By Maggie Saint John
Did you know that compost is one of the best materials available to enrich your soil and help you grow healthier plants? Applying finished compost packed with nutrients can help plants resist disease and fight off insects as well as ensure the vitality and growth of plants in the future. What are ways to effectively use your finished compost? Review these five ways to use finished compost to give your soil nutrient level a boost.
1. When Planting
As fall rolls around, it is the perfect time to begin prepping your flowerbed for planting in the spring. During these months, take your finished compost and place several inches evenly on the top, across the entire bed. Continue to till all season until it is time to plant. As fall days fade, and spring begins, you can continue to use your finished compost by placing a handful in each hole to provide nutrients for the planted seeds. As the crop begins to sprout, put a half-inch of compost around the base for optimum growth.
2. As a Mulch
As your flowerbeds prosper from your finished compost, don’t neglect the rest of your yard! Before your compost is completely broken down, use that compost as a nutrient-packed mulch. This can be spread along crop lines, outside of your flowerbeds, and around shrubs. To help retain moisture, add a layer of leaves or pine needles on top of compost.
3. Compost Tea
Compost tea, or “black gold” as most farmers and gardeners call it, is the liquid that is naturally produced by your compost. This liquid fertilizer is high in micronutrients and made by steeping aged compost in water. The fertilizer speeds up the breakdown of toxins and prevents disease in your garden. In some cases, it has proven to boost the flavor of herbs and vegetables! To make compost tea: 1) Get a five gallon bucket and stir stick. 2) Fill the bucket one-third full of your compost. 3) Pour water into your bucket, filling it within an inch of the top of the bucket. Note: Use natural water, like rain or well water, for best results. Chlorine can remove helpful bacteria and organisms from your compost tea. 4) Stir the compost mixture and then leave it outside in the sun for about five to seven days. 5) After five to seven days, strain the mixture using a strainer and collect the liquid. Then, it’s as easy as pouring or spraying this liquid fertilizer along the base of your plants to create higher quality and well-balanced plants and veggies.
4. Around the Base of Trees
Help your trees grow stronger, taller and fuller by applying your finished compost. Adding compost around the roots will prevent disease and help maintain a constant soil temperature. Avoid the base and trunk of the tree, but apply around the roots and all the way out to the drip line (to the outermost leaves on the tree). Doing this twice a year will keep weeds away and mature your trees.
5. Dressing Your Lawn
Finished compost is the perfect way to “dress” a mature lawn. Adding your finished compost to sand and sifting it will allow the compost mixture to be spread easier across your lawn. Finished compost is for mature lawns and helps roots take hold and obtain moisture. Be careful not to spread this on newly seeded lawns because the compost could easily scorch it.
Not have enough time to make compost or the patience to wait for it to finish, but want your plants to flourish from the benefits of compost? Give The Grounds Guys® a call to get help with building a compost and adding valuable nutrients to your garden or lawn. The experts at The Grounds Guys can help you with organic lawn care, so that your yard looks flawless naturally.