Compost happens, naturally, all over the earth. Organic matter decays rapidly in the humid tropics, more slowly in dry and cold regions. Decomposition of plant and animal matter is the Earth's natural and normal process of recycling old into new. Compost is the building block of life and energy. As gardeners, we may not look at compost in this grand view, but it is of elemental importance to the health and beauty of our home landscapes.
Throughout this website, I've referred to using compost often. Adding compost to tight, compacted clay soils, to loose, porous sandy soils, to humus-deficient caliche soils dramatically improves soil structure and increases organic content. Improving soil structure and organic content improves water and nutrient retention and increases the biological soil life. Adding compost to the soil is the single most important action gardeners can do to increase the health and beauty of their plants and landscape. In fact, compost is so important to our landscapes, it referred to as "black gold".