Using Compost in Your Garden
With Spring around the corner, plants and flowers will soon emerge and begin growing. To give plants the best possible growing conditions, garden professionals suggest adding compost to your gardens and planting beds. Compost is organic matter made from aerobically decomposed plant material, to be recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. The resulting soil is rich in nutrients and contains beneficial bacteria and fungi. Here are just a few benefits of topdressing:
*the soil structure of the garden is improved and creates a better plant root environment;
*erosion and runoff is reduced;
*water holding capacity is improved and water loss is reduced (meaning less water is required to irrigate);
*a variety of macro and micro nutrients is supplied to the soil;
*soil pH is improved and stabilized;
*soil moisture conservation is established;
*soil temperatures are moderated and plant roots are insulated;
*natural mild herbicides are produced…
The process is simple! Compost is spread 2-3 inches thick in planting beds around shrubs, perennials and small trees just before the growing season occurs – this is called topdressing. Mulch is then layered on top. No need to till or dig into the beds–nutrients added from the top naturally seep into the soil to slowly provide nutrients to the roots of the plants. Late winter (mid- to late-February into March) is the best time of year to top-dress so plants can absorb organic matter as they come out of dormancy. Topdressing is very important for plants in the garden! In fact, the Atlanta Botanical Garden adds compost to every garden, every year. Adding compost to garden beds is the best — and easiest — thing that can be done to produce a bumper crop of vegetables and bountiful bouquets of flowers.
A healthy garden starts with healthy soil! Consider adding compost to the garden this year starting now!