A healthy garden begins with healthy soil. Adding compost enriches soil and nourishes your flowers, shrubs, vegetables, herbs and fruits as they grow.
The best way to make your soil stronger is to add compost at the beginning and end of each growing season. Compost replenishes soil nutrients so your flowers bloom stronger and longer and edibles provide a bountiful harvest. For veggies, herbs and fruits, use only organic compost.
When to Compost:
Add compost to vegetable beds in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked or up to 2 weeks before planting. How can you tell if your soil is workable? Grab a handful and squeeze; it should crumble, not form a ball. Composted manure can also be used in addition to or in place of compost.
How Much Compost to Use:
A good rule of thumb is to add one inch of compost to your veggie beds each year, but don’t worry – you can never add too much to your garden. To determine how much you will need, measure or estimate the square footage of your garden (length times width).
Compost comes in the following sizes and will cover the following square footage at 1-inch deep:
- 1 cubic foot bag Covers 12 sq. ft.
- 1.5 cubic foot bag Covers 18 sq. ft.
- 2 cubic foot bag Covers 26.5 sq. ft.
- 3 cubic foot bag Covers 36.5 sq. ft.
How to Dress New or Empty Garden Beds with Compost Before Planting:
- Dump and spread. In an existing veggie bed, spread a layer of compost an inch deep over your garden and landscape beds to help feed your plants and the soil.
- Work it in. If it’s a new bed or your soil is compact and hard, work the compost into the soil with a rake or cultivator before planting.
How to Side Dress Plants that Winter Over in the Garden:
- Shake a shovelful. Gently shake a shovelful of compost around the drip area of a plant, or where rain or moisture naturally drip from the plants’ leaves.
- Dress it and leave it. There is no need to work your side dressing into the soil.