Compost, the result of decomposing organic matter, makes an ideal soil amendment and fertilizer: it adds micro-organisms to the soil and provides them with food and shelter, in addition to improving the soil's structure, balancing its pH and adding all the nutrients that plants need in order to grow. Because these nutrients are released gradually, plants have a constant, steady source of food.
Composting at the Montréal Botanical Garden
The Montréal Botanical Garden makes an effort to use all the green waste from horticultural work in the outdoor gardens and greenhouses, to produce high-quality compost to be used as an amendment in the outdoor gardens.
Compostable materials must first be sorted at the source so as to eliminate any contaminants like plastic containers and bags, stakes and any other unwanted materials. The main composting site is located near the Louis Dupire greenhouses. Compostable materials are sorted by year, and may be chopped up so that they will decompose more quickly. Over the summer, the compost heaps are regularly turned over by operators to speed up the process. In the fall, the compost is inspected to determine its composition and quality. If it is considered ready, with no pathogens and of good quality, it is sifted for use in the gardens.
Food waste has been collected from the Montréal Botanical Garden restaurant kitchens since 2011, as a pilot project.