Compost is a unique and versatile product that possesses characteristics that make it superior to many `traditional’ horticultural and agricultural products.
It is often compared to various horticultural and agricultural products such as fertiliser, topsoil and peat moss/humus. However, compost is a different material and it cannot be used in the same way as the aforementioned products.
Although compost contains many nutrients, it is not typically used as a fertiliser, since in the majority of applications it is used for its soil amending properties. Always account for these nutrients when supplemental fertilisation is considered.
Although successfully blended with topsoil material to improve the nutrient quality, compost shouldn’t really be considered as a straightforward topsoil equivalent.
Compost is a much younger form of organic matter that is manufactured using engineering principals and the `age old’ and natural process of biodegradation.
For this reason, compost is a more renewable resource than peat, and can provide many of the benefits of peat (e.g. structural improvement, water-holding capacity), but it is also biologically active and will supply significant quantities of both micro and macro-nutrients.
Compost also possesses a higher cation exchange capacity than peat, allowing it to hold onto nutrients. The benefit of compost’s biologically activity should never be underestimated. It can both support the growth of beneficial micro-organisms and be a source of them to soil or media.
These microbes work symbiotically with plant roots, allowing for more efficient uptake of nutrients and moisture, and they assist in providing biological disease suppression and soil aggregate formation.