Hi, I’m Ed Bruske from DC Urban Gardens, Gardeners, here in my garden in the District of Columbia talking to you about compost and what you just saw me doing there is planting a cherry tomato plant. It’s a little late in the season, but this cherry will be grown really fast and be producing tomatoes all the way into October. And what I’ve done is, to help the tomato along, when I dug the hole, I filled the bottom of the hole with compost and now I surrounded the top of the tomato with compost and just scratched it in to the surface a little bit. But you maybe wondering, what is this compost doing for the soil and for the plant anyway? I guess we need to go back a couple of steps because; compost really, is the organic, portion of the soil. That means, the part of the soil that came from things that were once alive and the, have been broken don in the decomposition process by bacteria and fungi, and all kinds of little critters. It happens all the time in nature, and a good healthy soil really needs at least five percent organic matter in it. To support good healthy plant life, all those microorganisms really work together with the plant, around the plant root zone. We call that the soil food web and their bringing nutrients to the plant, the plant is feeding them and the compost in the soil does a number of other things as well. In fact that there’s so many good things for your soil, I hardly have time to mention them all. But a couple of really important things are, that one, it holds water. Compost or the organic matter in the soil will hold its own weight and water so if you want to get water down to your plant roots and hold it there, you want to have, organic matter or compost in your soil to do that. Another thing that compost does is it helps make nutrients in the soil. Things like, nitrogen and phosphate, potassium and a number of minerals that are essential fort he plants that are already in the soil. The compost interacts with those and helps make them available for the plants to take up for their roots, so organic matter is really important that way. Other thing it does is, it helps hold oxygen in the soil. If you’ve ever seen a soil that was really poor, did not have much organic matter in it, it would be really hard, maybe hard as a rock. But you put compost in there and it loosens it up, it gives the soil what we call, great tiff. The crumbliness that happens in the soil and what that is, is all the oxygen in that’s in there. The space between all the particles in the soil and the plants and roots need that in order to take up oxygen through the roots. So those are some of the great things that compost does, it’s not really a fertilizer; it has a low nitrogen component to it. It’s not like chicken manure or anything like that but it does do all those other great things for the soil and it also adds nutrients. Next, we’re going to be talking about other kinds of compost bins, the manufactured bins you can buy and it might be particularly useful for you in you live in an urban setting.