Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a soil amendment and conditioner. Rich in nutrients, it is an invaluable addition to any backyard garden. Using compost enhances the fertility and structure of your soil and promotes the growth of healthy plants. However, the benefits of compost extend beyond just nourishing your garden. Read on to learn the three most helpful tips for using compost in your garden.
Tip I: How To Effectively Compost
You have complete control over the materials that go into the compost pile when you compost at home, ensuring your garden gets the best possible nutrients. In contrast, store-bought compost often lacks transparency about its contents, which can vary greatly in terms of nutrient ratios. Moreover, home composting is a more sustainable choice as it helps reduce household waste and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting bagged compost. Select an appropriate spot that is easily accessible yet out of the way to start effectively composting in your backyard. Your compost heap should have a balanced mix of green and brown organic materials. Green materials are items such as vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, or grass clippings and provide nitrogen, while brown materials like leaves, straw, or paper add carbon. Turning the compost pile every few weeks helps to aerate it, speeding up the decomposition process.
Tip II: Finish and Screen Your Compost
Identifying finished compost is a crucial step in the composting process. Finished compost, often called “black gold,” should have a dark brown color and a crumbly texture like that of fertile garden soil. It should also emit an earthy smell. Your heap needs more time to decompose if it still contains recognizable pieces of food or yard waste. Once you have determined that your compost is ready to use, it is important to screen it before adding it to the garden. Screening involves passing the compost through a mesh or sieve to remove any large, undecomposed materials. This step ensures that only the finest and most nutrient-rich compost makes its way into your garden. Screening your compost helps create a uniform texture that’s easy for plant roots to penetrate. Furthermore, it prevents potentially harmful materials or pests from being introduced into your garden.
Tip III: Apply Compost at the Right Time
Timing is crucial when maximizing the benefits of compost in your garden. The best times to apply compost are early fall and spring. In early fall, adding compost helps replenish the nutrients that plants have used up over the growing season. It also gives the compost plenty of time to integrate with the soil before winter arrives. During spring, applying compost prepares the soil for new growth by providing a rich source of nutrients just as plants are starting to grow. Mix compost into your garden by spreading a layer of compost, approximately two to four inches thick, over the soil’s surface. Next, use a garden fork or a tiller to work the compost into the top layer of the soil. This mixing process allows the compost to combine thoroughly with the soil, ensuring that the nutrients from the compost are readily available to your plants.
Use these helpful tips for using compost in your garden to ensure greater, bountiful yields. Stock up on your gardening supplies from ARK Heirloom today for better gardening results! Our selection of bulk garden seeds for sale is the perfect complement to your at-home compost.