Compost and other soil products

The content that follows was originally published on the Grow Compost of Vermont website at
Compost results from the controlled decomposition of organic matter into stable, nutrient-rich humus. (Organics and organic matter are materials that are composed of carbon-based compounds and originated as once-living organisms.)

The basic recipe for successful composting is, simply, organics, air, and water in the correct proportions. At the Grow Farm, our large flock of laying hens are provided with an ideal feed of food scraps from throughout Central Vermont.  The hens provide a perfect recipe of organic matter. Over a year’s time, this combination of carbon, nitrogen, air, and water enables microbes, fungi, insects, and scavengers to each play their part in transforming the materials into a homogenous, cured, nutrient-rich soil enhancer.

Using good quality compost brings a multitude of benefits to your gardening efforts and often eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers. Adding compost to soils builds organic matter (humus) while contributing nutrients and beneficial microbes to the soil structure. Compost increases water retention in sandy soils and drainage in clay soils. It provides soil with minerals, potassium, nitrogen and folic acids in a form readily available to your plants. Adding organic nutrients and matter nourishes the existing microbes in soil, and active microbes build a long-lasting supply of nutrients to feed plant roots.

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

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