The secret to thriving vegetables and thick green lawns is nutrient rich compost. Compost is an active material with plant healthy-bacteria, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micro-organisms. You can’t get that by just adding fertilizer!
Listed below are some of the most common uses for compost:
1. Soil Amendment – Add nutrients to your soil rejuvenating it with compost. Amend your soil with compost by loosening the soil 2-4 inches down in a determined area. Next spread about 3-4 inches of compost on top of the loosened soil and mix it well. Using a tiller to assist with the mixing process will help to oxygenate the soil and give you a more even mix. Our customers use this method in any area of their yards and works especially great in flower beds and gardens.
2. Moisture holding mulch – Compost naturally holds more moisture than regular dirt. When using compost like mulch, first it is important to prepare the area by removing all grass and weeds to prevent them from growing up though the mulch. Next spread the compost around the cleared base of trees, plants, and shrubs. Make sure there is about 2-3 inches of compost material spread evenly. Just like regular mulch, compost breaks down over time. Make sure to add to it once or twice a year.
3. Compost Tea – Your gardens and lawns will thrive from the benefit of this caffeine free drink. Instead of caffeine, this tea energizes your soil with plant healthy-bacteria and microbes without adding additional dirt. You can produce compost tea by first filling a five gallon pail about 1/3 full of compost. Second, top off the bucket with water. Once the bucket is full of the water and compost mix, allow the compost too steep for a couple days. After the compost has steeped simply water your plants with the water from the bucket. If you want to keep the compost separate from the water place the compost in a burlap sack.
4. Lawn Top Dressing – Top dressing your lawn can be done by spreading a thin layer of compost on top of your grass. The compost will work its way into the soil as the grass grows. Apply 1-2 inches of compost to your lawn, rake, and water. Continue to rake it throughout the next few days. Raking will help to work the compost in faster. Top dressing your lawn is best done early spring or late fall after the first hard frost. If you top dressed your lawn, you will not have to fertilize much if at all.
To some gardeners, compost is the life blood of gardening. Some feel that compost is a necessary element that should be added to get the most from their yards/gardens. You may be asking yourself, what are the benefits of adding high quality compost to my yard/garden? According to the US Composting Council, here is a list of reasons you should use high quality compost in your yard and garden.
High Quality Compost…
1. Improves soil structure, porosity, and density giving plants a better chance of developing good root systems.
2. Reduces erosion and runoff in heavier soils.
3. Improves the water holding capacity or soil.
4. Supplies a variety of macro/micro nutrients.
5. Helps to control soil-borne plant pathogens.
6. Supplies significant quantities of organic matter.
7. Improves the soils ability to hold nutrients for plants.
8. Improves and stabilizes soil pH.
9. Supplies beneficial microorganisms.
10. Can bind/degrade specific pollutants.