Choosing the Right Compost For Your Food Garden

Food security and self-sustainability are fundamental concepts that most people don’t think about often. People believe that the economy will always go smoothly and life won’t make a drastic turn for the worse.



Unfortunately, things can get ugly. Once that happens, you need to be prepared. 

Growing your own food has tons of health benefits and it can surely help you save a lot of money. In this article, you’ll learn how to choose the right compost for your food garden

What Is Composting?

Composting is a natural process where you recycle organic materials into fertilizer that can enrich the soil and help plants grow healthily. Many farmers refer to composts as black gold for these contain rich nutrients for gardening, horticulture, and agriculture.

Composting organic discards can be done on a large scale or small scale such as home composting. For large-scale composting, there are industrial-scale composting facilities that create composts in bulk.

Why Is Compost Needed For A Garden?

Compost contains a spectrum of essential nutrients needed by plants to grow healthily. For your home garden, you can definitely make use of as much compost as you can. Your garden needs compost for several good reasons, such as:

  • Composts can retain fertilizers better.
  • Unlike synthetic fertilizers, composts are made of both micro and macronutrients.
  • Composts neutralize the acidity and basicity of the soil.
  • Composts retain nutrients and water and prevent runoff.
  • Soil erosion is less likely to occur and prevents soil spattering.
  • It can loosen bound structures in clay and silt soil types.
  • Compost allows decomposing organisms like worms, bacteria, fungi, and insects to work in the soil to support healthy plant growth. 
  • The use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides is reduced or eliminated with the use of composts. 

Different Types of Compost That’s Best for Your Food Garden

The right compost for your food garden will depend on several factors. One of the things you have to consider is the type and what the compost is made of.

Here are some of the most common types to choose from:

1. Multi-Purpose Compost

Multi-purpose compost is also called all-purpose compost. This type of compost is commercially sold that you can use in different ways in your garden. Multi-purpose composts are formulated to contain nutrients suitable for different kinds of plants, at different growing stages.

The multi-purpose compost is versatile in that they are a good choice for new gardeners. If you are starting your food garden, this type of compost is your best bet for it is also affordable. Despite this compost’s versatility, you should avoid using this on plants that are sensitive and require specific composts for their growth.

2. Organic Compost

Organic composts are composts that are free from chemicals and only contain carbon. Carbon is considered the building block of plant life and is necessary for their growth. Organic compost is a mixture of decayed organic matter like fruits, vegetables, grasses, manure, wood debris, and rotten leaves.

When making organic compost at home, you need to pay close attention to the organic matter you add to the mix. If you plan to purchase, good organic compost feels like crumbly soil, dark in color, and has a strong earthy smell.

3. Loam-Based Compost

Loam-based compost contains a percentage of loam soil. Most composts don’t contain any type of soil. The loam soil in the mix is sterilized to remove weeds, pests, and disease-causing matter. Gardeners would experience fewer problems with this type of compost than with non-soil-based compost.

4. Peat-Free Compost

Peat-free composts are made of both organic and inorganic materials. It contains composted bark, coir, wood fiber, green compost, sharp sand, rock wool, and perlite. This mix creates the balance needed for root growth.

When using peat-free compost, read the packaging label for proper usage. Peat-free composts may have variations in treatment on watering and feeding.

5. Peat-Based Compost

Composts that are peat-based help in water retention. Peat-based compost is added to raise beds for added moisture. Peats are rotten organic material formed from dying plants found in swampy areas that don’t decompose properly. 

Peat is a non-renewable resource and using peat-based compost can contribute to climate change. This compost is not a sustainable and eco-friendly choice.

Using Wood Ash as Compost

If you use wood at your home, you can collect wood ashes to be used as compost. You can add wood ash into your compost mix for it contains potash which helps maintain the pH balance in the soil.

A stinky compost pile is an indication that it is very acidic and contains a high level of nitrogen. Nitrogen causes a stinky odor. A stinky compost pile is not a good idea. Not only is it bothersome, but it can also attract omnivorous animals in your area.

Wood ash also contains phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, boron, sodium, and magnesium which makes it a good fertilizer. It also is a good alternative to lime which contains calcium carbonate. Wood ash breaks down easily, thus plants can have immediate access to the calcium they need to grow.

Running a Greenhouse

A greenhouse provides a controlled environment where you can grow your crops without apprehension. With a greenhouse you can plant any crop you want regardless of the season. You have the ability to control the temperature and pollination activities inside.

Growing food in a greenhouse is possible and doable. You can have a steady food supply all year round. You can definitely survive regardless of the economic condition in your area.

You can save a big deal of money from growing your own food. You can eat healthy food all year round. Though, you may need to invest more time in the construction of your greenhouse as well as in growing and rearing your plants.

Now, what compost is best for fruit and vegetables?

A healthy compost pile is best for fruits and vegetables. It’s generally made up of different organic matter like paper, coffee grounds, eggshells, grass, fur, sawdust, wood ash, leaves, and vegetable or fruit trimmings.

Direct composting is recommended. It involves putting your composting materials over flower beds or garden space. You let organic matter break down in the actual bed itself.

When it comes to vegetables, avoid placing any vegetable trimmings into your compost mix if these have been treated with pesticide. Aside from vegetables, you should avoid citrus fruits like oranges and lemon because they contain high levels of acids.


Composting has several environmental benefits for it improves overall soil health and helps in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps in recycling nutrients and reduces the effects of drought.

Composting is a skill and constant practice can help you figure out the best composting strategy for your food garden. Your compost will not yield the same results every time because the composition you made also differs. Nonetheless, the pile will break down and will become usable compost.

If you have other techniques on how to make compost or have other organic materials in mind that can be used as compost, share your ideas in the comment section. Do share this article with all your friends to inspire them to grow their own food garden.