How does compost help the soil and plants?
Compost helps improve all soil types, especially sandy and heavy clay soils. A garden with sandy soil has very little water and nutrient retention. In loose, sandy soil compost helps to bind these particles together and increase the soil's ability to retain moisture and nutrients.
The simplest way to distinguish between compost and fertilizer is to remember this: Compost feeds the soil and fertilizer feeds the plants. Fertilizer adds to the soil's nutrient supply, but instead of feeding the soil food web, the ingredients in fertilizers are intended to meet the needs of fast-growing plants.
- No, you can not replace 'fertilizer' with compost. You do have to consider the amount of necessary chemicals available and what chemicals your particular compost adds. Fertilizing includes not only the 3 biggies; Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium but at least a dozen micro nutrients as well.
- Then add a nitrogen source, such as ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, or an inexpensive high nitrogen lawn fertilizer without herbicide. You may choose to add a one-inch layer of soil or completed compost over the nitrogen to increase the number of decomposing microbes in the pile.
- Compost is full of nutrients that we want to get down in the soil to feed the plants through their roots. In contrast, mulch is the layer of organic materials placed on the top of the soil as a protective cover. Mulch helps to suppress weed germination, retain moisture, insulate the soil, and reduce erosion.
Some people recommend late fall as a good time to spread compost over a garden bed, and cover it with a winter mulch, such as chopped leaves. By spring, soil organisms will have worked the compost into the soil. Others recommend spreading compost two weeks before planting time in the spring.
- 7 Easy Steps to Composting
- Choose Your Type of Backyard Compost Bin. You can use either an open pile or a compost bin.
- Choose Your Composter Location.
- Alternate Layers.
- Add Kitchen and Yard Waste as They Accumulate.
- Continue to Add Layers Until Your Bin is Full.
- Maintain Your Compost Bin.
- Harvest Your Compost.
- Compost returns valuable nutrients to the soil to help maintain soil quality and fertility. Compost is a mild, slow release, natural fertilizer that won't burn plants like chemical fertilizers. Provides organic matter and nutrients which will improve plant growth and lead to better yields.
- John Innes Composts are soil-based made from a mixture of loam, sand or grit and peat with increasing amounts of plant foods added. Levington John Innes Seed Compost contains the smallest amount of nutrients as this encourages the best germination and growth of tiny roots and shoots.
Updated: 3rd December 2019