial to enhancing the water holding capacity of the soil, compost also improves soil health by increasing organic matter. Organic matter is essential to support your plants’ growth, and improve soil fertility and crop productivity. Proper nutrients will also result in an increase in plant yield.
Moreover, the finding from Water Resource and Protection Journal said that bulk density experienced an increase when compost is applied to the surface soil. In addition, the infiltration process was significantly faster and the soil loss was lesser in the treatment of compost with the addition of prairie grass. So, grab your compost to have healthy soil!
7. Microbial Activity In Compost Boosts Plants Immune Systems
Our soil hides life from tiny microorganisms that are invisible you can only observe under the microscope, including free-living bacteria. These Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR), like Pseudomonas and Bacillus, thrive in the soil to promote plant growth by invading plant rhizomes.
The good news is your compost has a high level of beneficial microbial activity that will boost plants’ immune systems, keeping them away from diseases. In addition, they will also increase crop growth yield; thus, you will have abundant fruits and vegetables when harvested.
8. You Can Compost Moldy Bread
There is a little debate on whether you can use moldy bread to make compost or cannot. But, thankfully, you can! Even though the fermentation process of bread compost takes months, which is longer than regular compost, the utilization of bread waste into compost will reduce food waste. So, it will be worth it!
You need to rip the bread into pieces. Create a hole in the center of your compost pile, then fill it up with the bread to speed up the decomposition process. Next, cover the bread with carbon materials on top of the bread and prepare good aeration.
9. Actinomycetes Bacteria Produce Earthy Aroma in Compost
While searching for some interesting compost facts, we discovered that the character behind the earthy aroma in compost comes from the ingredients and fungi-like bacteria called Actinomycetes.
They degrade wooden compost materials, like woodchips, into cellulose, lignin, chitin, and protein that the soil readily absorbs. You can quickly observe the presence of these bacteria on your compost since they form threadlike filaments, that resemble cobwebs with white to gray colors.
10. Urine Is Good For Your Compost
Even though it sounds nasty, your urine can be a good booster for your compost. It is because your urine contains ammonia, a nitrogen source for plant growth. Nitrogen increases the yields of vegetables and fruits, resulting in greater production. In addition, urine also contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are also beneficial for plant development.
A study from the Journal of Forestry and Agriculture confirmed this claim by adding urine to Carica papaya, Serianthes myriadenia, and Hibiscus tiliaceus. The results were amazing! The three trees had taller, denser, and greener leaves than the control samples, which were only watered. Therefore, instead of flushing down your pee, why don’t you try to add it to the compost?
11. Lowering Greenhouse Gases
By composting, you are contributing to lowering greenhouse gases which will eventually decrease the carbon footprint as most compost materials are organic waste. In the landfill, this waste produces methane emissions which increase greenhouse gas. Compared to land-filling, composting reduce carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases by up to 50%.
In addition, this method prevents aerobic composting from generating methane as the anaerobic composting is impossible in the presence of oxygen. Composting also lowers carbon absorption in the soil.
12. Your Compost Can Explode
Continuing from point number two, where compost can generate heat to cook, compost may also explode even though the incidence is low. It is usually caused by improper aeration and uneven moisture content, which will make your compost pile gets too hot, reaching around 150-200’C.
In addition, the presence of dry materials around your compost can ignite a fire because the heat of the compost triggers it. Hence, ensure that your compost pile has proper ventilation to allow good airflow.
13. Alternative To Fuel
Composting is a method of decomposing organic waste by which nutrients can be absorbed by the soil. But, how if compost can do more than nourish your fruits and vegetable plants?
Research conducted by some Greek researchers found that compost from municipal solid waste in Greece can turn into a renewable energy source. The result was promising! Compost with lignite and combustion process can potentially produce suitable energy recovery. However, further research related to emissions generated is necessary.
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14. Your Natural Tampons Can Turn Into Compost!
We were so surprised when we found out that natural tampons can actually turn into compost! Since they are considered brown compost like woods, cardboard, and twigs, the composting process for tampons is longer than household waste or organic waste compost, around five to six months.
However, we recommend taking a year before they are ready to use.
Furthermore, you must know that you cannot use all tampons to make compost. If your tampons are made of synthetic materials, such as viscose, they must not include in your compost pile. In contrast, the cotton ones or any natural-made tampons are welcome to be added to your compost materials.
15. Not All Plants Can Make Compost
So far, we have an understanding that all plants, vegetables, and fruits can make great compost since they are natural materials. Nonetheless, a group of fruit may add to your composter with precautions.
Lemon and orange are examples of the citrus family allowed as compost materials. However, these fruits may interrupt the fermentation process in your bin since their acidic nature interferes with decomposing bacteria to degrade the waste items. In addition, the worms also don’t like d-limonene, an antiseptic compound found in lemon. Citrus orange is also difficult to break down, especially in spring, resulting in stinky compost. If you want to add these fruits, dry them out first to reduce the juice.