How to Add Compost to Plants

Three Methods:Adding Compost to An Existing GardenAdding Compost to Potted PlantsMaking Compost Tea

Compost is the product of organic matter, such as food or sewage, after it has decomposed. Adding compost to soil improves its texture and health by allowing more air space in between the particulates creating better drainage. Compost adds nutrients to the soil and attracts earthworms which create a healthy environment. Knowing how to add compost to plants can help them thrive and flourish. This article will share the steps for how to add compost to plants in a few different ways.

Steps

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    Purchase compost for your garden from a home improvement store, nursery, or a local farmer.
    • It is possible to create your own compost from your household scraps by using a composting bin or container. Put all biodegradable food waste in a container, stirring the mass regularly to introduce oxygen and monitoring its decomposition progress until it is ready for use.
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    Examine your compost and check that it is fully broken down and ready to use.
    • Compost is ready when it is dark brown, crumbly, and has an earthy smell. It should not be moldy, powdery, hot, or smell like ammonia.
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    Cover your garden plot with 3 to 4 inches (76.19 to 101.6 mm) of compost over the top layer of soil.
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    Rake and till the compost layer into the upper 6 inches (152.39 mm) of the soil below, aerating the soil.
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    Dig holes and insert plants according to planting instructions.
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    Sprinkle a layer of compost over the top of the soil layer and water.

Method 1
Adding Compost to An Existing Garden

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    Dig out holes 1 to 2 inch (25.4 to 50.8 mm) in diameter, and 6 to 12 inches (152.39 to 304.79 mm) deep below the soil surface.
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    Add a layer of dry fertilizer to each hole.
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    Fill the rest of the hole with compost.
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    Spread a layer 2 to 6 inches (50.8 to 152.39 mm) high of compost in a circle that is 6 inches (15.2 cm) away from the plant's base; this will prevent erosion.

Method 2
Adding Compost to Potted Plants

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    Break up the compost with a shovel or a rake so it is very finely textured.
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    Sprinkle the compost over the top of the potting mix in the pot.
    • Be sure that the compost does not make up more than one quarter to one half of the compost to potting mix ratio.

Method 3
Making Compost Tea

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    Fill a burlap bag or old pillowcase with compost and sew or tie up the open end.
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    Fill a tub, bucket, or bin with water.
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    Submerge the compost bag in the water and shake it around for a few minutes.
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    Allow the bag to steep for a few days.
    • You can tell it is ready when the water is the color of tea, indicating that the nutrients have leached out.
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    Spray the steeped water or 'compost tea' on the top layer of soil in your garden or potted plant.
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    Dump the rest of the bag's contents over the edges of your garden.

Tips

  • For perennial plants, you should add compost every time you add a plant or divide a plant. For annual plants, add compost every spring.

Warnings

  • Some reports show that mixing compost in the soil around a tree's roots will cause it to not grow as it should. If this is a concern, use the compost only as a mulch near the tree's base.
  • If you can still discern what some of the elements of the compost are (e.g., a banana peel), the compost needs more time to decompose before use.

Article Info

Categories: Compost Mulch and Soil Preparation