Using your home made compost
compost that hasn’t completely rotted down as a mulch in the
herbaceous border and round shrubs. You can use a thinner layer if
you first spread card or paper on the soil and cover it with the
compost. Wait until the soil has warmed up a bit, otherwise you will
lock in the cold. The warmth of the sun penetrates more slowly
through a thick mulch.
Also, always mulch damp soil: the rain won’t trickle through a thick
layer and dry soil will remain dry under a mulch.
make the most of
Spring is the time to use your compost. It will feed your growing
plants and add richness and life to the soil. Compost spread in the
is largely wasted, as the goodness will be leached away by winter
To retrieve your compost, see
Emptying your bin – there are different methods, depending on
the type of bin. Fresh compostables are returned to the bin.
Partially rotted material can either be returned to the bin to
complete the composting process, or can be spread round plants and
shrubs that particularly need feeding.
The well rotted material at the bottom will have turned back into
soil and can be used in different ways.
It can be used for home made compost mixes, see
DIY Potting Mixes
you have container grown plants, use a hand fork or trowel to add
this compost to the pot. It will be an excellent ‘pick me up’.
Otherwise the soil in a container will become tired and thin. This
will make it hard to water effectively as water will run straight
the pot. If you have enough compost to spare, add a top dressing of
the less well rotted material.
We never have enough compost, but fruit and veg will grow better if
compost can be
dug into the soil. Potatoes, the cabbage family, leeks and onions
and runner beans are particularly greedy feeders, so it pays to dig
compost into the soil at or just before planting. Remember that root
crops, like carrots and parsnips do not appreciate rich soil, so
save it for more needy plants.
Good compost adds ‘body’ to the soil, introduces invaluable micro
organisms and will
prevent the soil from become thin and gritty. In thin soil plants
will dry out during the summer and will become stressed. This in
turn will lead to a poor crop, if you’re growing some food plants,
and will also lead to damaging pest and disease attacks which plants
won’t be able to fight off. Powdery mildew, for example, thrives
when a plant is dry and poorly watered. Prevent problems by
Home made compost contains valuable nutrients and billions of micro
organisms, essential for keeping your soil alive and healthy.