Do you have problems with your plant and soil health? If so, compost may be one of your greatest ‘assets’ to help you resolve these issues.

How to Use Compost and 7 Benefits of Composting

In this article, discover:

  • What compost and composting are;
  • 7 benefits of using compost;
  • Why composting is vital for every garden; and
  • 4 easy ways you can use compost to grow healthier plants and more nutrient-dense food.

What IS Compost?

Compost is simply decomposed or decayed organic matter, created during the process of composting.

It can be produced using a variety of methods and ingredients. As it ages and the living or dead plant and animal material breaks down fully, compost becomes stable. When these organic materials are no longer decomposing, they create a rich black soil known as ‘humus’ or ‘Black Gold’. It’s called black gold for good reason, as it’s a priceless resource for home gardeners!

Compost is one of the most convenient and easy ways to return organic matter (such as food scraps or green garden waste) back into the soil. The nutrients are recycled to grow healthy plants. Compost is the basic building block of a healthy garden.

“In making compost, we learn to put a value on dead organic matter. Instead of rubbish, we see the black gold treasure created by recycling ‘waste’ into ‘wealth’ for our garden.” – Anne Gibson

What is Composting?

Composting is a natural process that turns raw organic ingredients into humus – the earthy, dark crumbly, fully decomposed end result. Microbes naturally digest the organic matter as food.

Nature recycles organic matter all over the earth every day! As plants and animals die, the nutrients are returned to the soil.


In your garden or even indoors, you can imitate this natural process and speed it up in a container or space where organic materials can decay, creating compost.

Composting with Worms

A worm farm is one of the easiest ways to compost organic matter. Why? Because the worms and microbes do the work for you! You just add small amounts of food or garden waste and they turn it into free plant food. Cool hey? The nutrient-rich vermicast (worm poop!) and liquid extract from a worm farm are two of the benefits of composting with worms.

I think of composting as a way of ‘investing’ in your garden to create a valuable ‘asset.’ You can achieve a healthy ‘return’ with higher yields from your food crops. Composting is a sustainable way to save money, reduce your kitchen waste and landfill and tread lighter on our beautiful planet.

There are both slow and fast composting methods, each with their pros and cons. If you have limited space for a compost system, consider an indoor bokashi bin to recycle your food waste. This is an anaerobic system that is compact and easy to use. Perfect for small households and apartments.

I have a tiered worm farm with trays that produces two products. Firstly, worm castings (vermicast) or worm manure. This rich ‘black gold’ is the perfect plant food with nutrients in a bioavailable form that plants can take up immediately. Secondly, I get a liquid worm concentrate that I use to make into a diluted ‘tea’ to feed the soil and spray over plant leaves.

I also have two other ways I put worms to work in my garden. In mini DIY compost buckets around the garden. They have holes in the base and sides to allow worms to come in and feed on the food scraps or garden green waste I add. The worms then go back into my garden and recycle these nutrients to feed my plants and improve the soil right where I want them to work.

The other system I use is a Composta. It’s a large portable container garden with a hidden worm farm in the centre canister, as you can see below. I feed the composting worms inside with food scraps, minerals and crushed eggshells. They turn this into free food for the plants I grow in the outer container garden. It’s a brilliant system. I just collect the liquid fertiliser at the base.

What are the Benefits of Composting?

Aside from the sustainable benefits, you simply grow healthier plants and soil long term. It just makes sense to cycle nutrients from the garden to kitchen and back again, ‘closing the loop’ on waste.

The healthier your soil, the less problems you have. These are just a few of the advantages of using compost.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Compost!

One of the most important benefits of compost is it helps improve your health. How? By unlocking soil nutrients to grow more nutrient-dense food that nourishes your body and helps prevents disease. Tick! That’s a HUGE reason in itself isn’t it?



But what other advantages does compost offer you?

  1. It improves your soil quality = healthy plants + higher yields.
  2. Helps add valuable nutrients to your soil, acting as a natural slow release fertiliser for plants and microbes.
  3. Saves money by removing the need for expensive, chemical fertilisers that may harm humans and the environment.
  4. Reduces the need for frequent watering by helping soil retain more moisture while still allowing the excess to drain away. An ‘insurance policy’ for drought.
  5. Helps reduce and prevent pests and disease and increases soil life.
  6. Assists in balancing soil pH (the measure of soil acidity or alkalinity). A buffer for soil imbalances that helps reduce plant stress.
  7. Significantly improves soil structure so roots can easily expand and access nutrients.

All good reasons to produce and utilise this asset.

List of 7 Benefits of Composting

How Can You Use Compost?

There are MANY uses. To kick start you, these are 4 easy ways to enjoy the benefits.

  1. Add compost as an ingredient to improve the quality of your potting mix.
  2. Use compost to slowly feed your plants over a long period instead of expensive chemical fertilisers.
  3. Apply as a mulch on your pots and gardens to protect plant roots from sun/wind damage, prevent erosion and reduce soil diseases.
  4. Spread over your lawn as a top dressing, to add nutrients and fill in gaps to encourage healthier grass roots and thatch.

Are you just getting started with composting? Don’t have a lot of space? You may find a small composting system or compost bin are easy options. Indoors, you can use a bokashi bin to process food scraps. Outdoors, you can use tumbler or bin systems that don’t require much room or effort for a rich reward.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a BIG fan of composting in all its forms. So use whatever method works for you. I encourage you to enjoy the benefits of composting and a healthier garden!

Like this article?

Please share and encourage your friends to join my free Newsletter for exclusive insights, tips and all future articles.

© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2017. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

Some links within this article are affiliate links. I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. If you purchase a product via an affiliate link, I will earn a small commission. There is no additional cost to you. It’s a way you can support my site, so it’s a win-win for both of us. You directly support my ability to continue bringing you original, inspiring and educational content to help benefit your health. Thanks! Please read my Disclosure Statement for more details.

5/5 - (5 votes)