Healthy soil is the key to a healthy garden. Composting recycles essential elements and returns organic matter ot the soil, which is vital to maintaining soil fertility and life. It improves soil structure, providing good aeration, water retention and making it more resistant to erosion. It provides nutrients necessary for plant growth. It encourages worms, which help to break down organic matter. Composting diverts organic matter from the city’s waste system, recycling it back into the garden.
Humus is the most crucual ingredient in fertile, healthy soil. During composting, decomposers (bacteria and fungi) convert organic matter into nutrient-rich humus which can be used directly by plants and soil organisms. Soil fed with compost releases nutrients slowly and continually, producing strong, healthy plants which are more disease and pest resistant, whereas the application of chemical fertilisers can cause organic matter and soil life to be depleted.
Liquid manure complements the use of compost as a way to quickly feed the soil and plants. Herbs and weeds are valuable due to their ability to accumulate micronutrients. Some hers are able to accumulate large quantitites of nutrients even if teh soil is quite deficient.\, for example, comfrey and dandelion. Wehn herbs are added to compost and liquid manure, and spread around the garden, micronutrients will be taken up by vegetables and other plants. A rich brew can be made by steeping herbs, weeds, seaweed and/or various types of animal manures in a drum of water. After 2 to 3 weeks dilute the liquid to the colour of weak tea (1:10-1:20 ration) and apply to garden or compost.