"You are what you eat" applies to plants as much as the rest of us. For a plant, the soil is the dinner table. Just like a family of 12 needs each one to reach easily the meat and potatoes, roots need to be able to get to the food and water. Plants need an all you can eat buffet and it needs to be healthy food.
Commercially, we have all too often answered the call with chemical fertilizers. Unfortunately, they worked too well to a certain extent. Plants got fed the basics of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but not a lot of the micronutrients they needed and the soil itself starved. Besides which they used a lot of non-renewable resources in their manufacture and caused a great deal of pollution in their own right.
For the organic gardener or the person who is moving in that direction or for that matter, anyone trying to grow a healthy plant, compost becomes black gold. Think always that healthy soil grows a healthy plant and feed the soil, feed the plant Now the question is not how to feed a plant but how to feed the soil?
The answer is compost. If there is anything like a miracle cure, compost is it. This amazing material will loosen compact soil, hold roots in loose soil, release water in waterlogged clay soil, hold water in fast draining sandy soil, and feed everything from asters to zucchini. Moreover it prevents pollution, uses resources that would either be a smelly mess or add to the land fill, and is cheap or free to make.
It does cost in terms of time and effort but a person who like to garden will like to compost. In fact, if what you want is a green lawn, it will help with that too. Plus it will give you a boost in getting rid of all those potato peels that grow under the kitchen sink. In addition, it is just plain simple to do. Take a look at the ideas here for making and using compost. The author of the site has been doing this for over twenty five years in rural and suburban areas and helped people in those and urban areas as well. If there are people eating, there is a need to compost the waste and a need for compost to grow the crops.
If you are new to the idea of composting, you may like to start at cold composting the way that nature does it in the forest. After all, it will grow a maple it should do ok with a few beans. Faster and perhaps better compost can be done with a hot pile. If you are in a suburban setting the neighbors may like it if you opt for a compost bin. Other than that, please just put your feet up, look around and dream of giant tomatoes. It could happen.
homemade compost bin
compost and watering
compost raised bed
Organic Gardener's Composting
by Steve Solomon
New section from Solomon: Methods of Composting
New section from Solomon: Chapter Six
Worm Composting [Vermicomposting]
Composting news from around the world
gardening(mostly organic) links
Colloidal Composting Secrets!