If you want to get the best out of using compost on your soil, you want to ensure that you use rich compost, and mix it into your soil. While you can purchase ready-made compost for your garden, you have to know how to mix the compost into your soil bed; If you want to get the best results.
It is not all that difficult to use compost in the garden; If you are the gardener who loves to get handy, you should be just fine.
Before we get into the steps on how to add compost to the soil, let’s talk about the soil amendment and the different methods available.
Why Use Compost On Soil?
Plants need soil nutrients to survive. It doesn’t matter the nature of your garden, you want to ensure that nutrient is available in the soil.
In a bid to improve their yield, most gardeners seek out methods to improve the condition of their soil. One such method is composting. It involves the breakdown of waste for use as manure for plants. The process might not be all that pretty, but it certainly has its benefits. As someone who practices zero waste, I too compost my kitchen waste. The benefits of composting are numerous, and you should consider it to reduce environmental waste.
Composting is safe for your garden plants, which is one of the reasons why I used them on my tomatoes and berries. You want to be careful not to use compost from human waste on your edible plants. You can use humanure on your lawn grass and flower plant, but use compost from kitchen waste in your garden.
It is what I do; I own a compost tumbler which I use in recycling kitchen and paper waste.
Other Soil Amendment Methods
Improving the condition of your soil will be something you need to do regularly as a responsible gardener. Composting is not the only way to improve soil nutrients. Other methods include the use of natural fertilizers, chemical fertilizers, peat moss, slake lime and the use of manure.
Whatever method you choose to stick to, ensure you apply them right to the soil.
So now you know why you need to amend your soil regularly, we can now get into the steps on how to mix compost into your soil.
How to Mix Compost into Soil?
It doesn’t matter if you purchased your compost from the store, or you made them yourself, so long they are ready for use, you want to apply them the right way. You can do this by following the simple steps below.
Use Ready-Made Compost
You want to use only compost that has undergone complete decay. Making use of compost that hasn’t fully broken down has its consequences. You can identify ready-made compost by how it appears and smells. Check to see if it is
- smooth to the feel
- Black or darkish brown
- smells like earth (not foul smelling)
- crumbly too
Prepare the Garden
You want to prepare your soil bed for composting. Before adding compost to your plant soil, weed your garden, and ensure to keep pest and rodent preventive measures in place. You don’t want all your composting efforts to be in vain.
If you will be adding compost while seeding your pots, use a good quality potting soil from an organic source.
The best way to use compost in a potting system is to mix it with the soil. You should do this before adding in the potting soil. Mix the compost and soil in the ratio 1:3. So if you use 1kg compost, you will have to use 3kg potting soil to balance it out.
You should do this in a large container. I make use of the barrow, and the first thing I do is to add the compost and the potting soil and mix with a garden fork.
Most potting soil contains a bit of compost in it already, so if you were going to apply directly to soil bed, you can save yourself the cost of buying potting soil.
You can always make your potting soil by mixing equal amount of:
- peat moss/coconut coir
It is easy to use compost when planting seeds in your garden bed. All you have to do is to plant it the way you normally would. It is slightly different when planting seeds in topsoil. You will need to till the ground and then add compost to the top layer before adding the seeds.
When transplanting seedlings to pot or soil, use compost and soil in the ratio of 1:2. Plants with already established roots would not have a hard time adjusting to the new environment.
On Established Plants
You can also use compost on already established plants. You will need to prepare the soil bed before adding compost. Shovel off a layer of the soil and replace it with compost. You don’t need to add any other ingredients to the mix. We only advise that you perform a soil test so you can be aware of the nutrients that are lacking in your soil.
The best time to add compost to your garden soil is in the morning before the sun is high in the sky. It should be the first thing you do before watering your garden. Use compost before planting season for a new plant, and at the onset of fruiting for an already existing plant.
You don’t have to make use of too much compost, but you want to get them in the right places. Close to the stem of the plant is good, and you want to till the surface to expose some roots when applying to grown plants.
Lastly, you need to make use of fully decayed compost in your garden. Remove any lump from the mixture and toss it in the compost bag.
Now that you know how to mix compost into the soil, you shouldn’t have a hard time feeding your plant all the nutrients they need.