Definition: The process by which organic materials are transformed into a soil-building compound through an intensive mixing and decomposition process. The resulting product is a nutrient-rich fertilizer that is much more complete than chemical fertilizers and effectively builds soil fertility.
Composting in the Forest Garden:
Regular and repeated composting can restore vitality and productivity to even the most degraded soils. It adds organic matter to the soil, which helps sandy soils better hold nutrients and water. Over time, compost will even improve the tilth, or physical condition, of clay soils.
Compost feeds an immense number of beneficial insects and microorganisms that in turn enhance the soil tilth. The microorganisms eat the compost material and create fertilizer throughout the soil. The larger of these organisms burrow into the ground, creating networks of tunnels around the root systems of the plants, improving aeration and water infiltration. This allows for better root growth and enhances water holding capacity and drainage.
Here are the 5 essential ingredients to make a compost pit or pile: