Composting is a fantastic tool that can not only improve your garden and the food you grow in it – but also helps the environment in a huge way. In today’s blog, we’re going to be having a look at what exactly composting is, as well as the various way it can help improve your garden and your impact on the environment. It’s always fantastic when the garden next to your Melbourne concrete driveway is in tip-top condition.
What is composting?
Composting is the practice of taking decaying organic material and essentially recycling it in a way where it helps soil and plant life to grow. As the organic matter decomposes, it feeds the soil – giving it rich nutrients. Composting speeds up the decomposition of compost because of the conditions that you’ve placed them in. The primary reasoning behind this is due to microorganisms.
Microorganisms need ideal climates to survive in. Things like heat, plenty of oxygen, nutrients and moisture are all necessary for microorganisms to successfully thrive in and do their part in the composting procedure. The two different types of microorganisms are called aerobes and anaerobes.
Aerobes are bacteria that need a minimum of 5% oxygen levels to survive. The aerobes consume the compost and expel chemicals such as magnesium, phosphorus and nitrogen. These are all nutrients that plants need to thrive and survive. Aerobes are the most effective and efficient types of microorganisms when it comes to composting.
Anaerobes, on the other hand, are not so efficient bacteria. These are the types of microorganisms that tend to thrive when there is not enough oxygen for aerobes – as anaerobes do not require oxygen to survive. They actually release chemicals which can be toxic to plants – such as hydrogen sulphide – and gives them a very bad smell.
What can be used as compost?
There is a large variety of organic materials that can be used as compost. Some of these include:
- Tea bags
- Grass, leaves and branches
- Hay and straw
- Fruit and vegetables
- Hair and fur
- Coffee grounds and coffee filters
- Sawdust and woodchips
Simply place these on your soil and the composting process will begin. It’s important to have a good mixture of green and brown compost. Green compost – such as vegetables – is high in nitrogen whereas brown compost – such as dead leaves – is high in carbon. A near-perfect balance of these two is essential when composting because if the balance tips in one direction it can ruin the process.
For example, a carbon-rich compost pile will result in a significantly slower decomposition rate. But if your compost pile has too much brown compost, then the increased levels of nitrogen can turn the compost acidic – resulting in a toxic environment that can harm the soil and particular species of microorganisms.
Below are some examples of things that you should not compost:
- Pet waste
- Yard trimmings that have been treated by pesticides
- Dairy products, fats and oils
- Diseased plants
The environmental impact of composting
When you compost, you’re inadvertently sending less garbage to the landfill. In Australia, 3% of our greenhouse emissions are caused by compost in landfills. Because they’re buried under other garbage, they’re not getting enough oxygen and the anaerobes can thrive. These microorganisms end up decomposing the compost in such a way that it actually releases methane gas into our atmosphere – which is one of the most potent greenhouse gasses.
Some of the other environmental benefits include the fact that compost acts as a suppressor for pests and plant diseases. This means you don’t have to waste money on chemical fertilisers – which are also harmful to the environment and your soil/plants because of the chemicals within them. When you use compost, there’s also less chance of runoff occurring. This means that there are fewer bodies of water being contaminated and eroded.
Do you need a concrete driveway in Melbourne?
Composting is great for your garden, but to compliment your garden you’ll need a fabulous Melbourne concrete driveway. A Better Driveway can help you with that. We have years of experience and use fully qualified contractors that will work around your schedule to meet your requirements. We specialise in textured, coloured and exposed aggregate Melbourne concrete driveway options.
If you would like to get in touch with us about getting a concrete driveway in Melbourne, then please give us a call on (03) 9308 6112 or send us a message through our website here for a quote.