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What is Compost?

May 15, 2018


Simply put, Compost is decomposed organic matter. Adding compost to your garden soil each planting season is a great idea because it is rich in nutrients, and it provides soil microbes that help plant growth. Composting is a natural process of recycling organic waste, like vegetable scraps and leaves, into a rich soil that is also nicknamed “Black Gold”.


Where to Get Compost?


You can purchase compost, but ultimately the best way to get it is to make it yourself. Like a soup, compost can vary based on the materials you put into it. There is no perfect list of ingredients to make a good mixture. Usually, ingredients include old plants from your garden, old fruit and vegetables from your kitchen, grass clippings and leaves from your yard. Withered flower arrangements, old paper napkins and last Sunday’s newspaper also can be thrown into your compost. Generally you can use anything that is biodegradable. Read our article on how to make your own compost.

What Is the Difference Between Compost and Fertilizer?


The easiest way to determine between compost and fertilizer is this: Fertilizer feeds the plants, where as Compost feeds the soil.


Fertilizer adds to the the soil’s nutrient levels, but instead of feeding the soil, the ingredients are intended to directly meet the needs of fast-growing plants. Compost and organic fertilizers can be friends and work together. The ingredients in compost sucks up the nutrients from the fertilizer, until they are needed by plants. Compost also provides many nutrients that plants need in small amounts, such as boron. Fertilizer can be used without compost, but it works better to get the benefits from both fertilizer and compost if you combine their nutritional super powers. Soil that is regularly replenished with compost becomes healthier and requires less fertilizer than soil that has not been enhanced by compost.


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Southdale Garden Center

930 S. Lewis Blvd.
Sergeant Bluff, IA 51054

(712) 943-4700

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