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The benefits of composting

As I worked in one of our front garden beds yesterday, I found lumps of clay several inches down, despite the addition of a fresh layer of compost each spring for the past five years. When we had the garden built in 2015, Jim replaced much of the soil with fresh soil and compost. We have been rewarded in the several years since with healthy shrubs and perennials, but the truth is that some beds have received more attention and TLC than others. It is time to pay attention to those neglected beds and add some more compost.

Compost consists of decomposed organic material, which develops into rich, dark, crumbly humus and improves the structure of existing soil. The addition of compost to sandy soil increases retention of water and nutrients. In clay soil, compost improves drainage by breaking up heavy material. Compost also decreases the need for chemical fertilizer and provides food for earthworms and beneficial microbes and insects.

Three basic materials are needed to produce com...

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