Soil health is one of the most important factors for our plants. Over time, the soil may compact, lose nutrients, or even change the pH value. These differences can be changed by using compost to improve the soil. Knowing when to put compost in the garden beds may require some investigation. Learn how to add compost to garden soil to improve plant health, drainage, and water retention.
As compost continues to decompose, adding compost to existing plants will slowly feed them. It can also prevent some weeds, keep the soil moist, help regulate the temperature of dirt, and has more benefits. How to use compost to improve the soil around existing plants depends on the age of the plants, the use of compost, and even the time of the year.
When to put compost in the garden beds
There are several reasons for adding compost to the soil. Composting increases the tillage or structure of the soil. It helps to increase infiltration while capturing moisture. Adding compost to garden soil will increase soil microbial community. Enhanced bacteria and small animals break down the compost, making it easier to be used by plant roots. Good compost can also minimize some pests and diseases.
If the goal is to improve the soil structure, mix compost in the soil in autumn. For flowering plants, apply as mulch or mix into the soil before planting. In the vegetable garden, compost is added to the soil in spring and mixed in autumn. Lawns can also benefit. In spring, inflate the lawn and spread a thin layer on the grass leaves.
How to add compost to existing plants
In ground plants such as perennials, additional compost may not be required each year. Too much fertilizer to established plants will cause them to become long legs and soft. But plants such as annuals and vegetables can greatly appreciate this addition. When composting such plants, mix them into the soil before planting. Ensure that the compost is sufficiently decomposed to prevent hot soil. As time goes on, compost will further slowly degrade, releasing nutrients to the roots of plants. Alternatively, compost can be used as a side dressing, especially in vegetable fields.
What and how much
You can decide to buy compost or make it yourself. Compost is a decaying organic material, which may include kitchen residues, grass cuttings, fallen leaves or feces. Make sure the compost is rotting and not too hot, otherwise it may burn the leaves and roots of the plant.
More compost should be added to restore soil health in places with large planting. Typically, mix 1-3 inches (2.54-7.62 cm) into the garden soil before planting. Around trees and shrubs, the same amount can be used as topdressing. Around the flowers, place the compost layer around the plant stems. In all cases of topdressing, prevent compost from touching stems and tree trunks to prevent rotting.