This week, we focus on my all time favorite soil amendment and why I love is so much! To set the stage, one of my favorite garden quotes that I put into practice all the time is; “feed the soil and let the soil feed the plants”. It’s true. Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants. It helps add life and fertility, and improves the soil structure. Yet of all the organic matter you can add to improve you soil, compost is king! There is no store bought product better for the garden, and I believe it’s the single most important ingredient we can add to our gardens.
Show Notes – BHG003 Podcast – Why Compost is the Best Soil Amendment for Your Garden
In last week’s podcast, we talked about the keys to creating the best soil possible for your Plants to establish quickly and thrive throughout the season. This week, I want to focus on my all time favorite soil amendment and why I love is so much!
To set the stage, one of my favorite garden quotes that I put into practice all the time is; “feed the soil and let the soil feed the plants”. It’s true. Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants. It helps add life and fertility, and improves the soil structure. Yet of all the organic matter you can add to improve you soil, compost is king! There is no store bought product better for the garden, and I believe it’s the single most important ingredient we can add to our gardens.
So what exactly is compost and why do I love it so much? Simply put, compost is decayed organic matter, consisting of material you’d find around your yard, plus kitchen scraps from inside your house.
Now we’ve already established that compost is a fantastic soil conditioner, but it’s also an excellent fertilizer! In just a tablespoon of compost, you find billions of living beneficial microorganisms along with vital organic nutrients that are released slowly. Think of compost as a savings account of nutrients that are available to your plants as needed, unlike water-soluble synthetic fertilizers, which once applied, quickly leach through the soil, and leave behind potentially damaging salts. In addition, compost is known to be a growth stimulant; it protects plants from certain diseases, buffers toxins in the soil, helps moderate soil pH, feeds earthworms, and supports beneficial microorganisms.
So now that I’ve got your attention on why compost is such a valuable ingredient to productive soil, and your Burpee Home Garden Plants, you’ll want it in your own garden, right? So where do you get it and how much do you need?
Well first lets talk about the quantity. Since compost is an amendment to your existing soil, you only need a small amount. In fact, a little goes a long way. You can start with just a half inch mixed into the top few inches of your soil But if you have more, even better to condition the soil. Then a couple times each year, work in another inch or so around the surface.
OK, so where do you get compost? Well there are three primary sources. First, some – but not all nurseries and garden centers carry high-quality compost by the bag.
Second, many municipalities these days have a composting facility that makes it from all the collected leaves and yard debris over previous seasons. It’s usually offered for free or for just a nominal fee. It’s a great option if you have it, especially if you need a lot.
But with these first two ways, there’s one big caveat. You just really don’t know what went into making that compost. As an organic gardener, I don’t want to bring home compost that might include pesticides or chemical residue or even weed seeds for that matter and you can just never be sure when someone else is making it commercially.
Which leads me to the third way; making it yourself. It’s the ultimate way to control what goes into your compost and it’s extra gratifying to know you made it happen! In our next podcast, we’ll talk all about how to make compost at home. It’s easier than you think but there are a few things you should know to do it right and make it as quickly as possible!
In fact, we’re creating a whole series of podcasts to get you off to a great start with your Burpee Home Garden plants and what to do throughout the entire growing season, all the way through harvest. And be sure to check out burpeehomegardens.com for more ideas and inspiration online, any time!
Thanks for listening. We’ll be right back here next week for another Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week.