Nutrient rich and organic compost

Summer is an ideal time to add compost to the garden beds and replenish the soil’s organic material. Temperatures soar to 95 degrees in the late Spring, and the pretty annuals and typical vegetables can’t tolerate this heat. In short, it’s time to help Mother Nature repair during the deep south summer. Adding compost to the beds allows them to recover and prepare for the winter season crops that I’ll start in August.

My county gives compost bins to residents interested in recycling food scraps and organic materials. I’ve had this large compost bin for five years. I wasn’t always faithfully filling it during the first few years. However, I am much better about it recently as I’ve witnessed the difference it makes in the size and quality of my plants.

My backyard compost bin

Do I have to compost to grow a great garden?

Composting is a fundamental science, and the recipe of mixing brown paper, leaves, kitchen scraps, and water to make high-nitrogen compost isn’t complicated. I started slowly with food scraps and a few plant trimmings. Gradually, I learned that all kinds of things can be added to the compost bin. The trick is to keep the mix of 70% brown carbon-rich items (non-living organisms) like dry leaves, newspaper, dried plant clippings, wood branches, hay, straw, sawdust, and pine needles to 30% nitrogen-dense materials like fresh leaves, grass clippings, and non-cooked food scraps. You should never add fats, meat, or animal or human waste to the bin/pile. Decaying uncooked fish and animal waste can be done directly into the soil as fertilizer.

An Organic Difference on the Lawn

I noticed that adding organic matter to the soil helps grow better vegetables and bigger blooms in the flower beds. The difference in growth patterns was apparent within days. Could it work on my lawn?

My soil test results from the Sunday lawn service revealed my Florida soil is extremely sandy. It doesn’t hold a lot of water so nutrients just wash straight through.

Sunday experts warned that changing the soil components is expensive and may not work. However, I wondered if adding organic compost during the active growing season might make the grass healthier.

I found this garden site that stated adding compost to the lawn as a “top dressing” adds organic matter and helps the lawn’s roots. As an added benefit, you can add compost any time of year. But in Florida, we are not supposed to fertilize the lawn from June 1st to September 30th because of runoff into our water systems.

How to Build Up the Garden Soil

Compost is an additive for gardens. The best soil blend is 20% compost and 80% soil. But Florida gardens tend to be sandy and less fertile. This soil drains well, but water races through the sand and becomes unavailable to seedlings and young plants. Adding compost to my soil adds density and nutrients that are just not available with the sandy, raw earth.

adding compost to existing gardens

I add compost by the bucket around established plantings and work it in with a standard garden hoe. There is no shortcut or trick to this, and just like weeding flower beds, you just need to do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *