Can you plant a garden in compost only
Should you plant flowers in premium garden soil , or do you need compost? For beautiful, flourishing flower beds, you need the right growing medium. And the decision on whether to use high-quality potting mix or whether to opt for compost depends upon the quality of the soil already in your planting beds and your gardening priorities. As a general rule, going with garden soil saves you time, while using compost allows for greater flexibility. To help you decide which is best for your flower beds, take a look at what each product has to offer.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Planting in Compost – No Soil Needed!Content:
- What and How to Compost
- Is Multipurpose Compost Suitable For Vegetables?
- Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making Compost That Will Enrich Your Garden
- A local version of The Love The Garden website exists
- 124-Using Compost the Charles Dowding Way: More Than Just a Great Soil Amendment
- Too Much Compost – Is It Poisoning Your Garden?
- Can Compost Be Used in Containers and Indoor House Plants?
- A Recipe for Compost
- What Soil Or Compost Should I Use?
What and How to Compost
If you really want a great garden this year, set your seedlings aside for a couple of weeks and feed your soil. We know, we know, organic amendments like manure, compost and mulch can be expensive.
Most gardeners finish their spring shopping with a big dent in their wallet, and that already is likely to include a bag or two of some kind of fertilizer.
So why put more money and time into adding amendments to the soil? Soil is what you want in the garden. Many of our yards are built on the dirt left over after the builders scraped up the top soil to install pipes, pour foundations and build, Savio said. With the subsoil that was left, landscapers usually rolled out a lawn, installed a few shrubs and plumped everything up with chemical fertilizers that gave the plants a jolt of energy but left the land depleted.
When you continually add organic amendments to the soil, the dirt comes alive as the amendments decompose, creating the beneficial bacteria, fungi and the nutrients plants need to grow strong and healthy, Savio said.
Organic amendments also improve the texture of the soil, Savio said, giving a loamy substance to sandy soils to help them retain moisture and nutrients, and improving drainage in clay soils where the water pools instead of percolating into the ground. Unsure what kind of soil you have? Finally, organic amendments serve as a buffer against deficiencies such as high pH or alkalinity in the soil, said garden consultant Steve Masely of Grow it Organically in Petaluma, whose website offers detailed suggestions for improving garden soil.
Southern California is known for having more alkaline soils, with a pH over 7. The acidity of your soil limits the minerals and nutrients available to your plants, Masely said. Minerals like phosphorus, iron and zinc become more available in acidic lower pH soils, he said, but they get bound up, and less available, in alkaline soils.
Using peat moss has become controversial though, Savio said, because people are worried about depleting these natural bogs of decaying plant matter that have taken hundreds of years to create.
Peat moss is also used to help soils retain moisture and improve drainage, but for that use, Masely said he prefers coconut coir, because if peat moss ever dries out, it will actually repel water.
Then use coconut coir on top, as a mulch, because it always stays moist. These premium composts are usually inoculated with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi and other additives designed to build strong roots, and a little goes a long way, Savio said. The idea is to mix them with the native soil. Then water well, and — attention! Once you plant, add some organic mulch around the plants to retain moisture, keep down weeds and continue feeding the soil. Bark and leaves from most trees provide excellent cover, but avoid walnut leaves, which are toxic to many plants, and eucalyptus, which takes too long to break down, Masely said.
And stay away from wood products, like sawdust, which suck nitrogen from the soil. Savio has had great success with coffee grounds, which she collects from coffee shops around her Pasadena home.
She separates the paper filters into her compost pile and thinly spreads the grounds around her plants. If you want to collect coffee grounds, Savio recommends visiting coffee shops and even grocery stores that offer coffee to shoppers and ask if they will give you their grounds. Some places bag their own, Savio said, but others will want you to provide buckets for them to fill, so be prepared.
The essential weekly guide to enjoying the outdoors in Southern California. Insider tips on the best of our beaches, trails, parks, deserts, forests and mountains. You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times. In early she moved full time into Features, with a focus on all things flora. She is a SoCal native who spent more than 20 years in Central Washington as a daily reporter, columnist, freelancer and mom before returning to the land of eucalyptus and sage.
Her present goal is to transform her yard into an oasis of native plants, fruit trees and veggies. More From the Los Angeles Times. Let these California artists take you on their journey in search of peace and connection. The L. Should you soak your houseplants in the rain?
We asked the experts. All Sections. About Us. B2B Publishing. Business Visionaries. Hot Property. Times Events. Times Store. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. Yvonne Savio, 71, a master gardener, at her garden in Pasadena holding Mathiola species also known as Stock in soil.
By Jeanette Marantos Staff Writer. But hold up, people. Tomato plant, left along side a wando pea plant grown by Yvonne Savio. Yvonne Savio spreads coffee grounds into the soil at her garden in Pasadena. Savio will place the filters in the compost bin and spread the grounds in the soil. Chasmanthe plant grown by Yvonne Savio at her garden in Pasadena. Yvonne Savio works on her compost bin, a mix of green matter, clippings from the kitchen and brown matter.
Yvonne Savio uses water to melt the coffee grounds into the soil in her garden. Lifestyle Plants. Enter email address. Jeanette Marantos. Follow Us twitter instagram email facebook. Lifestyle Let these California artists take you on their journey in search of peace and connection. Lifestyle The L. Lifestyle Should you soak your houseplants in the rain?
Is Multipurpose Compost Suitable For Vegetables?
To get started you will need a good structure or container to hold your compost. Compost bins are available from your local DIY store and garden centre, or you could build your own, for example out of plastic bins or pallets, or create a compost heap. Look online for more ideas. Choose a sunny position for your compost system and ensure it is easily accessible for adding ingredients and regular mixing. Prepare your compost in layers that are a blend of carbon and nitrogen. This means adding a mix of organic garden and kitchen waste materials. A good rule of thumb is to add nothing larger than your little finger.
Compost uses in the vegetable and flower garden Compost is an excellent soil improver and can be used to increase the organic matter in the soil. In temperate.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making Compost That Will Enrich Your Garden
So, how do you find the right answer for gardening questions? Nine experts from Oregon State University Extension Service stepped up to bust some common gardening myths. Read on to get some research-based answers to 10 common misconceptions. For additional questions, call the OSU Extension master gardeners in your area. Topping only temporarily delays the inevitable. The resulting sucker growth, which grows rapidly in an attempt to provide food for the compromised root system, is weakly attached. This creates an even greater hazard. This often leads to a slow death for the tree. Moss prefers to grow in wet, shady conditions. Lawns with moss need more sunlight, i.
A local version of The Love The Garden website exists
Garden Basics. At times I have been ready to use my compost in my garden, but it has not finished breaking down completely. Can this unfinished compost be used in the garden? Not all compost is created equal; it depends on how and what was composted. Most homemade compost is from organic matter , which comprises a mixture of carbon and nitrogen from kitchen scraps, grass clippings, newspaper, cardboard, dried leaves, yard waste.
Adding compost or a soil improver helps to provide the right growing conditions, which will ensure you achieve bigger and healthier results. Find out how to choose the right compost for you.
124-Using Compost the Charles Dowding Way: More Than Just a Great Soil Amendment
Last week was the first in this two-part conversation with British gardening legend, Charles Dowding. If you missed it, I recommend you start there. As a couple of organic gardeners who love to teach and have been in the public eye for a number of years, we have plenty in common. One of our greatest commonalities is the joy that we feel from the garden. Hopefully, you experience that too. The joy of gardening becomes most powerful once you embrace all of the opportunities to experiment.
Too Much Compost – Is It Poisoning Your Garden?
In addition to hearing individual gardeners recommend against starting vegetable seeds in compost, two books that I like both recommend starting seeds in mixes that do not include compost. Rather, the California Master Gardener Handbook and The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert and Cheryl Gough recommend starting vegetable seeds in mixes that are mostly composed of peat moss and perlite or vermiculite, which are the ingredients of typical bags of seed-starting mix that you buy at a garden center. See, for example, E. However, a few years ago I ran a little experiment adding some soil and compost to the peat moss and perlite mix and found that, if anything, my vegetable seedlings ended up bigger and healthier at transplant size. Both old sources recommend basically the same mix, which includes soil and compost. And both have little to nothing to say about sterility. A common reason given for not using, or sterilizing, compost and soil in a seed-starting mix is to avoid the disease called damping off, which is said to be caused by several pathogens.
You can improve your soil with compost and organic matter. You just dig up a small amount of soil from a few places in your garden.
Can Compost Be Used in Containers and Indoor House Plants?
If you really want a great garden this year, set your seedlings aside for a couple of weeks and feed your soil. We know, we know, organic amendments like manure, compost and mulch can be expensive. Most gardeners finish their spring shopping with a big dent in their wallet, and that already is likely to include a bag or two of some kind of fertilizer. So why put more money and time into adding amendments to the soil?
A Recipe for Compost
Topsoil is basically the top layer of the soil, where everything grows find out more about the definition of topsoil. So if the soil in your garden is very shallow, or you are making new garden beds, adding or replacing a lawn, or putting in raised beds and need to add new soil, top soil is what you need. Top soil comes in three qualities: economy, general purpose and premium, see our topsoil range. So when is topsoil not ideal? This is particularly the case if you put lots of plants into one pot, as you do when planting up bedding plants in summer.
What Soil Or Compost Should I Use?
Fabulous compost Composting is a great way to recycle vegie scraps, fallen leaves, lawn clippings and other green garden waste back into your garden. Homemade compost is a beaut money-saver of course, and top quality compost from any source should be dark coloured, smell sweet and have a crumbly texture. It looks a lot like really good, rich soil. Use it as mulch Just spread your compost around garden plants as a mulch, applying it up to 40mm deep, if you like. Prepare a garden bed Dig in plenty of compost and well-rotted manure a couple of weeks before planting out vegie patches or garden beds. Let it all break down for a fortnight or so, then start planting. How much compost do you use per plant?
The soil may be sandy, more compact or have some kind of problem. Even if you are very lucky and have great soil to start with, it will lose its nutrients after every season. The soil will not remain nutrient rich always.