Hii Wriggley Friends!
These few weeks, we shall explore the benefits that composting can have for the environment whilst at the same time providing us with nutrient-rich humus that would help make our urban garden more fertile!
What is Composting?
Composting is an aerobic method (meaning that it requires the presence of air) of decomposing organic solid wastes. This process of composting recycles organic material such as food waste, scrap paper or grass clippings into a humus-like material which is a good fertilizer for our plants!
The best thing is that; composting can be done right here in your own home at your own convenience giving you the fulfilment of nurturing your own plants and playing a part to save the environment.
We will get into the details of how to generate a beautiful pile of compost later. For now, let's dive deeper into the benefits of composting.
As composting recycles organic matter, we can actually reduce food waste by feeding them to the compost bins. Read on to find out why this is important!
We all know that the Singapore population has grown dramatically over the past 50 years. This resulted in an increasing amount of organic waste that is currently being dumped, incinerated and compressed at landfills.
Between 1970 and 2020, there have been three sanitary landfills in Singapore:
Lim Chu Kang Dumping Ground
Lorong Halus Dumping Ground
Both the Lim Chu Kang and Lorong Halus landfill has now been closed. That leaves us with only the Semakau Landfill that was initially expected to last us until 2045. Unfortunately, at the current rate of waste generation, the Semakau Landfill may not last beyond 2035 and yes, this is highly concerning given the limited amount of land that Singapore has.
The Semakau Landfill is about the size of 25,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. Filling it up by 2035 is equivalent to dumping 2.5 worth of Olympic sized swimming pools worth of waste, and this is after incineration and compression; a ridiculous amount!
And here is the kicker: Food waste accounts for a total of 10% of the total waste generated in Singapore. This translates into 2 Olympic sized swimming pools worth of foods waste that per week that could have been used to generate beautiful, fertile compost.
Beneficial for your urban garden
Of course, besides helping the environment, composting is also super beneficial to your plants. The act of decomposing organic matter creates a humus-like material (also known as "black gold" by many urban gardeners) that is rich in beneficial microscopic organisms that helps to aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use, and ward off plant disease.
This a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Yes, chemical fertilisers, if used in excess, will eventually drain into water bodies that may result in upsetting the biodiversity of life. For example, excess nutrients that run off into our waterways may cause algae blooms big enough to make the waterways impassable. When the algae dies, the decomposition removes oxygen from the water that results in "dead-zones" as fishes and other aquatic species can no longer survive.
These are unintended consequences that can be avoided by using natural fertilisers. Besides that, we can't deny that the use of organic fertilizers is also extremely fulfilling, especially when you generate your own compost heap. You would almost feel self-sustaining (a feeling all urban gardeners should feel from time to time)!
In our next article, we would explore two methods of how you can generate compost efficiently in Singapore as an urban gardener:
Armed with these little tricks, we hope that we can make your gardening experience a little more exciting and fulfilling. At the same time, let's save the environment!
Do let us know if you have anything in mind that you want us to explore. We'd love to study and learn new things together with ya'll ^^.