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Composting II

Proper composting:

  • makes possible a significantly increased amount of cured (stable) soil carbon (humus) to be produced from a given amount of input material1, which means that soil may be built up each year that food is grown.

  • increases soil organic matter levels in the growing area each year, allowing for:

    • more water to be retained in the soil, leading to decreased water requirements
    • more nutrients to be retained in the soil, leading to decreased fertilizer requirements and further-decreased water requirements

  • supports increased diversity and populations of beneficial soil microbial life, leading to:

    • improved soil and plant health and 
    • further-decreased fertilizer requirements.

  • allows, when combined with deep soil preparation, more food to be grown in the same space due to increased nutrient availability.

  • reduces soil disease pressure, leading to further-improved soil and plant health.

  • improves soil structure by promoting improved aggregate particle size, creating pore space for air and water, which leads to:

    • an improved environment for plant roots
    • further decreased water requirements due to greater soil water storage capacity


1) Douglas Edward Maher, Changes in Carbon Content in a Soil under Intense Cultivation with Organic Amendments (University of California–Berkeley, 1983).

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