Americans should dig into organic matter in the form of compost to regenerate their soils as they plant thousands of “Victory Gardens” this spring, according to experts from the US Composting Council. There’s nothing more healthy than planting flowers and growing your own fruits and vegetables. Renovating your landscapes adds value to your property and gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine.
Victory Gardens, originally encouraged by the U.S. government during World War II to help Americans become self-sustaining, are coming into new popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. The USCC encourages gardeners to amend their soil with compost, because good plants start with good soil preparation.
Hundreds of commercial composting sites around the U.S. are providing social-distancing conscious delivery or pickup of soilbuilding compost this spring.
The benefits of compost
- Improves the soil structure, porosity, and density, thus creating a better plant root environment.
- Increases infiltration and permeability of heavy soils, thus reducing erosion and runoff.
- Improves water holding capacity, thus reducing water loss, and leaching in sandy soils.
- Can supply a variety of macro and micronutrients.
- May control or suppress certain soil-borne plant pathogens.
- Supplies significant quantities of organic matter.
- Improves cation exchange capacity (CEC) of soils and growing media, thus improving their ability to hold nutrients for plant use.
- Supplies beneficial microorganisms to soils and growing media.
- Improves and stabilizes soil pH.
- Can bind and degrade specific pollutants.
Applying just 2 inches of compost instead of the traditional 6″ of ‘topsoil’, which is typically of unknown origin and quality, reduces project material costs by up to 2/3! Less to ship and less to move.
Dog days of summer.
In sandy soils, compost will increase water holding capacity by absorbing water. In high clay content soils, compost will improve “aggregation,” which allows water to move through soil faster. A University of Illinois study showed that after the second time of applying compost, all water available to plants increased 5% to 45% in comparison to non-compost amended plots.
“All soils should strive for 5% organic matter,” said Frank Franciosi, executive director. “Essentially, amending soil with compost enhances the growth of ALL plant life, because the soil that they live in is improved and healthier!”