Compost: Not Just for the Garden
Compost is a soil amendment that is created from recycled organic materials like yard and food waste. Home gardeners and commercial farmers use it to add vital nutrients to the soil in their plant beds, resulting in larger and healthier plants, fruits, and vegetables. Compost has other uses, too. Here are a few ways compost is used in California outside a vegetable garden or farm.
Erosion Control and Water Pollution Reduction
Compost filter socks and blankets can help control erosion and retain sediment in disturbed areas. Compost socks consist of tubular netting filled with compost and are also effective at removing gasoline, diesel, and oil residues from runoff. CalTrans uses these compost applications frequently in their work along California’s highways. Check out these case studies on the use of compost socks for removing pollutants from rainwater runoff.
- Compost socks’ impact on petroleum residues and heavy metals in runoff
- Compost socks’ impact on nutrients and pathogens in runoff
- Performance of compost filter socks and conventional sediment control barriers for perimeter control on construction sites
Research has demonstrated that compost can allow soil to hold up to 30 percent more water, which can significantly help during periods of drought. Check out these resources and case studies on how to utilize compost for sustainable landscaping.
- ReScape California. Tools and resources for municipalities and landscape professionals
- San Jose. Green Gardens Healthy Creeks: Compost for Healthy Soil and Plants
- R. Alexander Associates Inc.: Landscaping and Environmental Applications for Compost
Wildfires destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of California forest every year, and they eliminate the soil’s protective vegetative layer, exposing it to wind and rain. Heavy rainfall on burned lands washes sediment into creeks and rivers and creates dangerous mudslides. Compost blankets improve soil structure, which helps rainfall absorb into the soil and provides an ideal environment for seeds to germinate and grow.