To prepare soil for a new lawn, till 4 inches of compost into 6 inches of soil.
To prepare soil for new shrubs, till the soil to a depth of 8 - 10 inches. The depth should be at least twice the width of the root ball. Apply a layer of 4 inches of compost and mix thoroughly into soil. If soil is very poor use 6 inches of compost instead.
To establish a new garden or prepare garden for planting, till the soil to a depth of 8 - 10 inches. Apply a layer of 4 inches of compost and mix thoroughly into soil. If soil is very poor use 6 inches of compost instead, mixing much of the additional compost into the top 3 - 4" of soil.
To prepare for a new lawn or garden, till 2 inches
of compost into the top 6 inches of soil. Be sure to cover the ground with
several inches of mulch.
In addition to partially completed compost, there are many other organic materials which may be used as mulch: pine needles, various types of wood bark or chips, pecan or peanut shells, and shredded leaves.
"Never use compost that is not completely finished. After compost is finished, let it cure for several weeks to be sure the process is complete."to
"One of the best mulches is partially decomposed compost."Proponents against this practice claim that the compost will rob soil and existing plants to obtain nitrogen needed to complete composting. Other concerns are that there may be pathogens in the bacteria that have not yet been killed by exposure to the hot center of the pile, and that acids in the materials may be released as they compost and harm plant roots. Most experts agree that nitrogen will be stolen for composting if the materials are tilled INTO THE GROUND. The debate is whether or not this is true if the matter is laid on top of the soil. Other experts, including Howard Garrett (Texas Organic Gardening, p. 98) say that, as long as the partially decomposed matter stays on top of the soil, there is no damaging nitrogen draft.
For my own use, I believe it is a good mulch. I base this decision on the forest floor. The forest floor, from the bottom layer up, consists of soil, finished compost, partially finished compost, barely-started compost, and fresh organic materials. If it is OK for nature, it is OK for me. You must decide for yourself on this issue.
Finished compost adds nutrients
and organic matter to the soil,
improving its texture and increasing its ability to hold air and water.
Because it doesn't burn plant roots, large quantities of compost
can be applied to the soil at any time.
Try digging several centimetres
of finished compost into a flower
bed or vegetable garden before planting. How much you use will
depend on how much you have available: the soil can use it all.
You can also give trees, shrubs,
and nursery seedlings a good start
by planting them in half-and-half soil and compost. New lawns will
develop healthy roots to keep them green, if compost is dug into
the soil before the grass seed is applied. When an established lawn
suffers winter-kill, working some compost into the bald spots
before seeding again is another good idea.
Treating lawns with a half-inch
of compost serves as a very
effective feeding when the ground has dried in the spring. By sifting
the compost first, you can remove any unattractive large pieces or
materials that may not be fully decomposed.
You can also apply compost as a
spot fertilizer. Scratch it lightly
into the top few inches of soil around the plant that needs a boost,
and water deeply.
Here's a tidy way to supply compostnutrients
to house plants or to spot-fertilizeseedlings. Soak a burlap bag or old
pillowcase of compost in a pail of water until the liquid is tea-coloured.
Or stir one part compost into three parts water and pour off the "tea."Using
this liquid to water plants makes a difference, particularly inthe middle
of the warm growing season.
Mulching should be done latein the spring when the groundis thoroughly warmed, but before summer's heat, in order toconserve moisture. Spread several inches of compost on top of the soil around trees and shrubs, from near the base of the trunk out to the dripline. You can also mulch around vegetables and flowers as soon as the plants are several inches high, to keep roots cool and discourage weed growth.
House plants, window boxes and hanging
baskets will all benefit
from a potting soil mixed with sifted compost. Compost alone can
be used for growing vegetables in containers, and for starting
plants from seed. For indoor use, you may want to sterilize
compost in the oven for an hour at 95oC (200oF) -- but don't be
alarmed by the (temporary) strong smell.
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