If you make your own compost, you’ll know how rewarding it feels.
You can put organic materials that are produced in your home to work in your garden so that your grass and plants thrive, but you might not be using your compost as well as you should be.
Is compost better than fertilizer for your garden?
Compost improves the soil and is much more environmentally friendly than fertilizer, so it’s a great idea if you want to give your plants nutrients without the toxic chemicals.
Interested in making your own compost?
Here’s what you need to know about using it and various ways in which it can benefit your garden. It’s time to think creatively!
- 1 How To Know If Your Compost Is Ready For Use
- 2 What Are Benefits Of Using Compost In The Garden?
- 3 Here Are Six Effective Ways To Make Use Of Your Compost
- 4 Can You Mix Compost With Soil?
- 5 What’s The Difference Between Compost And Potting Soil?
- 6 Related Questions
- 7 Conclusion
How To Know If Your Compost Is Ready For Use
Here are some things to look out for:
- It has a smooth texture.
- It falls apart easily.
- It doesn’t have visible organic matter in it. Of course, if you’ve added woody pieces to your compost you might still see them. But generally, you shouldn’t be able to see any organic matter in your compost because they should have been broken down.
- It smells a bit sweet. It can even smell loamy. Your compost isn’t ready for use if you can smell sour or ammonia-like odors in it. This is a sure sign that it needs to continue being processed.
- It’s dark brown in color.
What Are Benefits Of Using Compost In The Garden?
You can reap many benefits from using compost in your garden, such as the following:
- Compost improves water retention. When the ground is enhanced with compost, it will be able to hold onto water much longer, which means you won’t have to worry about watering your garden as often as you used to, thus saving you money.
- Compost improves the soil quality. When you add organic matter to the soil via compost, this produces air pockets in it that will ensure all the oxygen, water, and nutrients in the soil will be able to reach your plants without any obstacles.
- Compost gives your plants important nutrients they need. Ever noticed the following three nutrients listed on a bag of fertilizer: phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium? Well, these are found in compost! By adding enough green and brown organic matter to your compost, you’ll be able to infuse it with all the important nutrients your plants crave. Green matter includes grass clippings and fruit scraps, while brown matter includes dried leaves.
- Compost balances the soil’s pH. You don’t want your soil to be too high in acid or alkaline, as this could cause your plants to struggle to survive, so using compost is a good idea as it balances the soil’s pH.
Here Are Six Effective Ways To Make Use Of Your Compost
Use It As Mulch
You can make the most of the above-mentioned compost benefits by using ready compost in your garden as mulch.
Apply some to the surface of the soil after you have watered your garden to retain moisture.
As a bonus, mulch can also prevent weeds from growing. You just need about five inches of compost to be applied as a layer on the soil, and then use a rake to even it out.
Add It To Your Potting Soil
Now, before we can look at how (and why) you should add compost to your potting soil, it helps to clarify how compost and potting soil are different.
Potting soil is a mixture that nourishes plants and vegetables, and is made up of materials such as bark and peat moss, instead of soil.
But, you can add compost to it to improve it. For example, adding compost to potting soil can help to increase how well the potting soil maintains water, whether in potted plants or in a vegetable garden.
To add compost to your potting mix, you should remove any large pieces of debris in the compost and sift it through a soil screen onto the potting mix.
In a bucket or other container, you should put two cups of your potting mix and then add one cup of your compost soil. Make sure the two are well mixed together before use.
Make Food For Your Perennials
If you have fall perennials in your garden, you should add about three or four cups of your compost to their planting holes.
This can be used to give your plants a boost of nutrients so that their bloom times can be extended!
Prepare Your Lawns
Sprinkle a one-inch layer of compost on top of your lawn a few weeks before you plant it. This prepares the soil and gives it all the nutrients your lawn will need.
The great thing about adding compost to your lawn is that you don’t need more than a thin layer (otherwise you risk suffocating the grass) and you don’t need to first dig up the soil.
Plant Some Veggies Directly Into Compost
Have you ever noticed some produce growing in your compost, such as pumpkin seeds?
Some plants thrive on the nutrients found in compost, so pop some vegetable seeds in your next batch and see what happens.
It’s probably a good idea to spread the compost on the ground or move it elsewhere before doing this, as WikiHow reports.
That said, don’t try this direct planting method with all your plants and veggies. It won’t give them enough of what they need in order to survive and many won’t do well in pure compost.
Make Compost Tea
Compost tea is a valuable resource to make use of in your garden. If your compost hasn’t produced compost tea, you can make it yourself.
All you need is water! When you have compost that’s ready to be used in the garden, boil some water and then pour it into the compost, then leave the compost for about 24 hours before using it so that it can properly ferment.
Although compost tea is pretty much the same thing as dry compost, it does offer some important benefits.
Its water content makes the nutrients found in compost more readily available for plants to use.
Compost tea also contains organisms that can improve the health of your plants, such as yeast, fungi, and bacteria, as SFGate reports.
These can help plants to resist disease, such as by creating a barrier against various pathogens.
To apply compost tea to your plants, put it in a spray bottle and then spray it directly onto the plants’ leaves.
Can You Mix Compost With Soil?
When you mix compost with topsoil, compost can offer it the benefit of helping to improve its water drainage if the soil is too heavy.
As for sandy soil, compost can help to make it store water more effectively.
If you have clay soil, it will greatly benefit it to be mixed with compost.
This is because clay soil tends to battle to retain water in hot weather while it can’t properly drain water either, so compost can help it with both functions.
Now, what if your soil is already healthy?
It can still have compost added to it – this will just enhance its health!
What’s The Difference Between Compost And Potting Soil?
Compost and potting soil are used for different gardening tasks: compost is used to add nutrients to the soil while potting soil is used for growing indoor plants and starting seedlings.
While compost is made up of materials such as organic items, water, oxygen, and bacteria, potting soil is made up of peat moss, bark, and perlite – these are light materials that help to provide more oxygen for seeds as well as the root systems of plants.
Can you use compost that hasn’t been finished?
You can! Put some of your unfinished compost around shrubs and trees to be used as mulch. When the organic matter in the compost continues to decompose it will boost your soil’s quality.
Do you have to shred items you put in your compost?
It is a good idea to shred, or at least cut, pieces of organic matter so that they can decompose at a faster rate.
Having your own compost heap is a fantastic way to use organic materials that end up being thrown into the compost bin and to help your garden thrive.
In this article, we’ve looked at all the ways in which you can use compost in your garden, while also answering some common questions related to compost, such as how it can be used with different types of soil.