How Compost Helps Plants Grow

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
How Compost Helps Plants Grow

Many farmers and gardeners have the habit of putting in compost to soil during each planting cycle. It is nutrient rich, and is effective in promoting soil microbes that help plant growth. Compost is brown, dark, crumbly organic matter that is identified by its earthy odor. During the process of composting, organic material like vegetable scraps and leaves are recycled naturally, and added to the planting soil to aid growth. Here at, we are going to talk about how compost helps plants grow.

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Compost improves the structure of soil

Adding compost to the garden soil helps in neutralizing pH and improving the soil CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity), which is helpful in increasing its ability to keep the nutrients held together. For instance, if you are have difficulty growing certain vegetables, fruits or plants in your garden, then perhaps your garden soil is the factor to blame. If your garden soil is clay-like and hard, then young roots of the plants will not be able to get through and receive the nutrients required for a healthy growth. If your garden soil is sandy, it may not have enough nutrients required for the plant’s survival. Adding compost in sufficient quantity can have long-term as well as immediate positive effects on your garden soil structure. Composting adds humus proteins which are helpful in binding the soil particles in place, so that the soil resists compaction and holds nutrients and moisture more efficiently.

Compost increases nutrient content of your garden soil

When composting breaks down organic material in a pile, the best fertilizer that you would ever find anywhere is produced. It becomes a group of organisms that live in your soil, including microorganisms like fungi and bacteria, and macro-organisms like beetles and earthworms. While you may not like these organisms crawling in your garden, they are essential for the health of your garden soil and are really helpful in improving your crop yield. In addition, compost also introduces a number of vital nutrients to the garden soil, including nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, copper etc. If you want to know which are the most effective, take a look at our article on the best food scraps for compost.

How Compost Helps Plants Grow - Compost increases nutrient content of your garden soil

Compost helps in saving water

As your garden soil structure improves and its nutrient content gets a boost, it gains higher moisture retention, due to which you are required to give less water to your garden. As organic matter is introduced, your soil becomes capable of holding water and resisting compaction, thus reducing runoff and erosion. According to research, 1% of organic material added to the soil may retain 16,000 gallons more water per acre.

How Compost Helps Plants Grow - Compost helps in saving water

Compost keeps diseases away from your plants

According to a research, soil that is treated with compost produces healthy plants with less pest problems. Composting helps in controlling insects and diseases, and the micro and macro organisms help in further decomposing organic compounds, including plant residue, manure, pesticides etc. These organisms are prevented from entering the water and turning into pollutants. In this way, adding compost to your garden soil is beneficial not only for your plants, but also for the environment.

If you want to read similar articles to How Compost Helps Plants Grow, we recommend you visit our Gardening & plants category.

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Kalani Brown
It was great and really benefited my science project.
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